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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Author Interview: Cat Johnson

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Cat Johnson, award-winning author of more than a dozen contemporary erotic romances, with us today. Cat didn’t always set out to write erotic romance, though. When she first got published, she wrote Young Adult series novels. “That’s about as far away and you can get from erotica, I know,” she said. “I love to write and, whether I’m helping my friend’s teenager with his homework or ghostwriting a magazine article for another friend, I am happy to simply be writing. But, I love to read romance and to be able to write it, and have it published, makes it a dream come true.”

I asked Cat how she judged what made a good erotic story. “The sex has to be straightforward and not flowery (no purple prose),” she told me, “while at the same time not clinical. And, it definitely has to arouse the reader. Sex scenes should move the story or the characters forward and be critical to the plot. That being said, the rest of the story has to hold its own if the sex were removed. The characters must be real and likeable. The story must be compelling. And while the reader does want an escape and a certain amount of fantasy when reading, the character motivations and actions must be believable. Sex without story or story without sex is not good erotic romance.”

Cat told me that she thought people who’ve never read erotic romance or erotica shouldn’t have an opinion on it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and people do have opinions and misconceptions abound. “I think erotic romance is not thought of as serious writing,” she explained. “I think most people who speak from ignorance about the genre assume that just because a book contains explicit, honest sex also means that it is not well crafted and can't have emotionally well-developed characters or good plotting and a strong storyline, the same as mainstream fiction.”

Cat’s mother and aunt aren’t people who judge a genre without reading it, as they both read her books as soon as they are available. “That nearly crippled me in the beginning,” she told me, “picturing my mother reading my sex scenes. I just have to put it out of my head. Though, I think I’m not going to let her read the threesome book.”

However, it’s not for her mom’s sake. Cat shared with me that her mom reads Emma Holly, so she’s sure her mom could handle the one little threesome in her book. “I think her reading my book may be too much for me to handle!” she shared.

I asked Cat which body part she would pierce, if she had to choose one. “I would definitely pierce my belly button,” she said. “I may still do it, who knows? I got a tattoo at age 35.”

When I asked her what about body piercing was sexy, she answered, “Maybe belly rings relate to the whole harem girl fantasy. However I think the whole clit piercing or nipple piercing is too scary to even think about.”

Cat told me that her favorite food is “a really tasty cheese with a glass of red wine. Does that count as two foods? Sorry, but one needs the other, no separating it! Of course, on a really hot day at the beach, the above can be substituted with Funions and an icy cold Corona with a lime. I'm flexible.”

However, one thing she’s not flexible about is Coke vs. Pepsi. Not only can she tell the difference in taste, she said, “If Diet Coke is not available, I'll drink water rather than Diet Pepsi. There is definitely a difference and anyone who says there isn't has no taste buds!”

She put herself through college tending bar, and she said she’s seen all kinds of tricks. “Tying a cherry stem with your tongue was one of the more popular ones for the female bar patrons. I guess any excuse to get a guy to look at your tongue and consider how talented it is, is a good thing when on the prowl. I can't do it myself, although I've never tried, so who knows.” She laughed. “I do pour a killer drink though.”

And, on a personal note, Cat shared that even in the dead of winter when her toes are hidden under socks and boots, they still have polish on them.

Finally, I asked Cat what advice she would give authors who wanted to write erotica.

“Read other books in the genre, particularly the best sellers,” she said. “Be a reader, and analyze what you like about the book and what you don't. But also be a writer, and analyze the logistics and the technicality of what made that book and that author a best seller. Be true to your own writing and to your own voice; however, you have to know the market and what publishers and readers are looking for and expecting.” You can keep up with Cat on her website, http://www.catjohnson.net .

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