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Thursday, January 19, 2012

GUEST BLOG: Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye, Leia Rice

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What I’d Never Write
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:
Stephanie Draven is a multi-published award-nominated author of myth-inspired paranormal romance. Writing for HQN Nocturne, Stephanie’s Mythica series asks the question: What if the monsters of ancient mythology still walked the earth...and what if you found out that you were one of them? Currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies, Stephanie lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

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Laura Kaye is a multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Three of her four current books have hit bestseller lists, and two have been nominated for or won awards. Available books include: HEARTS IN DARKNESS (contemporary romance), FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), JUST GOTTA SAY (erotic romance), and NORTH OF NEED (Book 1 in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, contemporary fantasy romance). IN THE SERVICE OF THE KING is the first in a mini-series of novellas featuring the Vampire Warrior Kings. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Leia Rice is an avid lover of everything Parisian, Ancient Grecian and Ancient Roman. She wishes that women would still wear the pretty dresses and petticoats that they did back in the 18th century, but she’s well aware how much of a pain they must have been. Leia writes historical fiction, romance and erotica in these areas, because she cannot get enough of each respective time period.

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Debby said...

Good Morning, Love the book. I have visited before on other blogs.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Victoria said...

Those are great answers. Makes me wonder what lines I'm willing to cross while reading. So far, I haven't put a book down because of something but I have made note that I really didn't care for subservience and domination. I can't relate to them.


Laura Kaye said...

Thanks for kicking off the comments, Debby!

Victoria--I love me an adventurous reader! *winks*

Thanks for commenting, guys!

Sharon Buchbinder said...

Great questions and great answers! In my writing, I am dead set against non-consensual and drug facilitated sexual assault. I've read a few contest entries that have gone waaaaaay over that line and I've marked them down for it.

Many happy sales, ladies!


Unknown said...

Great post! I have to agree - I'm pretty open minded, so I don't object to anything other than non-consensual or any type of drug facilitated assault *shudder.*

I hope 2012 brings you (and me!) many more wonderful novels ;-)

Gena Robertson

books4me said...

I'm pretty openminded about what I read. As long as it's well-written, it's usually a good read!

books4me67 at ymail dot com

booklover0226 said...

Interesting post, Ladies. I enjoyed reading it.

I am willing to read anything at least once.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Laura Kaye said...

Woot! Love you guys!

Sharon--you and I have talked about this and you KNOW I totally agree.

So many adventurous readers--love it! *grins*