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Three HQN Authors Dish About Their Hard Limits
Harlequin offers the world a buffet of romance and steamy sex stories. Today, authors Laura Kaye, Leia Rice and Stephanie Draven are here to tell us where they draw the line.
Ladies, is there any kind of erotica that you would never write? Is it related to things that you’d never do or are there some other guidelines you use?
Laura Kaye: There are no story types that I would have some hard aversion to or stance against. I’m a pretty open minded and adventurous person in my real life, and that certainly translates to my writing, where the safety of my imagination lets me explore even more than I would for real. More important to me would be whether the act or the fetish excites me, whether I have enough knowledge to feel I can do it justice, and whether I can create characters the readers would sympathize with for needing and wanting to do certain things. Except for blood in the case of a paranormal story, most bodily fluids do absolutely nothing for me as a fetish--I just don’t get it, though I do generally get the turn-on of humiliation because it’s a power play. So, for me, bring on the kink! LOL
Stephanie Draven: There’s a ton of stuff I’d never do but would happily write about, so that doesn’t really factor into it at all. Some stories are thought experiments. They’re fantasies and nothing more, so I don’t limit myself to exploration of sex acts I’m into any more than a mystery writer would only write about murders he might be willing to commit. However, I have to be able to understand the turn-on. In some respects, writers are like actors, so I need to be able to put myself into the character’s shoes and imagine what she feels. And there are a few fetishes that I just don’t get. I don’t have anything against any consensual fantasy...I just won’t write about it if I can’t feel it in my gut. For example, I get the tingles over psychological power games like the ones I explore in The Fever and the Fury. I get them. But I can’t get my head around the fetishism of rope-art and latex. I understand why a woman might be turned on by being restrained and powerless, but I’m not sure I get the arousal attached to the idea of tying pretty knots. Oh, and also, I don’t really get the blood thing. Maybe Laura can teach me a thing or two.
Leia Rice: What I write in erotica has nothing to do with what I am personally comfortable with or what I would do. I am writing fiction, and everything that is created is just that -- created. On that note, I am not into fetishes either, so I probably wouldn’t touch that. I also like to stick to the more “traditional” forms of sex, be it with two people or more. I don’t like to be surprised by sexual acts when I am reading erotica; if it makes me have to re-read it to figure out what they are doing...then it’s probably too much for me.
What kind of lines are you willing to cross in writing erotic fiction?
Stephanie Draven: I would absolutely write erotic stories about off-limit fantasies like bodice-ripping, reluctance, non-consent, face-slapping, etc. But I would only do it if I were paying very close attention to the subtext of the story. That is to say, I would never write a story, the subtext of which that said brutalizing another human being against their will is ok. People have these fantasies--and they’re allowed to have these fantasies and I think fiction should give a healthy outlet for them. The emphasis is on healthy. If I can craft a story that has a powerful message underneath the forbidden, I’ll do it.
Laura Kaye: I’d be willing to cross most lines, though I’d be less likely to cross the non-consent line. I get why that is a source of fantasy for some people--and among men, rough sex and pushing lines of consent is a top-ranking fantasy (not that the vast majority would ever act on it, no more than the majority of women fantasizing about force fantasies means women want to be forced...). But it’s a line I personally don’t want to characterize as crossable. However, anything that consenting adults want to do to or with one another, I’d be willing to experiment with and explore.
Leia Rice: I like to push sexual acts that don’t actually involve intercourse. I think that it’s hot when characters are being sexual, but they aren’t having sex. There are lots of other options besides oral and manual pleasure, and I like to explore just how far I can go with this before they actually do-the-deed.
About the Authors:
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