Today, my guest is L.C. Wilkinson, who’s here to talk about her erotic romance novel from Xcite Books, All of Me. It’s a fabulous book which I had the pleasure of editing, but I’ll let L.C. tell you more about it…
Hi L.C., and thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for having me.
First of all, tell me a little about how you got into writing erotic fiction?
I’ve enjoyed reading erotic novels and short stories since my teenage years – they formed an important part of my sex education back then – but I didn’t consider writing it until recently, concentrating instead on women’s fiction. Alongside writing fiction, I work as an editor. I edited a couple of novels for clients in the genre last year and it occurred to me that I’d like to have a go myself. A story that had been swimming around my head for some time had found its home and it was such fun to write (and challenging, I’ll add). I am now hooked on erotica and working on another novel and a sequel to All of Me.
What’s your writing space like?
Varied: my bedroom, the dining room, the garden, cafes, trains! I write wherever the fancy takes me, or more usually wherever is available. Virginia Woolf recommended a room of one’s own, but I don’t have a dedicated writing space – the house is too small. Maybe one day I’ll convert the loft space.
Are there any routines or rituals involved in your writing – for instance, any music you like to listen to, or any time of the day when you feel most creative?
Despite a fear of sounding chaotic – or worse, boring – I don’t have any rituals, and I write early in the morning, late at night and mid-afternoon; whenever the house is quiet, i.e. when my boys aren’t around. I do prefer to write in silence, though if there’s music in the scene I like to play that soundtrack as I write; it helps with ambiance. And I do like a cup of peppermint tea around when I write. I know I’ve been ‘in the zone’ if it’s sitting there stone cold when I look up from the keyboard.
What is your favourite genre to write in, and to read?
Writing: erotic romance and women’s fiction (erring on the literary side). My reading tastes are eclectic; I read in almost every genre, so it’s easier to say what I don’t read much of: fantasy, sci-fi, procedural crime.
Flick, the heroine of All of Me, is a struggling actress. Why did you choose a theatre setting for the novel?
Because I know it well and showbiz folk are fascinating, on the whole. In my 20s I worked as an actress, before turning to writing when I’d not won an Oscar by 30 (kidding) and children came along (seriously; I couldn’t bear the insecurity and touring with the responsibility of little lives).
The cast is performing Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest – is this a particular favourite play of yours, and if so, why?
Wilde is an amazing playwright – so witty and wise – though Earnest isn’t my personal favourite. I think that would be Salomé, which is very different in style to most of his work. Salomé was banned for its brazen sensuality and what’s not to admire in the conniving, seductive, little minx? Unless you’re John the Baptist, of course.
Much of the conflict between Flick and Orlando comes from the fact that he’s much younger than her. What interests you about this particular type of “cougar and cub” relationship?
I’m glad you put it in quotation marks! I don’t see Flick as a cougar; she’s not the predator; he is. But to answer your question… we live in a world saturated with images of the young and beautiful. While there has been a significant shift in attitude – some of the most powerful and beautiful women in Hollywood today are nearing 40 or in their 40s (Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz) – it is still a difficult time for most women, and especially so for actresses. Too old to play the ingénue, the sexy lead, too young to play the (often more interesting) role of hag. Mother, best friend, teacher, nurse remain. But men do find mature women sexy and desirable. And it can be hard to accept this, especially if that man is significantly younger. Many women, old and young, lack confidence about their bodies. But no matter how well you look after yourself, by middle age there are signs of wear and tear, and these badges of a life lived will only be exacerbated next to a fresh, youthful body. Attitudes towards love affairs between older women and younger men are still somewhat antiquated – on the whole an old man with a girl is regarded by the media as a lucky, clever old devil to be envied and admired. The same is not true of the mature woman who bags a piece of young flesh. Cougar? Finally, because I’m blathering on and could do so for ages yet and lose you, lovely reader, I’ll add that I’m interested in this type of relationship because the life experience of the people involved is so different given the gap in years. Most people form a relationship with someone like them: in socio-economic band, education, culture, age. An age difference means different points of reference; in music, history, expectation. All of Me is an attempt to explore some of these issues through Flick and Orlando’s relationship, as well as tell a sexy, riveting story!
Orlando unleashes Flick’s voyeuristic side over the course of the novel. Do you think writers naturally have a touch of the voyeur in them?
Definitely. Good writers – those who create believable, involving characters – are observers; secretly watching people all the time.
What’s your next writing project?
Oh, I might have partially answered that above. I’ve a women’s fiction novel which should be out next year – I hesitate to say too much in case it puts a jinx on it. I’m working on a sequel to All of Me, where we’ll follow Flick Stateside and see how the relationship with Orlando stands up to, or not, the pressures of showbiz America with its obsession with youth (or appearing young), surgery and beauty. I’m also writing another erotic romance set in rural Wales about a petulant young woman and a hunk running from his past. It’s kinda dark and kinky.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read a lot (especially in your chosen genre); write a lot. Writing is a craft; it takes practice. Lots of it.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with us here at the Naughty Corner?
Only to say that I have found the community of erotic readers and writers to be incredibly welcoming and lively, and look forward to many more interesting, enlightening and fun conversations.
Excerpt: Mr Hot led me through to a brightly lit room, the light scorching my eyes after near darkness. He pulled up a wooden stool and gestured for me to sit. I did as I was instructed. Row upon row of bottles of oil, condiments, herbs and spices lined shelves that covered an entire wall. It was a store cupboard, and the strip lighting was harsh; every fine line, blemish and open pore would be visible. Inwardly, I cursed my lack of foundation once more. I felt exposed, stripped right down, and vulnerable. I shielded my eyes, allowing my hand to drop low enough to conceal most of my face.
‘Something stronger might be better.’ I attempted to cover my embarrassment with humour. He did not laugh, or even smile. ‘Water would be great. Wouldn’t do to be seen drunk. Imagine what they’d make of that,’ I added quickly.
Through a gap in my fingers I watched him push open swing doors with considerable force and sashay out, revealing the bustle of a hectic lunchtime kitchen; he barked out an instruction in a language I couldn’t quite place. Italian probably, possibly Spanish. This was no ordinary waiter in more ways than one. He returned moments later.
Despite his blistering good looks, or maybe because of them, I wanted to get the hell out of there; I gulped down the water. ‘Thank you. Can you show me the other way out now please?’
‘It’s not too soon?’
‘I have to be somewhere.’
At the exit, he paused and looked into my eyes, the hazel fading to black as his pupils dilated. He ran his tongue over those sensual lips. I couldn’t breathe and for a moment I thought I might pass out. The attraction I’d felt was mutual; he was devouring me with his gaze; his desire was palpable. Had it been a movie, or an episode of the cheap drama I’d been in, we’d have thrown ourselves at each other, kissed passionately, before being interrupted by an angry chef brandishing a meat knife. I coughed; it broke the spell.
He leant forward to grab the door handle, the bouquet of his aftershave mingling with a distinct, very masculine aroma. I was soooo tempted, but this was real life, and my personal life was enough of a mess. He opened the door, leant forward to look up and down the street before turning back to me and nodding that it was clear. Neither of us knew what to say. I had no idea if he knew, understood, or even cared why the press were hounding me, and I wasn’t inclined to explain.
I held out my hand. ‘Thank you. You saved my life.’
He took my hand, but rather than shaking it, as I had intended, he lifted it to his mouth and kissed the back. A charge raced up my arm, exploding in my mouth and groin. ‘It was nothing. Anyone would have done the same.’
‘Thanks anyway,’ I gasped. I had to get out of there, and quick. My internal red light was flashing: danger, danger, danger.
I stepped into the street and, unsure which direction to take, turned right and walked; the skin on my hand still thrumming from the touch of his lips. I wanted to look back, and tried desperately to resist the urge. After a few metres, I gave up and turned my head. There was no sign of him.
Blurb: Actress Flick Burrow’s career is in the doldrums. Dumped by long-term boyfriend at the altar and nudging forty she escapes to Italy touring with a theatrical company.
Orlando Locatelli is a successful businessman. He’s rich, clever and drop-dead gorgeous.
When the two meet, the attraction is instant. But Orlando is 15 years Flick’s junior; he’s the controlling director’s son; his stepmother is possessive and destructive. He’s trouble and he’s determined to have her.
Sparks fly when a tour romance turns into something altogether more dangerous, threatening to reveal pasts, and desires, both lovers are keen to bury.
About L.C.: I grew up in north Wales and now I live by the sea in Brighton with three fellas (my ginger sons and my husband) and a cat called Sheila. After many years working as a journalist, copywriter and editor of hagsharlotsheroines.com, I write fiction and work part-time as an editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. All of Me is my first romance for Xcite. I hope that it is the first of many.
To find out more about L. C. visit her site – www.lcwilkinson.com – for news and freebies. Or follow her on Twitter: @ScorpioScribble. You’ll also find her GoodReads, and she loves to hear from readers and other writers so do get in touch.