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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Author Interview: Angela Cameron

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Angela Cameron, whose first novella "Noctorne" debuted in October 2008. She's recently released Blood and Sex, Volume 1: Michael and her first werewolf story "Changing Moon" is included in the brand new anthology Power Plays.

Angela started out writing paranormal and horror, but then moved to urban fantasy because of her fascination with vampires. She tried writing inspirational fiction for her mom; however, even though she had a little success with it, she didn't enjoy it at all. Her husband noticed she had a natural ability for erotica and pushed her to submit her first story. "It sold on the first submission," she said, "and I was hooked. The last year and half that I've been writing erotica have been the most fun of my career. I don't see it stopping any time soon."

Her family has mixed emotions about her writing. "One side is extremely supportive," she told me. "They read some of my work, keep up with what I’m doing, and let me use their names for characters on occasion.

"The other side is very conservative. They know what I’m doing and don’t condemn me, but they’re not readers either. I prefer it that way. I don’t want to give any of them heart attacks anytime soon."

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

"For me, there’s a world of difference between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography. When I explain these differences, I start with erotic romance because it is basically romance that keeps the sex on the stage, rather than hiding it behind closed doors. Many of the modern female readers, especially Gen-Xers like myself, prefer it because it feels like a more intimate view of the couple’s story. For discussion purposes, we can use the example of a movie like The Notebook. The sex is on scene between Aly and Noah, in the midst of a compelling love story. Pretty Woman is another one that would edge toward this category.

"Erotica is somewhat similar, but the partners do not have to be monogamous, lasting, or in love. These stories are the exploration of human sensuality and are related to real life experiences that many of us would never attempt. Still, we are curious and enjoy the tale, which is often complicated, compelling, and as full as any non-erotic novel. Examples of this are the movie Exit to Eden and the Showtime series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

"Pornography is written for the purpose of sexual stimulation for the reader. This is the literary equivalent of pornographic movies. Although it’s often written for women and still has some semblance of a plot, it is not intended to intrigue, but to induce a sexual reaction."

Angela told me that she's found that the public who doesn't read erotic romance (especially other writers) have a hard time understanding these differences and equate erotica with porn. "They confuse all of the genres and subgenres and relate it all to being 'dirty,'" she said. "Since the misconception is usually among my fellow Americans, I tend to think this is from the stifling environment we grew up in. But that’s okay. I think that a large part of the modern American erotica writer’s job is to educate these people about the genres. I also think that it is our responsibility to promote healthy attitudes toward adult sexuality."

A good erotic story, to Angela, is first and foremost a good story, then erotic. "More than anything," she said, "More than anything, I want to entertain," she said. "So, I want the reader to feel as though the last page is the end of a journey that took them to places they never expected. During that journey, they should experience the most intimate situations with interesting people. They should learn something about themselves that they didn’t know before, and come away with great memories."

I asked her about the research she does for her books.

"It depends on the book," she told me. "As most of the writers joke, our husbands are all very happy and very tired. I suppose that there is some truth to this, but some things that my characters do I just can’t. For these elements, I turn to the internet. For Nocturne, for example, I spent a great deal of time researching the ancient Scotch Gaelic culture and worked with a translator to get the wording right for Torin’s Gaelic speech. It was absolutely fascinating."

She admitted that being an erotic writer brings with it a mixed bag of joys and problems. "We’re as loved as we are hated at times. That being said, I’ve written in other genres, and erotica writers are the most open minded, nice people that I’ve met during my career," she said. "I think it comes with the territory because we come in contact with people of all sexual paths and know how little that usually has to do with the core person. Most people just want to be free to live their own lives. So, having an open mind and realizing the journey you’re embarking on to explore what is sometimes the darkest corners of the human existence is key [for anyone who wants to write erotic romance]."

She said another thing to remember, if someone wants to write erotic romance, "is that what turns you on will turn others on. The stories you write must be from your heart and be enticing to you to elicit the same feelings in others. The things that you would only tell a lover often come out in your work. Conversely, the elements that aren’t written from your personal sexual preferences will be confused by some who want to assume that all erotica writers are writing from experience. This makes the ability to be tough skinned and set boundaries a must."

I asked Angela if she could share with us the most embarrassing sex scene she'd ever written.

"In Michael, the first novel in the Blood and Sex series from Ravenous Romance, the hero’s best friend, Jonas, had a mind of his own. He kept inching closer to Tori, the heroine, and really wanted her to play along with a bondage scene that he had with another character. Tori was there, watching and drooling, and Michael kept her to himself, but the scene was pretty hot. He tried everything to—Well, you’ll have to read the book. But let me just say that Jonas is a very wicked man!"

I said, "If you could entertain a character from a book, who would it be and what would the evening be like?"

Angela replied. "Oh, that’s a loaded question! It would have to be one of the vampires. Can I have more than one?" She laughed. "If I seriously had to pick one, it would probably be Jonas. He’d be the most fun, but he’s also secretly the deepest of the guys. Of course I’d want to know what it is really like to be bitten and the rest of the night would just have to be our secret."

On a more personal note, she admits it's pretty exciting for her to be herself right now, so she wouldn't wish to be anyone else. "Of course, I'd love to be rich (and who wouldn't)," she said, "but I'm doing what I've always dreamed of."

Her current favorites, when it comes to food and not vampires, are pot stickers and Outback's Boomerang Shrimp in the homemade tartar sauce. But, she can't handle raw things, most of the time. "I watch Iron Chef," she told me, "and can't fathom putting in my mouth some of the things they create. I guess that's why I'm not a culinary expert, huh?"

She can definitely tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi ("Coke has a very distinct taste that Pepsi doesn't. Can't everyone?"), and she thinks sweet, sticky butterscotch syrup is good on everything (think tummies and other body parts here.) You can keep up with Angela on her blog, http://angelacameron.wordpress.com .

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