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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Author Interview: Nicole North

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Nicole North with us today. Nicole has always enjoyed reading sensual, sexy romance with all the emotion and happily ever after and the Red Sage anthologies have always been some of her favorite reads. They were at a heat level she preferred, so she decided to try to write one. Since then she's sold three novellas to Red Sage. Two of them will be in Secrets anthologies (Volumes 27 and 29) and one, Kilted Lover will be published as a stand alone ebook.

As you might can guess from the title, Nicole not only loves writing hot sexy romances, she loves Scotland as well. Both her novellas that will be in the Secrets anthologies, "Devil in a Kilt" and "Beast in a Kilt", are set in Scotland. A lot of her research is done on the Internet and she told me that since she loves Scotland so much, it was just a lot of fun doing the research for those particular stories.

Nicole writes erotic romance and describes it as "simply romance that is a lot hotter than regular romance and sometimes structured a bit differently so the sex can come into the story earlier. It is also romance that contains a sexual premise, more frequent sex, or more graphic scenes. But at its heart, erotic romance is still a romance, a story about characters falling in love, developing a relationship, making a commitment, and having a happily ever after. Erotic romance should have lots of emotion just as regular romance does. The characterization and plot of the story are just as important as the sexual situations."

Erotica and porn are different. "Erotica is different in that a happily ever after isn't required," Nicole explained. "The characters are usually well developed and there is likely to be a good plot. The characters may or may not be falling in love or feeling emotions for each other. Erotica is generally a sexual journey for at least one of the characters.

"Pornography is mainly about bodies engaging in sexual acts. Tab A into slot B. There is likely to be little or no character development, little or no emotion. A plot isn't required. The only objective here is to arouse the viewer or reader with a string of sex scenes. Sometimes women are treated with disrespect in porn."

Because Nicole writes erotic romance as opposed to erotica, she has to make sure the story has the elements to be scorching hot AND contain lots of emotion. "I have to make the reader feel that these characters are falling in love and connecting on a deep emotional level while they're having sex or engaging in erotic situations," she told me. "As for the erotic portion, I don't simply want two people in bed in the missionary position. I love to include interesting, somewhat exotic situations you don't see every day, like maybe voyeurism, exhibitionism, aphrodisiacs, unusual positions or locations, etc. I have to feel that the characters are hungry for each other and that they have a strong emotional and physical attraction. I fall in love with my characters and I want the reader to do that as well."

Nicole also writes non-erotic romance and told me she finds erotic romance more challenging because she forces herself to come up with erotic situations she's never written before. "I push the envelope each time," she said. "Obviously, it can't be the same story, setting, position over and over. Since the erotic portion is more prominent in erotic romance than it is regular romance, the sexy stuff has to be more inventive and creative. But it has to also be balanced with the emotion."

Nicole comes from a conservative family, so they don't read her writing; however, her husband is incredibly supportive and encouraging. "He's always said I WOULD become published if I kept at it," she told me. "He's a wonderful guy! He does read my writing on occasion. I'm not embarrassed for him to read anything I write because we have an open communication when it comes to sex. There is one of my stories he especially loves and keeps saying it should be made into a movie. I could just hug him!"

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

"I'm not embarrassed when I'm writing sex. I enjoy it. The embarrassment might come into play depending on who is reading it. For instance, if the reader is used to reading hot sex scenes and enjoys them, then I'm happy for them to read mine. But if the person is easily shocked, say a friend of mine or someone I know, then if they read one of my spicy scenes I'd probably find that embarrassing."

If a writer wants to write erotic romance, Nicole thinks one thing is very important. "First, they would need to love reading erotica or erotic romance. If they're uncomfortable writing sexy, graphic scenes then they would need to ease into it, gradually writing hotter and hotter scenes until they lose some of their inhibitions and feel comfortable writing at a more erotic level. If the writer is embarrassed by what they're writing, the reader will be able to pick up on this and they won't find it appealing. I teach a workshop called Writing Hot, Delicious Love Scenes, and in that I teach the students a bit about anatomy because I've read some unpublished love scenes from contests, etc. which puts some parts of the female anatomy in the wrong places. So, I'd say be sure you've researched every aspect of sex if there are any areas you're unsure about. This can easily be done online."

Nicole told me that if she could be anyone she wanted, she would still choose to be herself. "But, with lots more money," she qualified, "from being a bestselling author, of course, so I could travel to Scotland (and everywhere else in the world) anytime I wanted. I traveled to Scotland a few years ago and fell even more madly in love with the place that I'd imagined I would. The scenery is breathtaking."

She's not into body piercing, but feels belly button piercing can be sexy on women with flat tummies. "It adds a bit of jewelry and sparkle to someplace besides the face or hands. A tattoo on a hot guy can also be sexy. I'm not brave enough to get either. Pierced ears is as far as I go," she said with a laugh.

Chocolate, along with being Nicole's favorite food ("dark and not too sweet," she specified), is also good to eat off any body part, she told me, but don't feed her oysters to get her in the mood. "My husband loves them but I can't bring myself to try one because of the way they look and smell," she told me.

Finally, I asked Nicole, "If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"

"This is a tough industry but if you want it badly enough, you can make it happen," she said. "Keep working toward your goals. Rejections will probably come, but don't focus on them. File them away or burn them and send that manuscript out again. Never give up. Keep reading in your genre and improving your craft through workshops, critique groups, contests, etc." You can keep up with Nicole on her website, http://www.nicolenorth.com

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