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Saturday, November 6, 2010
Author Interview C.J. Black
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome C.J. Black, author of the recently released Illusion of Night.
C.J. began writing when she was five and penned, as she said, "these horrible, little vignettes that, as another writer once said, could be used as blackmail material if they existed today. Of course, at that age I thought they were the best things ever written."
She wrote her first novel at fourteen.
"Realize back then there was no internet, Google, or 'I-anything'. The only way you could get information was at the library or a bookstore," she said. "I was fortunate to have an English teacher who took an interest in my writing and gave some helpful advice. I continued to write, improving my skills as I went along, experimenting with other genre’s until I found my niche."
I asked C.J. how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
"I consider many of my short stories erotica. Quick reads with passionate, descriptive sex, but the people involved are not necessarily in a committed relationship. Usually there’s an initial chemistry that so intense the lovers need to act on it almost immediately. With erotic romance, there is still that chemistry but the perhaps the soon-to-be lovers hold off for reasons of their own, giving the relationship time to grow. There may be several instances of 'almosts' but in the end it usually culminates with sex. By that time the lovers may already be in love or at least half-way there. Pornography is all about the sex, pure and simple. There may be a plot involved but its two or more people engaged in the act for the express purpose of arousal."
It's important that the story grabs the reader's interest immediately—is a story that grabs them and keeps them until the last page.
"I want my readers to want to stay with the characters and want to know them and see things through to the end," she explained. "Then afterwards, find themselves wanting more of my works."
C.J.'s favorite erotic author is Claire Thompson and her works were one of the key factors in starting C.J.'s own interest in erotic fiction.
Usually C.J.'s research consists of a combination of written and visual.
"I have dozens of research books and am always looking for more up to date information. With me, I’ve found I can process the information I’m researching easier if I can actually see it," she explained. "The History and Discovery Channels are two of my favorite venues. Any information I need clarified usually sends me to the books. Then my PC gets filled with files of notes that I can access at any time."
C.J. actually didn't start out to write erotica. She began writing mystery when she was a child. She later changed to fantasy and had a couple of books published in that genre. She had never even considered erotica, even though she had written some erotic fan-fiction.
"There were a few instances that steered me towards erotic fiction. A friend who knew I liked anime, burned a disk of OVA’s for me but neglected to mention that one of the movies was for a yaoi manga, Fake. That got me interested in male/male fiction and I purchased the entire series over a period. I was searching the net for markets one day and came upon an erotic fiction contest with a nice prize connected to it so I thought, why not? And gave it a shot. I didn’t win, but it piqued my interest so I went searching for more erotic fiction authors, Claire Thompson, initially as previously stated. I was hooked after that."
She told me that she finds the male/male romance a little more challenging that "straight" romance and admitted, "Perhaps this is why I prefer it. The difficulty is writing the male characters so they behave as a man would in a romantic situation but also, not making them come off as if they’re suffering from an overdose of testosterone (no offense, guys). I believe (and I’ve read articles and comments that agree) that the main reason why we like male/male is to read about sensitive men."
"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I asked.
"From what I’ve seen and heard, that it’s just 'written porn' with no plot, character development or story. Actually, mainstream romance still gets a bad rap sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, 'Why don’t you write something serious?' Everything apparently has to be literary in order to be good."
If an author wants to write erotica, C.J.'s advice is the same for erotica or any other genre: first, write for yourself and then write for your readers.
"Develop your own style and don’t let anyone tell you to copy the style of another author. Some of the worst advice I received was 'copy who is famous'. It doesn’t work. You’ll just get frustrated because unless you can get inside that author’s head you’re not going to ever be able to imitate their style and if you do, readers will know your work for what it is – copying. And of course, read as much as you can and research the genre and the industry."
I asked her to tell us a little bit about her newest release.
A spectral war has torn the veils that separate life and death in pieces. Beings of the darkness slip through these rifts as armies of man wage a losing battle against the corporeal invaders. Dane Tanderes was once a mortal man condemned to an unjust death, cursed to live as a fiend until the gods decreed he was deemed worthy for forgiveness. Now that he has escaped back to the world of the living he is determined to never again live in darkness. Dane is instrumental in the war against those he once called brethren, fighting to give his people a chance return to the light.
Vanlyn Sarn is the second son of a cruel lord. His life is one of misery and degradation, despised by his brother and father for reasons known only to them. He is tasked by his father to journey deep into enemy territory and escort troops to aid in the fighting. However, Vanlyn knows the true nature of this mission. He is not expected to return.
When Dane takes Vanlyn prisoner, he plans to use the young prince as a pawn to seduce Vanlyn into betraying his kingdom and his people. But passion ignites red hot and Dane is torn between his burgeoning feelings for the young prince and doing what his honor demands. Which decision will lead him to what he desires most?
You can keep up with C.J. on her blog, http://cjblacksatin.blogspot.com