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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Author Interview with Cardeno C.

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Cardeno C, whose latest m/m romance in the Home Series, Just What the Truth Is, has just been released. Cardeno (or CC) is working on the next book in the Home Series as well as books in a brand new series—paranormal gay romance the Mates Series.

When CC first started writing, all the stories were posted online for free.

"I wasn’t sure whether they’d be embraced and I enjoyed the freedom and simplicity of putting my work out there without any expectations. I received wonderful e-mails from readers, several of whom repeatedly encouraged me to publish my work. I actually found my publisher because a few different readers specifically told me that they felt it was a good publisher for my stories. Before those e-mails, I’d never purchased an e-book and I’d never read anything published by Dreamspinner Press (the publisher for all of my stories so far). Following my readers’ advice, I bought some e-books from Dreamspinner, liked the quality, and decided to submit a story to them. That was five books ago and I’ve been very happy with the publishing process so far. I don’t think I’d have gotten here if it wasn’t for the support and encouragement of my readers, so they have my eternal gratitude."

To CC, the difference between erotic romance and pornography comes down to the place of plot and story. In erotic romance the plot and story take center stage.

"Yes, there are sex scenes in erotic romance, sometimes very graphic sex scenes. But those scenes aren’t the crux of the story and they’re utilized to advance the relationship, plot or other aspects of the story," CC explained. "Pornography, on the other hand, has its own wonderful uses but I think they’re not so much for story-telling and more for personal, ehm, 'enjoyment.' As far as erotica goes, I’ve heard that phrase used in various contexts, so I think it can mean erotic romance or it can mean pornography, depending on who is using it."

CC continued, "I consider my stories to be erotic romances. The romance between the characters is front and center in my stories. I don’t shy away from sex scenes because I think they’re an important aspect of the characters’ relationships and I want readers to see and experience their passion."

"How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?" I asked.

"I feel happy with my story if it tugs at my heart when I read it. I want a connection between the characters that a reader can feel and a plot that holds the reader’s interest. Now, as far as a good 'erotic' story, well, I’d say that in addition to hearts tugging, there should be some tugging at areas lower down as well."

CC believes that a lot of people who have never read erotic romance might believe that the stories are all about sex and that plot and character are secondary. In CC's opinion, that's not the case at all. And, based on emails from readers all types of people—male, female, college age, and grandparent-age—read and enjoy m/m romance.

The books are set in contemporary settings and are very character based, so there's not much in the books that's outside the scope of CC's life. However, if there are questions about a certain career or something a character is experiencing, CC talks to friends in that line of work, or who have had the particular experience, or researches the information online. Although CC has never written a character completely based on a friend, characteristics of people CC knows are the foundations of the characters—with lives and relationships born from CC and friends' own experiences.

"I often find myself making a mental note of a funny story or comment a friend has made so that I can incorporate it into a story."

I asked, "Did you always set out to write erotica or did it evolve from something else?"

"I wanted to write stories about people finding happiness and fulfillment in their lives. I wanted to positively depict my characters and describe relationships that are supportive and committed. Sex is part of a relationship so I’ve always included it in my stories."

It's important for CC that the sex be within the context of the relationship between the main characters.

"Because porn is about the sex itself, there can be all sorts of scenes between varying characters. It advances arousal, which is the goal of porn, and its impact on relationships is irrelevant because relationships aren’t the focus of porn," CC explained. "For my own stories, I want the relationship between the main characters to be front and center. I want their love and their commitment to come through to the readers. Infidelity can be an interesting plot device, and I’m not against using it, but I won’t describe it in romanticized detail on the page. If it happens, it’ll be touched on for the sake of the plot and the impact on the main characters but it will not be utilized to arouse."

If CC could entertain a character for an evening, it would be Zack Johnson from He Completes Me.

"Zach is irreverent, lewd, and fun. I think an evening with Zach would involve a good bit of drinking, a lot of sarcasm, and maybe even a little Karaoke," CC said.

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

"If I could be anyone I wanted, I’d still be me. I’m sure I would have answered that question differently if I was younger. But over the years, I’ve gotten comfortable in my own skin. I like my friends and family, I have a wonderful career, I’m privileged to have time to contribute to my community, and I’m fortunate enough to publish my writing. I’d say I have it pretty damn good. And if it ain’t broke … well, you know the rest."

If CC had to pierce a body part, it would be a helix piercing at the outer rim of the top of the ear.

"I like how those piercings look – a little out of the ordinary, but not screaming, 'look at me!' As far as sexy, I think there’s still a little bad boy/girl appeal to piercings. Even though they’re more common than they once were, they still have that, 'I’m a rebel and I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks' mystique. Plus, depending on where a piercing is located, they can take sexy to a new place by enhancing sex. A tongue piercing can be enjoyable if it’s used to lick the right body part. And genital piercings have their own joys to both the pierced person and the person they take to bed."

Finally, I asked CC, "What advice do you give authors wanting to write erotica?"

"As simple as it sounds, I’d say go for it. You’ll never know if you can do something unless you try it. If you write your story, step back for a little while, and read it; you’ll know whether it resonates with you. And I think if it resonates with you, there’ll be readers out there who will enjoy it as well."

You can keep up with CC on the website,

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