Today on in the cage we have author Christine Amsden, author of Secrets and Lies. We would like to thank Christine for stopping by today and sharing with us. So here we go…
Welcome to Darkest Cravings, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm a wife, mother, chocolate snob, and avid reader – especially of all things romantic. I like it sweet and spicy and everywhere in between. Just give me a great character because I'm a character girl at heart.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I've written my entire life, ever since I was in grade school, and I think I always considered myself a writer. I considered myself a “serious” writer in 2003, after I went to a by-audition writer's “boot camp” and learned a ton. My husband (then my fiance) urged me to go. He believed in me, which is why I'm here today.
Writing adult fiction isn’t for everyone, how did you end up writing for the toughest audience?
Knowing my children, I'm not sure I agree! LOL! But I do see what you mean. To be honest, I write for myself and I'm a grown up. The fact that other people are enjoying my books is gratifying beyond measure, but I'm in it for purely selfish reasons. I write what I want to read. :)
Most of the intimidating parts of being an adult fiction writer is the steamy scenes, how did you overcome the “stage fright”?
I enjoy reading a wide variety of adult fiction, but one of the most difficult things for me was finding my sensual writing comfort zone. As a reader, my comfort zone is fairly big. As long as you don't skip a sex scene (nothing will make me toss a book faster than closing the curtain in my face like I'm a naughty child), I enjoy anything from sweetly romantic to mildly erotic. It really depends upon the situation and the style, although I am a romantic at heart. (That is to say, steam without emotions leaves me dry.)
The idea of writing a sex scene was intimidating to me at first, especially after I read particularly steamy books that left me in awe and I tried to figure out how I could do that – and how I could let my mom read it!
The answer was simple, though it took me a while to get there: Honesty is key. I have to be myself in all things and when it comes to sex I'm in it for the intimacy. I've been more turned on by certain sweet stories than by other blatantly erotic ones because of the emotional content. And honestly, who I am as a writer is on the sweet side. When I write a sex scene, it's because the intimacy of that moment is critical to the plot and the sensuality of the emotions are more important than the heat. I want readers to feel their hearts twang.
Cassie Scot was a good first romantic series for me because the romance takes four books to develop and I could start in the first book with nothing more than a magic kiss – okay, it's an orgasm-inducing kiss but still, just a kiss. By the time I got to the sex scene (and I won't spoil it by telling you when it happens, but never fear – I am not a curtain closer), I was more sure of myself. It's exactly what I needed it to be – the emotional climax (no pun intended) of a love story that was many books in the making.
Which fictional character would you like to go on a date with? Why?
Superman. Do you really not know why? :)
What was the first adult fiction novel that you read? What was your reaction?
Wishes by Jude Devereaux. I was 15 and even though Devereaux writes on the sweet side, the fact that her characters did it right there on the page was a definite eye-opener. I mean, it didn't happen exactly the way they presented it in health class! No one ever told me that a man would touch me in certain... sensitive areas. I was intrigued. I was curious. I had two hands. :)
Your favorite adult fiction book is-?
Linda Howard's Shades of Twilight. Linda Howard is the best combination of romantic and steamy I know. And I've read that particular book half a dozen times.
Your favorite Author is-?
I only get one? But what if I'm in the mood for sweet? And what if I'm in the mood for not-so sweet? Catherine Anderson is my favorite sweetheart right now. I'm going to go with Karen Marie Moning for not-so sweet.
We all have a treasured possession, what is yours?
Wow, I'm looking around thinking, “No, I don't care about any of this rubbish. It could all burn tomorrow and I'll just collect the insurance check!” Okay, I'd be upset if I lost all the files on my computer – the work of a lifetime. I put all that on a thumb drive I keep in my purse, just in case of fire. (My husband backs it all up to his server daily for anything less insidious.) It's the one thing I'd grab on the way out, assuming my husband and kids were already safe.
Are your characters based on real people or did you create them from scratch?
I'm sure my characters contain aspects of the people I know because you can't make something from nothing. Cassie, in particular, has my voice. I let myself talk through her.
Do you think adult fiction have reached its full potential yet, or are we still in for a huge surprise?
Everything evolves. I shudder to think that the world would stop growing or changing! I'm not sure what's in store for adult fiction in the future, although I have a risky project in mind for someday. The goal is... honesty. I want to show a woman who doesn't conform to every sexual cliché. Who doesn't actually like every touch or caress just because it's been made by the right man. Who has to communicate with her partner (and vica versa). I don't know if readers are ready for this. I think most of us are looking for an escape when we pick up adult fiction, but then, that's why I rely on fantasy. My hope is that I can use magic to highlight truth, thus providing readers with the escape they need while I make the point I want.
We've already made some great changes in recent decades. Women can be the aggressors, they don't have to be virgins, and even if they are they don't have to be absurdly naive. I'm looking forward to seeing the genre begin to bend and break the “rules” that have defined it and sometimes, IMHO, suffocated it.
Do you think adult fiction helps improves relationships?
It saved my marriage. Seriously. I read a bit when I was a teen but dropped it when reality didn't measure up. Some may argue that it created false expectations and maybe it did, but I'm not sure reality would have measured up to anything I could have conceived as an innocent teenager. It wasn't until I started reading adult fiction again a few years ago that I saw past the facade to the empowering message beneath. This is why I answered the above question (the one about the future of romance) the way I did. I'd like to empower women to find their own happiness.
If you have to pitch adult fiction to someone that’s too shy to read it, what would you pitch?
I'd probably start by pointing out that there is a huge range of adult fiction to accommodate all different comfort zones, then offer some suggestions on the sweeter side to get started. These are love stories, I'd say, and they do involve sexual intimacy. But few love stories are complete or honest without it.
What is your motto?
Own it. Whoever you are, whatever you do, own it.
If you would like to find out more about Christine and her novel, check out the book blast below.