Elise Hart is the naughty alter ego of romantic novelist Sally Quilford. Whereas Sally is all “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” Elise is more “Hey big spender, spend a little time with me…” Where Sally was always a good girl at school (when she attended), Elise was the one who snogged boys behind the bike sheds. Or she would have done so if boring old Sally hadn’t held her back. Now Elise is branching out on her own to write the sort of stories that she knows Sally secretly enjoys reading (and writing).
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I started writing around 1994 but didn't take it seriously till about ten years after that. I messed around writing fan fiction and a few poems and stories that were never published (and for good reason).
Q: Which of your characters would you like to be, and why?
A: Any one of the women who end up with a Henderson brother in my series The Peak of Love. The Henderson boys give their womenfolk such a good time!
Q: Which character has the best taste in underwear?
A: I must admit I don't waste much time with underwear in the erotica stories. It tends to be dispensed with very quickly. But Mills and Boon author, Kate Walker, gave some good advice at her workshop. She said that the "ordinary" girls who feature in romantic novels wouldn't necessarily have underwear from Victoria's Secret or other snazzy underwear stores. They'd be more likely to wear cotton bras and panties from Marks & Spencers. This advice has stood me in good stead, as underwear says as much about a person as their choice of overwear.
Q: What book that you read as a teenager has stayed in your memory?
A: Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz. I remember that my friends and I used to skip through to the naughty bits! I still love a good, sexy saga.
Q: Do you use people you know in real life in your writing?
A: The Henderson brothers are inspired by three of my favourite actors: Richard Armitage, David Morrissey, and Sean Bean. Their mother, Helen, is inspired by Vanessa Redgrave. But I don't use people I actually know and speak to as heroes and heroines in erotica. That would be far too embarrassing! Even if they didn't know about it, I would blush.
Q: Is there a limit to how you have your characters behave in a story?
A: I always keep in mind that I am writing a romance, and there are certain sexual acts I don't personally find romantic (even though I don't mind reading about them in other people's stories). Sex, in my novels, is always an emotional as well as a physical act, and I try to hold on to that when I'm writing the scenes. I think to myself, how is this affecting this character on an emotional level? Even if the characters fool themselves that they're only having wild, crazy, no-strings sex, I know differently and try to depict that in the scene
Q: How do you decide what's acceptable and what's overstepping the mark?
A: As I said in the previous question, I go by my own boundaries. I wouldn't necessarily do everything I write about in a sex scene, as I'm sure is the case with all erotica writers, but I have to be able to write the sex scenes in a way that's enjoyable to the reader, and I can't do that if I'm personally disturbed or disgusted by what takes place. Also, I go by the characters. They will let me know what they're willing to do.
Q: Which authors do you admire?
A: Lee Child, Stephen King, Sarah Waters...The list is endless. I believe that writers should read anything and everything they can get their hands on. When I was younger and stayed at my dad's on the weekends, his bookcase was full of thrillers by Frederick Forsyth, Alistair McClean, and Jack Higgins. I used to read them all, and I still love a well-plotted thriller. As a result, all my novels have an element of suspense in them, even if it's only a very small part of the story.
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