My Dearest Readers,
In in honor of all things passionate (things I completely adore!), I thought I would do something a bit different from what I normally do, and in turn keep all of you on your naughty little toes. Which is why I decided to host an unusual historical romance author. Or shall I say, AUTHORS. For this particular historical romance was written by two individuals. Oh, and I should say, they are husband and wife. Waggling brows here. Up for grabs to anyone who posts from now until the 15th, is a double autographed copy of PASSIONATE. Be sure to post before then! Below you will find a fabulous little interview.
Delilah: What is your book, PASSIONATE, about?
A&L: It’s about passion, of course. PASSIONATE is a spicy, Victorian-set romantic adventure that sweeps the reader out of the ballrooms and parlors of London and takes them on a botanical expedition to North Africa in search of a fabled bloom. There is a wickedly catty villain, an eccentric botanist, a folding bathtub (ooh la la), and a hero and heroine who have a difficult time maintaining regulation distance, even though fate seems intent on keeping them apart.
Delilah: Let’s begin with the naughty, shall we? How do you usually go about infusing sex into your historical book?
A&L: By writing strong characters who are powerfully drawn to one another. There is a lot of pressure in the industry to make the story hot, hot, hot, but we don’t want the sex to be dropped in just to meet some quota. We work hard to make the sensual encounters unfold naturally within the context of the story. Just like in real life, sex in novels can be boring and trite or fabulous and transcendent. Setting and mood, building the sexual tension, dreaming up fabulously sexy locations, all the pieces have to work together.
Delilah: You’re a husband/wife author team. So....who writes the sex scenes? And do you write them first, last?
A&L: Anthea writes the sex scenes. It is woman’s fiction, after all. Lawson will edit and conspire on mood and setup, and grumble that romance heroines are lazy and don’t give enough blow jobs, and that maybe the hero should go find work in a spy novel or mystery where he could really get some. Or he will ask how we are going to write with authenticity if we don’t try it all out in the bedroom first.
As far as when we write the scenes, they are written as they occur in the story. Since we are working to make the love scenes memorable and fresh, the last thing we want to do is write them in a big batch at the beginning or end.
Delilah: Speaking of research, do you research the sexual aspect of your characters in relation to their historical backdrop?
A&L: We do a lot of historical research. One of the things we love about the Victorian era is that there were very strict ideas about what was ‘proper’ but scratch that surface and you find all sorts of lovely opportunities for naughtiness. A perfect example is the scene where our hero and heroine meet. Lily is caught riding astride, her skirts hauled up and her bare legs on display. She is completely mortified. It’s the modern equivalent of having your shirt fly open on the day you’re not wearing a bra—in front of a total stranger who is very handsome and not shy about looking. One of the comments we got back from an editor reading early drafts of the work was, “Why just have her legs bare, why not have her top fly open.” We passed on that suggestion. It was more challenging and historically accurate to stay with the original idea. If we weren’t showing that this was the equivalent of getting caught skinny dipping by a handsome stranger, then we simply needed to do a better job of writing the scene.
Delilah: What is the heat level of your story? That is, if 1 is appropriate for a parlor full of kids and 10 is only appropriate for reading under the covers in one's bedchamber.
A&L: A 7 or 8. There is plenty of heat, but the story is not just an excuse to string sex scenes together. We care a great deal about character and the craft of writing a vivid, story that takes the reader on an emotional journey. The sex scenes come from a very emotionally driven place within the characters.
Delilah: What is your level of comfort when writing sex scenes into the story?
A&L: The love scenes are as fun to write as they are to read. Honestly they are some of the easiest parts of the story to write. Anthea tries to write an immersive sensual experience, and likes the challenge of finding fresh ways to describe the feelings and sensations of love-making—that universal arc of attraction, arousal, and satisfaction.
Delilah: Give us the four steamiest lines out of your book and what inspired you to write them.
A&L: The four steamiest lines? I’m afraid we would need to see a note from your doctor before we could do that. Besides, we have yet to agree on what those lines are. Anthea thinks they involve the Bey’s palace in Tunisia and a tangerine. Lawson thinks they can be found in the bathing tent scene somewhere near the following lines:
He stood and stripped off his coat, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt to bare tanned, muscled forearms. Taking the washcloth, he settled on the low stool beside the tub. Let me begin with. . .” he directed a lazy, dangerous smile at her, “. . .your arm.”
To find out more about PASSIONATE, visit www.AntheaLawson.com