Please welcome to my blog today erotica writer Josee Renard (who also writes women’s fiction as Kate Austin). I think you'll find this author interview reveals some interesting things you might not know about her. Next month, I'll reciprocate and answer the same questions on The World of Josee Renard blog.
Leave a comment by 12 noon Sept. 8 (Eastern US time) for a chance to win a copy of Treat Myself in the Part Time Lovers series by Josee Renard. (See excerpt below.)
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How does your day go? What keeps you writing?
I'm a split personality—Kate Austin writes women's fiction and Josee Renard writes erotica—so telling a bit about myself is always interesting. But both of us love the ocean (I live in Vancouver, a block from the beach), are addicted to reading (350-400 books a year), and shopping (though thankfully for the credit card companies, not quite as addicted as to reading). My day changes almost every day—so I call my schedule the non-schedule schedule. I work part-time as a paralegal; I occasionally teach paralegals; my partner loves to walk on the beach, shop, and eat out; I spend a lot of time with my girlfriends; and I like (though recently haven't been making it) to get to the gym and the pool 3 or 4 times a week. Because I work as a contractor, it means that I may not know my schedule for the week until Monday (or Tuesday or even Friday, it changes that often). So my day changes with the tides of fortune.
I've learned to write in the blank spaces between all these other things. It's exhausting some weeks, especially when I have a deadline, but I love it, so I keep it up. What keeps me writing? It's who I am, I think. I mean, I love to be published, but I'd probably write even if I knew I'd never get published again. I've always kept a journal and what's in most of the journals over the years is not much different than what I write for publication. In 2007, I knew I would be too busy to write a novel, so I committed to writing a poem every single day. I knew I'd never sell them, probably never even show them to anyone, but I still wrote 327 poems that year. And some of them were pretty darn good. I'm not like some writers who knew they were going to write when they were in grade school—I didn't start writing until I was in my 30s—but I guess all those years of reading, reading, reading made it easy for me to get started when someone (an English professor at the University of Toronto, where I also started late—are you seeing a theme here?) suggested I might be a writer.
What brought you to writing erotica? What do you love about it?
I have a friend who has been writing erotica for a long time (Anna Leigh Keaton) and I loved her books. When I was writing women's fiction for Harlequin Next, Harlequin's Spice line started up, and I got a couple of their books, which I fell in love with as well. So I thought I'd think about writing erotica, mostly because I could write short (which I also love) and I could try a bunch of things I wouldn't try in a longer format—such as paranormal and triads and male/male stories. What I love about it is probably what I love about writing anything—I love the sensuality of it, the way I have to use all my senses, all my characters' senses, to make a good story. Focusing on this in erotica has made me a better writer overall. Actually, the erotica I write is often closer to romance than the women's fiction I write, so I also get the joy of writing a happy ending, happy at least for now. I think, after a couple of years of writing it, I'm getting the hang of it and getting a feel for the kind of stories I'm going to write, which doesn't make it easier, exactly, but does make it more satisfying.
What are you working on now?
Oooh, I love this question because I get to talk about all the things I'm doing. Right now, I'm working on the last few stories of a ten-part serial (shades of Dickens!) called Part Time Lovers (and yes, it's named after a Stevie Wonder song). Jules and Mercy are BFFs since grade school and sometime sex-mates who start a Web site—not a relationship Web site, but a Web site so people can find the right person for right now. The serial (each story is titled after another Stevie Wonder song) follows Jules and Mercy's lives, as well as individuals who participate on the Web site. Ten different sexual adventures, ten different combinations of couples or triads. It's a lot of fun to write and it's set in Vancouver, so I get to use places I know—hotels, bars, restaurants, streets, parks, neighborhoods. On Josee's Web site there's a walking tour every couple of weeks that shows off the parts of the city I'm using.
I'm in the midst of doing major revisions to a women's fiction book for an editor that has seen it and liked it enough to give me notes. When that and the last few Part Time Lovers stories are done, I'm going to do some minor revisions to a couple of already written books—they are erotic romance, rather than erotica. After that? A novella from a trilogy of novellas I've pitched to an editor who'd love to see the first one. And then another women's fiction book that I've had in my head for a while and I'm dying to write it. I'll get started on that sometime around the middle of October, I think, and it will probably take me three months to write the first draft.
What is your—or your character’s—favorite:
Erotic book? Sexy movie? Sex toy?
*My favorite erotic book? Would probably be my character's as well. Anna Leigh (and her writing partner Madison Layle) wrote a series called Incognito. The first book I read was Seducing Olivia and I was hooked. I also loved M.J. Rose's Spice book called Lying in Bed. Very erotic, yet also very beautifully written. I loved the idea of it and the story of it.
*My favorite sexy movie? Let's see—there's probably a couple of them. I LOVE The Big Easy with Ellen Barkin and Dennis Quaid—totally sexy. And who wouldn't love 9 1/2 Weeks? Hmm, Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, sexy in a much darker way than The big Easy, but equally erotic.
*Sex toy? No question. Vibrator.
What’s the one thing you've always wanted to do? The top thing on your personal bucket list?
I've been fortunate to do almost all of the things I've always wanted to do—but if I could do anything? I'd take a year off, go to the World Cup of soccer, go to the Summer Olympics, go to all the great art museums in the world, walk the Great Wall of China and stay in Venice for a whole season, preferably fall. I know that's not exactly fair, but if I could afford to take a year off, I could probably afford to do all the other things as well. If I could do only one? I have absolutely no idea. I'm the kind of person who has always wanted to do and try everything and it's almost impossible for me to pick just one thing. If I only had a week to live? I'd spend the time with my family and friends, eating in great restaurants and drinking great wine and having great conversations.
What’s your personal romantic (or erotic) fantasy?
Again, like the bucket list, I've been fortunate enough to live out enough fantasies that I don't really have one that hasn't been fulfilled, except perhaps to try being with two men who were totally focused on me for the night. Hmmmm, okay, that's definitely the one!
Thanks for being so forthcoming, Josee! Oh, I see I'm going to have to dig deep and reveal some interesting things about myself for your blog next month, too!
And, now, for a special "treat," a short excerpt from Josee's recent release Treat Myself:
Mercy was in her bombshell mode. Never a good sign, as Jules well knew. She had her long, usually straight, red hair in waves, the bangs covering one eye, and a snazzy beret—one of many she’d collected over the years, as he’d learned to his regret on various shopping trips—topping it all. She wore clothes more suited to Lana Turner or Jayne Mansfield or, even more frightening, Mamie Van Doren, than to a twenty-first century Web site designer.
Jules was pretty certain that Mercy’s take on the bombshell was more sexy and evil seductress than beautiful woman next door—Mamie Van Doren to a T.
Normally, this wouldn’t matter to him except as an observation and a note to self to be careful of what he said to her. In bombshell mode, Mercy was very much aware of her status—whatever, at any particular time, she deemed that to be and usually related to something he was doing wrong, in her opinion, at Part Time Lovers—and she took offence way too easily.
This time, though, there was something he hadn’t quite figured out. He suspected it was personal, but he wasn’t going to ask while she was in bombshell mode. If she wanted him to know, he’d know. Otherwise, he’d keep his head down.
Besides, Jules was still spinning from his night in Room 1217 with Jeanne. He wasn’t one of those people who had a free pass list—didn’t have that one person who if they showed up, no matter what relationship he was in at the time, he could claim a free pass for the weekend with that person.
Web site: http://www.joseerenard.com/
Cobblestone Press Author Page: http://www.cobblestone-press.