HAPPY SPRING! Welcome, We have Diana Laurence here today, chatting about her newest release Soulful Sex: Erotic Tales of Fantasy and Romance Volume 3. and a little about herself. Coffee Time Romance extends a warm welcome to Ms. Laurence.
Your newest release, Soulful Sex: Erotic Tales of Fantasy and Romance Volume III is full of something for every reader. From mermaids to chambermaids you have great tales of love and lust. What made you choose these particular stories to tell?
Thanks so much, Shannon! Well, if there’s one thing I’ve discovered as an author, it’s that tastes vary, and variety is the spice of life. Last year I put out a quiz called “What Romance Type are You?” and between my website and the quiz site where it is posted, over a thousand people have taken it to date. (See www.dianalaurence.com/romancequiz.html) It’s amazing how the four categories (modern, classic, imaginative and quirky), although quite different, are fairly even in popularity. So that indicates all the more to me the difference people have in their romantic preferences, and that is especially true when you’re talking about erotic romance fiction.
All three volumes in the Soulful Sex series have variety, but I think Volume III covers the gamut particularly nicely. Two of the stories have a medieval setting, but one is quite serious and the other more amusing. The mermaid story is pure fantasy. I have a science fiction tale that also reads a bit like a historical of the Old West (for that you can credit my love of Joss Wheden’s Firefly/Serenity works). There are two contemporaries for the realistic and more modern crowd. And lastly, there’s a vampire tale written in the Regency style.
Do you have a favorite?
That last one, “Verity of the Vampyre,” is my personal favorite of everything I’ve written to date. I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen and decided to indulge myself and write this story in my best imitation of her style, down to the British spellings! It’s a great example of using variety to increase a book’s appeal, as I have already heard from two readers who don’t normally like vampire stories but really enjoyed this one for other reasons. The Regency period is perfect for creating sexual tension: society’s rules were very strict, but the moneyed classes were so bored that naturally they thought constantly about sex. That aspect was fun, and also I had a blast writing all that lovely, articulate, careful Regency dialogue. Plus, I personally do like vampires!
In reading some of your personal essays I noticed that you mention the soul of sex. How are you trying to take the reader that one step past the hormones, beyond the dreamy eyes and taut bodies, to the crux of the beast?
Well put, Shannon. I think it’s important to keep in mind that the most powerful, all-encompassing, cosmic sex is the kind where the physical aspect is enhanced by the emotional and spiritual. Everyone knows what it is like to be fascinated by a certain person or character, for reasons beyond their appearance. It’s that fascination, that spiritual longing, that makes someone seem way beyond sexy to you. I try to have my readers identify with the all-encompassing desire of my lead characters for each other, so that when the sex scene arrives (and I’ll admit, sometimes you have to wait a bit for it), it hits you all over instead of just below the waist.
That deeper more profound connection beyond the surface is how I picture the soul of sex, what do you see it as?
You’re definitely getting it, Shannon. You see, I’m a student of the psychologist Carl Jung, who believed that for every woman there is an animus and for every man an anima. The animus/anima is the spiritual equivalent of those aspects of your psyche that for one reason or another you have repressed. You long for those lost traits with a very desperate yearning, and often seek them in people of the opposite sex. This is Jung’s explanation for why opposites attract, why “good girls” want “bad boys,” and so on. Nothing gives a person or character more sex appeal to you than if you see in him those missing qualities. Passion and lust are not so much derived from how “hot” a guy looks--although it doesn’t hurt!--but from these psychological and spiritual motivations. Hope that makes sense! This is the Reader’s Digest condensed version of my book Living Beyond Reality, so it’s hard to put in so few words.
In Volume III you have contemporary tales as well as medieval ones, which do you find the most satisfying when writing?
Great question. My personal favorite genre is the medieval fantasy, which is why my one full length novel, Souls’ Embrace, is that (as well as being a paranormal, another personal fave). I adore knights, kings, swordfights, princesses, castles, chain mail, all that ren faire kind of stuff. Love the dialogue, the outdoor locales, the swashbuckling. What’s not to like about a time when guys wore short tunics and high boots? Seriously though, I think I like writing these stories most of all because of the vocabulary. I’m sure in real life, people of that time spoke their own sort of limited, slang-y language, but in literature they all have fabulous vocabularies and use “shall” and “my lord.” It’s so much more fun writing a character who says, “Would that I could open this honor-bound heart to share with you my bed, milady” than one who says, “It sure sucks that I’m married ’cause I really want to have sex with you.”
I read your column “Is It Bestiality if I Just Kinda Like Fur?” and loved it. Are you planning any future stories with faun or other sexy half human creatures?
Thanks, Shannon! (That was my March 2006 “Explorotica” column for www.novelspot.com, btw). Due to my current obsession with James McAvoy’s portrayal of Mr. Tumnus the faun in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” I really don’t think I’ll be able to resist. Plus, I’ve never done a shape-shifter or werewolf sort of story and I like to try everything at least once! These sorts of books are hugely popular right now and I believe again that it’s a Jungian thing: We live in a tame world and long for wildness. But it’s tricky, when dealing with creatures that are part animal, finding a way to avoid crossing the ick line. I had to struggle with that when figuring out the sexual anatomy of mermaids. Nevertheless, if you can stay on the right side of the line, the exotic can be very arousing.
If you could take any one man and mix him up a bit to your choice of animal, who and what would he be?
In my “Bestiality” column I talked about my consternation of finding myself in love with a goat guy. Goat is not first on anyone’s list of sexy animal. But fauns have an established mythology that really does work: they are uninhibited but innocent sexual partiers. I can sort of appreciate that, especially with James McAvoy portraying the upper half to the CGI goat legs. But I might go for a guy with wings, like that character Pygar in the old sci fi movie “Barbarella.” It would be great to be with a creature that could fly, and there would be such a cozy kind of sexiness in being enveloped in someone’s wings. Excuse me a sec, I need to make a note of this for my files....LOL
If you could live one day as any character from your books, which would it be and why?
I would want to be Mauren, the heroine of my novel Souls’ Embrace, and for one reason: She gets to be with Kier. Kier and Mauren are psychically linked, which not only makes for some very cool conversation but amazing sex. I’ve always thought there could be nothing more awesome than being in love with someone and being able to read each other minds. I do realize that’s a very romantic idea and would fail horribly in real life....LOL But the other reason I would want to be Mauren is that when I wrote Kier, I indulged my own personal taste totally. He is the closest I’ve ever written to my personal ideal guy. He’s brave, clever, hilarious, deep, and can sword fight. All that said though, I’d also like to be Mauren because she is a very positive soul, lighthearted and funny, but also very, very strong. She’s the person I try to be, but much nicer than I am. LOL
What is something about you that most would be surprised to learn?
There’s quite a bit about me on the internet by now and I am pretty candid, so I’m trying to think of some new cool secret I can reveal to you. Hmm. Well, when I was in college I helped write a musical revue for my church. I was cast in the role of an entomology major who appeared on a TV program called “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Game Show.” Yeah, I did write the sketch, I’m weird enough to have come up with that idea. The best part of the show was the big first act finale song and dance number, which was a drinking song. During intermission we had an open keg on stage. Yes, it was a church, but keep in mind I went to the University of Wisconsin--Madison. It makes sense then, doesn’t it?
What was the first book you recall reading? Any favorite authors from childhood?
Probably “Green Eggs and Ham.” I loved Dr. Seuss. I also loved the Mary Poppins books. Gobbled up books on space and dinosaurs too. My favorite author was Edward Eager, who wrote the series that included Half Magic. They were books about children and magic and knights and such, very Narnia-esque. I didn’t discover the Narnia books till I was 18, but if that counts, C.S. Lewis would be my favorite childhood author. :-)
When did you first begin to write? Tell us a bit about your early works, published or hidden in File 13.
I began to write fiction probably in third grade or so. In fourth grade I had some of my work read on a radio show called “Let’s Write,” and in seventh grade I won a contest and had a short story published in ‘Teen magazine. That might have been the peak of my career, actually! LOL Your readers may find it interesting--or disturbing--that I wrote my first snippets of erotic stuff when I was thirteen and utterly clueless. But I did keep it up ever since, so it’s really kind of strange that I didn’t think to get my erotic writing published until I was 47. I completed my first novel when I was 23 and almost sold it. The publisher told me they debated for weeks before rejecting it. I think I would have been happier not knowing it came that close! LOL
Which of your heroes would you most likely end up in bed with?
That’s the toughest question of all, since of course I write them so that I’m dying to go to bed with each and every one! You know, April 1 is the official release date of my newest product, a deck of romance fortune telling cards called “Diana’s Deck.” There are 48 cards, with one being the instruction card, and the other all featuring my characters. One of the reasons I wanted to do this was the fun of getting to do portraits of all of them, especially, of course, the guys. Now that the decks have been printed, I need to pull all the heroes cards and seriously pick my favorite. Well, besides the afore-mentioned Kier of course, who is pretty much impossible to top. I suppose the one most likely to seduce me would combine being witty and funny with being really good at seduction. Mr. Wellsley from “Verity of the Vampyre,” Frayn from the Vernal Night Trilogy, and Sir Peter from “The Seduction of Squire Meg” all have that knack.
Have you ever had a dream about a story or character that went beyond just being creative?
Not dreams, but oftentimes when I’m plotting in bed at night, the story will get out of my hands. The most recent example was last week when I was working on my newest story, which will be in my next book, Soulful Sex: The Paranormal Collection. The first time the lead characters meet is a very intense moment for reasons I won’t go into here. I wasn’t sure what would happen. But being in Faedl’s skin when she laid eyes on Etrae’u, I was bowled over by lust so overwhelming that there was no alternative to their having sex right on the spot. When psychic stuff is involved, it can be like that. Anyway, perhaps I should have answered the previous question “Etrae’u,” but no one knows who he is yet!
Thank again for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions.
Thank you, Shannon, for the great questions! I love the Coffee Time Romance site and it was a pleasure and privilege to visit with your readers. If any of you will be attending the Romantic Times Convention in May, look for me speaking on the erotica panel on Wednesday the 17th. I’d love to meet you! In the meantime, I invite you to visit my website at www.dianalaurence.com. Thanks for reading!
A fantastic Interview, and another insightful look into one of our favorite authors.
Thank you so much Ms. Laurence for stopping by and chatting with us today, And on behalf of Coffee Time Romance we also want to say THANK YOU.
Interviewer for Coffee Time Romance