Friday, February 10, 2012

Author Spotlight Deanna Wadsworth

Here is the interview with Deanna Wadsworth!

I’ve read most of your works, only 2 shorts I haven’t read--yet.  I’ve enjoyed them.  I liked that none was predictable and none was formulaic. 

* Deanna: Wow, thanks! That is the greatest compliment you could pay an author :D

In Bear It All you have the younger man/older man.  How do you keep the older man, John, from taking over the story?  He has the money and the power and yet Travis and his needs are as much of the story as John’s wants. 

* Deanna: Well, Travis may be the younger, inexperienced man, but he is definitely the more assertive of the two. John is a widower, and has lost his mojo, if you will, but Travis shows up to the party with plenty to spare, LOL
I really liked the idea of younger, smaller man being the one to take charge, take the lead with a big bear of a man like John. He’s definitely a power bottom, LOL And as I wrote it, it seemed that Travis’s was able to remind John of what it means to be happy, desired, thus giving him the boost in ego he needed to learn to live again after his partner’s death

How important are the small details to a story?  Do they define a character?  Do they pull a reader into the story?  You have the rivalry of Ohio State and University of Michigan in Bear It All.  You have John’s thoughts about it but not being from Ohio nor following college football, it doesn‘t make a big impression on me (if you made it Pitt and West Virginia or Pitt and Penn State, I could understand better.;)  In The Naughty North Pole series you give the elves flavored semen. 

* Deanna: Oh god, I LOOOOOVE the candy flavored cum, ha ha ha! That one I came up with while talking to one of my clients who loves to brainstorm with me. My day job is a nail technician. She even got into the book, her name is Donna, like Ms. Claus’s secretary.
I tend to be a very long winded writer, or one comes up with too many details for a story in my first draft, sort of like back-story, if you will. In my editing process I wittle a lot of that down but always seems to leave  rich little details. The OSU UofM football rivalry is huge in the Midwest, like crazy competitive. I don’t care for sports but I thought the way John and Travis made the rivalry playful sort of paralleled their differences but showed how their personalities were by nature very accepting of differences.

Three of your stories are retellings of classics, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (m/m), Red Riding Hood (m/f), and The Frog Prince (m/m/f).  What made you choose to do erotic retellings of these stories?  I loved them!  How do you manage to add sex to the telling without going too far from the original classic?  Each story is of a different romance genre, also.  How did you choose which romance pairing to put in the story?

* Deanna:  So glad you liked them!! Funny thing about how I started writing these, is that I never had any intention of writing erotic fairy tales. I was writing mainstream paranormal romance at the time and several of my employees wanted to read what I wrote (I owned a salon at the time but I sold it to pursue my writing and now I am an independent contractor in a different salon and loving the freedom!) But as all my stories were in various forms of edits, they couldn’t really read any so the girls asked me to write a short story. One suggested a “really dirty Red Riding Hood.” So I went home, read the original story and wrote a BDSM erotica. In my original version I had a very macabre ending, but when I sent Red Riding Hood for submission to Decadent Publishing, I tweeked it and made it longer with a happy-ish ending.
Its not really hard to make these stories erotic, IMO, there are a lot of undertones in the original stories, or maybe that is just my dirty mind seeing things, LOL. The Frog Prince seemed ripe for a three way because why else would a Prince be turned into a frog if he wasn’t pissing off the king by having sex with his footman instead of marrying a woman like he should be? And my husband is the one who suggested I make The Legend of Sleepy Hollow m/m. He’d been drinking at the time and said, “You should write a story about the Headless Horseman and make him gay! Get it? Headless? He’s headless cuz he’s not getting any head!!!” Then he busted up laughing at himself and I was like, “Yeah, I could do that.”
So I guess I never really have a plan of who’s gonna be sleeping with who in the fairy tales until I read the original, have a few drinks and laugh about it with friends. Then the whole thing sort of falls into place. J

Is there a difference in your preparation for writing a m/m romance vs. a f/m romance?  Obviously there are the anatomical differences but do you have to change how to portray the characters having sex when writing within the different romance genres?

* Deanna: I actually prefer writing from the male POV, probably stems from growing up with all women and no real male influence. I’ve sort of made a lifetime but informal study of men and the way they think and interact which I hope lends itself to realistic heroes in my books. I wouldn’t say I prepare in any way, or that I have to switch gears when going between one and the other. It’s the characters and what sort of sexual history/preferences/fetishes they have which drive my scenes. For instance I’m writing a m/m and the one hero absolutely cannot get an erection bottoming but he does it for his lover. That opens up the door of some interesting conversations between the men and changes the dynamic of their love life, too. Every human, regardless of orientation has sexual likes and dislikes and I usually have those things established in my head for each character so gender doesn’t determine how I portray a character, rather it’s their history/preferences which lead the scene. LOL I hope I answered that correctly J

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite stories.  I have to admit that when adding sex to it (it is something of a romance in that Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones are both vying for the hand of Katrina in Washington Irving‘s telling of it) m/m is the most logical choice.  I got to wonder why Ichabod and Brom are so competitive with each other.  

* Deanna: Well, that competitiveness was where I developed their romance in my retelling. I thought a sort of in-bed and out-of-bed battle for dominance seemed in order for those two fellas. J

While the classic, Little Red Riding Hood, has never been a particular favorite of mine, your Red Riding Hood certainly changes my mind about it.  I have to admit I had a different ending or two for it.  How do you decide if you are going to put a twist into the story?  How do you work that twist into the story without giving it away as you are writing?  I was also surprised with the twist in Unscheduled Maintenance.  I never saw it coming and yet it made perfect sense.

* Deanna: I’m glad to hear that I didn’t give too much away in Unscheduled Maintenance, LOL, that one was fun to write because it was based on a photo someone posted in the M/M Romance group on goodreads. As far as adding a twist to the story, they sort of just come to me. In the actual writing process, I have been known to hilight the clues in colored font throughout the manuscript, then when I go back I can visually see when I am giving stuff away, if it is too much too soon or sprinkled nicely throughout the story.

Some of your shorts have appeared in anthologies for the M/M Romance group.  What’s it like to write for a specific project?  How does it differ from writing just for yourself?

* Deanna: Its is totally different to write for a project then just for yourself. It is a writing exercise every writer should at tempt, IMO. When you have prompts, like I did for Starch Contrast you have to force your story to bend and fit within the parameters, something writers don’t like to do. We want our characters to tell the story, but twisting them into compliance is an interesting thing to do once and awhile because it helps you refine your craft and learn to make deadlines work, and gives you a different perspective.
With Leaking Pipes and Unscheduled Maintenance, I was working off a photo someone else selected. This was an interesting challenge because I had to take small details in the photo and make them important to the characters and tell a story around them. I learned that this helped me when using description in my other stories: like whether or not I chose to describe a room. I have to decide what the description of the room means to the character and whether or not it is relevant to the story.
Example: I am writing a hero right now who lives in a Victorian home that he painted pink. Sounds silly, but for him it is just another layer into his life. Describing the house enabled me to tie in his past, where his abusive, homophobic father threw away the Barbie Dream House Santa brought him when he was eight years old. I never say that’s why he chose pink for his house, but when the detail about his father comes out, suddenly the description of the house is significant.
Writing from a photo made this important skill in the writing process very real for me.

Three of your stories are Christmas stories.  Yes, I did read them after Christmas.  Why do you think readers like holiday-themed books? 

* Deanna: Because everybody is obsessed with Christmas! LOL No, in reality I think people love to believe that at least one time of year people can be redeemed, generous and find the true meaning of happiness and life. That is why holiday books are so popular, they make us feel good

In your The Naughty North Pole series, you start with Ms. Claus’s List.  I have to admit this is probably my least favorite of your tales.  I’m not sure why but I think it is because Ms. Claus takes the lead in this f/m/m/m story.  For some reason to have her change her mind this Christmas season from lesbian to male ménage changes where I have her pigeon-hold based on what I  have been told about her in the beginning. I guess I was just used to the m/m genre from you.  Ms. Claus’s List does set up the series very well.  I enjoyed Pip’s Boxing Day Wish more.  How do you determine who will get sequels in a series?  I liked that Santa knows what is going on beginning in book 1 and it follows in book 2.  Will there be more sequels in The Naughty North Pole series?  I’d like to know Santa’s future.  Is there any chance that Frieda Claus will star in a f/f story for her future?

* Deanna: Yeah, those guys up in my North Pole are total swingers, they just love sex, with whoever they can get it, boy or girl! And I am so happy that you enjoy Pip’s Boxing Day Wish, he didn’t really get the attention that he deserved from reviewers and readers like Ms. Claus’s List did. J
And yes there will be sequels for The Naughty North Pole!
Three more for the next holiday season!
Ms. Claus will not get another story, at least I don’t think so, but Lars, Donna and Santa will all find love.
Lars will have to decide between a man and a woman…maybe both. Donna will find love with the girl of her dreams. And Santa…..well you will just have to wait and see!!!!

In Secret Santa everything is from Adam’s POV.  We readers know what Adam is thinking and feeling.  We know what is happening to Adam, what he hears, what happens to him physically.  How do you stay focused with the one character?  Is it tempting to have the omnipotent narrator take over and let the reader know who is in the room, what is happening to everyone in the scene, and what everyone is thinking?  How do you keep the omnipotent narrator from taking over?

* Deanna: I LOVE to write first person! The Naughty North Pole series and Secret Santa were all written in first person. It is easiest style for me and often I begin a book that way then have to go back and change to third since it is the preferred POV among publishers and readers. When I am in first person I am never tempted to become omnipotent--aka head hopping, and it almost never happens. When I write third, I do--just like every one else--accidentally do this. But that’s what my fabulous editors are there for, to keep me in line.

You write good sex in your tales.  You write it very well.  No matter what book I read the sex, while plentiful and graphic, was natural, realistic, and belonged in the story.  I have read books by best selling romance authors where the sex was so stilted that I wish they would have stopped at the bedroom door and let me imagine it.  I’ve also read books where it seemed the editor said you need a sex scene and the author just dropped one in where it made no sense to have sex.  How do you write the sex scenes in your books? How do you keep it fresh? What do you do to ensure it is believable and part of the story?

* Deanna: Why, thank you very much for the compliment!! *blushes*
I think I touched on this one a bit earlier. Just like a character has a past, they have a sexual history as well. I like to visualize all of my characters previous lovers, how they lost their virginity, what views on sex they were raised to believe, etc. It shapes who they are and why they have sex and when. Almost none of this info enters the book, however, but it helps me to know who they are as sexual beings and then the scenes just seem to write themselves.
Of course, a little porn is always in order when I’m not particularly feeling s sex scene, LOL. Sometimes I leave it on simply for sound effects when I’m writing a sex scene! Bet you didn’t know THAT one about me! LOL
And as far as just dropping in a sex scene, that’s a big no-no. If the sex doesn’t change the story, alter the relationship or character in any way, or move the plot forward, it does not belong there. Period.

You just had The Frog Prince published in January, 2012.  I really enjoyed it.  I liked how you allowed jealousy to enter the tale with Henry, the footman and fear from Elena.  How did you manage to keep the emotions from taking over the story?  I could imagine a totally different story if the emotions had taken over.

Deanna: Writing erotica is a fine balance between sex/plot/emotion. They all need to be there to make it really good. Personally I feel that Red Riding Hood lacked in emotion, which actually prevents me from feeling any attachment to the hero or heroine even though I love the story. That book was sexy and silly, which was the whole point at the time, but I really wanted to amp up the emotion in The Frog Prince and invest more into them as people. Henry’s jealousy was an interesting twist, because I think there would be so much uncertainty in a relationship between three people, someone would be bound to feel left out. But before I sent the final version back to my editor, I did the same color coding technique I do with clues and highlighted all of Henry’s jealous thoughts, to make sure it wasn’t too whiney or repetitive. I actually eliminated enough lines to almost make a paragraph, which I believe gave a very balanced portrayal of his fears and jealousy in the final book.
I find this hilighting technique helps me in a lot of ways, I am a very visual person, LOL

What do you have coming in the future?

* Deanna: I have a new One Night Stand story coming soon from Decadent Publishing called Accidentally Beautiful. It has ties to my book Bear It All and is part of an ongoing set of books my author pal Wendy Burke and I are working on. She writes m/f but her stories chronologically follow mine, with recurring characters we made together. For instance if you want to find out what happened with John and Travis from Bear It All, you should read Wendy’s book The One He Chose where the guys make a cameo because the heroine of that book is John‘s sister. In that story, you also first meet Martin, the uptight concierge who finds that sometimes the most beautiful things in the world can happen to you completely by accident in my book Accidentally Beautiful. This story takes a sweet and romantic twist on the classic D/s relationship and is set in the Caribbean. It is still in edits and I don’t have a release date yet, but I suspect it will be out by early spring

Where can we reach you on the web?

Now for some fun, quick questions:

Winter or summer?
Summer because, well? Duh, it’s summer J

Westerns or dramas?
Westerns, I cut my teeth on Louis L’Amour books

Beer or cocktails?
Yes please! LOL, I love both

Cary Grant or Brad Pitt?
Hmmm, that’s a toughy…I suppose Cary Grant

Bazooka bubble gum or Double Bubble?

Chocolate chip or peanut butter?
Peanut butter, I’m not a chocolate fan

The beach or the mountains?

The Monkees or The Beatles?
The Monkees, without a doubt!

Heels or flats?

Do you write in your books?

 ** Wow what an awesome interview! Thanks Deanna and Sheila as always!


Deanna said...

thanks so much for hosting me, this was one the best interviews I've ever done!

Jen B. said...

I just finished the interview. I am going to hop over to Amazon and add you to my wish list. I am totally intrigues with the concept of Bear It All and the fact that the books are related to books from you and another author. Very interesting. And, thanks for using a hairy man on the cover. He really caught my attention.

Deanna Wadsworth said...

Aww, thanks! Find me on Facebook
and I will get you a copy of any of my books to enjoy!!!