This is part of a series looking back at the first five interviews we did on Whipped Cream. This interview originally appeared on our site on July 8, 2008.
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Kaenar Langford. Kaenar was born in Ireland, but now makes her home in rural Ontario. Living in the country, though, doesn’t stop her from travelling the world in her mind and books. She told me that her family has gotten used to seeing the back of her head as she sits at the computer, transported to wherever the story takes her. I asked her what her family thought about her choice of genres. “My immediate family—my husband and two sons—know exactly what I write and are very proud of me. My parents and sister thing I write romance novels,” she said. “Well, I do—sort of. They’re delighted with my success, not sure about the romance genre and would never understand my need to write erotica. I solve the problem by not telling them.”
Her friends and colleagues are, though, she said, “secretly delighted” with her new adventure into writing erotic romance. I asked her what she has found some of the biggest public misconceptions about erotica to be.
“Two things really annoy me about how people view erotica,” she said. “I get so peeved when people complain that erotica is just sex without a plot. No storyline. They obviously haven’t read many of the stories that are out there, or they would know differently. Erotic stories are just as intricately crafted and planned as any other genre of the literature. Most erotic novels have well developed plots and strong characters, and to suit the preference of most readers, a happy ending.
“The other thing that drives me nuts is when people tell me that ‘those stories’ are written according to a predetermined formula the publisher has given them. I don’t know about other publishers but Ellora’s Cave and Total-E-Bound, the two I write for, have no magic formula that their authors follow. Each story is painstakingly handcrafted according to the particular writer’s style. It certainly would be easier to just plug in some sort of predesigned format, but that’s not how it happens.”
Kaenar told me when she started writing her book, she thought she was writing a nice contemporary novel with some naughty scenes. “Something totally different appeared on my computer screen,” she shared with me. “I’m not quite sure how that happened.”
I asked her how her writing career evolved. “I attended a workshop on ‘How to Write a Romance Novel.’ About twenty minutes before the end of class, the instructor read us some introductory paragraphs to a few romance novels and asked us to write one. I was floored. No way could I do that,” she said. “I put my pen to paper and began to write. With the presenter’s encouragement, I went home and saved the paragraph on my computer so I wouldn’t lose it. I wrote and wrote for five months, spending every spare minute on the manuscript. I submitted it to three publishers and got back three nice rejections. I then sent it to Ellora’s Cave and, after taking three weeks to make suggested changes, I resubmitted and was offered a contract.
“That original paragraph from the workshop still stands at the beginning of the book, exactly as I first penned it. I was delighted to see it on the Ellora’s Cave blog, Redlines and Deadlines, March 27. My editor had submitted it for the blog entitled “That first line of a submission that hooked one of our editors so hard s/he requested the full and then contracted the book. It was number four on the list.”
I asked her to share that first line with us. From Lucifer’s Angel: He had that look about him—those worn jeans, the white t-shirt stretched across his wide chest, the black boots, the leather jacket.
Kaenar didn’t start another book until Lucifer’s Angel had been accepted by Ellora’s Cave. “I guess I wanted to see if the book was good enough to get published,” she said, “and the contract from them was the go-ahead to get back to writing. I found the second acceptance to be almost more meaningful, in that it seemed to justify the title of ‘author’ and the acceptance of the first book.”
Some other facts you may or may not know about Kaenar: her favorite food is pizza. “I could eat it every day,” she told me. “Thin crust, lots of cheese and vegetarian toppings. Pesto, olives, spinach, feta cheese. Food of the gods.”
She also prefers Coke over Pepsi, even though she doesn’t drink either very often and is not sure if she could tell them apart in a blind taste-test.
She has one incident from her life that, if it hasn’t made it into one of her books yet, should. I’ll let her tell you about it.
“Years ago, I was with a group of exchange students as a teacher chaperone. We were spending the day at a friend’s cottage—another teacher. Everybody was swimming and waterskiing and having a great time. I wanted to get out of the water so my friend grabbed my hands and started to draw me up into his boat. Unfortunately, the bathing suit I was wearing tied around the neck, so as he pulled me up, the force of the water rolled the top of my bathing suit down. Since he was holding my hands to haul me in, there was nothing I could do. When I landed in the boat, my suit had peeled its way down to my waist. Luckily the kids were all busy and didn’t notice, but my friend and I just killed ourselves laughing. I’m sure my blush went from forehead to crotch. It was really embarrassing.”
Finally, I asked Kaenar what one piece of advice she would give to new writers. “Don’t give up,” she said. “If you submit and it comes back, get someone else to read and critique the manuscript for you. Not a family member—they’ll love it no matter what. Keep writing, read what’s popular or what you like and try to figure out what puts that book there for you or for other readers. Go to workshops and conferences. Spending the money helps you get in touch with other writers or publishers.”
You can read more about Kaenar and her works at her website, http://www.kaenar.com