Welcome book fiends and coffee aficionados! Today we are lucky enough to be chatting with, and learning more about, talented author Justine Elyot. Thanks for taking the time to be with us today, Justine. To start, could you tell us something about your recent release, Honeytrapped?
Yes, it's published by Total E-Bound, and it's what they call a Lust Bite, which is a 'long short story' - between 10 and 15,000 words. It's a story about a romance between a tango teacher and a not-very-savvy private detective, who tries to catch him out in an act of infidelity. Unlikely beginnings - but the spark between them ignites quickly and the story takes off from there.
Not just in this book, but out of any that you have written previously or are working on, who is your favorite character and why?
Ah, I'm glad you included books that I'm working on - I'm always very involved with my characters while I'm writing them, so they usually top my list at the time. My current favourite female character is Cherry, a music teacher looking for her perfect man. She's funny, self-deprecating, passionate and a bit of an overthinker - I'd like her as a friend. As for the men - well, I've yet to write one I didn't want to take home, but just now I'm keen on a violinist called Vlad. Look out for him - he's a hot one.
This story was hot enough to leave readers fanning themselves. What usually inspires your story ideas?
Thank you! In the case of Honeytrapped, it was the tango scene in the film Moulin Rouge, but it can be all kinds of stuff. Pieces of music, scenes from TV shows, lines from songs, dreams. And I get a lot of ideas in the shower, for some reason.
What kind of books do you read for pleasure? Stuff nothing like what you write, or pretty close to the same genre?
I have to admit, since I started writing, I haven't read much romance or erotica - I have a fear of unconsciously copying someone else's voice, or duplicating their ideas, because I do have a bit of a blotting-paper mind and I absorb other writers' stylistics without realising I'm doing it. So I tend to stick with popular and literary fiction when I'm reading for relaxation - favourites include Sarah Waters, Kate Atkinson, Michel Faber and lots of Victorians.
What inspired Tilly’s character in this plot? Calum’s?
With Tilly, I was taken with the idea of a 'soft-boiled' private detective - somebody completely unsuited to the role who tries hard but doesn't have the street smarts to really pull it off. I liked the comedy value of it, plus her being a terrible dancer in the tango scenes made me laugh. I was enjoying the performance of the Irish actor Aidan Turner in the BBC drama serial Desperate Romantics when I wrote this...so Calum might just bear a teeny bit of a resemblance to him...but I'm not saying any more than that!
You have a very distinct, witty and fun voice, even when writing about the darker bits of bedroom fantasy. If you weren't writing romance, what would you be writing?
Oh, how kind of you to say so! Thanks! I always like a bit of romance in everything, but I have an ambition to write historical fiction with a Victorian setting - the amount of research I need to do is daunting, to say the least, but I've made a start, been to the local museum and ordered a few books.
When you write, is atmosphere important? For example, do you use mood music or candles? Do you need complete quiet to concentrate?
I absolutely do need quiet to concentrate - I can't focus at all if there's anything going on around me. If I put music on, it grabs my attention straight away and I find myself listening to it with a slack-jawed expression on my face instead of writing. I also have to close Twitter, or I'm useless. It's a bit of an addiction.
What's the strangest inspiration you ever got for a story idea?
I've had a few odd ones, but I'd have to say the UK General Election of 2010. Not the sexiest thing that springs to mind, but I got quite a hot threesome story out of it somehow.
What do you do when the characters stop 'talking' to you while you are writing?
This tends to happen towards the last third of a novel-length story when other ideas crowd in and I'm in a hurry to finish off and attend to new things. It's difficult, because I don't want a weak ending, or characters behaving oddly. Last time it happened, I watched a few episodes of a show that featured one of my favourite actors - the inspiration for the hero - and he got back to me in the end. Phew!
Do you have a newsletter or chat-loop where fans can keep up with you? And where can your readers find you online?
At the moment no newsletter or chat loop, but I am on the aforementioned Twitter a lot, and I'll friend anyone on facebook unless they alarm me. I have a website too and I enjoy Goodreads.
Do you have anything else you would like to add/say to our readers? I hear you have quite a few exciting things happening in the near future...
Now that you mention it...haha. Yes, I have all kinds of good things to look forward to up to the end of the year. In July I'll be doing my first ever (possibly last ever too, if it all goes pear-shaped) book reading in London with the legendary erotica writer and editor (and cupcake-baker) Rachel Kramer Bussel. To say I'm nervous and excited would be the understatement of the year - but it can't fail to be a stellar evening, given the wonderful line-up. Then, in August, my first novel for Carina Press comes out. It's called Erotic Amusements and is full of sexy bikers, bitchy beauty queens, corrupt businessmen, suspense and did I mention the sexy bikers? The year ends with two more new novels - one genre-bending sci-fi romance for Carina Press and one no-holds-barred erotica for Xcite Books. Not sure how I'm going to fit all the promotion in, but I'll give it my best shot.
I'd like to thank everybody for reading and you, Virginia, for being such a lovely interviewer. I've really enjoyed answering these questions today.
Well, fellow book addicts and coffee lovers, it was truly a pleasure to get to know a new author and thank you for stopping in to read with us today. I also want to make sure to thank the author for the worlds you create and transport us to with your words and mention that we look forward to more great reads in the future!