Whipped Cream would like to welcome Jane Leopold Quinn, author of The Keeper, which was released last month by Phaze Books.
I asked Jane how she judged what made a good erotic story while writing her own.
"I always say if it turns me on while I'm writing, then it's good," she told me. "I like it to be really hot and lush and romantic. Sweet and tender, too. It's not just body parts, although they are key—obviously. It's the emotions engendered by the characters for each other that I like to portray. I also like there to be a bit of a surprise for them. Surprise that their feelings become so profound and important to their future."
Even though are an erotic reader or writer the desire is to read and writing something that's hot, the only purpose of erotica is not sexual, she said, even though that's what Jane considers the biggest public misconception.
"To me, it's taking a love story and blowing open the bedroom door and the mind," she said. "Sex is physical. It involves skin and sweat, body parts and bodily fluid. Those are the good parts of sex. And it's also true that the mind is the most important sexual organ in love making. By the way, I personally believe that the terms erotica, erotic, and sensual romance are at times interchangeable. I consider myself a writer of sensual romance that includes some graphic words, but the main focus is in the writing of LOVE scenes."
I asked Jane how she did her research for her books.
"I won't talk about my personal sexual research," she replied with a wink, "but most of my research is from reading other novels for style. If I'm writing historical, I have several books about the old west and Roman times to leaf through. For some quick information, I'll Google. I have books about different terms to use for body parts." She warned, "You have to be careful not to get 'lost' in those books. Some of the terms are mind-boggling."
Jane didn't always set out to be a writer. In fact, she said that one day she wasn't a writer and the next day she was.
"That's the absolute truth," she said. "I was telling a friend about these fantasies running around in my mind. I said they weren't just sexual, there were characters and a plot and action. She said, 'Why don't you write them?' It was just that suggestion, and I bought a spiral notebook, took pen to paper, and wrote three full length novels. I always knew that my fantasies were pretty hot, but didn't realize that would translate to my writing. When the story got hot, I had to double think myself. I was a bit shocked at what was coming out and had to decide if that was the way I wanted to go. The truth is if it's in you, embrace it. Erotic writing is an art and also very hard work, which makes it extremely satisfying in the end."
She did her first writing by hand, finding the brain/hand coordination very intimate.
"That really worked for me," she explained, "but now I do all my writing on the laptop. You have to type it in anyway. You might as well start with the computer. And, actually, since I write full time now, the laptop is always open. When I wrote while still working at a full time job, I didn't carry the laptop every day—too hard to haul it in on the bus to downtown Chicago."
I asked Jane what was sexy about piercings and what body part she would pierce.
"Whew!" she said. "I've never considered anything other than pierced earlobes for myself, BUT I think a pierced nipple is pretty sexy. On a man or a woman. I wrote a ménage story—"His, Hers, & His" in Goin' Down Book Two (AMP, 7/08). One of the male characters has a nipple ring. I found that really hot to write about. The thought of the heroine taking that nipple ring between her teeth and gently tugging gives me a rush every time with its contrast of pain and arousal."
Jane said she finds all writing challenging, no matter what genre you write in, because every genre has its own strengths and you use different parts of your brain. "I'm very comfortable writing erotic romance," she explained, "but would have difficulties with fantasy or futuristic. So, I guess writing fantasy or futuristic would be extremely challenging for me. I could 'dial down' my romance to focus on less graphic stories, though."
She also shared with me that she feels you have to love the genre to be able to write erotic romance. If the genre makes you uncomfortable, that will show in your writing.
Some authors she thinks write excellent erotic fiction are Emma Wildes, Pam Rosenthal, Lisa Marie Rice, Shannon McKenna and, the author of Jane's favorite all time erotic book The Lady's Tutor, Robin Schone.
Finally, I asked Jane what advice she would give a new writer just starting out.
"Write the words as they come out of your mind," she said. "Don’t censor yourself, don’t edit yourself until after the first draft is written."
She went on to say that she doesn't necessarily follow her own advice, since she tends to self-edit every word. She did say, though, "Every person brings a personal perspective to a story. Only you can tell the story in your own way. You can’t copy someone else’s style. You don’t always understand what your style/voice is at first. Just get going and write until you feel comfortable with the process. Before you know it, you will proudly announce to the world that you’re a writer." You can keep up with Jane on her website, http:// http://www.janeleopoldquinn.com