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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Author Interview: Gwen Masters

Whipped Cream is excited to welcome Gwen Masters this week. Gwen told me she’s been accused of writing even in her sleep, and she doesn’t deny it. She is very prolific, having written hundreds of short stories that have appeared in both print and online.

Gwen told me she believes that a good erotic story is one isn’t easily forgotten, but that lingers with the reader. “Like the touch of a good lover’s hand,” she said, “it stays with you for a while and you can bring the memory back anytime you want. The best erotic stories I have ever read are the ones that I remember for months, even years.” She added, “The best erotic stories I have ever written are like that, too—I still get reader emails about stories that were published five or six years ago. They haven’t read them in that long, but they remember and they want to know where to find it—just to see if it still touches them as deeply as it did back then. That’s when I know I’ve found the key to good erotica. I’ll go back and read it myself, asking, ‘What set this apart?’ More often than not, it’s the emotion.”

She does a lot of research for her books, even going so far as to travel to various locations. “The book I just finished,” she told me, “is set in Iowa in the dead of winter, and I spent time in Iowa while doing the research for it. It’s important to me to put myself in the middle of the scene, so that when my reader gets the book, they know the setting is authentic.

“When I write an erotic scene, whether it’s straight vanilla or kinky as hell, I try to research that to the best of my ability before I write it.” She grinned and continued, “My husband makes a fantastic research subject.”

Since emotion plays such a big part in her determination of a good erotic book, she also really gets into the characters. She shared with me, “If it’s a romance novel, then I draw on the experiences I have with love and loss. When I wrote a novel about a college woman falling in love with her professor, well...let’s just say I’ve been there.”

I asked Gwen what reference book she would recommend for authors who are interested in writing erotic romance. “Susie Bright’s How to Write a Dirty Story is both the support and the reality check authors need to have,” she said. “It tells you exactly what the writing business is like and, specifically, what the erotica business is like. It's honest and packed full of important information. Any author even considering erotic writing should pick up that book.”

Gwen told me when she wrote straight romance, she actually found it rather freeing. “I had been writing erotica for so long,” she said, “it was nice to take out all the erotic elements and just write a story. I've been doing a lot more of that lately, and when I do come back to the erotic novels in progress, I find that the time in writing other things has enhanced my outlook on the erotic projects.”

Her family reads her work and, for the most part, they love it. Gwen did confess to me, “Sometimes my mother will ask me if a certain erotic piece is fictional or not, and if it's the real deal, she won't read it -- that's just too much information about her daughter!”

Our talk turned to food and what foods are best to eat in those intimate moments Gwen likes to write about. “Mmmm...pineapple,” she said. “You can cut it into the most interesting shapes, and it fits into all those naughty curves. Berries of all kinds are perfect. A drink with lots of bubbles, poured over the skin...or raiding the refrigerator and playing with smooth cheeses, homemade sweet sauces, or unique jellies in little jars. Sex in the kitchen is entirely underrated.”

However, she cannot bring herself to eat “anything that has spindly legs, beady eyes, and looks for all the world like a big old bug.” Such as, lobster, shrimp, crab legs, and crawfish. “Oh, God, no,” she said. “Just looking at those things freak me out—I can’t imagine eating them. I know I might be missing out on something absolutely superb, but... well, that’s just more for everybody else!”

She can taste the difference between Coke and Pepsi and is a self-confessed Coca-Cola junkie. “Coke has a deeper, more acidic taste,” she told me. “Pepsi always tastes a little flat to me. Coke is better to cook with too—Pepsi doesn’t work as well in recipes.”

When Gwen’s not writing, she stays busy working on their house or shopping for antiques to fill it. “That gives us an excuse for another road trip,” she confided, “and believe me, the flimsiest excuse to get out on the road is enough. We love to travel! If we have an entire day and nothing planned, it’s entirely possible (and maybe even probable) that we will wind up in another state. Hell, maybe even another country. Why not?”

She would not, however, tell me her most embarrassing moment. “If you weren’t there,” she said, “well, I’m not going to tell you about it. What, you think I want to embarrass myself again?”

You can read more about Gwen and her works at her website, http://www.gwenmasters.net

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