Thursday, December 22, 2011
Guest post by A. M. Belrose, author of Witch in Wolf's Clothing
Witch in Wolf's Clothing, a paranormal romance novella. Her style is incredibly fun and humorous, so I asked her to share a little bit about herself and the book.
A. M. Belrose: I was never a particular fan of romance novels. I chalk this up to a combination of V. C. Andrews and “Clan of the Cave Bear,” both read when I was far too young to be anything but traumatized by them. What I know of the genre, roughly a decade after this rocky introduction, is what I’ve learned from reading my mother’s Kindle over her shoulder. Somewhere along the line my partner must have gotten sick of me telling her that, hey, I could do that! I was challenged to put up or shut up.
It was easy to decide on urban fantasy, since that genre holds a cozy place in my heart. Most non-romance writers assume that romance is going to be a walk in the park, that they can bang it out in a couple of days and that’s that. As a new author to the genre I underestimated how hard it would be to make sure my characters had chemistry, to balance the humor with a realistic sense of attraction and pacing, to make sure the plot and their relationship followed smooth, believable arcs. How hard it is, sometimes, to sound sexy instead of silly.
However, the most difficult part of writing a romance novel, as a lesbian, was putting myself in the lusty shoes of a straight woman. How do you describe an attractive man? What makes him attractive? What should a man smell like? What kind of flirting goes on here, what signals are sent?
I had to rely on my partner, who is bisexual, and, horrifically, my mother. It’s one thing to know that your mother has a digital library full of werewolf erotica, and another entirely to supply it to her. I refused, point blank, to discuss it with her out loud. I’m ashamed to admit that whenever she tried to mention it, or help in naming it, I resorted to plugging my ears and making hideous noises. I’m not sure how other erotica and romance authors handle dishing out the R-rated goods to their relatives, or if it’s something you’re supposed to politely avoid talking about at Christmas.
Writing “Witch in Wolf’s Clothing” was a good exercise for me. It taught me how to condense character and plot down into a novella, while maintaining appeal. More than anything, I learned the appeal of romance and all its fantasies. I’m eager to turn my hand to LGBTQ romance and urban fantasy. It’s not as much of a market, but it’s one that I think is worth expanding and providing for. Everybody deserves a little escapism and some buff werewolves.
Quite frankly, what I’ve learned from browsing the lesbian fiction section of the kindle store is that us lesbians are a snooty folk who seem uniformly convinced that our books are worth at least ten bucks. It’ll be nice to throw some 99 cent feel good romance up there, if I can swing it.
One person I really owe, beyond those subjected to editing for me, is my illustrator. She’s a fabulous person, and even if she weren’t she’d be a wonderful artist. I’m damn lucky to have her.
Thanks A. M.! The novella is available for 99 cents on Amazon.