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Saturday, September 11, 2010
Author Interview: Eliza Knight
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Eliza Knight whose latest book Take It Off, Warrior was released in June by Ellora's Cave.
Eliza told me she's always been a writer—from her very first story about a mouse who stole cheese to YA stories about mean girls, to romantic suspense, historical romance, historical fiction, and finally erotic romance.
"I like to write, and I like stories. For me it’s all about a good story that is interesting and entertaining. I want readers to escape into the pages of the story, live the story," she said. "When I decided I wanted to write professionally, I wrote stories. I wrote a few novellas, and a couple novels. About a year after starting, I received my first contract, in 2008. Since then I’ve published 8 novellas. Recently I signed with an agent, and she is shopping around my novels."
I asked Eliza how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
"All three are about the sexual journey for sure, but there are also major differences. Erotic romance is about the sexual journey experienced by both the heroine and hero, and with each other. Ultimately, the story ends with either a happily ever after or a happy for now. Erotica is about the sexual journey and how a character grows and changes. There doesn’t have to be a HEA between the hero and heroine, and there doesn’t have to be one specific hero for each heroine. It’s all about the main character. Pornography is all about the sexual journey, and heightening the arousal of the reader. Now I will say, that erotica and erotic romance both heighten arousal, but that is not the only purpose of the story."
A good erotic story for her will include having two hot characters that mesh well both physically and mentally, an engaging plot, hot sex, and love. Some of her favorite authors are Jess Michaels, Julia Templeton, Cheryl Holt, and Lacy Danes.
Eliza has also written non-erotic romances, but admitted that even it was sizzling.
"For me the biggest difference in my erotic romance and 'straight' romance stories are the graphic language, the types of sex, and the details," she explained. "Everything else is the same. You need an engaging plot and great characters in both types of stories."
For research, Eliza told me that she loves the book The Bald-headed Hermit and the Artichoke: An Erotic Thesaurus by A.D. Peterkin.
"I liked this one," she said, "because it gives you a lot of different words to use for body parts and acts; if nothing else, it gets your mind thinking."
She also uses the Internet for searches and, for one scene, she told me it would be both hilarious and mortifying if someone was to look at her search history.
"In one of my books the heroine does a little anal play with the hero," she told me. "It was only embarrassing because I’ve never actually tried it, and I had to make it seem real. Had to do some research online and in books to get a better idea. If someone looked at my internet search history!! OMG!!!"
"If you could entertain a character from a book, who would it be and what would the evening be like?" I asked.
"Oh, good question! I would definitely entertain Camden MacLeod from TAKE IT OFF, WARRIOR. He is the sexiest hero I’ve created yet! And he’s talented in so many different things! We’d have a nice dinner, and then I’d let him serenade me with his music until I couldn’t take it any longer." She added with a smile, "Then we’d act out each of the love scenes from the story."
On a more personal note, I wondered who Eliza would choose to be if she could be anyone she wanted.
"I’ve never wanted to be anyone else," she told me. "I really love being me. Now, if I could have another body? That I’d say yes to! (and I’d keep my own face) If I could have another woman’s body, that would be Scarlet Johansson, she is curvy and toned."
"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I asked.
"Oh God! So my daughter takes swim lessons. Her teacher was always yelling at the kids not to doggy paddle, but to use freestyle strokes. I was working on a story in my notepad, and trying to pay attention to her swimming at the same time. I saw her doing the doggy paddle, and in my infinite wisdom, shouted out: 'Sweetie, don’t do it doggy style!' *Gasp—clapped hands over mouth* 'I mean, doggy paddle, do freestyle.' My face flamed red, and I broke out into fits of giggles for the next 30 minutes left in the class… I had more than one dad and the teenage life guard staring me up and down the rest of the time!"
Eliza's favorite food? "Hmm… tough question… Peanut butter? I love peanut butter on almost anything—bread, crackers, carrots, celery, cheese, a spoon, a finger, a man…"
However, she can't bring herself to eat tongue. "I’ve had some pretty exotic cuisine," she said, "but I’ve never been able to eat tongue… just talking about it makes me a little nauseous."
"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I wondered.
"Yes, my husband," she answered with a wink.
Her strangest habit? Making big steaming pots of coffee and not drinking them, just because she loves the smell.
Finally I asked her, "What advice do you give authors wanting to write erotica?"
"Go for it! Writing in itself is a lot of fun, and if you love the erotic genre, you know you’ll have a great time expressing yourself and getting the story out there. Recently one of my best friends decided to embark on her own writing project—she’s never written before—and she is totally loving it! As for actual crafting advice: use the five senses, make it active, have well thought-out characters (goals, motivations, conflicts), a well planned and engaging plot. It isn’t only about sex."
You can keep up with Eliza on her website, http://www.elizaknight.com