Adriana is back with another rockin’ character interview. This time, the heroine from Ripening Passion is chatting with me. Let’s get started…
What’s your name, and who are you in your world?
My name is Claire Johnson. I’m a co-director of the Center for Sexuality and Sex Studies in New York City, which I joined at its very inception in the late sixties, pretty much right out of college.
Ooh! Fascinating. Give us a visual. What do you look like?
Not bad, for 59! I’m a tall trim blonde, and yes, I do touch up my hair color a tad. I used to keep a severe short hairstyle, but I’ve let it grow out a bit. By now I can rely on my presence and my stature to intimidate when I need to. Did I mention trim? I work out and I watch what I eat.
Good for you! What time period and location does your story take place?
It’s 2006 in the best city in the world. I love everything about Manhattan – restaurants, culture, a fabulous mix of people, the ability to maintain anonymity in the midst of crowds. I can be as gregarious or isolationist as I want, without censure from anyone.
That sounds a lot better than my small town. What’s your goal in this story?
When the story starts? To help the Center create polished, professional videos on sex and aging. I’ve never been able to separate my personal goals from those of the Center – it’s my raison d’être, the main motivating force in my life. The Center and I exist to help others of all ages, from all walks of life, safely discover and enjoy the many gifts of sexual pleasure in their lives.
What conflicts are you facing?
What I do not want to do is make those videos with Max Wilson. I agreed to give it a try, but it’s never going to work. I’ve successfully maneuvered to keep my distance from him the entire time he’s been volunteering at the Center, over a decade now. There’s too much history we’ve never talked about – history I don’t even want to let you in on.
Oh, c’mon. Don’t be a tease. Okay…next question. How would you describe yourself in a personal ad?
As if I’d ever do that! I’m not looking for a relationship – Phoebe was the love of my life. We had an open relationship. Neither one of us had expected faithfulness from the other – that was our agreement. But I didn’t expect we’d ever part. Eight years ago she left the Center – and me – abruptly and cut off all contact. I didn’t even find out she had cancer until I read her death notice four years later, just in time to at least attend her funeral. A very private person. Those of us who loved her had to accept what she was willing to give.
Oh, do I still have to answer this question? Here’s my ad: Svelte, icy mid-life woman seeks nothing from anyone, so do not bother reaching out.
Ha ha! That’s perfect. 😉 Are you book-smart, self-taught, or widely-experienced?
All of the above. I suspect anyone my age with my background would answer that way. I came from privilege and received a superb educational foundation at a prestigious women’s college. I graduated in 1968 – the year MLK and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, the spring riots following MLK’s death, the riots in the streets at the Chicago ’68 convention, the anti-war movement. I dropped out, became a hippie, floated for a year, including Woodstock – and found Phoebe again when a lover left me in the lurch. That year was an education in itself. Since then, the Center and its knowledgeable staff have never ceased teaching me. Plus I never turn down new or novel experiences if I think I can learn something.
Wow. That’s a lot of living and learning! Do you see morality as black-and-white, or with shades of gray?
Shades of gray, with one exception. I’m not wiccan, but there’s a phrase from that tradition that’s non-negotiable for me: An it harm none – if it causes no harm to anyone. I don’t judge anyone else’s sexuality – their orientation, their fetishes, their practices, whatever turns them on – by any other standard.
I feel the same way. Do you get by, live comfortably, live extravagantly?
Trick question. I have extravagant resources from my family inheritance. But I spend them wisely, and not just on myself. I do own what many would consider a lavish apartment in Manhattan, but I never splurge on silly things and I don’t think people would consider me ostentatious or showy. Classically tasteful, I hope – when clothed, I should probably add…
LOL. Why do you think your author chose to write about you?
This is difficult to answer without creating a spoiler. I’ll just say my author is intrigued by how people change, what events in their lives trigger transformation, how they adapt to the unexpected. I’m known as the ice queen (when the story starts), and I think my author wanted to see what might make me melt, and what I’d become if I did.
Thank you so much for visiting Claire. Your story sounds awesome!
Can Max melt the Ice Queen? Should he even try?
Claire Johnson’s dedication to sex—the cornerstone of her career—led her to help found the Center for Sexuality and Sex Practices. Now in her fifties, she knows the Center must keep pace with the rapidly growing Baby Boomer market, so she agrees to go back on camera for a series on sex and aging. But work with her nemesis?
Former English Professor Max Wilson has championed the cause of the Center ever since his now deceased wife sought the Center’s help to rekindle the nearly extinguished sexual flames of their relationship. He loves working on camera and welcomes the challenge to perform with the svelte but icy temptress.
Sparks fly immediately on and off camera. The jury is out on whether either Max or Claire can transform those sparks into a fire of sexual desire for their viewers—let alone for each other.
“There sure are a lot of power walkers out this evening,” Claire said
Max chuckled. “Do you suppose they’re power walkers, or are they just people in a rush to get somewhere?”
“Good point. I imagine I used to rush like that.”
“But not anymore?”
Claire shook her head, cradling his hand. “Not anymore. Time is rushing faster than I can manage. Don’t stare, but take a peek at the young couple at about two o’clock braced against the tree making out. They do seem to enjoy kissing.”
Max looked, then nibbled Claire’s ear. “Who’s staring? You do have radar for lovers.”
“Cripes, she’s riding his knee. Oh my, a girl after my own heart. Max, she’s hanging onto his shoulder for dear life, but she’s not surrendering her perch on his thigh for anything. He’s looking around. Oops, I think he caught me watching. Ah.” Claire sighed. “She stopped, now they’re kissing wildly again.” Claire squeezed his fingers on her breast. “That girl had a damn good ride. Oh, to be young lovers again.”
“Being old lovers isn’t bad.” Max dipped his fingers under the fabric covering her breast.
“If that couple were to look across the way at us, they’d never guess I’m sitting here with my man caressing my nipple. And”—she turned and kissed his cheek—“that I’m wet as hell.”
“You could probably hump my knee and they wouldn’t even notice because they don’t expect it. That’s one advantage with age. People don’t expect us to be horny or do outrageous things.”
“So true. And there’s something quite gratifying about defying their limited expectations. Perhaps we should go over and share our wisdom with the youngsters.”
Max shook his head. “I doubt they’d listen.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a married pair of retired professors writing erotic romance and erotic romantic suspense together. We like to think we’ve broken the mold for staid, fusty academics, and we hope lots of former profs are enjoying life as much as we are.
Having lived in many states across the Midwest, we now make our home in southern Arizona, where we enjoy hiking, golf, and travel, especially to the many Arizona Native American historical sites.
Together we have published more than fifty romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. Whether readers open our romantic suspense or our erotic romance, they can expect characters they care about, hot sex scenes, and a compelling story.
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