Welcome to our Boudoir. We're in Southern England, one of our favorite places. This week's guest author has been writing for years. Get comfy and let's gets started.
Naughty Reader’s: Readers love to know more about their authors. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Primula: Hi everyone, well, I am a tall slim redhead married to a lawyer, have three boys aged 25, 13 and 10 and live in the south of England. I was educated at a Catholic convent boarding school (which is evident in quite a bit of my writing!) and studied English Literature at Oxford University. As well as writing and working part time for criminal defense lawyers, my hobbies include traveling, eating out, wine, and fashion. When I left university I briefly considered a career as a jazz singer. Not many people even in my personal life know that!
Naughty Reader’s: What made you want to become a writer?
Primula: I have been writing stories since I was a dreamy little girl with three boisterous sisters. All I wanted was to be a princess and be carted away by a handsome prince. I wrote my first romantic novel when I was eight! I always had my nose in a book although studying the classics at Oxford had the ironic effect of killing my creativity for several years. When the erotic genre started blossoming about 20 years ago and I was a struggling single mother, I wrote (and had accepted!) my first sexy short story and finally I had the joy of being paid for something I loved doing! Since then I have had numerous short stories, novels and novellas published for erotic imprints.
Naughty Reader’s: Please share a bit about The Silver Chain without giving away any spoilers.
Primula: The Silver Chain is out now in paperback and is the first in the Unbreakable Trilogy. It is an intense love story set mostly in London between Gustav, the dark, brooding entrepreneur, and Serena, a red-haired young photographer to whom he gives a lucky break both professionally and personally. They have had bad relationships in the past and together they step warily towards finding trust, and passionate love, together.
Naughty Reader’s: Do you write under a pen name?
Primula: Yes, because erotica is such a strong genre that I have to keep my identity a little bit protected from those who might wonder about the kinkier elements. The other reason is that I have self-published some literary short stories under my own name and hope to write a literary novel in my own name, too, once my erotic trilogy is complete.
Naughty Reader’s: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?
Primula: I like them to be energetic, good looking and sexy, but I also like them to have dimensions of darkness as well as humour. Sometimes what helps is to create strong secondary characters who the protagonists can bounce off, and who cast a different light on the hero and heroine.
Naughty Reader’s: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
Primula: I wait until the husband and children have disappeared off to work and school and then, if I have a deadline, I sit down and write throughout the school day. When they are all at home it is impossible to be creative, especially if I am trying to create erotic scenes amongst the household chores of ironing and cooking! If the deadline is strict I have to send them all out with my husband even at weekends so I can focus, but I always aim to meet deadlines and relax when we have holidays together, and I always have time for a meal out! If it's the early stages of a story or novel, I will wander about the house or in the car or go for a walk and let the thoughts and ideas come to me. Always I have a pad and pencil by the bed, by the bath, in the car, in the kitchen, so I can jot down an idea before it vanishes.
Naughty Reader’s: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
Primula: Obviously the erotic element, imaginative, satisfying sex, is paramount, as is the attractiveness, fasination and relationship of the characters. Although the characters should have careers or experiences I know something about, I like to vary this so that some are photographers, artists or musicians, but others might work in property or the law. I like to set the stories in interesting cities and have the characters eating and drinking lots of lovely food and wine, and they travel to great locations such as Venice or New York. With short stories I allow myself far more range and can set a story at a family barbeque, at a wedding, in the stock room of a shop, or even a parents' meeting at a school production!
Naughty Reader’s: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?
Primula: I like to lay down the first draft within about two months but the editing, oh my god the editing, is what takes the time and effort and brain ache, and can take another three or four weeks for each book, depending how demanding my editor is!
Naughty Reader’s: Do you have to be alone to write?
Primula: For the first draft, yes. I can do revisions with people around, or the TV on, but on the whole it is best to be alone and also to be in one or two favourite spots around the house where I find I can concentrate best. The TV den is one. The patio, on a warm day, is another. Sometimes my bed!
Naught y Reader’s: How do you go about naming characters?
Primula: The names come to me, but I do make notes of great names I hear on the radio or TV. Gustav's name came to me because he started out as a vampire and I wanted someone with a vaguely Transylvanian/ eastern European background.
Naughty Reader’s: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?
Primula: The picture is in my head and grows as I write the character, and is usually based around a famous actor or personality that I fancy, but what I love is when readers post up pictures on blogs or Twitter about how they envisage the characters to look. If I'm totally honest the heroines are usually a far more beautiful version of how I would like to look!
Naughty Reader’s: How do you pick locations for your stories?
Primula: I love travelling and have lived in Cairo, London, Oxford and Venice, so I love to revisit those places because I know them really well. I have visited New York, Paris and Rome several times and more recently Morocco – so the sequel to The Silver Chain is set in Venice and New York, and the third will be in Paris and Morocco.
Naughty Readers: How would you share your writing expertise with others?
Primula: About five years ago I was invited to join a panel of writers and editors for an online Writers Workshop service which offers critiques to aspiring writers. I read erotic and romantic submissions and offer advice as to how to improve or market them.
Naughty Reader’s: What tips do you give aspiring writers?
Primula: Starting from the very basic, I ask them if they have a fire in their belly to write, no matter what. I'm afraid I get a little impatient when people tell me that of course they could write a novel if they 'had the time'. A dedicated writer will find the time, even if it's parked up in a lay-by on the way to the school run, or sitting in a bath! Then I tell them they MUST get grammar, punctuation, spelling and layout correct, because it puts me off within seconds to come across a lazily put together manuscript. Sorry, but it's a tough life and a competitive business! The best way to learn this is to read, read and read some more. Secondly, keep a diary and notebook with you at all times to catch names, locations, funny overheard conversations, snatches of music, and scenes from the street or glimpsed from a train.
Naughty Reader's: Primula, readers, thank you so much for spending time with us. Check out her blog, follow her on Twitter and friend her on FaceBook! Feel free to roam our site while you're here and then check out Primula's site for all of her books.