Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Keta Diablo, author of Decadent Deceptions, which was a 2008 MOLLY finalist, and Land of the Falling Stars, a best-seller at Ravenous Romance. I wondered about her name. "So many people have asked me about my name," she said. "My mom has a strange sense of humor. She loved the name Kate and so when I was born at the last minute she decided to scramble the letters. Actually, it’s my legal middle name, but I use it for my pen name."
I asked Keta how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
"Erotic romance is themed around the romance, not the sex as it might be in erotica or porn," she replied, then added with a laugh, "I shouldn't offer my opinion on porn since I don't think I've ever written it."
Keta has her own style of erotica, and she feels this is true of most authors. She shared with me a very complimentary email from another erotic writer.
I've visited your web site and read some of your work, and to tell the truth I am very impressed by your style. I can see why Ravenous Romance has chosen your work. You truly have a polished, professional style; in my opinion more classic romance than erotica. I'll end up being a better writer by attempting to emulate your approach.
"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I asked her.
"That it’s porn, and that erotica writers don’t concentrate on the relationship between the hero and heroine," she replied. "Many who haven’t read erotica believe it’s just page after page of sex. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not true. Relationship growth and development is as equally important in erotica as it is in vanilla romance."
The relationship of the main characters is of utmost importance to Keta, no matter what the gender of the participants. In addition to writing F/M stories, she also writes M/M for Phaze, Noble, and the Dark Roast Press. "As long as I stay focused on the relationship between the main characters," she told me, "the boundaries of sex don’t work into the equation."
I wondered what advice she would give to an author wanting to transition to writing erotica.
"Read everything you can about the craft of writing erotica," she said. "I rely on a book, Writing Erotic Romance. You shouldn’t try to copy or emulate another erotic writer, but read their stories, disseminate what makes the story work, how did they develop their characters, and why did the book intrigue you? Break it down chapter by chapter if you must and read it again until it clicks."
Keta writes mostly in the historical subgenre and has a huge library of reference books. The trick with writing historicals, she told me, is to "intersperse the history in with the story and not saturate the reader with boring historical facts. Although, I’ve seen many comments from readers indicating they love to learn something about history in every historical erotica book they read."
Anything she needs to know for her story that she can't find in her reference books, she can generally find on the Internet. She did give aspiring historical authors this caveat, though. "You have to be very careful with the accuracy posted on the net," she warned.
Keta also writes sensual historical novels under her legal name and her family is very supportive. In fact, she began writing sensual historical novels. "When I realized erotica was outselling other books about ten to one, I knew I had to spice up my writing or stay locked in time," she explained. "A writer should write what he/she is most comfortable with, yet stay informed about the market. Don’t write out of your comfort zone because it will show in your writing, but stretch and push yourself."
Her children know she also writes erotica, but not even they know her pseudonym.
"They always ask me how I know about such things," she said. "I tell them Helen Keller was blind and deaf and yet she knew about all kinds of things in her head and look what she accomplished. Nice dodge, huh?"
I asked Keta who she would choose to be if she could be anyone.
"Two people," she replied. "One a fictional character and one real. Scarlett O'Hara, because she could bring the strongest of men to their knees with one raised eyebrow. I’ve so envious of her beauty, her myriad facial expressions that are so intriguing, her strength and her vulnerability.
"And, Harper Lee. I’m nuts about To Kill a Mockingbird, her characters, her plot. She writes beautifully and draws the reader in so that you feel you are Scout and Jem, scrabbling under fences, running through the woods. When I read it for the first time, I could feel the hot, sultry air and taste the prejudice in that small town. For me, that’s what makes an author outstanding."
She loves pizza, anything Italian, and any kind of tea found on the market. She doesn't think a food exists that she can't bring herself to eat, however. "I’ll try anything once," she admitted, "and have discovered that with some foods you need to acquire a taste for them. If you can get past that, most of the time, you’ll end up loving them."
The strongest habit Keta will admit to is asking a lot of questions. "My brothers say I should have been a solicitor during the Spanish Inquisition," she told me. "I ask them how am I supposed to learn about everything in the world if I don’t ask questions? I’ve always been a very inquisitive person. I like to know what makes people tick, how things work, and why they think certain ways."
When Keta's not writing, she can be found rescuing animals from the local shelter.
"No kidding," she said. "If I don’t stop, my family tells me I’ll have to get a real job. 'What?' I say. 'I have a real job. I’m an author, thank you very much.' I also love to garden and read, of course."
I wanted to know who they should get to play Keta if a movie were ever made of her life.
"Probably a woman lawyer from Law and Order or Demi Moore in A Few Good Men," she said promptly. "Remember I told you everyone thinks I’m a frustrated lawyer????"
Finally, I asked Keta what advice she would give to authors just starting out.
"Persistence, perseverance and politeness," she said. "Be kind to all you meet in this arena because you never know what will come back to hit you in the ***. I like to remind myself every morning that my personal motto as I journey through life is 'Harm None.'"
You can keep up with Keta on her blog, http://ketadiablo.blogspot.com