First, here's what's new with Kathy. She's an award-winning erotic romance author whose works include elements of BDSM and the paranormal. She has published several novels and novellas for Ellora's Cave. Her latest release, Summer Sins, is part of a series called Dark Odyssey. Besides her career in writing, she's a cytotechnologist and has worked as a research scientist, medical technologist, dive master and stringer for a newspaper. Kathy resides in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband.
Kathryn Craft: Define the difference between romance and erotica.
Kathy Kulig: There are actually three terms you should know:
A Romance is about two people falling in love and struggling to overcome obstacles to make the relationship work. The sex can be sweet (no more than a kiss) or quite explicit. There is always an emotionally satisfying ending—usually happily ever after.
Erotic Romance or Romantica® [a registered trademark of Ellora’s Cave, Kathy's publisher] is “any work of literature that is both romantic and sexually explicit in nature,” according to the Ellora’s Cave website. The sex scenes are described in graphic detail without using delicate euphemisms or purple prose. There’s a developing romantic relationship in the story with a committed or happily ever after or happily for now ending. The main difference between Romance and Erotic Romance is the number of love scenes and the verbiage.
Erotica focuses on a character’s sexual journey and adventure. It may contain a romance but it’s not the primary focus. And it doesn’t have to end with a committed relationship.
Kathryn: Tell us about your most recent book. How are you hoping the inclusion of erotic elements will engage the reader?
Kathy: Dragon Witch is a futuristic erotic romance novella released on September 15th as an ebook. Biologist and witch, Jaida Chel combines nature magick with herbal science to protect Kai, the last shapeshifting dragon on her world of Somerled. But when Captain Brayden Stokes reenters her life, not only is Kai’s life at stake, but so is Jaida’s secured position in the colony. Brayden and Jaida can’t resist the sexual heat between them, even though she knows a relationship would be doomed. Fleet pilots don’t stay planetside for long.
Jaida is torn between Brayden and her dragon and companion, Kai. When Kai morphs into a human twice a year, his sex drive is ravenous. He must mate for twenty-four hours or die. Unrestrained passion between Kai and Jaida temps Brayden into a forbidden encounter. The three cross boundaries, exploring eroticism beyond their imagination. When secrets and betrayals are revealed, Brayden must risk everything for one last chance at love.
I’m hoping the dynamics of an unusual love triangle and the emotional interaction between these characters will engage the reader in this erotic paranormal story. A woman is torn between two men she cares for. One man who is also a shapeshifting dragon depends of her for companionship and sex for his survival. The other man is in love with her but duty drags them apart when the fate of many lives is at stake.
Kathryn: Does eroticism alone sell the book, or must you pay attention to all the same aspects of craft that other writers must?
Kathy: Whatever genre you write in, compelling and sympathetic characters, well structured plots, and engaging dialogue are essential for good storytelling. Readers of erotic fiction don’t want to read books that are just a string of sex scenes. During sexual intimacy we are at our most vulnerable. Readers want to fall in love with the characters as the hero and heroine fall in love. Even in erotica where there may not be a romance in the story, there is a sexual journey for the character(s) and the reader wants to connect with these characters on an emotional level. The writer must keep this in mind when writing the sex scenes. It’s not all stage directions—tab A into slot B.
Join us tomorrow for the conclusion of this interview, when we ask Kathy how she researches the erotic situations her characters get into.
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service, and the author of The Art of Falling, a novel by Sourcebooks. Her monthly series, "Turning Whine into Gold," appears at Writers in the Storm. Connect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.