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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Author Interview: Kiki Howell

Whipped Cream would like to welcome Kiki Howell, author of The Witch's Beast, a Torrid Fairy Tale from Whiskey Creek Press. The Witch's Beast is a retelling of "The Beauty and the Beast" as told from the witch's point of view. Kiki always hated that the witch, who turned the prince into a beast in the first place, only had a one-line mention in the beginning of the story.So, The Witch's Beast is her story, complete with a powerful dungeon scene that plays upon the idea of their physical attraction meshing with a history of friendship in which both the witch and the prince have wronged each other.

Many of Kiki's books involve magic and witchcraft, so as research she often reads books on Wicca. She told me, "At some point something will spark my imagination, and I let it spiral into fantasy from there. Still, I will have to then look up a spell or ritual to find more information as I am writing. I am always at the library or on Amazon. My sons often joke about mom getting another witch book. One day, I hope to meet someone who practices Wicca, so all of my questions can be more easily answered."

In fact, if she were to entertain a character from a book, it would be her heroine from "The Healing Spell," Samantha. Kiki said, with a grin, "She was a very strong witch, who was confident in her knowledge of her craft. I would, over snacks and wine, like to have her tell me all she knows!"

Kiki's first time reading erotica was only a few years ago, when she found a local publisher in the genre. "I wanted to get back into writing after a ten-year break of raising my boys," she told me. "I began working through some writing books, one of which had an exercise that said to write something out of your comfort zone to get the creative juices flowing again. So, I tried writing erotica being totally new to the genre. Soon after that, my husband went away on a trip to Israel. I couldn't sleep, and I actually wrote two erotic short stories while my husband was away. When he got back and read them, he encouraged me to submit them to see what kind of response I would get. Both stories ended up published in Celtic Love Knots, Volume 10. I have been hooked ever since! I had always wanted to write the magical stuff, so I became an author of magical erotic romances. I found that dreams do come true if you embrace all that life is offering you."

She does get frustrated, however, with some of the reactions she gets when people find out what she writes. "I often get the word 'porn' used interchangably or I even had an old friend recently ask if I meant 'that sick and twisted stuff.' I had a lady once announce to a table of friends when I used the term erotic romance, 'Well, they are not Barney books, I can tell you that,' and then start avoiding me at later events," she said. "It is all just a play on words, but I wish people could just open their minds more. If they would, they would see that erotica is nothing more than romance in real life, as I heard someone say once. It is the love story without closing the door on the sex scene. I think the public often lumps erotica in with whatever they see as 'dirt' or 'bad,' instead of seeing it as 'exciting' or 'inspiring,' as it should be."

Kiki's desire is to write the kind of book that does what a reviewer from ParaNormal Romance said and "weaves a kind of magic around the reader." She does this through descriptions, primarily, she revealed.

"I like to play with words until I get just what I am trying to say across. That said, I want to describe it all from setting to plot to characters to the intimate acts in a slightly different way so that the reader is affected on a new level. I recently had a friend tell me after reading one of my latest stories that I wrote her a new fantasy. She wrote in an email: 'It was awesome. You set the scene perfectly. I felt like I was her. I want to be her!' With that, I thought I had accomplished my goal."

On a personal note, I asked Kiki what body part she would pierce.

"I would pierce my belly-button," she replied. "I think silver chains and stones are sexy anywhere you can find to hang them or wrap them."

She described a very sexy scene from her short story "Aquamarine" from Mystic Stones, not involving chains and stones, but rather something a bit sweeter.

"I had my male use the frosting from a couple of cupcakes to paint new lingerie onto my female before undressing her with his mouth," she said.

Curiously enough, her favorite food also includes icing, only she wants the cake as well. Do you suppose there's a connection? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

One food, however, she can't bring herself to eat is a tomato, even though she eats both spaghetti sauce and ketchup. "I hate them so much, that when taking them off of a hamburger, I am grossed out if I taste even one missed seed," she admits.

She can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi and likes Coke better, but she's never known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue. She said, "Is that possible? I am going to start asking around."

Finally, I asked Kiki what advice she would give to authors who want to write erotica.

"I would say read what is being published, then find your own voice and your own style. I find the more I read, the more inspired I am to write my own stories. Also, look at different publishers' calls for submissions. You can often find inspiration in a genre or subject that an erotic publisher is actively looking for. I recently found I have a thing for the erotic regency-set romance that way." You can keep up with Kiki on her blog, http://kikihowell.blogspot.com

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