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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Author Interview: Ashley Ladd

Whipped Cream is very pleased to welcome Ashley Ladd. She lives in south Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. You’ll often find a mixture of romance, adventure, and humor in her books (along with very spicy romance) because that’s what Ashley loves to read.

I asked Ashley how she judged a good erotic story when she’s writing.

“If I start to squirm, if I sigh because I’m falling in love with the hero and feeling the romance,” she said, “and/or if my panties get wet while I’m writing my stories, then I know I’m on the right track. If my story just takes off and drags me with it, I know it’s going well.”

She told me that she sees the biggest public misconceptions about erotica are that is has no value, no substance, that anyone can write it, and that it’s porn. “I guess that’s about four things,” she added, “but they all stick in my craw. First of all, there's a romance to it, and a story. There are 3-D characters and a plot. It's not pure sex. They're as hard or harder to write than sweet romances. My brain and heart have to work as hard to write erotic romance as a sweet romance or even a mystery. Often, my erotic romances are also paranormal or sci-fi or a mix of another genre.”

Ashley writes both straight and erotic romance. “Both are challenging,” she admitted, “but erotic romance is more so. I love a great story, a good plot, and great characters so I always make sure they go into all my stories, sweet or erotic. However, in the hot erotic romance stories, I have to find ways to fit in the sex naturally and vary the sex. It's hard to come up with different ways to do sex after 20 or 30 books. My editors are usually screaming ‘More Sex, More Sex, More Sex’ and so I have to add more sex. But believe me, I'm up to the challenge. Currently, I have both sweet and erotic romance stories out with publishers and agents on submission.

And with finding new and inventive ways to come up with sex scenes, she’s also written some scenes that she admits would have embarrassed her if they had happened in real life. “In Price of Fame, published by Ellora’s Cave, the heroine was getting it on with her vibrator. Her door was locked, but the bed was making too much noise so her mother and her neighbor (the hero) came to make sure she was okay. She hurriedly dressed, hid the evidence under her bed, and then let them in to assure them she was fine. However, her mother dove under the bed, pulled out the vibrator, and waved it in front of the hero's face while she scolded her.”

Her own most embarrassing moment, however, was not in the privacy of her bedroom, but out in public. “As a teen, I rode horses and I was just starting to compete,” she shared with me. “In the not too distant past, my horse and I fell while jumping and I was still skittish. Thus, every time I felt like I was going to fall again, I would do an emergency dismount. Well, I felt like I was going to fall while I was in the middle of a competition, so I jumped off. A judge asked me why I dismounted in the middle of the competition and I just knew everybody was laughing at me, especially the cutest guy I'd ever seen in the universe. I knew my instructor probably wanted to crawl under the bleachers and die of shame. The only good part is that afterward, I met that really cute guy and he comforted me.”

Ashley told me that her dad is really supportive and reads all her stuff. Her husband doesn’t read. And her kids only like fantasy, sci-fi, and mangas. “They won’t even read sweet romance and are embarrassed that their mom is a romance writer much less the spicy, hot stuff,” she said. “My cousins keep asking me about my writing and want to be supportive, but they're all very religious and I'm afraid they would not understand about the erotic romances so I only tell them about my sweet works. Since most of my recent releases and upcoming releases are all erotic romances, I've not told them about any of those.”

But, even if Ashley’s husband doesn’t read her work, he’s certainly not adverse to participating in research. I’d asked Ashley what food she considered best for eating off another person’s tummy or other body parts. “Only one?” she asked. “Chocolate or butterscotch syrup in excellent—off other body parts. In my book “Purrfect Justice,” out at Ellora’s Cave, my hero and heroine eat cookie dough (several flavors) off each other.” She smiled. “I’m dying to do that—maybe tonight.”

One thing she will not be eating off her husband’s tummy, or anywhere else for that matter, is asparagus. “I can’t stand the smell,” she admitted. “It’s one of my daughter-in-law’s favorite foods and she tried to fix it for me when she was living with us. I didn’t want to be rude, but I just couldn’t get near it. I’m afraid I hurt her feelings. Ditto for sauerkraut.”

Ashley shared with me that, while she used to work for the Coca-Cola Company, she doesn’t like Coke at all. “It has a harsh acidy taste that makes me want to choke,” she said. “Pepsi and RC are so much sweeter, and thus, better tasting that Coke.”

And, finally, on a much more personal note, Ashley told me she didn’t get her first pedicure until she was in her 40’s, but now tries to get one at least once a month. “I really got into painting my toes after I started doing karate,” she said, “and my feet were bare most of my off hours from the day job. Every now and then, I’ll even have a cute design air brushed on them.”

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

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