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Saturday, February 5, 2011
Author Interview: Marsha A. Moore
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Marsha A. Moore, whose newest book Tears on a Tranquil Lake is released this week. Marsha and her husband moved from Toledo, Ohio, to Tampa in 2008. She loves being a Floridian and being able to wear sandals all year long.
"I'm definitely a beach bum every chance I get," she said.
Marsha began as an English minor, taking lit courses and writing essays for fun. Later, she worked as a rock music reviewer for several years and from some of those experiences she tinkered with fiction. Initially, she wrote fiction based on the world of rock music.
"That’s a very sexual environment, so the erotic elements came naturally," she told me. "Through a lucky happenstance, a man who worked for a major book publishing house read my first attempts at fiction, posted on a music forum. He repeatedly encouraged me to submit my creative writing. Over time, I came to believe him and did follow through. Since then, it’s been a waterfall of new and fun experiences."
I asked her to tell us about the most embarrassing sex scene she'd written.
"I wrote a sex scene in first person point-of-view in a short story which was accepted for publication. Because it was based on my experiences as a rock music reviewer/interviewer, many were unsure how much was reality and how much was fiction. It raised a few eyebrows, made me a bit uncomfortable and maybe added to the appeal of the piece."
For Marsha, erotica and erotic romance both include frameworks of a storyline.
"Erotic romance, which is what I write, can stand as a well-written work even if the sex scenes are removed. It might be a little bland, lacking spice, but it will still be a satisfying read," she explained. "In erotica the sex scenes are pivotal and cannot be eliminated. Pornography lacks a plot or has a very minimal plot, only enough to set up the sex scenes."
She feels that the biggest misconception about erotica, though, is that it's just like pornography, with no plot and no character development, but only sex. And, a lot of people think that, since it's only sex, it's easy to write.
A good erotic story must extend the personalities of the characters into the intimate scenes, she told me, instead of just being an anatomy lesson of body parts touching. And, that's quite difficult.
"You must know those characters even deeper than normally, since you must expose their vulnerabilities to make a believable intimate scene which furthers the story," she said.
Marsha writes fantasy romance with erotic elements and enjoys reading and researching fantasy writing through the ages in folktales, myth, legend, and lore.
"I often blend ideas of folklore from around the world into my works. In my book, Tears on a Tranquil Lake, I was intrigued by the legends of the pirate José Gaspar, known by his nickname Gasparilla," she said. "In the winter of 2008, I moved to Tampa, home of the yearly Gasparilla Festival. That inspired me to create a fantasy with a love triangle between a lovely mermaid, a handsome merman, and a smooth-talking pirate captain."
If Marsha could entertain a character from a book she would choose Snape from the Harry Potter series. I asked her why.
"First, I am a fantasy writer and second an erotic romance writer. I love how JK Rowling crafted that character, an antihero between good and bad. He’s sort of a magical bad boy. His aura of mystery I find seductive, and his independence intrigues me. An evening with Snape, would be an intellectual match to remain hidden and divulge the least possible, parrying to keep the other talking and revealing more."
She told me that she wouldn't choose to be anyone other than she is because she likes being who she is.
"It’s been a long journey getting to know myself and I don’t want to miss the best part, following my goals now that I know who I am," she said.
On the food front, Marsha considers chocolate, preferably high quality and a bit melty, best for eating off another person's tummy. Her favorite food, though, is potatoes—prepared almost any way, but fried with onions, lots of tarragon, and garlic is her favorite. On the other side, however, she loves fish but can't bring herself to eat sushi.
"All the reports of high incidence of intestinal cancer in areas with a regular diet of it sticks in my mind, not to mention my apprehension of sliminess," she said.
Marsha's favorite letter is "L" because she likes the softness of the sound, describing itself as "very melodic and seductive." "S" is a close second for the same reasons.
When Marsha's not writing, she loves cycling, kayaking, and spending time at nearby Tampa area beaches. In fact, Tears on a Tranquil Lake was inspired by Fort DeSoto, a Florida state park beach which is one of Marsha's favorites.
"I also love Anna Maria Island with its quaint early 20th century bungalows painted cheery colors," she told me. "Otherwise, at home I enjoy watercolor painting, knitting, and reading."
"If someone were to play you in a movie, what actor would it be and why?" I wondered.
"Helena Bonham Carter would be a good choice. I tend to live with my head half-buried in a fantasy world, always entertaining some new story setting. Her interpretation of the slightly nutty, independent, creative sort would fit me."
Finally, I asked her, "What advice do you give authors wanting to write erotica?" "Take time to get to know your characters first before writing their intimate scenes and keep it foremost in your mind what their personalities are. If you work to maintain those unique voices, the intimate action will be more natural and easier to write."
You can keep up with Marsha on her blog, http://marshaamoore.blogspot.com