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Saturday, October 9, 2010
Author Interview: Berengaria Brown
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Berengaria Brown whose latest release Complexity, the sequel to Intensity was released last month from Siren Bookstrand, and she has a new release that's set in the same world, Eternity, due out in December. She also has just sold two new M/M stories, one to Torquere and one to Ellora's Cave.
Berengaria has always loved to read, anything and everything. Her favorite authors, however, can't write fast enough for her. She particularly enjoys hot romances and doesn't enjoy the bedroom door being slammed in her face.
One day when she had nothing to read, she sat down and began to write.
"It was supposed to be an erotic romance but a ghost decided to take over the story," she said. "He wanted his story told! And my writing just evolved from there. It ended up an erotic paranormal romance! I sent the book off to a publishing house and while I was waiting to hear back from them I wrote another book and another book…"
I asked Berengaria how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
She explained that, in her opinion, erotic romance is primarily a romance between two (or more) characters in which the sex is fully described and demonstrates how the story progresses, how the characters grow and develop, or what is happening in the plot, while erotica is the story of a character and that person’s sexual discoveries or journey or experimentation. So by the end of the book the character has grown or developed in some way because of the sex.
On the other hand, she said, "Pornography is scratching an itch unless it is being used to enhance the relationship between two (or more) characters."
In a good erotic story, it's important that the reader care about the characters and want them to find their happily-ever-after.
"There must be a plot, a reason for them to get together or work together, but the characters themselves must be engaging," she explained. "There also has to be that happy ever after – or at least a happy for now. It may still be a good story if the hero dies or the heroine heads off to Spain, but it is not an erotic romance."
"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I asked.
"The thought that any sex is porn, that nice women don’t do that, aren’t interested in that. The days when a woman was expected to lie still and let her husband do as he wished are long gone. Today’s woman wants a man who arouses her sexually as well as who she can chat to over breakfast the next morning."
Berengaria told me that erotic romances require all the same research as writing any other book: dictionaries, thesaurus, encyclopedias, references for whatever is happening with the plot. Historical facts must still be accurate, geography has to be correct, weapons, and vehicles all have to be described correctly. The world building has to be consistent.
"In addition to all those things though," she said, "the sex has to be right too, so in a ménage, people’s arms and legs have to be able to go where you need them to make the scene work. My unusual sex scenes have all been role-played to check everything fits properly."
She doesn’t recommend a particular research book for authors who want to write erotic romance, but instead advises, "Go online, look at the various sexual help sites. See what questions people are asking, what they are interested in. Then let your imagination go wild."
She doesn't worry about crossing boundaries.
"It all gets back to the characters. They all must be consenting adults, but within that framework as long as they are all happy with what they are doing I am not too worried," she explained. "Most erotic romance houses have a list of no-nos and I think they cover the situation adequately – no pedophilia, no bestiality, no snuff etc."
"If you could entertain a character from a book, who would it be and what would the evening be like?" I wondered.
"Ian Fleming’s James Bond. I have adored him since I first read Ian Fleming as a ten year old. Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig; all are totally delicious. Any of them would do. We would drive off in an Aston Martin, at high speed, and go somewhere outstanding for a delicious meal. He would have a martini, shaken, not stirred, and I would try very hard not to drool at him. During the evening someone would try to kill him but he would pull out a gadget that would let us escape and I would drive our getaway car. I’ve always wanted to drive a really expensive car recklessly, because I would be able to go the wrong way down one-way streets and maybe even drive it on water or leap it off a building. It would be awesome! We would, of course, end up in bed for the best sex of my life."
On a personal note, we discussed what food was best on body parts. She shared, "Melted chocolate off a cock – doubly delicious! Chocolate mousse off a tummy, or maybe chocolate topping or even chocolate ice cream. Hmmm are we seeing a theme here?"
Her favorite food, as you might have guessed, is chocolate.
She hasn't found a food, so far, she absolutely can't bring herself to eat.
"Obviously some things I don’t like, but I always manage to have at least a little bit of it. Just about anything, with chocolate sauce, tastes great."
"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I asked.
"I have a friend who says she can. I have seen her tie a knot in a jelly snake with her tongue so maybe she can."
You can keep up with Berengaria on her blog, http://berengariasblog.blogspot.com