Meet Alta Hensley, author of erotic romance novel Traditional Love. Her debut novel was released in December by Lazy Day Publishing as an e-book. The interview below is past of an ongoing series of featuring my fellow Lazy Day Publishing authors on my blog. Enjoy.
Tell us about your erotic romance novel “Traditional Love.”
The story is about two long time friends who fall in love. The story explores some “traditional” and some “untraditional” beliefs in love. The book is full of love, sex and some steamy taboo subjects like Domestic Discipline, spanking and anal sex.
How did your novel develop? Were you working on this book for a long time? Did it have any previous incarnations as other novels or short stories?
The book actually took a year to write. I had to do a lot of research on the subject matter of Domestic Discipline. I wanted it to be genuine and real, and the only way for that to happen was to really understand what I was writing about.
Tell us a little something about yourself.
*blush* I am actually quite shy and not good at talking about myself. I am a mom, a business owner and now an author. I am still getting use to this self promotion thing…not that good at it to be honest.
What about writing erotic scenes intrigues you? Is this your first time writing in this genre?
Yes, this is my first erotica novel that I have completed. I really enjoy writing about something so intimate. I like to push the envelope and do something unexpected. The truth of the matter is it is really a lot of fun! It’s fun to write about sex and describe a sensual act so someone can actually see it and feel it.
What do you think your book explores about the nature of romantic love?
It was really important for my book to have love. I didn’t want it to just be an erotica novel. I wanted to tell the story of two friends who finally find what they had always been searching for. True love, traditional values and the common goal to have a relationship that works.
You told your story from the first person narrative. Why did you choose that? Did you think was the best way to tell Neely’s story?
I actually started the book in third person. But as I did more research on the topic of Domestic Discipline, I realized that the only way to really describe such an emotional subject was telling it from Neely’s point of view. The reader really needs to get into her mind to fully understand the emotions tied to such a ‘taboo’ subject.
How much are you like your character Neely?
In many ways Neely is me. Not in all ways, but many. I put my heart and soul into creating her, so I think it is only natural that I became part of her.
Do you think the locations depicted in your novel have an impact on the characters and your book’s overall themes?
Well the story takes place in Neely’s home town. I think there is a level of comfort and safety about being “home”. The book definitely is about Neely desperately looking for a haven and security.
How do you come up with your characters? Were and are they composites of people you know or knew?
Well the book is fiction, but of course each character represents people I have come across in real life. I think as a writer, we are constantly looking for inspiration from everyone and everything.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing your book? Were there times you felt uncomfortable exploring the erotica scenes? Do you get a lot comments from people wondering if your erotic depictions are from your real life?
The most difficult aspect of writing the book was staying focused and actually making it to the end. I tend to give up on my writing before I get to type the words “the end”. I absolutely got uncomfortable, and still do a bit, about exploring erotica scenes. I blush while I write them…which is always a good sign. If I don’t blush, then it isn’t good. And yes! I get asked all the time if the erotic depictions are from my real life. Some are…some aren’t. ☺
You said in a recent blog post on the Lazy Day Publishing Web site that you have difficulty expressing emotions in your real life, but don’t have such problems expressing yourself in fiction. How has writing fiction helped you open up?
I have a really hard time being open. I’m a closed person and rarely trust or open up to anyone. When I write, I get to be free for the first time. Writing hasn’t really opened me up, but the whole process of becoming an author has. I have had to put myself out there and share my passion and my love. I have met some great people along the way, and I am slowly letting down my wall.
Your blog features very racy and sexy erotic writing? What has been the response to your blog writing and do you use it as a way to explore specific scenes for future novels?
I use my blog as a way to get in the mood. It is a way to brainstorm in a way, for my future writing. I have gotten really good feedback from it, which makes me blush, but really happy too.
What I put on my blog is the real me…the open me. What you see on my blog is my love and my passion. It is a peek into who I really am.
You are also working on an erotica anthology with fellow Lazy Day Publishing authors Amy LeBlanc and Melissa Ecker. How did that come about and when will it come out? Also how is it trying to merge your styles with two other writers?
We were all three talking on Twitter one day and thought it would be fun to do. It’s scheduled to be released on February 14, 2011, and I am so excited! It has been a lot of fun talking with Amy and Melissa and making sure our facts and all of the logistics match up. This is really challenging though, because I don’t want to let them down. So it challenges me to bring my very best writing forward.
Do you have any writing rituals? Have you ever had writer’s block?
I need to have a glass of white wine and my laptop. Yes! Writer’s block is my curse! I have a really hard time staying focused for a long period of time.
What did you learn from the writing and publishing of your book?
That the work truly begins once your book is for sale. And that you have to keep writing to build your career.
Are you excited to be a part of this new publishing revolution of e-books? How is it working with a new digital publisher?
I love being part of something new! I love being part of the beginning. Working with a new publisher means working with other like-minded authors which have been great! We have a very supportive and wonderful team. Unlike anything I have ever seen.
When your book was finally published what were some of the thoughts that ran through your head? Was it the culmination of a life-long dream?
Yes, it was a dream come true. I cried. I still do sometimes. I go on Amazon sometimes just to look at it. Silly I’m sure, but just seeing it for sale is pretty amazing!
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing!
Are you working on your next book or books? What can you tell us about it?
The next book is the anthology, In The Heat of Texas. I then will be working on the sequel to Traditional Love. I also have another book I would like to begin soon as well. So yes, I have a lot of writing in my future.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Don’t let the negativity of a pretty harsh industry change who you are. A lot of writers become bitter and jaded. I think it would show in the writing. I guess to just remember it is about the love and the passion.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?