Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bikinis to Bestsellers, how I got started writing

As a writer, I know lots of other writers and book industry people, so I often forget that being an erotic romance writer is a bit unusual. I wouldn’t say people are shocked when they find out what I write but they are often curious. Do they ask questions? Sure, all kinds. Serious questions, How do you handle your taxes? Flirty questions, Do you need help with research? Naughty questions, Are the stories based on your life? Inspirational questions, How did you get started?

How I got started can be broken up into two parts. How I got started writing and how I got started writing erotic romance.

I started writing because I love stories. I know that isn’t a flashy answer but it’s the truth. I bought a book on how to write and wrote my first short story. I decided to start with a short story because the thought of writing an entire novel was intimidating. A 7,000 word story sounded manageable. I used what I learned in the book, wrote a story and sent it in. I received the contract about a month later. I was hooked.

The story was for True Confessions magazine. It’s about a woman who runs away from a disappointment at home and enters a bikini contest in Florida. That’s a reasonable thing to do in a time of strife, right? Take your clothes off and dance around? Works for me. It worked for her too. The experience changed her perspective, which is what she needed, then she went back home and took care of the business of getting what she wanted from life.

After that story, I wrote several more for confession magazines, then I started writing novels. The first couple novels I wrote were sweet romances. Writing sweet romances taught me to focus on emotion and the complicated push-pull of romantic relationships. The move to erotic stories came gradually. As I found new ways to push my characters into more intense situations, the stories became sexier.

I love writing erotic romance because it gives me the opportunity to let my imagination go. The possibilities are limitless and the farther out I go with my plot ideas, the further I get to push my characters. Pushing characters doesn’t have to mean sending them off to do really outrageous things, like hook up with aliens or rob banks, it just means finding ways to push a particular character into situations that challenge them in ways they’ve never been challenged before.

Sound good? Get your copy.
While writing my new novel, Unfinished Business, I worked to come up with a way to challenge my main character, Hayley. After suffering through a really public, humiliating scandal, she’s moved from her country hometown to the city of Detroit, Michigan. She’s started fresh with new friends, new clothes and an edgy attitude. Her plan, avoid anything having to do with the country and anyone who will expose her past. At the start of the story she’s totally ready to have some spur-of-the-moment random sex because she thinks that’s way to figure herself out. Readers will catch on pretty quick to the idea that while satisfying in the short term, getting naked with a guy she’s not that into isn’t really going to help her comes to terms with her past.

What guy will offer the acceptance she craves and challenge her to get over her past? A man who loves her for who she is.  The catch? He’s from the country, too. So loving him will force her to find a way to love the part of herself she hates.

In this excerpt of Unfinished Business, we get a glimpse of that building conflict and a hint of her
true feelings for Nick.

About a minute later, Nick and I pull into the VFW lot, and he glides around looking for a place to park. He finds a space behind a red F-150 pickup truck that has a white window decal of a woman’s silhouette on the driver’s side. She’s flexing her biceps and grinning from beneath wind-blown hair. It reads—‘Fear This City Boy’. Nick stares at it then at the one on the passenger side that reads—‘Redneck Girl’. He points and laughs. “I feel right at home.”

I should but I don’t. I can already feel the weight of the stares and hear the whispers of rumors. I turn away from Nick as I cringe, feeling like maybe I should tell him about my past. It’d be better if he heard it from me but my stomach turns sour just thinking about saying the words aloud. My own stupidity and shame swirl in my heart and make my chest hot.

I’m just not ready. Yet.

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