Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Tess Lamont whose final book in her South Jersey Heat Wave series, Bound to Ignite, was recently released by The Wild Rose Press.
Even though Bound to Ignite is the third book in the trilogy, Tess actually wrote it first. When she first started writing, she didn't set out to write erotica, but the outer boundaries of sexuality, particularly BDSM, always fascinated her.
"I had an idea for a 'spanking story' about two novices who try it out and don't quite get it right the first time. I wrote it, showed it to my critique partner and she said, 'If you get over your embarrassment, this could turn into a really good story.'"
I asked her about her most embarrassing sex scene.
"In my first story, my editor asked me to add nipple clamps. I had a 'we're not in Kansas anymore' sort of moment and turned ripe cranberry red. I just couldn't do it.... but I forced myself to add them into my second story..."
Tess told me that she feels erotica and erotic romance overlap with each other more than they do with pornography. In both of the former, the essence of the story is the emotion.
"Straight porn doesn't delve into character--it sticks primarily to situation," she said, adding, "Not that there is anything wrong with that!"
Some of her favorite authors, in erotic romance fiction, are Reese Gabriel and Jasmine Haynes. Of Reese's works she said, "Her books never skimp on the emotion and venture boldly in every possible direction."
In erotica that's not romance, she loves Molly Weatherfield.
"Carrie's Story and Safe Word explored the psyche of the female sub in ways few stories before hers did," she explained.
I asked Tess how she did research for her books.
"I did some research for my books, mostly when the story called for 'toys' I personally did not have any experience using. In that case, I searched blogs and other stories, talked to friends and, in one case, bought the product so that I could touch it and describe a more authentic experience.
"When I was in college, my boyfriend at the time had a box of Variations Magazines under his bed. One weekend, we read through them all...together." She cleared her throat. "I learned ALOT that weekend. Although that was a long time ago, some things never quite leave you!! At the time, I had been reading a book called Men in Love by Nancy Friday which included a wide range of fantasies sent to the author by men. I guess when I saw the box I thought--WOW, this is either creepy or cool. And just after that I thought now is my chance to find out what he really likes. If he had tried to hide it, or had made some demeaning comment, I think I may have felt differently, but sharing those stories just felt, well, honest."
As a reader, Tess is up to read just about anything that is safe and legal, but as a writer, she likes to stay in the bounds of a loving, or at least potentially loving, relationship.
Tess said that only her husband and one adult niece out of her family read her stories and know what she writes.
"Other than the two of them, no one else knows!" she told me.
On a more personal note, I asked, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"
"Hmm... I don't know that I'd want to be anyone else for good," she said. "But if I could live through someone else's eyes for a time, I suppose it would be the lovely and talented Emma Thompson. I love her sense of humor and she is so at ease with herself."
As far as food goes, she told me she's never experienced eating off a tummy, but she loves being fed grapes, because she finds their sweetness and texture decadent. Her favorite food is pasta ("Thank God for carbs!" she said), but she can't bring herself to eat anchovies. And, she's addicted to Diet Coke.
"If you had to pierce a body part, what would you pierce and why?" I asked. "What about body piercing is sexy?"
"I have my belly button pierced and I honestly don't remember why it seemed like a good idea. I think what makes piercing sexy to me is what makes anything sexy to me--the idea of really owning your appearance."
Her strangest habit?
"I have to touch the outside of a plane when I'm stepping inside. It's weird but, for some reason, it makes me less anxious!"
She loves pedicures and painted toe nails.
"I used to rock climb and I thought it was so cool when some bad-ass chick would take off her pinchy rock climbing shoes and have manicured toenails," she told me. "There was something about the juxtaposition between the aggression of climbing and the femininity of painted toenails that I always thought was cool."
Finally, I asked Tess, "What advice would you give an author who wants to break into erotica?"
"That's a hard one. I am still learning and could probably use more advice than I have to give, but I do think it's essential to have an open mind and to check as much embarrassment at the door as possible. Sexuality is so essential to who we are as human beings, and, in my opinion, there's no shame in exploring it through fiction."
You can keep up with Tess on her blog, http://www.tesslamont.blogspot.com