We have a guest today. Please give a warm welcome to erotic romance author Rachell Nichole. She’s here today to talk both about her recently released novel, “Spicy with a Side of Cranberry Sauce,” and the nuts and bolts of writing an erotic romance.
Thanks so much for having me stop by today. And hello readers, I’m glad you tuned in to hear what I have to say about writing a good Erotic Romance.
Writing a good erotic romance is equal parts really easy and really hard to do. First let’s chat a bit about the erotic romance industry in a post-Fifty Shades world. After the book blew up all over the place – hitting best-seller charts, spotlighting at many a book club, and being talked about everywhere – there was a huge change in the way erotic romance was shelved in bookstores, at least the ones I’ve encountered since then. Erotic romance was suddenly front and center in the middle of the romance section, right alongside paranormal, Harlequin’s lines, and sweet romances. That’s a big deal. But as many readers will tell you, the Fifty Shades books are not the best books ever written. So now, we turn to how to enjoy this surge in the industry and produce excellent books!
This is the easy part… and the hard part. To write a good erotic romance, you have to do everything you have to do when you write a good book, no matter its genre or subject matter. That’s it folks – write a good book, with lots of hot sex and a happy ending.
Of course, that’s much easier said than done, so I want to share a few specifics. I’ll give some examples from my current book, Spicy with a Side of Cranberry Sauce since I know the book inside and out and I want to share a bit about the book with you all.
1 – Plot – the book has to have a plot line. It can’t just be a bunch of love scenes connected by a few pages of dialogue and characters walking down the street for absolutely no reason. In my book, the plot revolves around a couple, Amy and Mason, who meet in a grocery store and feel an instant affinity for one another. They quickly realize though that their parents are dating and Mason’s defensive attitude and Amy’s determination to make things perfect lead them on a wild rollercoaster ride that lasts from Thanksgiving through Christmas. When Mason’s mom realizes he’s been sleeping with Amy, she calls off her relationship with Amy’s dad and it’s up to Amy and Mason to work together to fix it. See? Plot. Things happening, for a reason, outside of the sex scenes, of which there are many.
2 – Characterization – the book’s hero and heroine, or heroine and heroine, or hero and hero, or whatever, must be likable and they also must not be perfect. No one wants to follow along on the shoulder or in the head of someone who is perfect. Perfect people are annoying. Perfect characters even more so. Amy and Mason are seriously damaged characters. Amy lost her mom when she was a kid and hasn’t celebrated or planned ahead for pretty much anything else since then. Mason’s been carrying the guilt of his father’s affairs on his shoulders for over a decade and is convinced that he’s just like his father.
3 – Conflict – this kind of goes along with plot (what happens in the book) but it takes that concept a step further. Without conflict, everyone can be happy right from the start of the book. As a professor of mine says, “Only conflict is interesting.” Who wants to watch a football game in which nothing happens, or where one team is so far out of the realm of the other that we all know what is coming next. For Amy and Mason – the conflict is almost as instantaneous as the attraction. Mason doesn’t want Amy and her Dad spending the holidays with his mom. He knows she’s been hurt enough and fears the new man in her life is taking advantage of her frail emotional state. Amy is determined to win Mason over, even when he’s rude to her. She wants her dad and Martha (Mason’s mom) to be together. And she wants to celebrate a perfect holiday with this family.
4 - Love – the book MUST have a love story, an emotional element even among the hottest of scenes. It also must have a happy ending. This is where the line is drawn between erotica and erotic romance. An erotic romance must be a romance first and erotic second. If the people don’t get together in the end and stay together, the book is not a romance. The book starts with attraction, with love scenes, but there’s a steady building of admiration and love between Amy and Mason, until neither can deny their feelings for the other and decide to stick together despite their own damage and fears that it won’t work.
Those are really the big ones that every book needs, no matter the genre. Love is the only requirement added for romance. And sex is the only additional aspect for erotic romance, and while these scenes may have a lot of page time, they’re not the main part of the book. Past that, the book has to be well-written in terms of grammar, consistency, concision and all of that jazz, but all of those things happen during revisions and editing.
Thanks again Mary. And thanks readers. Do you think I missed anything?
Thank you, Rach. Looks good to me, and it’s so nice to actually see it said that there’s more to an erotic romance than sex, sex, and more sex.
You may recognize Rach’s name from an interview she did with me back in August about her book “An Affair Across Times Square.” Check that out here.