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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Author Interview: Nina Pierce

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Nina Pierce, whose introduction to romance and lust was Colleen McCollough’s The Thorn Birds, which is Nina’s all time favorite book. She told me, “The forbidden love between Meggie Cleary and the priest she couldn't have, Ralph de Bricassart, will forever be blazed in my memory. And when Richard Chamberlain played the lead in a made for television mini-series … well, that sealed it as my all time favorite love story.”

She feels one of the biggest public misconceptions about erotica is that erotica doesn’t have a story. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Writers of erotica struggle with the same plot and character issues as every other author,” she explained. “Writing a good sexual encounter is not only hot, but it also exposes character personalities to the reader. Seeing the hero and heroine grow and develop as they fall in love with each other is an important component of all romances, even erotica.”

There are a variety of ways Nina uses to research for her books. She told me, “If it’s just a quick question like ‘How hard an impact deploys side airbags?’, I just throw it out over some of my writer loops. Authors are great for sharing that kind of information. I’ve asked my local chapter some doozies.” She grinned. “They are wonderful...and patient.”

Other information she can find on the Internet. She told me online searches are great for “drugs, weapons, things you need to know about how to kill people...uh... I mean characters.” She added, “Sometimes it’s only a small detail, but makes a big difference when added to the whole story.”

On the other side of the spectrum are profession questions that require an interview. These are Nina’s favorites. She’s spoken to an architect, landscaper, retired FBI agent, game warden, police officers, and firefighters. She told me, “I’m setting something up with a detective in the near future. I can totally get lost in research. It’s one of my favorite parts of writing a story.”

Nina told me that when she first started writing in 2005, she wasn’t thinking about writing erotic romance. “My first attempt at writing is still sitting under my bed,” she confessed. “it’s a great story and I was very proud to get from ‘Once upon a time...’ to “Happily Ever After,’ but the writing is... well, let’s just say not fit for the light of day. Then I moved into romantic suspense. I wrote a plot about a stalker with lots of twists and turns in the story. It’s a great read, but I’m still shopping for a publisher.”

She found her stride with the suspense and decided to keep that aspect but to “open the bedroom door.” The first books she wrote with those elements—a suspense story with lots of hot sex—was The Healer’s Garden. It was published by Liquid Silver Books in December 2007 and Nina has continued to write erotic suspense stories for them.

I’m always curious what the families of erotic romance writers think about the books they write. Nina told me, “My family is extremely supportive of my writing. My adult children tell their friends that their mother writes, but none of them allow their friends to read my books. My husband brags about my writing, but doesn’t read my stories. He loves it when I read scenes out loud to him and he especially likes helping me research some of those love scenes.” She winked, then continued with a grin, “My extended family buys my books, but no one has dared read them. They don’t want to know their little sister/daughter knows about that kind of stuff.”

On a personal note, Nina told me she’d love to have a belly piercing. “A little jewel or dangly shining on my tummy; they’re so cute. Three babies and several years past my twenties, and it’s only something I can dream about,” she said. She doesn’t care for face piercings, but finds a man with pierced ears very sexy. “It seems so bad,” she explained. “Add a tattoo and I’m drooling.”

Nina also told me she’s a Pepsi person all the way, will only drink Coke if it’s vanilla, and she never drinks diet. “Ick,” she said, “and, besides, I have this whole phobia about aspartame.”

And, her husband can tie a cherry stem with his tongue. Yes, she realizes she’s a very lucky woman.

Finally, I asked her what kind of advice she would give a new writer just starting out.

“Never give up,” she said. “To become published you’ve got to really want it. The setbacks can be daunting. I've submitted chapters to writing contests and felt very confident with my entry, only to earn abysmal scores. I've sent partial chapters to agents and had them say I wasn't a good fit for them. I've received requests for full manuscripts and waited for a month only to be rejected. It hurts. It beats up on your ego and erodes your confidence.

“Decide that nothing is going to keep you from reaching your goal.

“Believe in yourself. Don't let others tell you "you can't" and if they do -- don't believe them. Tell everyone who will listen that you want to be a published author. Say it out loud. Don't keep your talent hidden. The more times you say it with conviction, the more real the dream becomes.

“Write. Write. And write some more. Then finish something and submit it. Don't let fear of rejection keep you from reaching for your goal. Put yourself out there. No one will accept a manuscript sitting under your bed.” You can keep up with Nina at her website, .

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