Thanks to author Kathryn Kane for interviewing me for her blog. Sharing our Q and A here.
Q: You were a writer of erotic romance stories and retired from that world to work on non-fiction books and journalism. What enticed you back into this field?
A: Fifty Shades of Grey. I was so thrilled to see that sex, eroticism, and even BDSM was an open conversation and that women were partaking in reading the books with great joy and abandon. When I was writing erotic novels, back in the day, it was a different era. Women were not openly ogling hot men and seeking books with graphic sex scenes. The erotic romance and erotica was sold in specialty shops or hidden shelves marked “anonymous” in book stores. But after Fifty Shades, the publishing world exploded with a new sexual revolution of erotic romances, and women writers flooded in, proudly sharing their books. I felt called to be part of it. I started by interviewing bestselling authors and reporting on the field. Then with the encouragement of a few author friends and publishing friends, I began writing fiction again. I am starting with smaller works, like short stories and novellas.
Q: If you were not a romance author, what other creative activities would you pursue?
A: I actually live a double life, already! I have been a journalist on the love and sex beat, and other topics, for many years. It was hard, at first, to write fiction and non-fiction at the same time, often in the same day. They are two very different forms of writing. But now I see how my reporting skills can feed my fiction writing. Journalism has long been the writing skill that has paid the rent, and is always on deadline, and so the create activity I most long to pursue is fiction writing.
Q: What is your favorite romance genre to read, and why?
A: I am a big fan of erotic romance. Sexual attraction and erotic expression is so much a part of the dance of real life romance that it’s very invigorating to read about hot love scenes between two characters that are extremely attracted to one another and on their way toward love. It stirs up memories of your first love and the kind of erotic tension we have all experienced in real life when we have been incredibly drawn to that one certain person. And I think the books are good for our hubbies and mates, too—they can help renew passions via getting readers all charged up for love!
Q: What is your favorite romance genre to write?
A: I love writing erotic romance. I also love writing erotica, especially short stories and novellas, where the sexual attraction comes on strong and fast, and sexual experience moves the story. It is so freeing. I can focus on some of my favorite aspects of two characters coming together—intense, steamy, have-to-have you attraction and truly passionate sex that includes lots of pleasure for women. And from the erotic experience the love grows, and they find their happily ever after. I noticed almost all of my stories are ending with marriage proposals these days, and it gives me a lot of joy to blend in a sense of hopefulness and romance with really sexy writing. Because my heroes tend to be very alpha, they are not beyond employing masterful sexual skills to help them win a woman’s heart.
Q: What are your favorite parts of writing fiction?
A: It gives me license to dream and fantasize, and when I am in the flow of the writing it is like being in the scene. Studies have shown that the brain does not know the difference between reading or watching fiction and actually being in the situation portrayed in fictional accounts. I believe this must be true for writing as well because characters do start talking to you and moving you to write certain things, and you can hear the dialog in your head as if you are sitting there having a conversation. And sometimes the conversation actually comes out of your mouth, as if you’re characters are standing there with you as you make coffee. In the mental health field that would be a psychotic episode, but in the field of romantic fiction it is simply getting in touch with your characters. I believe it is an experience we writers crave because it takes us deeply into the place where stories and characters come alive. Perhaps it is the creative center of the brain—or the soul, or the universe. Not sure “where it is” but I know it is fun to journey there.
Q: When you craft a hero, are you incorporating traits from men you know, or are you writing about a man you have never met, but would like to?
A: Oh yes, probably all of the above. I tend to model my heroes after men I have met, or possibly admired or lusted after from afar, or, even, had crushes on in real life. I can go way back in time to remember real guys I was crazy about when I was single, and turn them into who I wish they had really been. Sometimes I will write from a photo of a really hot guy. But since my training is as a reporter, I find myself also observing behavior and characteristics in handsome men or strong, alpha guys I do not know—little gestures, looks, etc. I especially take note of how a man looks at a woman when he is very attracted to her or how he speaks about her if he is in love. Or I might see a guy in a movie, TV show, or hotel lobby who does something I want a character to do. My mind takes snapshots of little nuances or situations and I may blend them into the hero I am working on at the moment. Lucky for me, I have a great hub that truly does have some nice romance hero kind of qualities and I sometimes borrow from him.
Q: Do you always have control of your characters when you are writing, or do they sometimes get away from you? If so, can you share some examples of how you got them back in line, or did you just go with the flow?
A: Ha! Trying getting control of hot Alpha men who do not take no for an answer—even the ones that live in your mind! I am not a big plotter so I don’t really outline my characters as much as some authors, so they do kind of tend to move in the direction they want to go and I try to catch up with them. One of biggest challenges is that I believe is instantaneous attraction and the idea that sometimes a man will see a woman, approach her, and kiss her without any preamble—maybe even kiss her hard, pressing her up against a wall, and taking her breath away. (And a heroine may do the same). People tell me it is unrealistic in romantic fiction to do this without a clear build up in the relationship. Regardless, the gorgeous alphas keep showing up and telling me this is the way it is going to be. They also sometimes use language that I would be embarrassed to say out loud, but try to tell the hot cop with handcuffs how he should be addressing your heroine. Yeah, not going to happen. So I guess I don’t always get them back in line.
Q: Do you have scheduled times to write, or just when you are inspired?
A: I am a late night writer. Late into the night. And again in the morning. I go through phases of writing every day when on deadline, and then less when not on deadline.
Q: When you suffer from writer’s block, how do you unblock?
A: TV shows on Netflix and movies on Amazon. I watch tons and tons of romance movies and sometimes TV series to inspired and rewire my brain. I find watching hot actors is good for the creative juices. Real sex with the man you love can also be very inspiring for an erotica writer feeling blocked! If all else fails I will get a massage. And sometimes a manicure and pedicure, too. And sometimes a manicure and pedicure by the cute guy who owns the salon, so that I can turn him into a guest character and fantasize about what might happen if his hand went a little higher than my knee during the pedicure massage. Everything that happens in life can be fodder for fiction or can be embellished for fiction.
Q: Will romance still be as popular a hundred years from now as it is today?
A: As long as there are humans (or other beings), who become attracted to each other and fall in love, romance books will be popular. Mr. Darcy was born of Jane Austin’s pen more than 200 years ago and he is still one of the most appealing romance heroes of our time. Since he represents a certain archetype that is genetically appealing to women, I am sure our great-great or greater grand kids will still find a tall, rich, handsome bachelor who insists you marry him a worthwhile fantasy. However I wonder if in 100 years romances might be more interactive, where you push a button on your reading device and the hero appears as a hologram… or maybe the hero appears, in the flesh. Sigh.
Q: What is coming next from A.C. Rose?
A: A novel about soulmates, starring a handsome, hot man who is not a afraid to greet a woman he has just met with a passionate kiss that kind of makes her forget that they don’t really know each other (Arousal).