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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Author Interview: Samantha Gentry

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Samantha Gentry, author of Masked Encounter, available now from The Wild Rose Press.

I asked Samantha how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.

“This is an interesting question,” she responded. “So many people consider them to be the same thing because they all involve heavy doses of explicit sex. I believe there are distinct differences between them.

“Erotica focuses primarily on graphic sex with a storyline providing the circumstances. The characters do not necessarily grow or change over the course of the story and they do not stay together, at least not for any reason other than sex. It could be a hot one night stand with the characters moving on and going their separate way rather than the characters "finding each other" and remaining together with a commitment that is personal and emotional.

“Erotic Romance is more than just graphic sex within the confines of a storyline. It includes the basic elements of romance novels. There is the emotional involvement between the two main characters. It may start as nothing more than a hot physical attraction between two characters who can't keep their hands off each other, but it grows into romance and love. Even though there are heavy doses of explicit sex, you also have them making love which adds the emotional element to the physical act. There is character development and growth which includes the internal conflict of these characters. The characters might not stay together for the rest of their lives, but in the tradition of romance there is the happily ever after ending to the book as they find love, happiness and fulfillment in their lives while making a commitment to each other.

“Pornography contains many aspects that dehumanizes the characters, usually the woman, by making her an object where things are done to her against her will rather than a person who is willingly participating in the events of the story by choice.”

One of the public misconceptions she sees about erotic romance is that people don’t see that difference-- that they tar all the above with the same brush—“those smutty books.” She told me, “Even sensual romance which uses euphemisms rather than graphic language and describes only the more traditional sex acts and uses softer terms so that it does not fall into the graphic descriptions of erotic romance is often labeled with that ‘smut’ designation.”

I asked her if there was a boundary she personally would never cross in her writing. “You bet there is!” she told me. “With regard to sexual situations: Anything that forces a character to participate/perform against his/her will, is degrading for that character or is intended by one character to humiliate another character is unacceptable to me. The once often used tactic (I think more prominent in historicals than contemporary) of ‘rape her until she likes it’ is totally bogus in my opinion. I also have other things I don't write/utilize in my books along the line of personal preferences, but don't object to others using them.

“And most assuredly and emphatically anything that even comes close to child pornography is totally and completely unacceptable without exception.”

Samantha started out being published in Silhouette’s Desire line of sensual contemporary romance and even now classifies what she writes as erotic romance as opposed to straight erotica. “I like the process of character development, of the two individuals facing their own internal issues and solving those so they can resolve the external conflicts standing in the way of finding lasting happiness, commitment and total fulfillment (both physical and emotional) with each other,” she said. “Those external conflicts can range from the quiet to the suspenseful, life threatening and all the many facets of paranormal. Sex is an integral part of an adult relationship especially between mature adults who know there is more to a relationship than hopping into bed.”

Her writing path actually began with photography. At one time she wanted to be a travel photographer with National Geographic. “I found I had a better chance at marketing my photographs if they were attached to a magazine article,” she said. “So, writing non-fiction destination pieces illustrated with my photographs for magazines was my first publishing experience. The writing segued into fiction and novels.”

On a more personal note, I asked Samantha which food she considered best for eating off another person’s tummy. “Is there an answer other than chocolate?” she asked with a grin. “Well, maybe some whipped cream, too.” And, her favorite food? “Seriously, as opposed to erotically?” she replied. “I like both Italian and Mexican.” She can also tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. In fact, she said, “To my taste buds, Coke has a sweeter taste than Pepsi. I prefer Pepsi (actually, Diet Pepsi).”

When she’s not writing, Samantha can normally be found doing photography, working with the pictures, and traveling whenever possible. She also plays bridge weekly, sometimes twice a week.

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

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