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Saturday, September 25, 2010
Author Interview: Tim Smith
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Tim Smith whose latest book The Sweet Distraction was released in June.
Several years ago Tim had an idea for a mystery thriller and one day challenged himself to either write it or stop talking about it. After it was completed, he showed it to some friends who encouraged him to seek publication. After publication, the book was successful with reviewers, won a couple of award and was followed by two sequels. Then he decided to try his hand at a contemporary romantic comedy.
"When I showed a draft to some female friends who'd read my first three books they all came back with the same question," he said. "'Where's the sex???'"
For a book to be a good erotic story, Tim told me there has to be a certain amount of foreplay and tension, either physical or mental.
"Teasing conversation laced with sexual innuendo is a must and I need to show chemistry and attraction between the characters to make it real. I shy away from writing things where two people meet and by the next page they're breaking the bed," he explained. "I think you need to build up the tension and desire, have a lot of flirting and teasing to make them really want each other, then let them get together."
He feels that one of the biggest public misconception about erotica is that the word is just a politically correct word for porn.
"I've had people tell me they thought erotica was just pornography with a story wrapped around it, which I think is unfair. I think some people don’t understand that when you read an erotic romance there really is a plot beyond the sex. Some friends have gone to my publisher's website to check out my books, saw the you must be 18 disclaimer and quickly exited, thinking they were getting into something on the federal watch list. Of course, the fact that they were surfing at work may have had something to do with that."
One way Tim researches his books is by visiting the location he's chosen.
"I like to be very accurate in describing atmosphere so I can take the reader someplace they might not have been," he said. "If the reader is familiar with the location I don’t want them questioning if I've ever been there. Research for the erotic segments can take on many forms, including personal knowledge. As an example, when I wrote Anywhere the Heart Goes I chose to make the female lead an expert in the Kama Sutra, with which I wasn't familiar, so off I went to my local book store to get a copy and see what it was all about. For the relationship aspects, I bounce things off my sig other, who isn’t shy about telling me if I've missed the target in writing the female point of view."
For authors who might want to write erotica, Tim has this advice:
First, be sure your family and friends won’t be embarrassed by anything you write. Second, be sure you won't be embarrassed, especially if you plan to use your real name. I would recommend researching the difference between erotica and "purple prose" and decide how far you want to go. When I got into this I discovered it was perfectly okay to use slang references for certain body parts and sexual practices, as long as I could write them without blushing.
Speaking of street slang, though, there are certain words Tim won't use in his writing—words he's read in numerous books to refer to parts of the female anatomy using crude terms that a lot of women find offensive.
"The same goes for the sex act itself. In none of my books, be it erotic romance or action thriller, will you find the dreaded f*** word," he assured me. "I also won't cross into anything degrading or humiliating. I think you can tell a hot story without wallowing in the gutter or going for shock value."
"What is the most embarrassing sex scene you've ever written?" I wondered.
"In The Sweet Distraction I wrote a scene where the woman wants to use sex toys. I'd never included anything like that before and wasn't sure I could pull it off, but it worked. I also wrote a scene using mutual masturbation as foreplay, which at first seemed rather personal."
On a more personal note, I asked Tim, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"
"Frank Sinatra, just so I could find out how he did what he did so well for so many years."
In addition, Sinatra is one of his choices to listen to while he's writing. The other? Jazz.
"What's your most embarrassing moment?" I asked.
"There have been many, but one that stands out was when I was on a date with someone I'd just met and I ran into another woman I'd had a fling with a short time earlier. What made it embarrassing was the fact that I'd stopped returning her calls and she reminded me of it in a voice that was probably heard in the next time zone. By the way, a variation on that incident appears in The Sweet Distraction."
A few things you might not know about Tim:
His favorite food? Italian.
His favorite food for eating off another person's tummy? "I've found chocolate sauce with whipped cream and a cherry to be a nice desert when served up on a woman's tummy. Of course, the real fun is when it slides further south and a spoon gets in the way."
His least favorite food? "Yellow wax beans. They're like eating plastic fruit."
He can not only tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, he told me, "I can tell the difference between good Scotch and the cheap no-label stuff they try to palm off on you if you don’t request a specific brand."
Finally, I asked Tim, "If someone were to play you in a movie, which actor would it be and why?"
"Pierce Brosnan.. We're about the same age and in the same shape, we're both a couple of smart-asses and we share the same offbeat sense of humor."
You can keep up with Tim on his website, http://www.timsmithauthor.com/