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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Author Interview: Carolina Barbour

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Carolina Barbour whose latest book The Best of Both Worlds was released by Siren Publishing.

Carolina always wanted to write, and in fact wrote several manuscripts before submitting anything.

"I didn't have confidence in myself," she explained. "Finally, after going through two lay-offs, I thought wait a minute. Why not try something you like? I decided to pour my energy into myself, and see what happened. One night while I was looking for a job, I just told myself to find something to do where I’m investing my time and energy into me. I’m glad I did!"

When Carolina puts a story together, she judges whether or not the story is good by the same standards as a non-erotic book. Are the characters believable? Does the story make you feel emotions? Does it make you laugh, cry, or get angry?

"Feeling the emotions of what the characters are experiencing makes a good read for me," she explained. "I like my readers to not only read the text, but live through the pages. In the end, a good book is a good book if the readers has identified with a character, shared the character’s emotion as a result of a scene, or can relate to something in the storyline. When a reader tells me they experienced a similar thing, emotion, or personality in their day-to-day lives I feel as if I’ve done my job. Of course, having a good suspense plot is key, also."

Carolina's books are not just about two people having sex—and the love scenes are not the main focus of her books. She finds that many people think that's all erotica is.

"I always tell people who ask me about writing that the erotica aspect should not be the focus of your storyline. In fact, I suggest they come up with a good story, characters, and plot first, and then fit the erotica in where it is appropriate. Erotica is no different from any other genre, in my mind. I challenge them to remove the erotica, and then see if their story is still appealing. If it is not, well, I advise the author to rethink the book idea.

"My love scenes are placed in the storyline when appropriate. Not just for filler. If you remove the erotica factor, you still get a good suspense novel," she said.

She doesn't make it a habit of reading other erotic novels. However, she did pick up a book by Lora Leigh one time, not realizing it was erotic. She enjoyed the storyline, the characters, and thinks that Lora is an excellent writer. But, Carolina's favorite erotic story is Pure Distraction, her first published novel.

"The characters just clicked from the beginning, and I enjoyed the playful banter between Xander and Lana. The steamy attraction between the hero and heroine was a plus. The storyline was suspenseful, and writing it made me feel so many emotions that it was hard for me to end the book. Hence, why I started the Pure Series," she explained.

Carolina only does research for her books if they are set in a specific era where she needs to get the facts right—and she finds the Internet a good source for that.

"Otherwise, everything I write is my imagination. Normally, real life things that are going on around me ignite an idea for a story," she told me. "People, places, or something somebody says usually sparks a plot. Mostly, I study people, and try to mimic them so that my characters are believable. Sometimes I ask people about how they feel about different sex acts, etc., if I need a point of view other then my own. My husband comes in handy when I’m writing from a male perspective."

There are some areas she won't go into in her own writing.

"Some porn movies go to levels I wouldn’t touch," she told me. "Especially when there are multiple partners, too many partners, and I begin to wonder if that person (any person) could really enjoy being treated like that. I don’t care for gangbang scenes, bodily functions, or anything I feel is degrading."

On a more personal note:

Carolina's favorite food is crab cakes. In fact she admitted she can't eat enough of them.

She used to live in a divided household. Her husband drank Coke and she drank Pepsi. "Finally, one year he converted me," she said. "It’s a long story. Anyway, now if I drink a Pepsi I can tell the difference because I think it is much sweeter then Coke. Though, my friend, who is a devoted Pepsi fan, disagrees."

Her most embarrassing moment is when she tells people she writes erotica.

"People have a preconceived idea of what a person is like if they write erotica. People always look me up and down, and kind of give me that look." She laughed. "I always get asked where do you get your material for the love scenes. I just laugh and say, Stephen King writes murder scenes, but that doesn’t mean he’s killed anyone. A good writer can write about anything, whether they have experienced it or not."

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

"I would tell them a few things. First, like my husband told me-'just do it'. Second, have confidence in yourself. Third, don’t let anyone convince you you don’t have what it takes to follow your dreams. Forth, just write and get the story down first, and think about the editing later. But, mostly, I honestly tell people who want to write that it isn’t an easy thing. Like any of other art it takes skill, but also you have to have a passion for what you do."

You can keep up with Carolina on her website, http://www.poeticblossom.com/

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