1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.
If I’d answered this a couple of weeks ago, I would’ve said 20. But now I can happily say 5. I just sent off a manuscript and am looking ahead with great joy to the first real break I’ve had in a long long time. My brain will still be cooking on the ideas I’ve got coming up, but there’s no immediate rush to produce, and that helps reduce the drooling and staring off into space! I can do web work, and the things around the house I’ve put off too long, and all the while stories will be simmering. Can’t wait to see what comes out in the end!
2. Is designing websites in anyway similar to writing, from a creative point of view, for you? And do you think that being an author too helps you in designing author websites?
Web design seems to be a marriage of writing and the accounting I did for so long at the day job. One of those is pure left-brained, one pure right, and web design is in the middle. There are a lot of numerical checks and balances (graphic sizing, font points, etc) in web design, but there’s also the creative side (colors, layout, etc), so it works as a bridge. I think the fact that I write helps in that there are things I always include (such as the obvious ISBN) that I’ve seen missing in a lot of other designer’s sites. And I’ve done enough surveys on my own blog to know what most readers want that many authors don’t include!
3. I’ve read some of your single titles for Brava, and one of your gIRL-gEAR Blazes. They are hot, but for me, it is your heroines that truly make the books. Have you ever thought of branching out into books like Julie Leto’s Marisela Morales series? Which, by the way, is a gorgeous site.
The gIRL-gEAR books are the only ones I’ve done that center on heroines. When Blaze first launched, it was touted as being very “Sex in the City” and I took that to heart. That said, I think readers prefer hero-centered series. At least in my experience. I do make sure to give my heroes heroines who are worthy and not doormats, but I’m not sure I have it in me to write an ongoing heroine. I’m too much a hero-author! (And thanks re: the Marisela site!)
4. On your blog, you’ve commented on the fact that you read a lot outside the romance genre, and why. Can you name some characters from outside the genre that you think would make great romance heroes or heroines?
A lot of the characters from my favorite authors do have romances in their stories, but the romance is not the focus of the books. There’s Lisa Gardner’s Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner whose relationship has been ongoing, as has that of Jane Rizzoli and Gabriel Dean. I love Harry Bosch in Michael Connelly’s books, and would love to see him meet his match with a romance heroine. I’ve only read the first of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, but I totally saw Jack as a romance hero!
5. You’ve written the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Erotic Romance. I don’t even write romance, but I’m looking forward to its release. What, in your opinion, is the most common mistake writers have in approaching erotic romance?
Probably that there doesn’t have to be a real story behind the sex. That the sex is enough to carry the book. It’s not. An erotic romance is still a romance is still a novel. And a novel needs not only characters, but something happening. A lot of that is the sexual relationship, but that can’t be all there is.
6. What do you think of erotic romances that, to put it euphemistically, take a walk on the very wild side? A little BDSM, a little polyamory and a couple of orgies, for instance. Do you think you’ll be writing one for us?
I’m actually a very vanilla sex writer. The sex I write is rarely about anything but the romance – no need for domination or submission, no experimentation for psychological or emotional needs. I’ve written what for me is envelope-pushing, but I’ve always ended up cutting it because it feels forced, and not real for my characters. I applaude authors who pull it off well because I’ve discovered it’s not in my author DNA to do.
7. Sadly, we have come to the end of the Smithson Group series. It is sad even though I’ve yet to read all the books in the series. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. What’s up next?
There are still several spin-off stories in the works. April ’07 is THE PERFECT STRANGER, the story of Hank Smithson’s helicopter pilot Jackson Briggs. Following that is a story for Simon Baptiste who plays a role in both DEEP BREATH and BEYOND A SHADOW. I think Finn McClain (from DEEP BREATH) will have the book after Simon’s, but what’s to come beyond that, I’m not sure. I have another SG-5 operative (Gideon Martel) who is mentioned briefly in a couple of books, and there is a secondary character in THE PERFECT STRANGER who might get a story. Who knows!