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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Author Interview: Emma Shortt

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Emma Shortt, whose newest release The Valentine's Fae was released by Evernight Publishing on Valentine's Day.

Emma started out writing YA romantic fiction, she thinks due to the fact that when she started YA was so big at the time. She wasn't having much success and was kind of at a standstill with her writing, not really knowing where to go.

"I was, in truth, finding it a little boring," she admitted. "My fiancée encouraged me to turn my hand to writing adult romance, it made sense as I was already a huge fan. So I began and the words just flew from my fingers. I’d found my genre and it was a fantastic feeling."

Not long after this, she took an editors position with Evernight Publishing and, a few months later, they accepted "The Christmas Fae" for their Christmas anthology.

"I’m very much still in my debut author phase and having a great time getting to know readers and reviewers. It’s still a really amazing feeling knowing that someone is spending their hard earned money on my work. I’m extremely humbled by that."

I asked Emma how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.

"It's all about the story for me.

"Erotic romance should be explicit, not just sexually but emotionally as well. So basically you can make the characters as dirty as you want so long as they fall in love at the end of it all. There has to be a happy ever after.

"Erotica doesn't need a happy ever after but there does have to be something beyond just the sex. I want there to be some feeling beyond just the physical, otherwise I won't care for the characters and I won't feel like I'm involved in the story.

"For porn... well there isn't a story at all, unless you’re a plumber or a bored housewife... or... "

Her fiancé is very enthusiastic when it comes to helping her with research.

"He selflessly gives up his time to help me," she said with a smile. "To be honest though, I do very little research; I tend to just make it up as I go along and check my facts afterwards."

Her romance writing has always included sex.

"The very act of being romantic with someone is based upon the fact that you want them sexually. Certainly, in my experience, if you’re really, deeply in love with your partner then you also desire them intensely. The two go hand in hand," she explained. "So I created romantic stories with plenty of sex scenes. However, looking back, my sex scenes were very mainstream, lots of flowery prose and euphemisms (which I now know is a big nuh-uh). That all changed when my short story The Christmas Fae was accepted for the Evernight Publishing 'Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas anthology. My editor basically said 'we need to up the heat.' It was intriguing because here I was being told to make my work racier. Suffice as to say I did as my editor asked and had a lot of fun in the process!

The Christmas Fae was the first story in my FairyTales series so it follows that all the other books have to have an equally high level of heat. The Valentine's Fae is possibly a little hotter than The Christmas Fae ."

"What does your family think of your writing?" I asked. "Do they read it?"

"My fiancée reads all my work, though I’m not sure he gives an honest opinion, he thinks everything I write is great. My children (Vix 16 and Bear 11) call it my ‘smutty writing’ and are not allowed to read it! My mother in-law to be wonders why I can’t, 'write something we can all read'."

Emma told me she never gets embarrassed writing sex scenes, but she admits there's often a little blushing when people she knows reads her work.

"They assume I’m writing from experience and I get lots of knowing little nods and winks. I’ve just finished a scene which includes a little bit of anal action--all tastefully done," she clarified with a smile, "and I just know people are going to be thinking, 'oh I know what she gets up to in her spare time'. It’s a hard job but someone’s gotta do it!"

"If you could entertain a character from a book, who would it be and what would the evening be like?" I wondered.

"This is going to sound so vain, but I’d like to entertain my own daemon. If you’ve read His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman) you’ll know that the characters have their own daemons. The daemon is your subconscious made into a physical being in the form of an animal. Your daemon change form until you reach puberty and then ‘fixes’ as one type of animal.

"Servants and such end up with dog daemons whilst adventurous types end up with lions and snow leopards. I like to think I’d have a panther or something exotic and it would be amazing to spend the night talking to my own subconscious (I said vain, didn’t I?). However I could well end up with a rat or a snake which would kinda put a dampener on the evening.

"There’s a quote which I can’t quite remember but it goes something like,

...everyone wants their daemon to be a lion and then they get all upset when it’s a poodle, but you just have to accept if it’s a poodle it’s a poodle, and there’s no denying that part of yourself...

On a more personal note, I asked Emma, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"

"I’m happy being me, there’s no one else in the world I’d want to be. Although... I wouldn’t mind spending a day in my fiancé's body, I’d like to see what it’s like to have that *ahem* particular appendage. "

When Emma was younger, she had a myriad of piercings: nose, eyebrow, belly button, ears, hands, etc.

"I’d love a belly piercing again but after two kids and countless cupcakes the piercing would be lost in the chubb. My fiancée has his nipple pierced and I find that very enticing. I’m not sure why, it just looks sexy. That said a belly piercing on a man is just wrong."

"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I wondered.

"I’m one of those people who are almost shameless, I rarely get embarrassed. However, I can always count on my kids (who are as tactless as their momma) to find some way to embarrass even me. Like dropping personal information round the dinner table when we have guests, or breaking family member's front doors (stranding everyone), or discussing (loudly) our bad family habits in the supermarket… the list goes on… "

Emma's favorite food: chips, cheese, and gravy.

"Stick with me here because it’s not as weird as it sounds," she said. "You take the chips (or fries), cover them in cheese (cheddar) and pour piping hot gravy over them. It melts the cheese and makes the chips all gooey. I urge you to try it immediately."

However, she cannot bring herself to eat margarine, because she hates the smell.

"I’m a dry bread kinda gal."

And, she can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi after just one drop—she's a self-confessed Diet Coke addict.

Finally, I asked Emma, "If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"

"Read, read, read and then read some more. It’s the only way to know what you should be writing. Then write, write, write and write some more. I’ve lost count of the number of people who say, 'I've got a book in me.' Well, write it then I say! You don’t try, you won’t know. Also be prepared for the HUGE amount of work you’ll have to put in. Not just writing and editing the book but selling it after the fact."

You can keep up with Emma on her blog,

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