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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Author Interview: Samantha Sommersby

Whipped Cream is pleased to interview Samantha Sommersby, author of the successful Forbidden series. Book 4 in the series, Forbidden: The Tempation, was released this spring by Linden Bay Romance.
 
All of Samantha's books have been erotic romance. She told me, "Sex is such an important part of a loving, adult relationship. I guess I can't bring myself to close the door on that."
 
Her characters do not have sex purely for sexual gratification; she was quick to point out. "My sexual scenes are hot and spicy - but they are always between characters that are in love with one another or on their way to falling deeply in love with one another. I'm a romantic at heart."
 
This goes show her idea of the differences between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
 
"I think that the goal of pornography is sexual stimulation, pure and simple," she explained. "With erotica, there is more of an emotional investment and connection with the story. I think there's definitely a desire to arouse the reader, but that arousal is based on both an emotional and physical hook. With erotic romance, I think you have all of the characteristics of a regular romance, but with highly erotic love scenes."
 
Samantha tries first and foremost to create a good story with engaging characters. "Because I write erotic romance I'm invested in the development of both the physical and emotional aspects of the character's relationship," she explained. "I try to keep in mind that what's happening between the characters is very intimate and personal. I primarily write from the first person point of view - so there's an immediacy and intensity that is captured there. I want the reader to get lost in every aspect of the story. How do I know if I'm achieving that as I write? I don't think I do know, which I why I bite my nails every time I turn a manuscript in to my editor. See the poor little stubs I have for nails?"
 
This importance of character is something Laurell K. Hamilton, one of Samantha’s favorite erotic authors, also seems to value. "She has amazing stamina and is an incredible author," Samantha told me. "I met her a couple years ago when we did a panel together at Comic-Con in San Diego. Laurell knows her characters inside and out and she's amazingly gracious to her fans. "
 
Her favorite erotic book is not a book at all...but an entire series. 
"I'm still completely hooked on the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series," she shared with me. "Although I must admit that I love ass-kicking Anita better than being at the mercy of the Ardeur Anita. I was glad to hear Laurell say that Anita will be getting that under more control soon." 

"What is the most embarrassing sex scene you've ever written?" I asked. 

"I decided long ago that if I was going to be embarrassed by something I'd written that I shouldn't write it and I've managed to stick to that commitment. I will tell you about a very difficult scene. I have a contemporary novel out called Shelter from the Storm. The heroine in the book had a history of abuse and there are a few flashback scenes in that book, which were very, very difficult to write. I wrote them all at once over a period of three days, then I didn't write for several weeks. I had to go to a really dark place to write those scenes. They were necessary for character development and I'm still very glad that I included them, but they were emotionally difficult for me. " 

On a more personal, lighthearted note, I asked Samantha, " If you had to pierce a body part, what would you pierce and why?" 

"I think I'm going to choose my husband's nipples," she said. "I'm boring and a bit of a chicken. However, I think I could have some fun with him if he were to be brave enough to get them pierced." Her husband is also very talented. Samantha told me he can tie a cherry stem with his tongue. "One of the many reasons I love him," she shared. 

For eating off another person? "Warm, dark, chocolate sauce," she replied. "You name the body part and I'll lick it off of it. Of course, I reserve the right to pick the body. Right?" 

She can't eat foods that are blue, however. "I got sick after eating blue ice pops when I was a kid," she explained. "I just can't stomach the thought of blue food." 

And...she's a Coke girl from way back. She told me she'd rather drink water than Pepsi. However, when it comes to beverages, she loves wine. 

"About 20 years ago my husband told me he thought I needed a hobby," she told me. "I started to go to wine tastings. We live in California, so we're able to get lots of really great wines. We have an 800 bottle cellar that my husband built in our house. We collect lots of different kinds of wine, but my favorites tend to be the big, bold reds."
 
"If you could entertain a character from a book," I said, "who would it be and what would the evening be like?"
 
"I think I'd try to convince Byron Renfield to have me over to his place for dinner," she replied. "He's a fabulous cook, a wine connoisseur, AND he's over 400 years old. So there would be a lot of good wine, good food, and lively dinner conversation. All the makings would a wonderfully entertaining evening!" 

Finally, I asked Samantha what advice she would give writers who wanted to try their hand at erotica.
 
"Read erotica," she said. "Get a sense for what is good and what is bad. Remember that the emotional connection is tremendously important. Writing erotica isn't just about writing sex."

You can keep up with Samantha on her website, http://www.samanthasommersby.com/

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