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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Author Interview: Devon Gray

Whipped Cream is very pleased to welcome Devon Gray. Devon doesn’t have a long history of reading erotica, or writing it for that matter. In fact, Devon wore several hats before finding that the one of writer was a perfect fit. She told me she had several unfortunate jobs because she ignored the creative chatter in her head (including one as a birth control educator for college freshman...she refused to tell me any more than that...maybe she’ll tell you in tomorrow’s chat).

Devon picked up her first erotic romance less than two years ago--Dirty by Megan Hart. “What drew me into her writing was the intensity of the story,” Devon told me. “The heroine suffered from deep, scarring issues which unfolded as the pages turned. I will always remember this book.”

Devon only ventured into the world of writing two years ago and, until that time, had always primarily read straight contemporary or historical romance. “I am a complete pantser,” Devon said, “so at the onset of ‘Addicted’ I had no idea what my characters had in store for me. The story focuses on their sexual journey, and with a happily-ever-after it fit nicely into the erotic romance genre.”

Devon’s erotic romance is considered mild by her publisher, who gives it a single rose rating. Devon told me, “It’s just slightly racier than what I had been exposed to in the titles I chose to read.” She also has another Scarlet under contract with The Wild Rose Press-The Wilder Roses titled “Playing for Keeps.”

Devon has another manuscript, “The Divorcee Whisperer,” which she intended to be another erotic romance. “The characters had another story in mind,” she said. “I can only do what the voices in my head tell me!”

I asked Devon which she found more challenging to write—erotic romance or straight romance. They each have their challenges, she shared with me. “In a straight romance it is necessary to build up a lot more sexual tension prior to the first sex scene. You want the reader to become invested in the characters and the story, but you don’t want to risk losing their attention. With an erotic story, the sex comes in much sooner. That can be an issue in and of itself, because I have found it difficult to write a longer word count with the sexual relationship beginning so early in the story.”

Devon told me she started out as a teenager writing rather dark poetry. She also admitted she sometimes will still pen a poem if the mood strikes. She had tried to write a book several times, but not being able to plot the storyline frustrated her. Two years ago, however, she had an epiphany. “I discovered it was possible to complete a manuscript without plotting it beforehand,” she said. “I also discovered that being a pantser can be dicey at times, but I’ve had to embrace the fact it is my natural style of writing.”

Devon’s husband is a wonderful cook and makes her very favorite food. It’s a baked brie that Devon says he “stuffs with deliciously sinful ingredients, wraps it in pastry dough and then bakes it. There’s something sexy about a man in the kitchen who knows what he’s doing!”

Not only can her husband make a mean baked brie, he can also tie a cherry stem with his tongue. Devon told me, “He has an annoying habit of being able to accomplish just about any task he tries. The one thing he says he could never do? Be a writer. Dealing with a constant string of constructive criticism and rejection isn’t appealing.” She also said that she can’t say that she blames him for that!

When Devon isn’t writing, she’s thinking about writing. “It’s always on my mind,” she confessed, “but when I’m not at the keyboard I am doing all the things mothers with young children do—driving all over the planet, cleaning up messes that seem to regenerate of their own volition and trying to enjoy the journey of it all.” Devon also loves to read and take long walks. “My characters often speak to me while I’m on these hikes, so it’s a very productive time.”

I asked Devon, “Painted toenails...yes or no?”

“Painted, definitely.” She slid her feet beneath her chair. “Although mine aren’t right now. And the brighter, the better. The best is a fresh pedicure set off against white sand at the beach. Just the thought makes me happy.”

And, Devon is a good ol’ southern gal...born and raised in Atlanta, y’all. Asking her if she can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi is nearly blasphemous. She’ll tell you so in a heartbeat.

Finally, I wanted to know if Devon could give a new writer just one piece of advice...what would it be?

“My best piece of advice for a new writer,” she told me, “is to persevere. This is a tough business, and every writer has a different timeline. Never stop trying, and while you’re waiting for your time to come, immerse yourself in all things writing—take courses, get involved with a critique partner or group, join the RWA and local chapter, if possible. And read. Read as much as you can.”

You can read more about Devon and her works at her website.

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