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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Author Interview: Teresa Noelle Roberts

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Teresa Noelle Roberts, author of Pirate’s Booty. Teresa also co-authors books with Dayle A. Dermatis under the name of Sophia Mouette.

I asked Teresa how she judged when she was writing a good erotic story. “Partly, the same way I’d judge any other story,” she told me. “Do the characters learn and grow? Is there conflict and resolution? Does the writing flow well? Often, I add the ‘wet panty test’—do I get turned on writing this, or at least contemplating the sex scene.” She added, “When I’m actually in the process of writing, I don’t always get turned on because writing’s hard work! And that test doesn’t always work because occasionally I write scenarios or fetishes that don’t turn me on, but work for the characters. In Cat Scratch Fever, one female character has her lover dress up in a clown costume. It made perfect sense for the character, but... ewwwww!”

Teresa told me that one of the biggest misconceptions about erotica is that it’s easy to write. She assured me that writing good erotica is just as hard as writing good fiction in any other genre. She did admit, however, “Some of the research can be more entertaining than, say, figuring out what an actuary does during the work day so you can figure out the best way to bump the poor bastard off.”

“Another is that erotica writers have actually done everything we write about,” she continued. “My sex life is quite active and varied, thanks, but if I did everything I wrote about, I’d never have time or energy to write because I’d be a mindless, but very happy, lump of protoplasm, having exhausted myself with too much fantastic sex.” She paused and then said, “Is there such a thing? Possibly not, but one does need time for other activities. Not to mention that since I write m/m stuff too, I can't have done everything I write about: I'm not a guy!”

For Pirate’s Booty, she read a few histories of Block Island, plus she had made a trip there a few years ago and pulled out pictures and journal notes to refresh her memory. “I knew I’d write something set there,” she told me. “I just wasn’t sure what.”

Her other Phaze books are fantasies, but she did research on medieval Persia and ancient Rome, both of which inspired the settings of those books. “I am a huge history geek so I didn't have to go farther than my own book shelves,” she said.

“As for researching sex-related matters,” she continued, “I'm addicted to sex blogs. The people who write sex blogs don't just talk about the clinical aspects, like a how-to book might--they talk about feelings, about BDSM scenes that went wrong and how it affected their relationship, about why they love latex or why dressing up like a Catholic schoolgirl (when they're a 50-year-old businessman) makes them hot and bothered. They talk about sex in the context of relationships, and that gives me all sorts of ideas.

“Of course, I always advocate first-hand research where possible, whether it's visiting your setting or grabbing your beloved to see if the complicated position you're describing actually works, but neither is always practical!”

Teresa told me she’d written a straight romance in the early 90s, but found it difficult to keep to the tame heat standards publishers were looking for at the time. “I never submitted it because it felt incomplete and I think what was missing was the sex,” she explained. “The characters weren't people who'd hold back erotically--the heroine was a neo-Pagan witch and the hero was an ex-hippie, neither a demographic that's known for being inhibited--and it stifled the story arc that they couldn't act on their attraction. I plan to rewrite it, not necessarily as an erotic romance, but one where the couple doesn't have artificial obstacles to getting it on when it makes sense for them to do so.” She then added, “Okay, okay, it'll probably end up erotic! It seems to happen with me.”

On a personal note, we talked about body piercings and why they were sexy. “Piercings are sexy,” she said, “because they’re daring, because they take show a willingness to take risks and perhaps a kinky streak (you’re willing to suffer a bit for fun!)—and because if done right, they’re just pretty.” She did share that she has piercings of her own—“in locations I won’t mention on the off chance my mom or boss reads this and would love to have my belly button done.”

She thinks either Scotch or chocolate sauce would be good for eating off your partner. She also said, “Sushi's a classic for eating off one's tummy, but not more than one piece at a time. I've heard tales of sushi banquets eaten off a pretty girl's body (I've only seen it with a female 'buffet,' but hey, one could be equal opportunity) and all I can ever think is I hope they eat fast, because raw fish should be kept cool, and the 'table' isn't going to be staying cool too long--not if they're doing it right!"

And, to my regular question of “Do you know anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?”, she smiled contentedly. “My husband. Have I mentioned I’m a lucky woman?”

Finally, I asked her, “If you could entertain a character from a book, who would it be and what would the evening be like?”

“I'd love to have a drink with Lucius Stone, one of the heroes of Pirate's Booty (even if he drinks Irish whiskey, not single-malt Scotch). He's not merely hunky, but hunky, smart, and a little kinky, and that's my type of guy,” she said. “But since I'm happily married to my own smart, hunky, slightly kinky guy, Lucius and I would probably spend the evening talking about historical research and life on Block Island, while enjoying a pleasant intellectual flirtation.

“Probably... It's not cheating if he's fictional, right?”

You can read more about Teresa and her works at her blog.

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