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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Some Like it Hotter

The timing of this month's topic, writing in multiple genres, couldn't have been more perfect. Why? Today is the launch day of my new novel, Stealing Hearts, my first venture into erotica! Can you hear my nervous giggle?

As the author of three romantic comedies, I was comfortable in my genre. I knew how to make my readers laugh with my characters and sigh at the most romantic moments. My romantic comedies are like a good Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film. So what would possess me to leave my comfort zone for something different? The answer is...Some Like It Hotter.

At a writer's conference, I was sitting at a table surrounded by erotica writers. We had an eye-opening conversation about the number of books they'd written, their loyal following and their sales numbers, which blew mine out of the water.

When I got home, I went online and purchased one of their books. I was pleasantly surprised to find their story wasn't that much different from mine, just with more and hotter sex scenes. The writing was superior, the plot was captivating, the characters were believable and engaging. That's when it occurred to me; maybe I could write erotica.

The thought was sticky and clung to my waking moments like a piece of tape I couldn't get off my finger. Next thing I knew, my overactive imagination had come up with not one book, but a four book series: Hot PurSuits. Each book would have one of the playing card suits in the title.

My first attempt would be, Stealing Hearts, to be followed by Queen of the Clubs, Pay Back in Spades, and Not for Diamonds. Then, with the help of my brothers, of all people, we created a pen name to keep the genres separate. I decided to write under a pen name so that fans of Christie Walker Bos couldn't accidentally read one of my erotica books. But I decided to link the two names for cross promotion purposes. I don't care if people know that Susan Ashworthy is really Christie Walker Bos. I just wanted to make sure that readers knew there was a difference between the two lines.
With titles ready, a pen name in hand, all that was left to do was write the first book. Easy, right?
Not as easy as I thought. Needless to say, the edits were extreme. I had a lot to learn about erotica. Which words you can and can't use to describe certain body parts, what to leave in, what to leave out. I had this great idea to incorporate dripping hot wax on my hero in one of the sex scenes. My editor asked, "Have you ever tried that?" Well, no. So I tried it and guess what...it really hurts...I mean hurts A LOT. So I changed it to painting him with warm liquid chocolate. The things you do for your craft.

One thing I did notice was my voice was the same. There is still a touch of humor in my erotica, and my characters are still "real" living people who just happen to have more frequent and hotter sex. Lucky them!

So if you like it a bit hotter, check out my first erotic title launching today at Ellora's Cave.

If you were to write erotica, would you use a pen name? Would you link your erotic line with your current genre?

3 comments:

Paty Jager said...

Fun post! I've had thoughts about writing erotica but then I don't want to have to learn all the do's and don'ts of another genre. That's my laziness coming through. ;) Congrats on hopping to a new genre.

Judith Ashley said...

At this point, no, I've not thought of writing erotica but if the time comes when I do - I might use a pen name. I've been told I write 'hot' sex scenes now so maybe writing erotica isn't so far fetched. Something to think about!

Sarah Raplee said...

Yes, I'd use a pen name - but then, I use a pen name for all my writing. I've never been interested in writing erotic romance, in spite of the potential market. The genre just isn't for me.

I like your idea of using different pen names to separate your books into genres for readers.

Congratulations on your new release!