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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Author Interview: Patricia Snodgrass

Whipped Cream is pleased to have with us Patricia Snodgrass, whose latest novel, Glorious, is due to be released this summer by Mundania.

I asked Patricia how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.

"To me, pornography is nothing more than exploiting the sex act," she said. "There’s no love, no romance, nothing enticing me to watch. It's nothing more than watching animals mate. It’s boring. The actors are bored, I’m bored and the plot is tiresome, if there’s a plot at all. Why people watch it is a mystery to me."

When erotica is done properly, though, even watching someone eat a strawberry dipped in chocolate can inspire tremendous erotic tension.

"You can do erotica," she told me, "without ever taking off your clothes, or at least a minimum of clothing. An example of this comes to mind when I think of my late friend and mentor L. Sprague de Camp. Sprague had the fortune to be at a banquet one evening many decades ago. One of the guests at the banquet was the remarkable stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. This was back during the time women wore long gloves. While she was talking casually to a dinner companion, she began to slowly remove her glove. Everyone stopped speaking. She continued to remove the glove, one finger at a time. Everyone’s eyes were on her, and we all know what all the men were thinking when that soft white glove was finally exposed her wrist. The whole room, I’m told, was filled with sexual tension. That, to me is erotica. Romantic erotica is taking off the glove slowly and sensually for someone you love."

There are three questions Patricia asks herself when she writes an erotic story: Does it have class? Is it beautify and inspiring, or dull and probably a little creepy?

The last, and most important, question is "Are they in love?" because sex for the sake of sex is never erotic to Patricia.

Sometimes she reads as a part of her research, but she also goes with personal experience. Husband and brother are also great sources; her husband tells her where she's screwed up and her brother often gives her hints on what else she can write about.

And, readers, she wanted me to tell you that her brother is single.

Patricia didn't start off writing erotica. She began writing horror, then moved to paranormal romance. "You could call my published works paranormal erotica," she said. "Marilyn, my novel about a car whose ghostly occupant performs sexual acts on the new owners and Destiny’s Mark about an ageless silent film star who’s obsession with a starlet sends him to Nepal and to a destiny he never dreamed of."

She blushed when I asked her about the most embarrassing sex scene she'd ever written.

"There’s a scene in Destiny’s Mark where Vincent Cleburne has an encounter with a young starlet in the prop room of MGM studios. The scene involves a hot warehouse, a mattress, a beautiful blonde starlet, and Vincent--handsome and dashing, and undressed. A bucket of ice and a dildo. In retrospect, it’s actually a very tender and loving scene. The dildo though….I don’t know if I should have added it or not. It’s a bit late to worry about it now, I suppose."

Patricia admitted she would have a hard time picking just one character to spend time with.

"I’d like to spend the evening sitting on Atticus Finches porch in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’d love to spend the evening with Mr. Brautigan and his friends in Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King. Or spend the evening talking to Frannie and Stu in The Stand. I’d love to dance the night away with Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. So many possibilities."

If she could be anyone she wanted, Patricia picked three she would like: Leonardo de Vinci, Bette Davis, or Mae West. "Or maybe Leonardo's genius in Mae's body. With Bette's eyes," she mused.

She's a huge Bette Davis fan. I had asked who she would want to play her if a movie were ever made of her life.

"Bette Davis would be able to play me easily. Unfortunately I don’t have her figure. But since her performance in Whatever happened to Baby Jane? she shouldn’t mind packing on a few extra…ahem…pounds… Besides, I think she’s brilliant. Just brilliant. When TCM has a marathon of her movies, the whole day stops for me and I spend the day with popcorn watching Bette."

Some things you might not know about Patricia:

Her favorite food is sour cream enchiladas, but she can't stand organ meat of any kind. "That includes sausages (Hebrew Nationals maybe, but only if a rabbi certifies that they don’t’ contain anything icky) bologna, stuff like that," she explained.

She also doesn't drink sodas of any kind and, if you want to know why, feel free to ask her. She'll be chatting with us on Saturday.

Her son can tie a cherry stem with his tongue. "I watched him do it one day," she shared. "I understand he makes his girlfriend very happy."

She hates to shop, so her husband does all the shopping, including buying Patricia's clothes. "My husband just said that if he turned me loose in the mall with 500 dollars I’d come back with all the money," she told me. "And he’d be right."

Finally, I asked Patricia, "What is your most embarrassing moment?"

"When I was fourteen I was hanging out with friends at the local Dairy Queen. It happened to be the cop’s favorite hang out. There were two officers sitting in a booth drinking coffee while I was out in the parking lot being silly. The kids were tossing around a Barbie doll head. I took it, went inside, walked up to the two officers and asked them if they’d like a little head. One of them said, 'Sure!'

"So I put the head in the middle of the table and ran outside. I thought I was going to get arrested but when I peeked through the window the cops were laughing their behinds off. It’s funny now, but yeah I was a bit embarrassed by following that impulse."

You can keep up with Patricia on her website

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