The ABCs of Erotica

Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a married couple writing erotic romance together. Published at Extasy Books, Whiskey Creek Press Torrid, Love You Divine, Logical Lust and Torquere, our novels and short stories garner top reviews and are available in e-book and print. Genres include straight m/f, lesbian, bisexual, ménage and polyamory, with both contemporary and paranormal settings. Our motto? Erotic Romance for two, three or more.

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1. What influenced you to get published? How long did it take? Can you tell us the name of your first published work? We’re both academics with PhD’s in the social sciences and have written together professionally much of our careers. Since childhood each of us harbored dreams of writing fiction, so we decided in 2000 to pour energy into making that dream come true. Both of us have been lifelong avid romance readers and thought it would be fun to try – turns out it’s a lot harder than we thought, and we had a lot to learn, even though one of us is a grammar perfectionist and has free lanced as an editor for some indie pubs. We took workshops, submitted to contests, critiqued, revised and edited, and five years later we had a sale. That first book was Colors of the Night, released to a five star review at TwoLips, which was thrilling. Not so thrilling was that its original publisher folded not long after, but we were pleased to have Extasy Books re-release it in the summer of 2009 after our rights were returned to us.

2. What do you like most about writing? What are the challenges? It’s a really heady feeling when a new story is taking shape and it’s all we can do to keep the words flowing onto the page in an effort to keep pace with where the characters lead us. Both of us are continually amazed by the process so many writers describe – that the characters have lives of their own that we’re privileged to tap into. There are two kinds of challenges we struggle with. Some would call the first challenge “writer’s block” – that sinking feeling when nothing seems right and words won’t come. Nearly always, that’s a signal the characters have something important to work out, and we have to face our fears and plunge in to work with them. The other is more mundane – editing, editing, editing. We want our stories to shine, to be exquisitely written, to satisfy with exactly the right words. I’m not sure we’ve ever kept count of how many times each of us must go through an entire completed manuscript to get it just right – and even then, it seems there’s always a typo or two lurking somewhere.

3. What genre would you like to try that you haven’t yet? In real life, we’re both history buffs and love good historical fiction. We’d love to try our hand at some historical erotic romance and have started outlining a series set in Wales in Celtic times.

4.  Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s your take on this? Can you tell us something unglamorous you did within the last week or so? Definitely not glamorous. I suspect even the top-selling NYT authors don’t have time for a lot of glamour in their lives – writing is difficult, tedious work. Something unglamorous? Well, today I did the laundry and the grocery shopping. Hubs vacuumed the house. For supper I thawed and re-heated a wonderful chicken and white-bean chili that he made over a month ago in the crock pot.

5. Plotter or pantzer? Most of our stories are character driven, so we don’t start writing until we know who’s who, what they care about, what their flaws are. We then develop a plan for the obstacle they’ll struggle with and sketch out the broad arc of the story. While we’re writing, we read each day’s output out loud and talk through next steps before proceeding.

6.  What would you like to share with new writers? Any suggestions or advice? Never ever give up. Judith Viorst kept on writing and submitting for years before she was finally published. If it’s your dream, give it the energy it deserves – and, polish your craft. Take workshops, read voraciously, pay attention to how others pull you into their stories and scenes, ask for feedback and pay attention when editors tell you something about your work.

7. If you could be a character in any of your books who would it be and why? I identify with so many of our heroines it’s hard to choose just one, but Merry Delaney in The Merry Widow wins out, I think. I admire her spunk and determination and I love how she embraces all the new experiences that open for her as she transitions from a depressed new widow to an expansive, free-spirited open hearted woman. Plus, she inspired my first ever tattoo (not telling what or where)!

8. Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? Actually, we do – it’s a large print copy of an amazing painting by the Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte, Reclining Nude (1880). Our writing office is in an alcove with a slanted ceiling, so the painting literally hangs over our desk, always ready to titillate us, inspire us, and remind us that we are working with universal themes that have a long and wonderful history. We’ve written a novel based on the painting but haven’t shopped it around yet.

9. What do you enjoy doing with your spare time, your non-writing time? At the top of our list of hobbies is staying fit – working out year round, hiking and biking in the summer, cross country skiing in the winter, and enjoying Dance Central on our new Xbox 360 Kinect.  Writing fiction actually started out as a hobby, and of course reading, always. We love to travel, especially when we can put together enough vacation time for a long motor home adventure.

10.  When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble? I wish I could remember which Oscars it was – there was a moment when Cameron Diaz showed up with crazy spiky hair and a critic wrote she looked like she’d just gotten out of bed. She confessed she’d liked how her hair looked when she woke up so she just sprayed it and went with it. I don’t think I look like Cameron Diaz, but I keep a short spunky cut and some mornings it looks like hers did.

11. What kind of comfort food do you like best? It turns out that staying healthy is far more comforting to each of us than anything we used to grab for comfort food. We’re Baby Boomers and want to keep ourselves healthy and vibrant as long as we’re able. Apple pie was high on our old list – here’s a quick recipe for a healthy replacement (for two): Core two apples and place in individual ramekins. Fill core with chopped pecans, 1/4 tsp. of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake at 325 for one hour. Just as yummy, very comforting, and heart healthy!

12. Are you in love? Have you ever been? Absolutely. Three decades and counting, sharing the love and the fun (and the hot sex!) with our readers, one book at a time. I don’t think either of us could have envisioned what we’re doing now when we married, and I’m sure we wouldn’t have made time for it when kids were little and our first careers were so absorbing. Staying open to surprise, eager for adventure and open to keep on learning have helped us keep growing together and weather the tough spots. I can’t imagine better. We both want such a love for all our heroes and heroines.

13.  What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success? For me success isn’t something in the long distant future – it’s living into every day with energy, focus, love and integrity. Do I manage that at 100% every day? Of course not, but the journey feeds me. Actually I’m going to close with a line from a favorite poem that expresses it best – The Waking, by Ted Roethke: “I learn by going where I have to go.” I hope the same for all our readers.

14.Tell us about your recent release. Pushing the Limits, Book Eight in our Swinging Games series, was just released at Extasy. We started writing the series about three years ago because we were fascinated by the Swing Lifestyle and thought it would be a fun device to deliver a wide range of ménage and other hot sex scenes for our readers. We created our lead characters – a Baby Boomer couple whose kids are grown. Brett and Jen Andrews have decided to try swinging to spice up their sex life, and because Jen has newly realized she’s bisexual. Here’s the blurb for their latest adventure:

Swinging Games: Pushing the Limits

Their new Unicorn Sarah Creston may be out of town, but that doesn’t stop Jen and Brett Andrews from burning up the wires with some scorching three-way phone sex. While they’re waiting for Sarah, Ryan eagerly pursues Brett for some hot male action, followed by a house party that challenges Jen and Brett’s stereotypes. Sarah finally arrives, exhausted and drained from weeks spent helping her aging parents. Jen and Brett provide total tender care for three days – but when Jen invites Sarah to move in for the whole summer, Brett asks himself, what’s the limit?

EXCERPT

Lying on her back, Jen felt the warmth of morning sunrays pouring through the east window caressing her nude form before she opened her eyes. Someone had been up and opened the curtains. Her nostrils twitched at the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. That answered that question. Brett was awake.

She stretched languidly, not quite wanting to begin the day. And then she remembered. That other scent. The scent of a woman. The scent of Sarah Creston. In their bed. Lying next to her.

Where to find Adriana:

Adriana Kraft
Website: http://www.adrianakraft.com/

Blog: http://www.adrianakraft.com/blog

FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/people/Adriana-Kraft/100001944980679

Twitter http://twitter.com/AdrianaKraft

GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/author/list/1578571.Adriana_Kraft

Midnight Seductions http://midnightseductionsauthors.blogspot.com/

Sapphic Planet: http://www.sapphicplanet.com

Adriana’s Author Pages at Amazon.com and All Romance Ebooks

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Comments on: "Malia Mallory Welcomes Adriana Kraft – Interview & Excerpt from Pushing the Limits" (12)

  1. adrianakraft said:

    Malia, thanks so much for having me here today! This book was a lot of fun to write – now we’re in the polishing/editing stage on its sequel, not so much fun, but worth it if readers enjoy the book. Readers can find out more about the series here: http://adrianakraft.com/books/swinging-games/

  2. Hey, Adri Ana and Mia! Popping in right quick. Great interview. I’d love to see you two write a historical erotic romance Celtic style. With a bit of pagan and witchcraft, and those hot sex scenes you write. That would be awesome! Pushing the Limits is on my TBR and I’ll be providing a review. Okay, heading out the door – busy busy. (((HUGS))) to all, Bren

  3. How neat that you two can write together! I wonder, do you ever take on solo projects and if so, does it make you a stronger writer when you come back together?

  4. I would love to know how you write as a team. Not sure I could do that—I’m a bit of a control freak. Love that you do, though.

  5. I think it’s pretty hot you write together. I can only dream of my husband actually finishing one of my novels…though our adventures in bed are part of what inspire them!
    Aloha
    Toby

  6. adrianakraft said:

    Thanks Brenda – we’ve done a lot of background research into Celtic lore, as well as some shamanic training, so I think we’ll have a lot of fun with it.

    And Lorca, thanks – no, we haven’t tried writing fiction solo, though we did write solo in our other careers as well as together. We really started this adventure for something we could have fun with together, so I don’t think it’s occurred to us to take a solo flight.

    Kelly – it’s quite a process, and we had to improve our ability to handle constructive feedback with each other! In so many other spheres we’ve learned which of each other’s quirks to tolerate, but when the end product needs to be a polished work of fiction, we both have to hang in there until we agree it’s the best it can be. I think the process had made our marriage stronger, I have to add :).

  7. rainethomas said:

    I loved your comments about the “glamorous” life we writers lead. Just this morning I cleaned up piles of flour, sugar (white and brown), corn meal, and a bunch of other dry ingredients in my kitchen because my six-year-old decided she wanted to “bake” something while I was on the computer. Thank goodness I got to her before she decided to add milk or eggs!

    Glamorous. *rolls eyes*

    This was a great interview. Nice to get to know you!

  8. adrianakraft said:

    Thanks, Raine – your morning sure brought back memories! Our kids are grown now but they had their share of unglamorous moments, that’s for sure!

  9. I think it is awesome you can write as a team. My boyfriend is not much of a reader, let alone writer. Great interview!

  10. I think it is great that you two can write together! My boyfriend is not much of a reader, let alone writer. 🙂 Great interview!

  11. What an awesome interview. I can’t wait to check out more!

  12. Loved reading about your dual writing process, if you can call it that. I write nonfiction (humor mostly, though always relationship based) many times, my honesty is met with criticism — which rocks, BTW. I love that emotional response.

    I truly believe in pursuing your vision without worrying what others think. I especially admire erotica authors for that reason. In my business (as a social media consultant — my other hat :), I’ve had authors who weren’t quite ready to reveal their true selves as erotica authors, worried about what their families, kids, church friends or colleagues would say.

    Did you experience that and how do you feel about that?

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