Firstly, thanks to Louise from Passionate Page Turner for posing these questions to me. I enjoyed answering them and it was great to look back at some of my earlier books. Without further ado…
The chambermaid series looks at one woman’s self-discovery and sexual awakening, she learns a great deal about her craft, how did you research for this?
A lot of what I write is from off the top of my head and purely fictional and imaginative. However, I have a really good memory so what I write must be in some portion informed by what I have read, watched on TV, witnessed or talked about with friends. Lottie isn’t necessarily an expert practitioner of BDSM. She’s making it up as she goes along; she arouses men because she’s really just very beautiful and has a playful personality. She’s observed people for so long in her job in hotel work, she’s got a great deal of people experience. I also wanted to somehow persuade the reader that the reason Lottie is so imaginative is that she is well read, so I did read almost all the books she’s influenced by. One of my source materials was “Harris’s List of Georgian Ladies” which is full of euphemisms and flowery language and I used that type of language as an influence on Lottie. (Read the book, but Lottie’s use of language hides the sordid truth of a lot of her encounters, which aside from those with Noah are unfulfilling and not indicative of who she really is.)
One reviewer said that you wrote Lottie’s sexual encounters effortlessly, would you agree with this?
I agree I have a flair for writing good sex scenes but nothing comes effortlessly. You can’t just write, He put it in me and it was so hard and so good and he made me come instantly. How, and with what pressure, did he make you come? What did it specifically feel like? Get descriptive. Take yourself out of the situation and look at the scene from a bird’s eye view, then take yourself back into the circle again! There’s so much more to writing sex than most people know and you have to build a scene around a number of factors. Smell. Taste. Feel. Feelings. Women are always turned on by feelings, whether they admit it or not. What he does differently. What you do in response. I always try to vary the scenes I write. I think if Lottie’s sexual encounters seem effortlessly written it’s because all the work I put in behind the scenes isn’t apparent. The hero can be the hottest looking guy on the planet but if he just stands there and expects you to do all the work, that isn’t sexy. A man has to connect with your brain, first of all, to make you want him so much you’ll do ludicrous things with him in the bedroom. Literally, sometimes the things I write are even OBSCENE. LOL.
In my review I stated that it reminded me of older erotica, the likes of the story of O, do you/have you read much erotica? What would you recommend to read?
Yes, Story of O was one of the books which inspired Lottie’s story. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know there are huge passages without paragraph breaks, spread across page after page sometimes. I once read that the story needed rewriting with a modern update and better prose so in effect, I tried to do that in some portion with A Fine Profession. For Lottie, O’s story was an inspiration because having had so much pain in her own life, O has mastered the art of coping with pain and Charlotte wants to do the same. A Fine Profession is about Lottie writing out her fantasies, but with a sinister message beneath her experiences. She has a persona, someone she can be to escape herself, but burying herself in that character has cost her in ways she won’t admit. With that persona comes this voice of someone out of another time. She immerses herself in classical literature to take herself off into another world inside her mind. Her language is a lot more flowery than anything I write otherwise but it reflects her perpetual state of having her head in the clouds. I would definitely recommend Anais Nin for some classical erotica. Tiffany Reisz is an excellent erotic writer and her books are loved by those with a more open mind.
Lottie has a love for corsets and vintage lingerie and Noah supports and encourages this; can you tell me more about why she loves them?
Like a lot of women, she yearns for days gone by when women dressed as women with petticoats and corsets and huge skirts. When clothes flattered and were made to measure. When clothes lasted. How many women these days complain they can’t find a top to flatter their chest? A bra that fits? As modern women, we’re put under pressure to conform and costumes of old celebrated the larger bosom and hid a lot of our sins. In many respects, the corset is Lottie’s uniform and wearing it reminds her she has to perform. Vintage makes her feel special, makes her feel out of her time, takes her out of herself. Lottie is forever on the hunt for props, experiences and men willing to help her be the character she so desperately wants to be like.
In A Fine Pursuit you write from Noah’s pov, was this difficult? Especially during sex scenes?
Yeah, it was difficult. I wrote this story a long while ago now but I remember at the time just feeling that same anguish and confusion he did. He was an infuriating character to be in the mindset of but I researched him thoroughly. I always knew he wouldn’t necessarily be a likeable character, but he’s a real character. He’s not a classic dom. I didn’t write his story thinking he was a book boyfriend, either. Like I mentioned above, Lottie is forever trying to displace herself from real life, which she can’t cope with. Noah’s just the same. He wants the fantasy he shares with her, because the billionaire he is by day is nothing like the man beneath. The books are literary, maybe even hard to stomach. I don’t think some readers like the honesty of these two books.
In the finale of the Sub Rosa Trilogy you delve more into BDSM, was this eye opener for you?
Nope. I have believed in BDSM for a long time. It is true that there are some people out there who abuse their roles in the lifestyle, but pain’s not at the heart of the culture. Trust is. I have a book in the pipeline called “Dom Diaries” and it does draw out a lot of the truths about what makes a dom, truths that aren’t necessarily apparent through Kayla’s dialogue alone in the series finale.
I’m not sure I like the term “Daddy” when talking about a dom, is this a common term used?
It’s extremely common except it’s not always used in open spaces – or in mainstream books. You’ve probably read about loads of Daddy/sub relationships but the name Daddy hasn’t been used. In AFP, Noah is Lottie’s Master. She denotes that with the use of capital M for Master. She never calls him sir. He’s much more than that. He’s her disciplinarian because she can be so out of control. The Master/sub relationship is more about punishment whereas the Daddy/sub scenario is more about nurturing the sub. Being a Daddy has nothing to do with being a replacement father figure although many elements of BDSM subvert real-life roles and explore unspoken areas of the sub’s emotional back catalogue. I personally think “daddy” is a softer term for dom/master/sir. Daddies and their subs tend to be more playful, more tactile and play on each other’s young outlook on life.
I notice that you use pinterest, do you find that a useful research and inspiration tool?
Not really. I just waste a lot of time over there, finding pretty pictures! Although sometimes I’ll notice a couple and go, “that reminds me of such and such…” The stuff I use for research is banned off Pinterest.
Fabien takes us into the world of Paranormal, did your writing style have to change when writing sexy supernatural sex scenes?
Yes, my writing really had to change but it was such a refreshing change, too. Putting myself in the mind of someone who has lived for centuries was an interesting task. Also, you can pretty much go WAAAAAYYYY outside the box with paranormal, which is a great thing.
Your new book (Tainted Lovers) features a married couple, we had chatted about there not being many books out there featuring married couples, why do think that is?
I once read that erotica “saved my marriage”. A lady wrote her libido dipped after a certain length of time spent married and it had nothing to do with her feelings for her husband or their attraction. She just needed a boost. I think we avoid writing about marriage in romance novels because we’d rather remember how it was in the beginning. It’s a common opinion among women that the sex dwindles after marriage and you just have to accept it – but I disagree. I think if you can be open and honest with your partner, it can only keep getting better. No “fantasy” lover is ever going to know you as well as the man who, over several years, has spent time getting to know where and how you like to be touched. But we women do sometimes need a little added shot of erotica to boost our appetites. Horny women are never a bad thing; I’m sure husbands and boyfriends and randoms agree!
What makes a story “Erotica”?
A really good story which features some sex, which doesn’t have to be on every page. A cracking sex scene can carry an entire book if it’s memorable and unique, and well written. Erotica, for me, is a genre which delves into the very basics of our psyche and isn’t easy to write. It’s not just about moving a story from plot point A to point B. You have to weave the sex in so it doesn’t seem unneccessary. It’s a skill I’m still learning all the time.