Whipped Cream is pleased to have Amy Ruttan with us today.
Amy began writing as a hobby; when she wasn't hanging out with her friends during her teen years—she wrote and daydreamed a lot. She began to think about writing seriously once she became an adult, but worked her way through college, then married and had children.
"It was after the birth of my second child, when he almost died and I thought about going back to a full time job and missing out on my children’s lives. That is when I became really serious about it," she told me. "I entered my first contest, the Central Ohio Fiction Writer’s Ignite the Flame and I finalled. When I finalled in that contest I knew I had a talent, and I began to learn. For my mantra was from Eminem’s song "Lose Yourself": If you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, would you capture it or let it slip away? My son’s near death experience and all those nights I sat beside his incubator in the NICU made me realize I had to do it for him, for my daughter and myself."
"What writers do you think write excellent erotic fiction?" I asked.
"This is a tough question because, quite frankly, there are too many to name. I’m partial to a lot of erotic authors and I am friends with quite a lot of them. Every writer has their own unique voice and take on erotic fiction that I can’t pin one down," she replied, with a grin.
A few of the authors that grace her TBR and Keeper shelf are Zannie Adams, Robin L. Rotham, Red Garnier, Christine d’Abo, Anya Delvay, Karen Erickson, Wylie Kinson, Renee Fields, Shiloh Walker, Jan Springer, Anna J. Evans, Leah Braemel, Shelley Munro, J.K. Coi, Emma Petersen… "Umm, this list can go on and on and on I’m afraid," she said with a laugh.
She laughed again when I asked her for her favorite erotic author—"Not fair! I don't have one favorite; I can't pin one down."
I persisted. "What is your favorite erotic book?" "You do live to torment me, don’t you? Actually, it’s Zannie Adams' HOLD. Very hot book, I love the hero in it."
The biggest misconception Amy gets from people about erotica is that it's porn.
"When it's said to me, usually it's said in a very derogatory way," she explained. "Also a lot of beginner writers decide they are going to write erotica and think it's just all sex. There has to be plot; the characters have to have a GMC."
Amy thinks The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent is, hands down, the best book for writers who want to write erotica. Other books she recommends are Deb Dixon's Goal Motivation Conflict and Karen Wiesner's First Draft in 30 Days.
"Karen's book is excellent and helps with plotting; just because you're writing erotic romance doesn't mean it's all just sex," she explained. "Plot is very important in a good erotic romance or any romance in fact."
Amy didn't set out to write erotica, though. In fact, it wasn't even a direction she considered. Her first love will always be historical romance. She finds both challenging for different reasons.
"For straight historical romances it’s the long word counts, making sure the story doesn’t drag on and there is sufficient plot. For writing erotic romance it’s trying to justify falling into bed quickly without using the same overused devices such as fated mates," she said.
She always wanted to write romance and always liked the "hot" romances. "I like vivid sex scenes and sexual tension scenes," she explained. "When I stumbled across Ellora’s Cave and started reading erotica it was like manna from heaven. I knew then where my writing fit in."
Her family is extremely supportive of her writing.
"Yes, my mother does read it," she said. "My father tried, but he couldn’t." She laughed and continued, "I give him credit for trying. He’ll read anything else I write. I think the funniest thing was when my mother read my first published work, Masque of Desire, and she asked me what a bunch of words meant and when I explained it to her she asked me where I learned it. Of course I didn’t tell her."
"If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?" I asked.
"What a hard question to answer. I like being me, but I guess if I had to pick one person I would love to be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy is yummy, and I’d like to meet with him with the knowledge Elizabeth learned at the end, so I could just push past his stuffiness in the beginning and jump him."
On a personal note, if Amy had to pierce a body part, she thinks it would be her nose.
"Not a hoop, but just a diamond stud, but that’s for me," she said. "Body piercing kind of squicks me out a bit; maybe a tongue stud on a guy wouldn’t be bad, I can think of lots of bad things with a tongue stud on a guy."
Her favorite food is French fries—"especially from a Chip Truck and Chicken Schwarmas," she said. "I am also partial to pretzel dogs. We don’t get them up here in Canada."
And, she's a very adventurous eater, so she couldn't think of a food she absolutely could not bring herself to eat, with the possible exception of bugs.
"My grandmother would try to squick me out with weird dishes when I was a child, but I would eat it all," she told me. "The only other seafood I am not fond of is mussels and raw oysters. I like clam, cooked, in chowder. One of my favorite documentaries is "Long Way Round" with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, anyways they were travelling through Mongolia and stopped in to have 'tea' with some of the nomadic yak herders. They had some balls, yak, sheep and goat testicles all boiled up in a stew. Charley couldn’t eat it, but Ewan mowed them down, and I think I could too and that makes my DH extremely nervous."
If she's not writing, she can usually be found reading or spending time with her kids. She also enjoys scrapbooking and cross stitching. "Lately, I've been Tweeting on Twitter a lot," she admitted. "It’s a lot of fun."
"If someone were to play you in a movie," I wondered, "what actor would it be and why?"
"I think Emma Thompson. I love her, and I see a kindred spirit in her. A lot of similarities as well, I would be honored if she played me. I am younger than her though, but she’s my closest match. A younger Dame Judi Dench would do well too, only she’s very tiny and I am five foot eleven."
Finally, I asked Amy if she could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"
"Don’t give up. If it’s your dream keep striving."
You can keep up with Amy on her blog, http://www.amyruttan.com/blog