Q: When did you actively start writing, and what was the impetus?
A: Though I dabbled in it for years, I would say I came to this point approximately three years ago. I’d taken a cross country road trip with a dear friend who’d lost her son. Listening to music was like playing Russian roulette for her because any random song might be associated with a sad memory. After two hours of non-stop conversation, we fell silent. It was during that long silence where I first met the characters who now populate my novel-in-progress.
Q: Met them? You say that as if they’re real.
A: That’s the funny thing about my characters – they are!
Q: What do you mean?
A: Well, they must be real on some level or they wouldn’t experience life in the story. Their world lays like cellophane over mine. The things I know about each and every one of them, their loves and hates, their quirks, habits, and idiosyncrasies, make them tangible beings with substantial personalities. I hear their voices when they speak to one another and I feel their internal dialog as they move through their world. I even know whether or not they put both socks on before their shoes or one sock one shoe at a time. I suppose every writer is just a tad schizophrenic.
Q: Do you have any unfinished projects sitting around?
A: Oh good god, yes. I understand myself well enough to know that I only go where my mind is truly engaged. If I have that, I’ll work on a thought until it’s completed. Many of the unfinished things are not projects per se; rather they’re ideas for future stories. I jot them down as they pop up, generally no more than a sentence or paragraph at the most to keep a mental placeholder. I’ve nearly filled the two small “idea books” I keep in my purse and of course my laptop’s document folder is packed with details. Essentially, they’re dandelion seeds that may or may not take flight.
Q: You call yourself a daydreamer. How does your mind work?
A: The best description of my mind is to compare it to a crowded restaurant where every table has a story. Somewhere, a pocket holds an engagement ring. The guy stabbing his olive like a voodoo doll got turned down for a promotion. A little girl, her tongue poking in concentration, traces her crayon along the placemat maze. Across the room a potential suicide comes to terms with his weighty decision and nearby sits a young woman who doesn’t yet know she’ll save his life. As busy as this all is, there is an overlay of added detail – a server mopping up blood red wine, steaming plates of fettuccini Alfredo, the caramelized scent of crème brûlée here, and the oily sizzling flames of saganaki there. Look closely, the server winked at the bartender—a clear message that says, “I’m off at 10:00.” Wow, I think another dandelion seed just caught a breeze!
Q: What made you decide to write erotica?
A: I’ve a few reasons actually. First, I like seduction. That’s the reason I enjoy reading my favorite romance authors. Written seduction is a mind game, a ring-side seat to observe the psychological metamorphosis of the characters. Secondly, I like the physics of it. There comes a point where the connection between characters ignites into something neither has any control over—a 451° point of complete surrender that leads to total combustion. Lastly, because seduction is a cerebral thing, I find erotica to be the natural progression of the romance story. I get so thoroughly into well-crafted character’s heads, I find I want to be there when they merge their minds and bodies. When I read it, I want it to be me. When I write it, it is me.
Q: Then why the nom de plume, why not use your real name when you write erotica?
A: Well now that’s a story in and of itself. As my intro hinted, that exceedingly shy girl grew into a marginally less shy woman. More than thirty years ago I became a mother, and that was and is the greatest job imaginable. But in my mind mothers are warm and comforting and they make Halloween costumes and birthday cakes. They don’t write erotica. Let’s just say my imaginative foray into the steamier side of literature is akin to actors saying their kids will never see the violent or overtly sexual movie they just made.
Q: So you write under a pseudonym because you don’t want your kids to know you write erotica. That’s a little silly, don’t you think?
A: Yes. I don’t know at what point Anne Rice openly admitted she was also A. N. Roquelaure, but I’m not there just yet. Chalk that up to my being an overly shy and outwardly reserved person. Oh yes, one day, if my creative split-personality self doesn’t merge before I die, they’ll sort through the files and papers of my estate and uncover a side of mom they never knew existed. It would make me happy to think they’d say to their spouses, “Wow, do you believe Mom wrote that?” Instead of, “I can’t believe she’d write such a thing.” I’m banking on the former and not the latter because they already know I write fiction. Erotica is just “ ! ” added to the romance novel.
Q: Do you have favorite authors?
A: While some prefer Cormac McCarthy’s powerful economy of words, my imagination craves glorious color of every tint and shade conceivable. To that end first and foremost my favorite is Diana Gabaldon. The colorful imagery she chooses for Jamie and Claire’s universe goes way beyond crayons – we’re talkin’ paint set! Her creative blending and shading created a positively transcendent love. And she has an impressive knack for creating scenes that are at once both repellant and intriguing. In the romance genre I have to say my all time favorite authors are Johanna Lindsey and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (rest in peace Erin Hogg). I’ve never read a single book from either that didn’t have me right there in the thick of things. J.K. Rowling took me through all my years at Hogwarts, and I think I might have even carved a gargoyle or two in Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth.
Q: Is it true you never follow an outline?
A: Absolutely. I literally walk forward into the story and keep on walking until it tells me it’s done. In the scenes, I find doors and windows open and people appear from time to time to give me options. Being without an outline does occasionally have its sticky points. I’ve had to eliminate more than one character that just stopped by to borrow a cup of sugar. I really don’t know where those people come from! It’s weird how that works. I compare it to the TV series Happy Days, where Ritchie’s older brother Chuck just stops coming to the dinner table one day and is never mentioned again for the entire duration of show.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about writing?
A: Seeing appreciation for my work lighting other people’s eyes. Should my characters or story compel readers to email me with questions, comments, and opinions, favorable or otherwise, I’d love to hear from them. I have an artist friend who periodically reads my scenes. I know we’re on the same page when he comments on my characters and scenes as if he sees them as real because they’re real to me. That does something to me; it fills me up in some inexplicable way and makes me want to write more complicated scenes to see if he can follow me there. I’ve always been sort of an oddball that never fit anywhere; I suppose it validates how my mind ticks.
Q: Are you in your stories?
A: My life makes cameo appearances in one form or another in all my books. It’s easy to draw from the familiar. If readers knew me, they’d recognize my furnishings or my car, my pets, and even things about themselves. As for my characters, they’re all composites of me. They have my values, my fears, my wit etc. Yes, even my bad guys are me. If you think about it they’d have to be. How else could I write them into being? Sometimes I even surprise myself. More than once I’ve given myself goosebumps.
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