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Saturday, February 12, 2011
Author Interview: Elizabeth Black
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Elizabeth Black whose latest book Indiscretions Volume II: The Mile High Club and Room Service was released last month from Romance Divine. Elizabeth told me that she based it on her personal observations and fantasies about science fiction conventions she's attended.
For Elizabeth, erotica is less restrictive than erotic romance, because in erotic romance either a "happily for now" or "happily ever after" ending is required, while erotica isn't that constrained.
"People don't necessarily have to be in love or end up together in erotica. It's also more experimental," she explains. "Romance drives erotic romance, of course, and that's what the readers look for. Erotica readers focus more on the sex and the dynamics of the relationship. That's not to say that erotic romances don't focus as much on sex – they do! Just in a different way. Pornography to me tends to be more visual than written. It also focuses exclusively on the sex acts without taking characterization or plot into consideration. This is the case with written porn as well. Penthouse Letters come to mind."
Some authors that Elizabeth think write excellent erotic fiction include Cecilia Tan, Sommer Marsden, K.D. Grace, and Rachel Kramer Bussel. Her favorite books include anthologies like the "Best Women's Erotica" books.
"I'm a sucker for a good short story," she told me.
She chooses books to read that get excellent reviews and publishers that have excellent reputations.
"For instance, I can always expect a book published by Torquere Press, Cleis Press, and Circlet Press to be excellent," she said."I read books by those publishers to inspire me in my own writing."
She feels that a lot of the public equate erotic romance with poorly-written trash with purple prose like "throbbing love muscle" and "heaving tits."
"Yes, there is some very poorly-written erotica just like there is poorly-written fiction in general," she admitted. "You don't have to look that hard to find great smut, though."
When it comes to research for her book, Elizabeth uses the Internet or she emails organizations for information. She does caution writers to avoid Wikipedia, however, saying, "It's unreliable."
Elizabeth started out writing horror but none of that was ever published and she soon delved into erotica and erotic romance because e-publishing gave her the opportunity to be published.
"I sometimes write erotic horror but there's less of a market for that than there is for erotica and erotic romance. I combine some horror elements into my erotica and erotic romance," she said. "A great example is Feral Heat, my erotic werewolf novella. Whilst it's definitely erotic and romantic, some of my descriptions are very horror-friendly. Another two books in the same categories of erotic romance with horror elements (although both books are strictly erotic romance) are "An Unexpected Guest and The Haunting Of The Sandpiper Inn. If you like ghost stories, you'll enjoy these two books. I'm delving back into horror again for at least one story to see how well it does. I also have a mystery/family saga to finish and at least one political article. I write much more than only erotica and erotic romance."
She doesn't find it any more or less challenging, however, to write non-erotic romance.
"Sometimes sex doesn't move a plot forward and when it doesn't I don’t include it," she told me. "One example of a straight romance is my free read 'The Storm'. It's sweet and it has pirates in it! I liked creating a pirate. There's a pirate call later this year that I might submit to. By the way, 'The Storm' has my favorite cover art. It was done by Gary Gabbard and it's a lovely watercolor.
Click the cover for more information about 'The Storm'."
Elizabeth told me that her husband and two closest friends love her work. One of them is a fellow writer who gives her a lot of support and contacts. Her son, who is 22 and easily embarrassed, knows what she writes, but is like OMG!!! My Mom writes smut! She just lets it go and when she talked about her writing in front of him, she uses very general terms. Even more embarrassing to him, however, is the other things she writes.
"I also review sex toys and it's tricky pulling out the vibes and dildos around here. It's also tricky watching porn for review when I don't want embarrassed people catching me doing it. I have the 'Pirates' series of DVDs to review, and I need to watch them again before writing my reviews. Might have to do it in snippets," she said, with a laugh. "My parents have no idea what I write and I don't want to tell them. My mother is a fundamentalist Christian who already says enough novenas for me. If I told her what I write she'd never leave the church."
I asked her about the most embarrassing sex scene she's ever written and she admitted she had an entire embarrassing short erotic story she wrote.
"I might send out as a test to see what publishers are really bullshit pubs. This story is so bad that if anyone accepts it I'll know to never publish there!" she told me. "Suffice to say this embarrassment involved the world's greatest armchair detective. I cringe just thinking about it."
"If you could entertain a character from a book, who would it be and what would the evening be like?" I asked.
"I wouldn't want to entertain a character, but I would have loved to have met Edgar Allan Poe. We're both from Baltimore, and I love his writing. Even his comedies. Yes, Poe wrote comedies."
On a personal note, Elizabeth said that if she could be anyone she wanted, she would still choose to be who she is, because she is who she wants to be.
"Just wish I were richer," she said with a smile.
She doesn't want any body piercings, but she has considered a tattoo of an ouroboros on her ankle.
For eating off another person's tummy, she likes her Kama Sutra chocolate flavored sauces.
Her favorite food is seafood—"if it swims, I'll eat it," she said. "Even raw."
On the other hand, she cannot bring herself to eat durian fruit and grubs. "Just because Andrew Zimmern ate them on "Bizarre Foods" doesn't mean I ever will," she stated.
"What is your favorite letter?" I wondered.
"The one coming this year from an agent that says Yes! I'll represent you! I'm on an agent hunt this year."
You can keep up with Elizabeth on her blog, http://trishwilson.typepad.com/blog/