Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Barbara J. Hancock, author of Captured which was released in December by Loose ID.
Barbara's writing career started with fanfic.
"Totally self-indulgent stuff involving Mulder and Scully and Spike and Angel and Buffy and Willow...and me," she told me. "I was always in my early works. Then again, teenagers are notoriously self-centered. I graduated from fanfic into my own worlds and I've never looked back. When I found paranormal romance, I found my heart. These are the stories I dream about. These are the stories that come to me in the shower(or the hot tub) or at the grocery store."
At first, writing was something she did while her babies were napping or when nothing was on television.
"As the babies grew and television became one bad reality show after another, I wrote more," she explained. "The big leap, of course, was submitting what I had written. Scary, that."
She said that she is still kind of in awe of herself for sending that first manuscript out ten years ago.
"I am very fortunate in that I always received encouraging feedback," she said. "It's hard enough to make it past rejection without having to make it past harsh rejection. I give a standing O to everyone who gets up and dusts themselves off to try, try again!"
Silhouette Nocturne rejected one of her full manuscripts, but that rejection led her to write the Nocturne Bites "Wilderness," which was her first successful submission.
No matter what level of heat Barbara is writing, she always starts with characters she cares about.
"That makes a good story," she explained. "A good erotic story develops when the characters I've created need each other...right.down.to.the.bone. My characters' physical needs in an erotic story are tied so closely to their emotional needs that you can't separate one from the other. Do you remember your first crush, your first love? How you needed to eat, drink and breathe that other person or you would die? There's nothing more erotic than that."
She believes the biggest misconception about erotica is that there's something embarrassing about writing or reading it.
"Sex is natural and fun. Of course, it's also often forbidden and secretive, but that only adds spice to the mix."
The "no holds barred" element of paranormal erotica is something she really appreciates. Even though she's never, to her knowledge, had sex with a psychic, werewolf, or vampire, she realizes that an overactive imagination can take writers where research isn't possible.
Barbara told me she writes "heat with heart."
"Sometimes the heat level is red hot. Sometimes it's a slow burn. But it's always there," she told me. "In fact, it was an editor's comments consistently praising the sensuality and tension in my submissions that made me take a look at erotic romance. It seems like a natural fit for me because I love the intensity and the strong focus on characters' needs and desires."
"What does your family think of your writing?" I asked. "Do they read it?"
She laughed. "This is such a great question! Of course, some of my family reads my books. My husband. My sister. And, yes, even my mother...although I'll be honest and admit that I censor what she's allowed to take a look at! She's an old school Gone with the Wind gal and there's only so much her heart can handle. But I'm proud of my characters and I'm proud of my books. Well, to be honest, there are a few dusty notebooks that contain my first scribbling that I wouldn't even put my goldfish's name on, but I digress.... I'm proud to say, 'I wrote that'. If it makes anyone blush, so be it. If it makes them blush, then buy...huzzah! Whatever my characters' need to reach their happily ever after that is consensual...and doesn't involve goldfish...I'm okay with...more than okay with actually."
<> She does have one "embarrassing sex scene" to share with us.
"It was the first one I ever wrote. I was at a slumber party and a bunch of us decided to write a romance novel. There were lots of heaving bosoms and throbbing members if I recall correctly. Of course, none of us had ever seen a member, throbbing or otherwise and none of us had breasts, but that was beside the point. We were exploring sexuality in a safe way with lots of laughter and popcorn. It was embarrassing but in a good way. There are empowering moments in life that you have to push through embarrassment to get to!"
"If you could entertain a character from a book," I asked, "who would it be and what would the evening be like?"
"I'm gonna have to get my naughty on here and admit that I would love to get my hands on a stalwart upstanding man like Atticus Finch and totally help him lose his inhibitions. That poor man needs a vacation from single fatherhood and fighting for what's right. I'm thinking Atticus Finch in a hot tub with Chocolatinis, baby! Or Mr. Darcy. He's got that ultra-upstanding vibe going on as well. What am I saying? Or? Forget 'or,' make that 'And'! Atticus Finch and Mr. Darcy. Lord, I just shot my concentration for the day."
On a personal note, Barbara told me that while she was pretty happy being herself, there are a lot of people she would like to try on for size for an hour or a day.
"I'm a writer," she said. "I'm always imagining myself in other people's shoes. Of course, if a fairy came along and offered to poof away twenty pounds and a half a dozen wrinkles, I wouldn't say no! (And if that Fairy just happened to look like Johnny Depp I might say, 'Yes! Yes! Yes!')," she admitted.
If she had to pierce a body part, she would choose an eyebrow or nose. Her reason?
"I would only want to go through the pain if it was going to be seen all day, every day. For me, piercing is sexy because it's unconventional, bold and daring. It's not all that bold if it's hidden beneath your clothes."
Her favorite food? Gracier Mint ice cream. She assured me, "That stuff is the nectar of the gods." However, you won't catch her having sushi before dessert. "I don't do cooked fish," she insisted. "No way I'm gonna eat the slimy bastards raw!"
You can keep up with Barbara on her website, http://www.barbarajhancock.com