If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Erotic Romance with Maryn Sinclair

I had no exposure to the erotic romance genre before reading Maryn Sinclair’s, Sexual Persuasion, which was released two weeks ago by the publisher, Loose ID, so I was pleasantly surprised by Maryn’s book. I usually read traditional mystery or variations of that genre. Reading a new genre interested me because I wanted to know how an erotic romance book differed from other genres. Needless to say, the subject matter was compelling, so plowing through the book wasn’t a problem.

EBD: Maryn, before I ask you questions, give us the log line and hook of Sexual Persuasion.

MS: Can two people with trust issues overcome their messy pasts and build a relationship?

EBD: Is trust a common theme in female erotic novels?

MS: I can only speak for my work, but I think trust is a common theme in any romance, whether it’s the written word or in real life.

EBD: Prior to Sexual Persuasion, had you written other erotic romance novels? What was your orientation?

MS: No, I’d never written an erotic romance, but I have written graphic sex scenes in my romantic suspense/suspense novels. One critique partner advised me to eliminate them to make my novels more salable, but I haven’t. I don’t understand why making love is so offensive that writers “suggest” it or put it behind closed doors, and killing people by violent means isn’t. Graphic murder = Good, or at least, acceptable. Making love = Bad, or at best, secretive. (I’m shaking my head.) Yes, I realize that many mysteries keep the nasty details of the crime off-scene, but almost all love scenes are behind closed doors, even in most romantic suspense novels. Maybe someone can explain why to me.

EBD: Did the publisher have any guidelines, or did you read their books to find out what was required?

MS: They wanted hot sex. Period. That’s the genre and that’s what people read erotic romance and erotica for. I found it a very difficult genre to write because I didn’t want the sex to be contrived. Of course it is in some instances. It can’t help but be. My personal criterion: write a good story and make the sex believable.

EBD: I understand that the publisher liked your writing and teamed you with a creative editor, which I find to be an unbelievable investment in a writer, but an economically sound decision given your level of writing. How did you work with the editor, and what was the editor’s job?

MS: It’s an interesting story. I sent my novel to four erotic eBook publishers. All four rejected the book, but Loose Id told me why and what they liked about the book, multiple plotlines, for instance. The editor asked if I’d be interested in working with a developmental editor. I hopped at the chance. What a great opportunity. She was terrific. She pointed out the good things and was very complimentary. That was a bit of ego stroking, and it encouraged me to keep trying to please her. She eased me along, then they offered me a contract. I’ve had four edits on Sexual Persuasion, three different editors, not counting the developmental editor. They have been first rate all the way, and I feel fortunate to have them as my publisher.

EBD: The sex scenes are vivid. But I noticed that you used only the “F” word, in its literal sense, without using pejoratives. Is this a requirement for the female erotic reader?

MS: I don’t think there are requirements other than writing a good, sexy story and writing it well. I have no problem with graphic language, and if I found the right place for my character(s) to use it and it made sense to do so, I would have. I do in my suspense books.

EBD: In Sexual Persuasion, the subject matter includes heterosexuality, homosexuality, and sadomasochism. Is there any subject matter that is verboten?

MS: Yes. The following topics taken directly from the Loose Id website are unacceptable: pedophilia; necrophilia--undead doesn't count; bestiality; sentient shifters, aliens and paranormal creatures are OK; scat or golden showers—territorial marking may be acceptable in extraordinary cases; rape or incest calculated to arouse the reader. Villains may commit rape or incest to demonstrate malicious intent, but it should occur in a manner that is not arousing, or offstage. Rape or incest can have occurred in a character's past, but the hero or heroine should never perpetrate rape or incest during the scope of the story; forced seduction, capture, or dubious consent are acceptable; snuff.

I had to look up a couple of those words because I wasn’t sure what they meant. I wouldn’t write them anyway. These are pretty standard taboos for erotic romance. Remember, erotic romance is not porn. Neither is erotica, which doesn’t necessarily have to have a happily ever after (HEA) ending.

EBD: Although in Sexual Persuasion, there not only is history, but backstory that eventually compounds the plot. Is this complex storytelling normal in erotic romance literature?

MS: I think you have to look at erotic romance as an umbrella under which every other genre is represented: mystery, suspense, thrillers, historical, fantasy, science fiction, steam punk, chic lit, humor, GLBT, westerns—you name it, except for novels geared toward youth. That’s a huge umbrella, and people should stop trying to limit it or treat it differently than other novels. The one thing it has in common is a sensual relationship, whether it’s between a man and a woman, two men, two women, or a combination of multiples. There are no murders in Sexual Persuasion, but there are crimes committed and elements that put it in the suspense category.

EBD: In three consecutive paragraphs, you use the following verbs: pleasuring, dancing, ran, bit, sucked, enthralled, excited, unzip, slipped, stepped, easing, and pushed. Was it hard coming up with new and active verbs?

MS: I have more trouble with laugh, smile, look, just, there, was, and had. I hope I didn’t overuse the ones you mentioned within three consecutive paragraphs. I’ll have to run a FIND on those.

EBD: I understand that Loose ID bought another of your manuscripts. What’s the title, and how does this book differ from Sexual Persuasion?

MS: Yes. The next one is called THE ESCORT, and it’s quite different, although my main characters in both books think they don’t want to be involved in a relationship. Since erotic romance insists on a happy ever after ending, there’s no surprise that they all change their minds. Besides, I couldn’t spend months writing a book about lovers and not have the main characters wind up together. What would be the point? THE ESCORT has more humor, though there are dark subplots.

EBD: Will you continue to write erotic romance novels, or will you pursue other genres in the future?

MS: I’ll write whatever moves me at the time. Erotic romance has forged a road to publication that my suspense novels haven’t. There’s something to be said for that. Whatever I write, in whatever genre, I’ll strive to keep the reader interested by writing a good story. There’s a lot of schlock out there in all genres, and there’s a lot of great material. A writer’s goal is to write the best book(s)he can, whether it’s mystery or suspense…or erotic romance. It’s a constant learning process, and that’s what I love about it. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, whatever that might be.

EBD: Having written only traditional mysteries, I know that writing a new genre increased my writing skills. How has successfully writing an erotic romance novel added to your skill as a writer?

MS: I’m not sure a change in genres has much to do with increasing a writer’s skills. To me, those skills are technical and come with the actual writing process. An athlete improves because of practice—doing the same thing over and over increases his or her skills. Same with writing. The more we write, the more we learn. Changing genres makes you THINK differently. For example, erotic romance, and romance in general, is all about emotions—deep POV. How does a character feel? If you write in third person, you write as if you’re expressing the thoughts in first person. That’s deep. I learned the technique in my transition, and I’ll use it in other genres because it draws the reader into the character’s heads and makes a more meaningful connection with the reader.

Maryn Sinclair is a New England native living in the South who loves creating characters who murder, love hate, and connive, but mostly love. She has lived in Italy and pursued a few careers, all having to do with the arts. Writing took her by storm, and she hasn’t stopped. Her novels are erotic, but she hopes readers find that they’re more than about sex, with contemporary characters who are confident, insecure, damaged, recovering, loyal, duplicitous, intriguing, heartbreaking, and every other conflicting adjective known to Roget, hooking readers from the beginning and turning pages until the end. If they do, she says, “I’ve done my job, and will keep writing and loving every minute.”

Website: http://MarynSinclair.com
Buyer’s link: http://www.loose-id.com/Sexual-Persuasion.aspx
Email address: MarynSinclair@gmail.com


Warren Bull said...

It's great that your publisher had enough faith in your writing skills to give you a developmental editor and that you were able to work with a variety of editors to get published. I really like your description of the development of a writers. Thank you for writing for WWK.

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, her publisher's commitment is a testiment to her writing skill. When Maryn told me about their assigning her a developmental editor, I was floored and impressed. How many publishers today put their money on an unknown?

Maryn Sinclair said...

Thanks, Warren and E.B. I hear about publishers skimping on the editing process and I've read some sloppily-edited books lately, so, yeah, this was a refreshing experience. I'm doing a post June 1st on Five Scribes with three other writers about our experiences with our publishers' editing. If anyone thinks his/her book is ready to hit that huge readership out there, let me tell you, it probably isn't. I couldn't believe some of the things I missed. I certainly learned a lot that I incorporated into my second book. It doesn't get any better than that.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Maryn and E.B. Fantastic!!! Interview. E.B., you asked the questions I wanted to know. Maryn, each of your books sound so different from one another,and how great that your passionate about your writing.) The fact that you believe so much in what your writing shows through in the pages,

And the fact that Loose ID enlisted the help of an editorial counterpart to help direct you shows they recognize your talent. I doubt seriously that they do that as a norm.

Well done, you two!

Pauline Alldred said...

What a wonderful experience to have a developmental editor. I'm sure your writing was what convinced your publisher to provide such an editor.

I hadn't spent much time reading erotic romance but I can see how it can include aspects from so many other genres. I have to try your book.

Sasscer Hill said...

I have been lucky enough to read Sinclair's suspense books. She is a great writer and I look forward to reading this book.

Definitely one not to miss!

Sasscer Hill, Best First Agatha Finalist.

Maryn Sinclair said...

I've always been curious to ask if Loose Id assigns every writer a developmental editor, Donnell, but I haven't. I just feel fortunate they did with me.

As far as the book Sasscer read--my agent must have submitted that book to two dozen publishing houses. There were a few close calls, but no takers. She pitched another book too. Life is short, getting shorter. I felt it was time to take charge, and I'm glad I did.

I hope both Sasscer and Pauline do read the book. I'd be interested in what you think.

Betsy Bitner said...

Good interview, E.B. and Congratulations Maryn! I read the first chapter on your website and now I'll have to get the book to find out what happens next.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Maryn and E.B.,

What a super interview! I'm thrilled to know such a talented writer. How wonderful to have had a developmental editor to hone your writing skills to publication level - many writers would give their eyeteeth for such an opportunity.

Maybe one of these fine days you will pull out your suspense books and look at them with a different view, and find ways to keep buffing and polishing them.

Wishing you all the best.

Maryn Sinclair said...

Very cool, Betsy. I hope you enjoy the rest of it.

And Maggie, it's a pleasure to know you too. You were a big help on the second book, The Escort, which now has a release date: July 5th. How much fun is this? Now if I can just finish the third book.

Thanks all.

E. B. Davis said...

Your willingness to adapt and change your writing is probably the most important element I picked up from this interview. Writers who look upon their written words as if they were sacred have much to learn from you. I'm also so impress by your determination--which is also key to your success. Thanks so much for the interview Maryn. We'll look forward to having you back when The Escort is released. Take care!

Maryn Sinclair said...

Thanks for having me, E.B. It was great fun. And thanks to everyone for chiming in.

Ellis Vidler said...

Ah, I'm late reading this but I'm glad I didn't miss it. E.B., very nice interview, and Maryn, I like the insights you offer into the world of publishing. It's refreshing to know there are good editors and publishers out there who are willing to work with a talented writer. I've read Sexual Persuasion and really enjoyed it--all of it. Good story, characters to love, and hot sex. Wow!
Looking forward to The Escort--July, isn't it?

Maryn Sinclair said...

Thanks, Ellis. Yes, The Escort will be released July 5th. Plug, plug. I hope it's as well-received as Sexual Persuasion.