Contests runs through Sunday night 9 PM EST! Drawings held on Jan 30.
Grab your favorite beverage and enjoy the convo!
What is the most exciting thing, for you, about writing this genre as a couple?
Brenda: Hi Adri Ana, love your site and its comfy here! *settling on the sofa beside Steve, places her hand on his thigh* The open communication we have! We ask each other questions that other couples wouldn’t dare ask. Writing with Steve is awesome and the research is well......very good. *winks*
Steve: *placing his arm around Brenda’s neck* Communication is the key but writing with Brenda is a dream job. I've learned a lot from her by being able to discuss sexual things other men only wonder about. The wish-bone questions that if they ask their lovers, could take them into a new direction in the relationship.
Ana: Hi back atcha, and thanks for joining us in this four-way… *grins* conversation! Typically, romance is written by women, for women. However, about twenty percent of the readership of romance is men, and I’m guessing that percentage is higher in the more sexually explicit end of the romance spectrum. I also suspect a lot of women who read romance wish their partners could get interested in it and join them – in much the same ways many couples use explicit videos together. Adri and I got excited about writing as a couple, for couples, offering a little something for everyone. We highly recommend that couples read our books together, and for me, that’s exciting. Well, and we love the research, too.
Adri: What will the characters demand of us next? That's the question that often drives the plotting, the writing, even the editing. The excitement boils over in the process of getting stories on the page until we all – the writers and the characters – agree that we've got it down the best that we can. We are often awakened in the night with a new plot twist that a heroine won't let us ignore. Or an imposing hero has taken umbrage with how his role is shortchanged. The excitement is definitely in the process. Hopefully some of that excitement seeps through the narrative and into the dialogue and action.
How did you get started writing together?
Steve: Brenda and I had classes together in high school. When our 30th reunion was getting close, we both were looking for old friends. Brenda found me on MySpace but I didn't include my last name, just that I went to Bradwell. She asked me which Steve I was and I asked "How many Steves do you know?" She started naming all the Steves she knew but not me. I told her I was in the band and she knew exactly who I was. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. As we emailed back and forth, cell numbers were exchanged and we found ourselves talking several times a day. I asked Brenda what was on her ‘Bucket List’ because the movie was out at the time. We learned we both had written poems and wanted to be published.
Brenda: I like how Steve's answer this question in an interview!
Adri: We'd done a lot of writing together in over our careers, both critiquing each other's work and co-authoring, so when we got around to writing fiction we already had a fair amount of experience with trying to put thoughts down on paper as a team.
Ana: Well, and much like Brenda and Steve, each of us had harbored dreams of writing fiction since at least our teen years. About ten years ago we had some serious “what do we want the rest of our lives to look like” discussions and this was one dream we decided to commit to. We started plotting and drafting our first novel (which has never been published and probably never should be), I shopped it at my first RWA meeting, we took workshops together, kept submitting and honing our skills, and finally in 2006 our first erotic romance was published.
What made you decide erotica/erotic romance was what you wanted to write?
Brenda: I had written a story, just a few pages, back in 2004 hoping to submit to Harlequin or a romance pub house. I really didn’t think the story would be good enough to publish, so I set it aside. When Steve and I reconnected, we discussed our ‘Bucket List’. Mine was to be published. I mentioned the story, he asked me to email it to him and from there “Best Lover in Town” was born.
Steve: After I read Brenda's story, I asked her what she thought about making it erotic. After researching to see if there was a market for erotica, she agreed. We used this opportunity to discuss all of our fantasies, likes and dislikes as we wrote “Best Lover in Town”. This allowed us to reconnect and learn about each other. We wrote BLT apart from each other by connecting our computers, Brenda was in Portland, OR and I was in Dallas, TX. The final chapter was written together on the road when I moved her to Dallas.
Adri: When agents and editors assessed some of our early non-erotic fiction manuscripts, we consistently received very positive feedback about our love scenes and our ability to write sexual tension. Then one asked, "have you considered writing erotic romance?" We hadn't. But the question spurred us on to ask, "why not?" And so we embarked on an even more amazing writing journey.
Ana: Another clue we were on the right track was the realization, for each of us, that our erotic scenes turned us on. We always read all our scenes out loud as we progress through drafting each of our books, and if the scene doesn’t succeed, we know we have to go back to the drawing board (or, perhaps, the choreography *grins*).
What do you hope readers take away from your books?
Brenda: I hope readers will be able to share with their significant other the secret fantasies they crave to try. Our books are very sexual and we don’t hold back on anything under the sheets, in the kitchen or in the shower!
Steve: We write as a couple with both the male and female point of view. This gives the reader a realistic insight to what is happening. Even as a writer, I'm learning how a woman thinks and what she feels. I hope the reader will learn from all the exhausting research we do. *wink*
Adri: We hope readers – individuals, couples, and more-somes – will be affirmed and inspired, perhaps giving themselves permission to dream fantasies that they thought were verboten, or giving themselves permission to try something different, to experiment, to risk to spice up their sexual journey/s. Our characters often do that for us. When we assume we are writing their stories they tend to remind us sometimes rather sharply that we are but the scribes writing the stories they wish to share with us. There have been many moments when our characters take us down paths that we remain uncertain about following. Usually they prove to be trustworthy and true, and we benefit from their adventuresome natures. We sincerely hope our readers also reap those benefits.
Ana: Couldn’t have said it better. Our characters have a great time and get very inventive in their sex lives – we want our readers to come along for the ride and have a good time, alone or together. Above all we hope readers are inspired to enjoy their own sexuality across their entire life span. We surely intend to!
Who do you consider your target audience to be?
Brenda: Hard question. I see more 30 yrs of age and over purchasing our books.
Steve: I thought our sells would have been more females, but the numbers have been about equal. We have sold several books to men who gave them to their girlfriends or wives.
Adri: Women and men of legal age who find reading about the sexually adventurous to be entertaining. We seldom write pure erotica, so we write for an audience that enjoys sexually explicit romance. While our characters often have to deal with real life challenges and tragedies, we write happy endings—or at least endings suggest the characters will work out satisfying endings, whether we are watching or not. Within this broad audience of people curious about the sexually adventurous, we do single out at times older heroes and heroines as our "boomer" characters meet the challenge of nurturing and maintaining sexual lives throughout the lifespan. More and more, research and anecdotal evidence suggests that while sexual practices may have to adapt to the inevitable changes of aging, they do not need to be tucked away in a closet of memories, but can continue to be embraced and acted out in many rewarding and uplifting ways. Therefore, our characters offer the hope of sexually fulfilling lives at whatever age.
Ana: ‘Nuff said.
Has (or, how has) writing this genre together impacted your relationship with each other?
Brenda: Besides being able to talk about everything, we are very close. So close, we don’t like to be apart for very long. Steve’s my best friend.
Steve: That's why we write together; eight hours away at a job is too hard for us. When we did work at separate jobs, we talked on the phone during all our breaks. We also complete each other's thoughts in everyday conversations and when writing. Since we write erotica, we always have sexual conversations. This keeps our relationship in tune and interesting as we research all desires many couples keep secret.
Ana: We had to get comfortable with challenging each other and taking honest critique in ways most of the rest of our marriage hasn’t required. Coordinating and agreeing, not just on the syntax and writing style, but on how a scene unfolds, what a character might be experiencing, which words to best convey it to the reader – it can easily be a tussle, not for the weak at heart. On the up side? Writing erotic romance together has directly fed our relationship, deepened our bond and spiced up our own love life. Sometimes our characters come up with things we’ve never thought of trying – never mind whether we do everything our characters do; even the fantasies are definitely worth it.
Adri: There is little doubt that our relationship, sexual and otherwise, is more robust given that as writers we must live and breathe what we write. That doesn't mean we've tried everything our characters find themselves doing. But at the very least it means they continue to stretch our imaginations! We've had the fun and good fortune of visiting many places around the globe that spawn plots and twists and enticing characters—at least, enticing for us. For example, we often say and almost expect Meghan from the Meghan's Playhouse series to pop in and surprise us one of these days for a weekend romp.
What special qualities do you believe you offer readers because you are writing as a couple?
Brenda: I think our readers/fans see our happy relationship in the comments and post we do on FB and blogger. That we are real, very down to earth and caring of others and each other.
Steve: Brenda and I are each other's biggest fan. We can discuss anything openly without fear of being put down. I hope the reader can learn from us as a team to please their significant other by seeing both points of view.
Adri: We hope we offer experiences that both halves of a couple can identify with and fantasize about.
Ana: What he said. We hope we’re able to reach inside both genders to write realistic characters, and that we’re able to plumb the depths of real relationships.
Do you have any advice for other couples who’d like to write this genre together?
Steve: Ask questions to each other and answer honestly to get their point of view. When Brenda and I first started writing there were several times when we said, “A man/woman wouldn't say that, or feel that way”. By talking it out thoroughly, we’ve learned more and more. Don't be afraid of deep, open talks with each other. What you’ll learn will make you a better writer, lover, and friend.
Ana: It’s pretty crazy and fraught with danger – don’t go there unless your relationship is really solid.
Adri: I'm not sure I see it as so dangerous—but I definitely agree if your relationship isn't solid, don't go there. Once you begin to seriously write erotic romance together it will never be just the two of you again. A new heroine, a new hero won't let you rest until you at least begin to tell their story. They will share your lives completely.
Ana: I can’t resist adding – the extra (fictional) bedfellows sure make life interesting! To clarify, though – the danger I meant was the risk of relationship conflict that might arise from having to challenge each other’s creative products in order to make the combined product even better. What’s fascinating is how frequently it’s the characters who fuel the conflict, and who then resolve it, if we listen to them.
Brenda: I was going to leave this question for Steve to only answer... but LOL I agree with you Anna. Writing as a couple, you can't be in competition with each other. Both of the team should be good with coming up with ideas, titles and characters. One or the other will have stronger traits such as adding the fluff or better with character names. Just blend your story together, go back over it, and have Adobe Reader read it aloud to you. Edit!
Adri & Ana: Thank YOU so much for joining us for this conversation and hosting us at your blog today! We’re sure hoping for more four-ways like this one – it’s just exciting to be connecting with another couple who thinks the way we do about exploring and sharing what keeps us sexually alive through writing erotica/erotic romance!
Pushing the Limits, Book Eight in our Swinging Games series, was just released at Extasy Books and is also available at Amazon.
We started writing the series about three years ago because we were fascinated by the Swing Lifestyle and thought it would be a fun device to deliver a wide range of ménage and other hot sex scenes for our readers. We created our lead characters – a Baby Boomer couple whose kids are grown. Brett and Jen Andrews have decided to try swinging to spice up their sex life, and because Jen has newly realized she’s bisexual. Here’s the blurb for their latest adventure:
BLURB: Their new Unicorn Sarah Creston may be out of town, but that doesn’t stop Jen and Brett Andrews from burning up the wires with some scorching three-way phone sex. While they’re waiting for Sarah, Ryan eagerly pursues Brett for some hot male action, followed by a house party that challenges Jen and Brett’s stereotypes. Sarah finally arrives, exhausted and drained from weeks spent helping her aging parents. Jen and Brett provide total tender care for three days—but when Jen invites Sarah to move in for the whole summer, Brett asks himself, is there a limit?
Here’s a link to an excerpt: http://adrianakraft.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/weekend-dirty-dozen-pushing-the-limits/
Other places to find us:
Brenda & Steve: Thanks Adri Ana for visiting with us today and having us on your blog. It’s been very fun chatting with another couple who writes together and we'll definitely have to do this again. We know two more couples who write erotic to pull in on a octal-waysome. LOL well that be an orgy? *weg*
Rainie's Lake, read a free sample, our fifth published book. Available on Smashwords, All Romance, Amazon, Xcite Books and Erotic Escapes Ebooks.
*A yummy erotic tale with paranormal features, I loved this book! ~ Adrainna Kraft
*This is another good story - give it a chance, step out onto that dock and peek into the water! ~Tonya Kinzer
Taking a long overdue vacation, Art Instructor Dylan Bishop is eager to start his trip to the cabin in the mountains. When he saw the photo online with the rental ad, he knew this was his destination. Being drawn to the lake nestled behind the cabin with a private dock, Dylan hopes to regain his inspiration to paint.
His vacation takes an erotic turn when he meets Rainie Marks on a foggy morning by the dock. She is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. However, there is sadness and a mystery about her. Finding his inspiration, he sketches her one evening and unable to resist the passion that has sparked between them, Rainie and Dylan share a sensual night together.
When Rainie tells him the truth about her past and the lake, the mystery she hides unfolds. The key to everything is the lake. Will Dylan be able to help her put the past to rest?
GOOD LUCK IN THE DRAWINGS!
Now head over to Adriana's Blog to enter there too!
Now head over to Adriana's Blog to enter there too!