Today, author Stella Grae is talking about her writing style, her chosen genre, and more. Let’s get started…
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Gosh, I almost hate to answer that for fear of a lawsuit—ha ha! Yes, I think that people and experiences are going to make it into a book because most authors are empathic, and we’re constantly mining for new ideas. Of course, to protect the innocent (and not-so-innocent!) a lot of my characters are an amalgam of different people to form one unique character.
Haha! Do any of your characters take over and write the book themselves sometimes? Who?
Oh, goodness yes! And this question is great because it really speaks to the debate in the writing community about writing with or without a plan. I might make some notes, but usually I just sit down at the computer and write outlaw style—just go for it. Most of the time, at least for me, I find that the characters end up driving the stories. In Just Call Me Confidence the protagonist Jenna ends up making a decision at the end of the story that I never thought she’d make. It’s one I certainly wouldn’t have made, or even considered for her, but at the end, it felt right for the characters in the scene. I think it’s important, especially for new authors, to let the characters evolve because that process makes for interesting twists and turns, and the result is a believable character audiences can relate to in an organic way.
Yep. You gotta write what feels right, or the story suffers (and the poor author when the character acts out). All writers suffer from writer’s block at least once in their career. What’s your go-to cure?
I usually have more than one thing in the till. In fact, I might say that I have too many things in the till. However, I find that if I hit a wall in writing on a particular piece, I can usually pick up on another and those breaks are actually refreshing. They tend to invigorate my writing.
That’s a good idea. Sometimes the romance genre gets a bad reputation for being cliché and full of Fabios. How do you respond to that?
I think that’s probably a half-truth disseminated by mystery lovers! A lot of romance writing is formulaic in structure, but the reality is that it’s as varied as the people in the world. While it’s a fact that readers love variety, it’s also fact that readers find comfort in the familiar. They’ll return to the same author to recapture the mood that resonated from a particular work. There’s something out there for everyone to read; you just have to find what you like—clichéd or not.
So true! We all need a little inspiration in our lives. What’s your favorite quote and why?
I recently came across a hashtag, actually, that I love. It’s #grindnowshinelater. I’m a planner, a person who preps like crazy for the “what-ifs,” so that really spoke to me because we all get tired and lose motivation at some point or another. This little hashtag reminds me to never give up the grind—it will pay off!
What genre(s) of Romance do you write and why?
I write erotic romance, which I had never thought I’d do. When I first began writing, romance writing was at the bottom of the list. Honestly, I was very frustrated with my lack of success in other areas, so I thought, “Why not?” and the words, plot, characters—everything flowed really well. I’m very fascinated with sexuality. I will often look at people and wonder how they are sexually. I know…it’s odd, but for me, erotica is as much about the psychology of sensuality as the sex.
That’s fascinating! Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?
I love to work with my hands, especially on home improvement projects. I’ve tiled a bathroom, put in flooring, installed crown molding. I even have my own saws, levels, and such. I also love to garden. There’s something restorative about putting my hands in the dirt and growing my own food.
Neat! I love tending my herb bed. It’s a great way to relax. What’s your most bizarre life experience?
That’s (unfortunately) a pretty easy question to answer. I was in a relationship where my partner actually stalked me. This person tapped my phone, put spyware on my computer, put a tracker on my car—crazy stuff! I learned some valuable lessons about trust and boundaries…oh, and true to form, I also got some great seeds for a story.
WOW! That’s outrageous. I hope everything worked out. Thank you so much for visiting!
Jenna Craig is a 40-year-old freshly-minted “hot momma” looking for a little love in her post-divorce life. After a night out with her cougar tribe, she wonders whether she’s still got “it”—the double-takes from the college clowns at the bar quickly put her doubts to rest. Though she may be alone, she knows she’ll never be lonely.
Jenna’s newfound confidence is buoyed by some swim club eye candy: Travis the lifeguard. Hot trysts in the locker room leave her wondering if she might want something more. When her naughty, new boy toy introduces her to his friend, Collin, Jenna is engulfed with waves of emotion that she thought she might never feel again. With two younger men vying for her heart, will she choose the perfect guy for right now, or the man who could give her another shot at love?
The experienced Ms. Craig is certain of one thing: She better bring the confidence to pull off the choice of her desire.
I hold my breath and walk into the club. My skin swells with goose bumps and I hear the catch in my own nervous voice.
Inside these four walls I could meet my fantasy, my desire, and maybe even my destiny. Or, maybe just a really good time–just for tonight. I can do whatever I want to do because tonight, I’m free–in so many ways.
The bass pumps through my body while I scan the men and women, grinding in slow motion waves. A fever breaks out all over my body with a sudden mist of sweat collecting in the small of my back and between my breasts. I want that to be me.
My mind suddenly takes a Debbie-Downer side trip: Am I still young enough, hot enough, and savvy enough to start over? I know I’m not the prettiest woman out there, but that’s not what entices a man and keeps him coming back for more. It’s strength and substance, and those can only come from confidence, which is derived from experience. I have interesting sports stories. I can intelligently discuss, and have an opinion about politics, economics, and social issues. I’m educated; I have a real job. I’ve traveled, and I can cook. I’ve had a wide variety of experiences, which makes me interesting, and sexy-as-hell confident.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I can screw without hang-ups, unlike many of my younger sisters-in-arms. And apparently, that makes me hot, especially to the under-thirty-and-male crowd.
The guys here are too young to understand the difference, though, but I think, that’s kinda liberating…no explaining my past, no worry about the future. It’s all about the here and now. YOLO…
I laugh and smile, getting a secret thrill out of the college-aged guys sitting behind my friends and me, rubbernecking on us. The brown-haired clown in the group hijacks me with his hazel eyes and mouthes, “Call me.” Keep the drinks coming fellas, maybe you’ll get lucky, and you’ll definitely go broke trying.
My face aches from smiling so much. I think tonight proved something I’ve forgotten about myself. When I get a whistle or a double-take, or even a lingering look, I know I cannot deny it: For better or worse, I still have it. Just call you, huh, baby? Just call me confidence.
Stella Grae is an unassuming English professor, copyeditor, and copywriter living in Lexington, Kentucky. She’s the author of the short story “Power Play” that was originally published in the website erotica journal Oysters and Chocolate. In her spare time she enjoys sipping on bourbon, nibbling cheesy grits, and philosophizing about love and sex in her blog, “Bone Up,” which can be found on her website: stellagraeerotica.weebly.com…along with other sexy tidbits. This is her first erotica novel.
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