Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Liza James, whose latest book Hot for Teacher is just out from Red Sage Publishing.
Liza's books are not just about hot sex (although there's plenty of that). Her characters have a deep emotional connection. She sees emotion as the primary difference between erotic romance, erotica, and pornography.
"In erotic romance the characters have to have an emotional connection," she explained. "I don't believe the same is true of erotica (not that they don't sometimes have one) or pornography. For me, the sex is even hotter if there's an emotional connection."
Liza's favorite erotic author is Lara Adrian. "I think she's amazing," Liza told me. "Her writing is powerful, sexy as hell, and her characters always have that emotional connection I crave."
Other authors she thinks write excellent erotic fiction include J.R. Ward, Angela Knight, and KyAnn Waters.
I wondered about Liza's research for her books.
She laughed and said, "I make my husband the happiest camper in northeast Wisconsin." She's not willing to share her husband, though, with other writers, so she suggests The Bald-Headed Hermit and the Artichoke: An Erotic Thesaurus by A.D. Peterkin as a research book. "Just because it makes me smile every time I pull it off my shelf," she said with a laugh.
Liza has always enjoyed hot love scenes in her romances. "I could never wait for the next Linda Howard to come out, or Julie Garwood," she said. "When I started writing, there was no doubt my love scenes would be fully described." She laughed. "Though I wasn't sure at first if I could write erotic, it came much easier than I thought it would."
She did confess that writing the first ménage scene was "a little tricky." She laughed when she admitted, "I was relieved when the reviews came in and no one said, 'Ms. James really needs to do major research before writing another ménage scene."
Liza writes straight romance as Donna Marie Rogers, but even those titles have fully described love scenes. "Not as graphic, of course," she said with a grin.
The only book she's written without sex is Welcome to Redemption, a small town anthology she wrote with her critique partner/good friend Stacey Joy Netzel, which received 4.5 stars from Romantic Times.
"I'm just as proud of that book as I am the rest," she told me.
When Liza shared with me that her mother and grandfather love her erotic romances, she laughed and said with a grin, "And no, it doesn't bother me at all. I love that they look forward to each new release. My grandpa is a horny old dog. Even at his age (85), he's still trying to get lucky."
I asked Liza, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"
"Well, I wouldn't mind being a #1 NYTimes bestselling author like Sherrilyn Kenyon," she said with a laugh. "And I imagine a day in the life of Nora Roberts doesn't suck."
On a more personal note, I wondered where Liza would get a piercing, if she had to get a body part pierced.
"I don't know," she responded. "I'm not really a fan of body piercings. But if I had to choose...I think I'd like a nose piercing best. A little diamond stud through the outside of the nostril."
And, speaking of body parts, she's convinced that when it comes to eating food of another's tummy, whipped cream is the way to go. "You just can't go wrong with it," she said with a wink. "It's light, it's yummy, and it tastes good no matter where you squirt it."
"What is your favorite food?" I wondered.
"I'm pretty fond of the chocolate frosted brownies I'm eating right now," she said with a laugh. "I love food, period, so this is hard. Some of my favorite dishes are beef stroganoff, swedish meatballs, chicken cacciatore, steak on the grill with all those lovely grilled vegetables (we bought a new grill last week.)"
She can also tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi.... Pepsi is sweeter and that's what she prefers.
When Liza's not writing (or doing research with her husband), she can usually be found "staring at the tube. I'm an admitted reality TV junkie," she said. "I also watch soap operas, several primetime shows, sitcoms, Food Network, Forensic Files." She also loves to garden and she's a home canner.
Her most embarrassing moment, however, doesn't have to do with gardening, home canning, or (ahem) research.
"We were vacationing in Tennessee many years ago," she shared with me, "staying at this resort in Silver Point. The laundry facilities were in this round building with all glass windows and doors all the way around. You could barely tell the difference between the windows and the doors.... well, I couldn't anyway. So needless to say, I walked smack into the window and busted my lip."
Finally, I asked Liza what advice she would give to authors wanting to write erotica.
"Read, read, read! It's so important to keep those creative juices flowing, if you know what I mean, " she said with a wink.
You can keep up with Liza on her website, http://www.lizajamesauthor.com