I love that I’m able to infuse my writing with a flair of authenticity, though I’d never say that a writer has to be heavily into the lifestyle in order to write convincing, emotional, and hot, hot scenes.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, if you promise not to tell, a lot of the scenes in my books come from my fantasies. But it’s important to note that my characters are unique individuals. So even if I wrote a scene I’d enacted, it would still turn out different simply because my hero and heroine have a relationship with different dynamics.
Each relationship we have is unique. I was married previously, and that relationship is nothing like the ones I’ve had since simply because different people are involved.
It also helps that I’m fortunate enough to have friends and acquaintances who are into the lifestyle and who are willing to answer questions for me. Just hearing a unique experience can give me new ideas or send me off in a direction I hadn’t anticipated. I love that I know people who live BDSM 24/7, and I’m glad I know others who simply play at clubs or keep things confined to the bedroom. Some couples abide by Safe, Sane, Consensual, and others play in a Risk-Aware, Consensual manner.
I think romance novels as a whole are a great place to get ideas to help spice up the bedroom. A number of years ago, I wrote for Silhouette Desire. At a party, my CPA took me aside and thanked me for giving his wife one of my books. He told me they’d had more “fun” recently than they had in a while.
One thing I really like about the popularity in erotic romance is that we’re reaching a whole new audience of women. And, from what I’ve heard, they’re feeling more empowered to ask for what they want in the bedroom, whether it’s to try a little impact play or maybe some handcuffs, a rope, or even a blindfold.
Not everyone wants a D/s relationship. Even if we normally wear jeans, we dress up for special occasions. We can spice up our sex lives like that, too.
I’ve had women tell me that a little bondage helps them relax and enjoy sex more, and they’re able, for a bit, to focus on something other than the kids, the grocery list, or the next day’s errands.
We may not like everything we try, and that’s fine. What is important, in my opinion, is that we’re able to ask for what we want and to say No to the things we don’t want—communication is the key to all things. If something hurts or is uncomfortable physically or emotionally, we need to put a stop to it immediately. I use safe words or slow words in all of my books, and they’re not a bad idea if we’re trying new things in real life.
Of course, we’re all different. Some of my heroines would ask a hero to slow down where another would be begging him for more—or, heaven help us, goading him to push the limits.
My protagonists are always checking in with one another, making certain everything is okay. Sometimes in life, as in fiction, something we do together can cause an unsuspecting emotional reaction.
We’re fortunate to have immediate access to information. Even if we don’t live in a place with access to a club, we can watch instructional videos and talk with other people at places such as Fetlife.com. There are forums for subs as well as Doms, and there are groups for almost every kind of kink.
If you’re a Dom/Domme wanting to try a single tail or a cane, you can practice on a pillow first. You want the experience to be good, rather than inadvertently bad.
Remember the adage to be safe and sane, and keep it consensual unless and until you’ve negotiated something different, unique to your relationship. Even using a blindfold can cause issues for someone who is claustrophobic. Muscle cramps can happen to anyone at any time. It’s always easier to start slow and build.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
All of this is important when I sit down to write a sex scene. I sit and focus…and I write and write…and write. I’ve been writing for a long time. I see sex as a natural extension of the romance and the relationship. I want my sex scenes to increase the tension and emotional stakes, therefore, it’s an integral part of the story. (Kind of like needing a murder in a murder mystery.)
Sex scenes are difficult to write since I want to be certain that actions reveal character and deepen the conflict. It’s easy to get caught up in the mechanical description, so I have to be certain I keep the emotion at the forefront.
I love going to a local restaurant to write. I sometimes head over there with my computer. I sit and sip on a margarita, or eat… The staff are amazing and they generally know when to pop in and check on me and when to just let me write… Well, other customers can be really nosey and try to look at my screen. One gentleman, a biker with a long ponytail, wanted me to read him what I was writing! Ah…there weren’t enough margaritas in the world for that to happen!
While I’m writing, I’m sometimes amazed with the flow and how seamlessly things come together. I’m typically a “plotter.” By that I mean that I tend to know where a story is going before I begin to write it. It’s not unusual for me to work from a ten page outline. (As an aside, the other day my honey asked what my Goal, Motivation, and Conflict were for the new books I am writing. And no, he’s not a writer, he’s just listened to me work through my plots often enough that he knows the terminology!)
Despite that, sometimes the unexpected happens. For example, in my newest book, my heroine confesses she masturbated while thinking of the hero. I went on with the scene. Then I stopped. And I started to think…what would happen if Master Niles asked her to show him how she masturbates.
Even though the scene was already done, I went back and reworked it. I loved the idea of her showing him what she did as she replayed their previous scene in her mind. It’s a way to deepen their emotional ties and trust levels.
That was a fun, but unexpected diversion. I do like to have the flexibility for unexpected twists to show up, and it’s great when it happens.
Then, after it’s all finished, there’s the reactions—good or bad.
I think Craig Ferguson said it best in his interview with Playboy. “People always tell me, ‘If you read the good reviews, you’ve got to read the bad reviews’. No you don’t. I want to read only good shit about me. I don’t want to read bad shit. What do you think I am, insane? I already think enough bad shit about myself.”
Seriously, I appreciate what Ferguson says. The man’s a genius.
I do look at reviews. As a result, I’ve made some of my endings a bit longer, a bit more satisfying. Then, just this morning, I received a tweet telling me one of my recent endings felt a bit too ‘Hollywood’. It seems we all have different expectations.
Some reviewers have also clamored for longer books. I’m listening! But polishing off a scene: A scene…a book. It’s hard. Too long of an ending, and people are like “GET ON WITH IT!” Too short and people feel as if they are hungry for more. Finding the balance can be difficult. For chapter endings, my intention is for it to be like a potato chip, you know, you want just one more taste… So I love it when readers complain that they missed out on sleep or skipped the housework because they couldn’t put it down. I do want the reader to reach the end of the book and feel satisfied, however. Unfortunately that’s trickier than it appears.
I want to help women feel empowered through my stories. I’ve said it in interviews, you’ll never see me with a weak-willed heroine. I think women are competent and extremely intelligent, and I want my books to reflect that. I want the women who read my books to know they’re in charge of their lives. If they reach for the moon, they can touch it. They can make their own choices and decisions, and that includes saying No if they want.
I want the men who read my work to know they are respected for the value they bring to the world, as well.
Some people who read my work are going through tough times, and they’ve written to tell me a particular story has helped take them away for a few hours. There’s nothing more rewarding than that. I’m grateful, every day, to be given the opportunity to entertain, to take people away, to go on an emotional and erotic journey together.
Thanks, Female First, for the opportunity to chat with you. I hope you enjoy In His Cuffs, book four in the Mastered series – out now from Total-E-Bound Publishing.
—Sierra Cartwright is “Even racier than 50 Shades” says the UK’s Daily Mail. The Amazon Kindle UK #1 bestselling author hails from Manchester, England though she was raised in the US. She is the acclaimed author of more than twenty erotic romance novels, including the bestselling Mastered series from Total-E-Bound Publishing.
She was previously published with Harlequin/Silhouette under a different pseudonym, and won numerous awards as well as a coveted spot on the USA Today bestseller list.
Last year, she was delighted to be among the launch authors for the exciting Clandestine Classics imprint from Total-E-Bound. The project generated international interest, and her contribution, the expanded Jane Eyre, was featured in segments on such shows as Jimmy Kimmell and Anderson Cooper Live. Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and numerous other online sites also wrote features about the provocative new book.
Sierra Cartwright has been interviewed by Handbag.com, the Daily Mail, USA Today, Female First UK, Marie Claire Brazil, and she did a segment for the Orlando Fox affiliate with Chase Cain.
Cartwright is a multiple CAPA-nominated author.
Check out my other interviews with Sierra now!
With This Collar: http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/with-this-collar-288479.html
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