Good morning, Readers!!! It's rather cold here in Columbus, Ohio this morning, but the sun is supposed to come out soon and the temp will warm up to near 50. Today, in the blogging studio, I have with me multi-published award winning author, Erica DeQuaya. Erica, thank you for agreeing to let me interview you today. Help yourself to a cup of fresh macadamia nut coffee. **Erica hangs up her coat and places her coffee on the table between us.**
CAROL ANN: While perusing your website in preparation for this interview, I noticed that you write romantica. Your reason for choosing this genre is that you got tired of reading romances and having the bedroom door slammed in your face. **grin** So, can you tell me a little about what you do write, but keep in mind this is a PG-rated blog. **chuckle**
ERICA: **takes a sip of coffee and crosses her legs, leans back and grins** Glad to, Carol Ann! My claim to fame is erotic romance with a plot. I don't throw sex into a book just so two people can get their rocks off. That's fine for other writers, but it just isn't my style. There needs to be some kind of connection there, whether through a friendship (such as in my novel Mixed Media); a long-term marriage (from my novella Double Mitzvah) or even an antagonistic relationship (Rave Review, a short story).
Having said that, I start with a plot first, THEN work in the erotic scenes rather than the other way around.
CAROL ANN: Wonderful! I like to hear that. Romantica or erotic romance gets a bum rap sometimes because there are authors out there who do write nothing but sex without a plot. I've read a couple myself, and unfortunately, decided this wasn't for me. It's important for me to be entertained, and the book has to have a good plot to keep my interest. When I first started writing, I didn't realize there were so many different categories of romance, but I've always been a fan of the genre. That said, romance is a word which has many different meanings depending on the individual. Tell me what romance means to you.
ERICA: Romance is more than pretty flowers, sparkling jewelry or sultry words. Romance involves a deep connection between two individuals, which happens not only between the sheets, but in life. For example, I've spent romantic evenings with my husband where we don't end up in bed. Those times are romantic because of the sheer enjoyment we both get from being with one another, talking to one another and the physical things we do, such as holding hands, hugging and kissing. Sometimes those actions can be just as satisfying as bedroom gymnastics!.
CAROL ANN: So true. I see you are wearing a pair of jeans today. I'm glad you decided to come comfortable. As you can see, I'm wearing jeans myself. So tell me, are you a blue jeans or a skirt kind of woman?
ERICA: Oh, gosh. Blue jeans, definitely. I'll go one step further and say sweat pants!
CAROL ANN: Yes! I love sweat pants and sweat shirts. Although I work during the day, I can't wait to come home and change into my comfy clothes before I start writing. I'm lucky enough to have converted a bedroom into an office where I can get away from the other distractions of home life. Do you have a special place where you write?
ERICA: I'm a journalist with a "paying" job so I'm lucky enough to have a home office where most of my book writing and other stuff gets done. But last spring and summer, I spent a lot of time drafting my paranormal romance novel Soul Obsession at a couple of Starbucks. Soul Obsession is scheduled for a summer release under the name of my alter ego, Amy Wolff Sorter.
CAROL ANN: You also wrote Servant of the Gods under that alter ego. Servant of the Gods, readers, is a historical romance. **turns back to Erica** Since you're the journalist, maybe you should be interviewing me. **both laugh** Let's pretend you are in your home office working on your latest manuscript. You are "deep in the zone" with when you are interrupted with the telephone ringing. What do you do?
ERICA: I ignore the phone if I'm that deep into a manuscript. I figure that's what voice mail is for! Besides I have ADHD, and if I'm interrupted, it takes forever for me to re-find that "zone."
CAROL ANN: Oh, I wish I had your discipline. I just can't ignore a ringing telephone, especially if I know who is calling. I've been berated by many of my writing instructors because I just can't write an outline before I write my novel. I guess I'm a true seat of the pants writer. What are you-- a pantster or a plotter?
ERICA: I fly by the seat of my pants. When I sit down, I have a general idea of plot and characters and beginning and end, but then I let my stream of conscience go. It might take a little longer to get the story done, but I think it allows for some great creativity.
Soul Obsession is a case in point. In earlier drafts, I'd introduced a Chanukah menorah as an aside that the heroine had made in her childhood. In subsequent drafts, that menorah gained more importance, and it came out that both the hero AND heroine had created it when they were kids, which linked them further as adults. Had I followed an outline, that subplot likely never would have come to light.
CAROL ANN: I knew we had a lot in common! It's great to meet another panster. **Carol Ann and Erica drive a fist toward the sky** Woo hoo! Okay, enough of that. So tell me, Erica, of all your published novels, which is your favorite and why?
ERICA: **Cherie uncrosses her legs and leans forward for another drink of java** Mixed Media is my favorite because I like the characters so much. The hero, Stephen Lemont, made an appearance in my first novel, Backstage Affair. Unlike a lot of my other heroes, he isn't dark, tortured or tormented, but rather, has a great personality and terrific sense of humor. I also really liked Jennifer, the heroine. Those two forged a really terrific relationship, but I'm not biased or anything.**big grin**
CAROL ANN: I'm truly intrigued with your books. Stephen Lemont sounds like my kind of hero. Now for a very serious question. You walk into a McDonald's for lunch. What do you order?
ERICA: **laughs**OK, the secret's finally out. Alert the National Enquirer. McD's fries are my particular weakness. I could be happy with just two orders of those and a milkshake.
CAROL ANN: I can relate! Especially when I'm depressed. Gotta have a McD milkshake. I'm sure you have times when you are feeling a bit in the dumps, too. Who can make you laugh when you're down?
ERICA: My husband does a pretty good job of making me laugh. He knows the most godawful jokes and puns that can put me out of my misery more often than not. If he's not around, funny movies like Austin Powers or Monty Python'll do it. I'm a sucker for British comedy.
CAROL ANN: Laughing is a wonderful cure. It's healthy, and low in calories, too! **laugh** Here's another off the wall question. I want to make sure the readers get to know the real Erica. **wink** You just received a letter from an attorney telling you a relative you barely remember died and left you the sole heir of an island in the South Seas. What will you do with it?
ERICA: I'd probably visit it for a month, then sell it for obscene amounts of money. I'm not one who can languish on a South Seas island for too long without going stir crazy. Sun, fun and surf only go too far with me!
CAROL ANN: Yeah, sweat pants wouldn't be too good on that hot sunny island. And finally, a question I ask all authors. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?
ERICA: Definitely. I believe words have a power and when used correctly, can educate, enlighten and entertain; and be unforgettable. When words are just tossed out, or used hurtfully, it can have a negative effect. That's why I'm ultra critical of my own stuff, and polish it again and again because I want to be sure the words I use convey the right moods and meaning for my characters and stories.
It's an awesome responsibility being a writer. As writers, it's our job to take care of our readers. Whether it's taking care of them by giving them a few hours of enjoyment or by opening them to a new world with fascinating characters, it's something we need to take seriously. Every time I sit down to write a book (or review one), I ask myself what the reader will take away from it.
CAROL ANN: Erica, thank you so much for taking time to visit the blog studio. I had a wonderful time getting to know you. In fact, I think I'll be purchasing one of your books soon. You've been a wonderful guest and I wish you much success in the future.
Readers, you can learn more about Erica and her books by visiting the following links: http://www.thepinkposse.net/index3.html
If you'd like to contact Erica about her books, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org