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Saturday, October 1, 2011
Author Interview with Janet Mullany
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Janet Mullany, who had a contemporary erotic romance, Tell Me More, released this summer. She also has a new book in her Immortal Jane series scheduled for release next week Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion.
I asked her to tell us a little bit about Tell Me More.
Tell me every dirty detail….
Jo Hutchinson is obsessed with a man she’s never seen—only heard. Her late-night calls from the office to the mysterious “Mr. D.” grow increasingly intimate, until they finally become full-blown phone sex. Still, Jo doesn’t dare meet him. Instead, she embarks on a series of sizzling sexual escapades with other guys, sharing every sweaty moment with Mr. D. afterward, a passion-by-proxy arrangement they both get off on. But even as she’s charting brave new naughty worlds, Jo knows that it’s all really for Mr. D. Every pleasure she xperiences—eagerly, athletically, vocally—is to please him.
Immersed in fantasy, reality just slips away—even the chance at that elusive combination of love and lust. Her new tenant, Patrick, an Irish hunk in geek’s clothing, is totally into her. And in her lucid moments, Jo knows she feels the same. Can she tear herself away from her kinky dreamworld long enough to appreciate what’s right in front of her? Or has Mr. D. ruined her for real life?
I asked Janet how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
"Really, I don't spend a lot of time agonizing about this but I think it's a pity porn now has such a bad name, meaning almost exclusively visuals on the Internet. Everyone has their own level of kink and what may turn you on may make me go eeew and vice versa. The term erotica is a bit high-falutin', in my opinion, and while the romance genre claims to be all about the emotions and the relationships the sex is pretty much indispensable. We all know that's part of the pleasure of reading romance."
Whatever you call it, she thinks Pam Rosenthal and Portia Da Costa both write excellent erotic fiction: Pam for her "beautiful, daring use of language" and Portia for her "general naughty humor and creativity," with Safe Word by Molly Wetherfield being her favorite erotic book.
"It's a sequel to another book, Carrie's Story," Janet said, "but reads as a stand alone. I love the way the author plays with time and space and directs the narration."
When she's writing her own fiction, the sex scenes have to make sense within the context of the story and should be different as they reflect the story and character arcs, she told me, adding, "And if they give me damp panties--that's VERY important."
"What are some of the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I wondered.
"First, that explicit language defines erotica. It's one of the weapons at our disposal, but erotica--and the language--is so much more. I'm not promoting purple prose or exotic euphemisms; if anything I'd say the plainer the language, the better, but the words have to be right for the situation and the characters and very carefully chosen. You can't rely on some word or phrase or image someone has used before. The other misconception is that if you write erotic romance you automatically do everything your characters do (nudge nudge wink wink), which is pretty tiresome. I haven't taken a carriage ride around London two centuries ago but I can write about it!"
Janet told me she thinks she's always been on the edge when it comes to writing erotica.
"The first time I showed my writing to a critique group they asked me what my heroine's motivation for having sex was, and I was terribly confused: she wasn't having sex to save her life, for instance, or for money. To me it's always been that desire is a mystery and irrational and dangerous and wonderful. Like many writers I'm secretly convinced that I write the same book over and over. I don't differentiate much when I'm writing but it depends entirely upon the voice. I'm always very entertained when readers claim my historicals for Little Black Dress have 'no sex.' They don't have explicit sex but they have a very strong erotic undertone. I know that when I sit down to write erotic romance (or whatever it is I do write!) I can be freer with language and, when I wish to be, more explicit."
On a more personal note... if Janet could be anyone she wanted, she would really like to be a man for a day or two "just to see what it's like."
She prefers fruit for eating off another person, saying, "I think it's very sexy and can be up to good use just about about anywhere, whole, sliced, smushed."
Her favorite food is cheese, which satisfies both the fat and salt foot groups, but she didn't come from a pickle culture and can't bring herself to eat them. She also can't tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, but assured me, "It doesn't seem to have made much difference in my life."
"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I wondered.
"Oh, I wish."
Her strangest habit is, she told me, sadly not all that strange for a writer.
"I talk to myself, a lot, but it's less noticeable now with so many people on cells."
When she's not writing, she can usually be found gardening, "which means," she explained, "mostly ripping up weeds and discovering that squirrels have eaten my tomatoes. I'm also a docent at a local historical house."
Finally, I asked Janet, "What research books do you recommend for writers starting out in writing erotica?"
"I always recommend How to Write a Dirty Story by Susie Bright. She doesn't know much about romance, so ignore that (it's quite an old book) but her advice otherwise is very sound."
You can keep up with Janet on her Facebook account, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Janet-Mullany-Author/144530775580812