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Saturday, February 26, 2011
Author Interview: L.K. Below
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome L.K. Below whose newest book Winter Worship is being released this week by Breathless Press.
L.K., who also writes as Lindsay Below, writes not only erotic romance, but also fantasy and young adult. When she started writing seriously, she wanted to write fantasy because, at that time, it was mostly what she read. Then a friend slipped her a paranormal romance book.
"Paranormal has many similarities to fantasy, so it intrigued me, and I started writing that," she explained. "Eventually, I crossed genres into historical romance and inevitably, my characters brought me into contemporary romance, too. I like to say I write everything -- because my characters come from all walks of life. I go wherever the story takes me and worry about genre or subgenre after."
Recently, Lindsay sat down and wrote a historical novella that had no sex in it whatever.
"In fact, the hero and heroine didn't even share a kiss until the end," she said. "I found it liberating to write. Although challenging, I was able to sit down and focus entirely on emotions and the main characters falling in love without side tracking to anything physical. Neither is more challenging in a technical sense; switching from erotic to non-erotic was the challenging part. I had to develop new ways for the hero and heroine to form a connection. But I love to experiment with my works, so I was more than eager to make the switch!"
When Lindsay is writing, she comes to the page with an "anything goes" attitude and just lets her characters frolic as they will.
"The emotion that develops between them because of this has never led me wrong," she said."In short, I write a story and then let my critique partners and beta readers tell me whether it's a good one."
"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I asked.
"A lot of people assume that erotica is pornography. It isn't, at least not in my opinion. Good erotica takes you on a sexual journey, yes, but there are emotions involved. Complex characters and motives and above all, some semblance of a plot. The sex isn't for purposes of titillation -- it's there so that the main characters can explore each other, their feelings, and their connection. Many times romance and erotic romance aren't set on the same level -- in fact, I've been excluded from groups because they've discovered that I write erotica, too. But despite that discrimination in what I write, I refuse to let it set me back. Only people who have never read erotic romance will be able to call it porn. I try to steer clear of those kinds of people."
Lindsay loves to write historical and, most of the time, she sits down at the computer, starts with a question, and watches it evolve from there. She tries to find genuine texts from the time period she's researching.
"For instance, in a work-in-progress, the story is set in Colonial times, right on the cusp when the 'New World' began to be populated. Because of this, Native Americans feature heavily into this book; in fact, the hero is one. When I was looking up the culture, etc. I stumbled on an account written by a Dutch boy who was traded to the Powhatan natives in exchange for a village," she explained. "This account regales not only the life of the Powhatans, but also certain events which I have incorporated into my novel. If you're writing historicals, I can't stress enough the value in digging up certain texts like these. They always help me to enter the mindset of the period."
Her family is very supportive of her writing; even though her father doesn't read it, he proudly tells everyone that he knows about her work.
"I think they've both gotten me a few new fans that way," she said. "And even though he's not technically family, my boyfriend reads my stuff, too. In fact, his insight into some of my works is invaluable. I know I can always count on him to give an honest opinion, and to help me fix what needs fixing."
On a personal note, I asked Lindsay about body piercing.
"Body piercing, if done tastefully, is exotic. It highlights and accentuates parts of the body through color and shape. I'll admit, I have quite a few piercings already. Most are on my ears, but I also have my belly button and my lip pierced. Because I think that too many piercings on the face in particular can be distasteful and overdone, I don't plan on piercing myself again. But I suppose if I did, I would pierce my nose, on the opposite side of where my lip is pierced, so they could compliment and balance each other out."
Lindsay has been a vegetarian for the past seven years, so when I asked about one food she can't bring herself to eat, meat and seafood topped the list. Her absolute favorite food, however, is crepes. She also loves baked goods of any kind and loves to bake and experiment.
"What is your favorite letter?" I asked.
"L for Lindsay," she said, adding with a grin, "whoops, I mean 'Love.'"
"What about your strangest habit?"
"Don't get me started. I'm the Queen of Strange. When I drink from a bottle or glass, I always lift my pinky (though I don't realize I'm doing it). I always wear a blue sock on my right foot (the left foot can be any color but blue). When I'm the passenger in a car and we drive over train tracks, I have to lift my feet and touch something black. The list goes on and on..."
When she's not writing, she can usually be found reading or at a book sale.
"What can I say, I'm a complete bookworm. I have a library of my own, mostly consisting of obscure, really old books. I have books whose print dates I don't know, and books ranging from 1896-1930 and upward. I can't resist buying a new, old book."
Finally, I asked Lindsay what advice she would give to a new writer just starting out.
"Don't give up. It can't be said enough. The publishing industry is a tough place to break into, but all it takes is a little persistence. If writing is what you really want to do, don't let anything anyone says stop you. And find yourself a good friend who can talk you through the low points and keep you going."
You can keep up with Lindsay on her blog, http://lbelow.blogspot.com