What’s your number one piece of advice for writing love scenes?
Good editing! I’m all for writing the scene in the heat of the moment, tapping into the visceral and emotional changes that happen for characters. But once the draft is down, it has to be honed. In the same way as a crying baby or a funky smell can completely deflate arousal for a woman in real life (even with the hottest man!), a clunky sentence or awkward word can throw a reader out of the love scene and deflate all the delicious sexual tension you’re created for them. Of all the parts of the novel that need to be edited, love scenes are the most important. They need to be seamless so readers are pulled into the scene and held there, vicariously enjoying the thrill of the moment along with the characters.
Plotter or Pantser – which are you?
I started my career as a complete panster, discovering the story as I went along. However, the necessities of writing a series mean that I have to know something about the next book, even if it’s just the back cover blurb. I find now that as I write each book in a series, I get ideas for upcoming books and I jot them down, so by the time I’m ready to write a book, I’ve got a good idea of the plotline. But I will say, I never start to write until I completely understand the main character’s goal/motivation/conflict. That’s the thread that pulls the reader through the story. If you don’t have that sorted, the plot will waffle around.
Your new Husband Series, starting with book #1 Husband Sit is a combination of erotica and romantic comedy. Could you tell us a little about how you went about blending these two genres? What were the main challenges (if any!) of bringing a lighthearted aspect to the stories?
To be honest, the comedy part came about simply because the characters themselves are funny. This series is about four girlfriends in their mid-thirties who met at school, so they’ve shared two decades of highs and lows with each other and they’re quite prepared to slap each other upside the head if that’s required. They will also provide Poor Baby when the situation warrants it, but I found it was the tough love that created the funnier scenes. And to be honest, the heroine of book #1 is a bit of an idiot. She blurts things out, and couldn’t make a sensible decision to save her life. But she’s ferociously loyal to her girlfriends and her drama-queen little-sis, so she comes across as being endearingly flawed. The erotica flowed from Jill’s job, as you’ll see from the book’s blurb:
Jill Wilson is fresh out of a ten-year relationship so boring she slept through half of it. Thirty-something, no children, no house, blah. The glamorous potential she and her three best friends shared as starry-eyed schoolgirls feels very far away, until an unlikely job appears – Husband Sitting – being paid by rich wives to keep their cheating husbands ‘happy’ at home while they skip off on vacation.
Not the sort of job a nice girl would do, but the ten thousand dollar a week paycheck is exactly what Jill needs to stop her little sister ending up in a Bangkok jail. And maybe, just maybe, the sex sounds exciting too. Unfortunately, there’s one complication: gorgeous Finn with his sexy green eyes and his gigantor… you know.
Love was definitely not in the contract, so in desperation to wipe Finn from her memory banks, Jill embarks on a bed-hopping frenzy. After all, the best way to get over one man is to sleep with another. But will Finn let her go? And as her emotional baggage arrives with an over-weight tag, can she believe in the fairytale of imperfect people ending up perfect together?
In addition to being a hugely popular fantasy and romance author, you are also a writing teacher and mentor. In your experience, what’s the most effective way for authors to raise their profile online and in person?
Generosity. I don’t always get it right, because I’m a busy person, but I try really hard to give more than people expect. When I do a library talk I turn up completely prepared and I stay back an hour to answer questions afterwards. Anyone I’ve ever taught knows they can email me questions: if they get an offer from a publisher and don’t know what to do, or need specific info. If I can’t help them, I can usually direct them to someone who can. On social media, I try to be an advocate for other authors’ books in my genre when I’m not releasing one of my own. There’s no point in me advertising a crime novel to my romance readership, but I’ve got lots of friends in Romance Writers of Australia (I’ve been a member for over 20 years) so when a contemporary romance novel comes out – particularly a romcom – by an author I know, I try to share their promotion to give them a push. I’ve been very fortunate that some RWA members have returned the favour in recent times while I’ve been promoting HUSBAND SIT.
I’m shelving fantasy for a while to concentrate on dominating the erotic romantic comedy market on Amazon Kindle! The next 12 months will be taken up with writing novels in the Husband Series and promoting those I’ve already written. So far I’ve got Husband Sit released on 17th Feb, Husband Stay to be released on 13th April, Husband Heel on 15th June, and Husband Rollover on 17 August, after which I’ll have a holiday! Then I’ll be releasing further novels later in the year.
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AJ8YMYM
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01AJ8YMYM
Amazon AUS: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01AJ8YMYM
Once you purchase Husband Sit, you can go into the Rafflecopter draw for a $20 Amazon Gift Card. Simply hop over to my Facebook Page, click on the GIVEAWAY tab and answer a simple question from the book, before 31st March 2016.
Book #2 Husband Stay is currently available for pre-order at .99c US and will go up to $3.99 when it’s released on April 13. Readers can buy book #2 here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BNO4LKQ