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Saturday, June 4, 2011
Author Interview: Tarah Scott
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Tarah Scott whose latest book Double Bang, co-authored with KyAnn Waters is out from The Wild Rose Press. She also has a new book, A Knight of Passion, scheduled for release in August from Total-E-Bound.
Tarah told me that she answered the call to write kicking and screaming. A friend once told her that she didn't choose writing, but that writing chose her.
"She's probably right," Tarah admitted. "I knew that to be a skilled writer would take great deal of dedication. Thankfully, as difficult as I thought it was, I still had no real idea how hard it really was." She laughed. "When I finally gave in and started writing, I was hooked. Fortunately, I met a wonderful writer, who became my mentor and dear friend. She taught me the craft of writing before I had a chance to acquire bad habits. (Not to mention, she beat some good habits into my head.)"
I asked Tarah how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
"Pornography is sex for the sake of sex. No plot, no character development, no thought for what the characters feel emotionally. Erotic romance is the extreme other side of that spectrum. Hot sex, but with the emotions fully engaged. Erotic romance has a reason for the erotic interaction between the characters. Not only is the body engaged, but so is the heart. Erotica goes a step forward with even more emphasis on the sexual journey. Yet, lose the emotional connection, and we’re back to pornography."
When Tarah's writing, she wants to see a solid reason for the erotic side of the story.
"Sexuality is a strong part of the human experience," she explained. "Sex for the sake of sex isn’t erotic. That’s pornography. When an author taps into the side of the story that allows the erotic elements to move to the forefront, that’s as honest a story element as any other."
In fact, the biggest misconception people have about erotica, she feels, is that there's no plot—that it is simply pornography.
"Notice how we keep coming back to that?" Tarah pointed out. "Plot may suffer in some erotica, but the genre has really exploded wide open. Today, we find erotic romance in every subgenre of romance, which allows for strong characters whose sexuality is an open part of their personalities."
Tarah actually started out writing straight romance and still writes it. She finds that erotic and straight romance each present their own challenges, but she thinks erotic romance facest the paradoxical challenge of still being viewed as too close to pornography, despite the twenty-first century sexual freedoms.
"As a writer, the biggest challenge in writing erotic romance is keeping the erotic experience unique from story to story," she explained. "We know the mechanics eventually come down to the same moves. But keeping that from appearing to be the case takes time. I spend more time on the erotic scenes than most other scenes for this reason alone."
I asked Tarah about the most embarrassing sex scene she'd ever written.
"Believe it or not, it was in my first book, which isn’t erotic. The book is a Scottish historical. What made the sex scene embarrassing was when a very long time male friend of mine read the book he said, 'Now I know what you like.' Of course, he wasn’t that far off! A funny thing though was another time when I took a very good friend of mine and her husband to the airport. He complained on the way that he’d forgotten his book. I joking said I should have brought one of mine for him to read. He was sitting in the front seat beside me, and looked at me and said, 'No way, that would be too much like having sex with you.'" She laughed. "I wasn’t sure whether to be embarrassed or insulted. He, of course, kept a straight face the whole time."
On a more personal note, I asked Tarah, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"
Laughing, she replied, "I can’t imagine being anyone but myself. I’m not all that. But I suspect if I were anyone else, I’d still find a way to come back to who I am. My way of stepping outside my narrow life experience is to write about characters and situations outside my own. It makes for an interesting attempt at seeing things from a different perspective than my own."
"What food do you consider best for eating off another's tummy?" I wondered. "What about other body parts?"
"Whoa, baby! Now that’s a loaded question. I have to admit, I’m pretty traditional when it comes to eating food off a person’s body. I like chocolate or whipped cream (or both,) on the belly. That smooth, tight surface is the perfect plate. Other body parts. Well, there is always the possibility of a chocolate covered man’s… Talk about chocolate on a stick."
A few things you might not know about Tarah:
Her favorite food is pastry…any kind.
She has hated peas her entire life.
She's a Coke girl, all the way—but Pepsi will do in a pinch.
If she's not writing, she can usually be found reading or baking ("which means," she explained, "reading and eating!")
She loves painted toenails, but never had time to get hers done. ("I wish I did," she told me. "I think that's so girlie—something I'm not!")
"Have you even known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I wondered.
"Oh yes! Me! When I was younger, being able to tie a cherry with one’s tongue was considered quite an erotic feat. I found that hilarious, but loved showing off my ability to tie that cherry stem with my tongue. I guess I was lucky not to end up in hot water over that one!"
She did refuse to tell me her strangest habit, claiming, "If I answered that question, I would have to kill you."
Finally, I asked Tarah what advice she would give to authors who wanted to write erotica.
"Read outside the genre. For me, erotic romance is like any other genre, people have lives. How our characters live their lives gives meaning to the erotic element of a relationship. Real people. Real intimacy." She added, "I think the one piece of advice a new writer needs is if you can imagine yourself doing anything but write, do it."
You can keep up with Tarah on her blog, http://tarahscott.tarahscott.com/