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Saturday, July 9, 2011
Author Interview: Kristina Wright
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Kristina Wright, author and editor whose latest work, Dream Lover was released in May from Cleis Press.
Kristina’s erotica and erotic romance fiction has appeared in over eighty print anthologies and she received the Golden Heart Award for Romantic Suspense from Romance Writers of America for her first novel Dangerous Curves. She is a book reviewer for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and the book club moderator for SexIs Magazine’s Naked Reader Book Club at EdenFantasys.com. She also holds degrees in English and Humanities and teaches English Composition and World Mythology at the community college level. She is living and writing happily ever after in Virginia with her family.
I asked her how she personally distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
"Sex is at the heart of both erotica and erotic romance, but erotica may or may not center around a romantic relationship. The relationship is what drives the plot of erotic romance. Porn is one of those knee-jerk words used to insult or ridicule something sexual, whether it's a book, film or photograph. What is one woman's porn is another woman's erotic romance. Erotica is more than physical. Yes, it's about sex, but it's not about body parts. Good erotica is a mindfuck. There doesn't need to be any actual sex for a story to be erotic. The description of a kiss can be erotic; an intimate conversation in a crowded room can be erotica; anticipation is erotic!"
She told me that there are many amazing, talented writers of erotic fiction currently, and she's honored to count some of them among her friends.
"I've edited two anthologies so far and I'm working on the third," she explained, "so I'd say any of the authors whose stories I've selected are what I consider excellent erotic writers."
Her criteria for any story, erotica or not, is whether or not the story feels real, authentic and original.
"Even if I'm writing about fallen angels or ghosts, there should still be an element of truth to the story," she said. "If the story rings true, the reader will lose herself in it."
The best research for writing not only erotic romance, but books in any genre is reading books in that genre, Kristina told me.
"I would tell writers new to writing erotica to read everything they could get their hands on in the erotica genre—anthologies, novels, books in other genres that are touted as erotica (as in 'erotic suspense' or 'paranormal erotica.' Read, read, read in the genre and then write, write, write. Don't try to duplicate another author's voice, be true to your own authentic voice. Don't give up, expect rejection-- and embrace any rejection that comes with constructive feedback. Never give up," she stressed. "It bears repeating."
"Is there a boundary between porn and erotic romance that you personally would never cross?" I wondered.
"If there is, I have hit it yet," she answered with a smile. "Seriously, I don't think in terms of this is too pornographic. If I like the story I'm telling, the story gets written. Of course, whether the story gets published or not depends on an editor liking it!"
Kristina started out writing romance before there was really an "erotic romance" subgenre, but even then there was always something else going on—suspense or some kind of mystery or adventure.
"I admire authors who can write a 'relationship' story, but I always find my stories careening toward the relationship cliff by page 25," she told me. "Then I throw in a ghost or a dead boy and get things back on track."
She did find herself a bit constrained, however, by some of the limitations in language and description.
"I stumbled upon the erotica market and felt like I'd found my niche. I could write as erotic as I want, but I could also put romance in my stories-- or horror, or mystery or aliens."
On a personal note, I asked Kristina, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"
"Oh, wow. Interesting question and I'm drawing a complete blank. I can't imagine what it would be like to be someone else and my life has been pretty blessed, so I think I'll stick with being myself!"
Kristina told me she's considered a nose piercing to go along with her pierced ears. I asked her what about body piercing was sexy.
"I think body piercing, like tattoos, can be sexy for a variety of reasons. Piercing has an element of BDSM to it-- the pain, the pleasure to be found in the pain and in the memory of the experience, the sense of being 'marked,' as in a tattoo. I have one tattoo and the endorphin rush I got from that experience was crazy sexy. After the fact, I think piercings and tattoos can be sexy to a lover-- discovering hidden piercings for the first time, experimenting with ones that might heighten sexual pleasure, knowing a secret about the person you're intimate with that others might not know. Obviously, this doesn't apply to a nose piercing, but I do find something sexy about a diamond stud in a woman's nose. Maybe it's that element of the unexpected-- the sense that this is a person who is different, experimental, in touch with her (or his) body."
She's not a big fan of food play, probably because of the mess, but she thinks anything sweet has potential—whipped cream, honey, chocolate—but only in small quantities.
"Too much would make me sick!" she said.
Her favorite food, though, is chocolate, even though she doesn't care for most candy.
"I will eat almost anything chocolate," she declared. "In the non-dessert category, I'm a big fan of cheese. Mmm... cheese!"
However, she can't bring herself to eat raw oysters.
"Just looking at them makes me want to vomit," she told me.
"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I asked.
"Nope, but I'd love to meet the person who can-- and have him or her teach me how to do it!"
"Painted toenails…yes or no?"
She glanced down at her newly pained pink toes. "Oh, hell yeah! It's a spring ritual to me-- as soon as the weather is warm enough (high 60s), the sandals come out and I make the trip to the salon. Painted toes are like daffodils-- hallmarks of the season!"
Finally, I asked her, "If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"
"Never, never, never quit. Seriously. If writing is your dream, your calling, the very air you breathe, don't quit for anything. Of course, if writing is the very air you breathe, you already know you can't quit, don't you?"
You can keep up with Kristina on her blog, http://kristinawright.com/blog/