Let’s give a big Coffee Time welcome to Naomi Bellina. Naomi writes spicy erotic romance and we are thrilled to have her here to learn more about her book, ‘Seducing the Stone’, as well as hear about her upcoming releases and just find out a bit more about the lady behind these juicy tales. Welcome Naomi! Why don’t we begin by having you introduce us to the main characters, Raya and Max in ‘Seducing the Stone’. What draws the reader to them?
Right off the bat, Raya shows us she has a mischievous streak. She shoves a flower arrangement out of the way to place hers in a more prominent spot on the altar. You've got to love a fairy that gets feisty in a temple! She has a task to complete, and is ready to do what's necessary to get the job done. When she meets Max, she doesn't take any crap from him, but recognizes a decent guy and decides she wants to get to know him better. Max is also on a mission, and doing his best not to let Raya or anyone else interfere. Readers will see that both characters are committed to their goals and will overcome any obstacle to achieve them, but are also attracted to each other and find ways to act on their desires.
You’ve already got me hooked! Well, to help visualize the story a bit more, what Hollywood actor/actress do you think would play these characters in a movie version of the book and why?
Robert Downey Junior. Oh wait, that was just a reflex. He's such a hottie, I want to see him in every movie. No, I think Max should be played by someone not so traditionally handsome. Maybe Colin Ferguson. I love his crooked smile! Let's see, I think Jewel Staite, that adorable woman from the Firefly series, would be perfect as Raya.
I think these are great casting choices. But what is the most captivating thing about the fairy world?
They're technically advanced, yet old-fashioned in some ways. The fairies are sensual, pleasure-loving people who enjoy having a good time but can be serious when they need to. They've learned to live with other species and get along well together. Oh, I had to throw in a firework scene at the end, because I love fireworks and I just know fairies would too.
Fairies are certainly fascinating creatures. But what do you think the differences are between creating human and non-human characters?
Non-human characters are fun to create, because I can give them whatever powers I want. I make sure they have enough humanity so they can relate to the humans, and vice-versa. When creating humans, I tend to blend traits from people I know, or fictional characters, to produce the perfect personality. The great part about mixing humans and non-humans together is I get to highlight their differences and similarities.
I love reading about both kinds of characters in your book. If you had to pick though, what comes first in your writing? The world, the characters or the plot?
I'm trying hard to be more character oriented, but honestly, I just love a good plot! That usually comes first. Once I have that going on, I start coming up with the perfect characters that will fit nicely into the story, and then decide what kind of world will work the best. Then, voila! I stir all the elements together and out pops a great book.
Sounds like a recipe for success! What can readers expect from your books with respect to sexual content and sensuality?
In all my erotic romance stories, the sex scenes are steamy and vivid but not crude. They don't go on for pages and pages with extreme graphic detail until readers are yawning and skipping ahead. I love to enjoy romance and sex, so my characters get to have a lot of fun. Sometimes the sex is a little…dangerous, just enough to cause a ripple along the spine. I also write straight erotica, stories without much romance and sometimes kinky sex. Both are fun to write, but I always keep in mind the difference between the two.
In a way, that can relate to your motto: “never pass up the opportunity to have an adventure”. Can you tell us a bit more?
Life should be an adventure! Too often, we women don't take enough chances and really miss out on having fun and excitement in our lives because we're overly cautious. When I'm making a decision, I will stop and ask myself, what would be more adventurous? I try to go with that option, and am usually not disappointed. Do you remember Xena, the Warrior Princess? She never passed up the opportunity for an adventure. My hero!
I love Xena! This is certainly a good motto to live and write by. How do you think your upcoming trilogy (tentatively titled as ‘The Adventures of Star Brite’) relates to this motto?
Ooooo, it's going to be a fun one! The heroine starts out rather quiet, and as she discovers the power she has, begins to blossom. I'd like to say this will be out soon, but I'm still waiting to hear from the publisher. *bites nails anxiously*
I’m crossing my fingers for you! But you do have a new book coming out this month called, ‘Creatures of the Night’. What is this story about?
Creatures will be out in June from Torrid Books, formerly Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. It's a really fun story with a lot of action and, you guessed it, adventure! May I insert a blurb here?
Assuming he is the recipient of a large inheritance and fed up with the rat race of the city, Kyle quits his day job and moves to the small town of Hollister to live in his deceased aunt's home. He is, however, unable to locate the money he thought was his, and his search leads him to the local library where he meets Maya, a charming librarian with a secret. Their quest to remove an old curse leads them to a family of witches, one of them a wild spirit who has been lured away by her dark and fiery lover and kidnapped. A daring plan to rescue Sasha puts Maya in danger and allows Kyle to use his role as a hot-shot lawyer to help. Can they accomplish their mission safely and solve the mystery of the missing money?
This sounds like a great read. But a little more now on Naomi Bellina, the writer. What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create characters and worlds that capture the imagination?
You used one of my favorite words, Margo, imagination. What would life be like if we didn't take occasional forays into places that don't exist? Watch children and see how much fun they have playing make-believe. Maybe authors who write paranormal, fantasy and science fiction are just kids who have never grown up.
That’s a really neat way of looking at it. So what do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
I want to be drawn in to the story, to wonder what will happen next. It has to move along quickly enough to keep me interested, and tease me with unanswered questions. I'm reading a story right now that's not really my favorite genre, yet I can't stop until I find out what happens. In erotic romance and even erotica, interesting sexual encounters have to occur.
Very true; captivating a reader into the story world is of utmost importance. What other advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don't be shy. Submit that book! The worst you will be told is no, and most every author has received enough rejections to paper at least one wall. Okay, that description is a bit out of date since so much is done via email now, but you get the idea. As soon as you get a 'no', that very day, send it to the next publisher. Write another book. Have a few going at the same time so you don't sit at your computer pushing the Send/Receive button over and over. If you don't have a long story in you right now, submit a short one to an anthology. Do something, stay busy.
That is excellent advice, and really motivating as well. When you curl up with a book, what is your favorite type of genre to read? Also, what is your favorite to write?
I'm a big romantic mystery fan. Right now I'm writing more romantic suspense and action/adventure, but soon I'm going to plot out a mystery and get going. A little humor in a story is a big bonus with me.
I’d love to see a mystery novel from you. And to close our interview, just a few more questions to find out more about you. At the end of the day, what is the last thing you think of before sleeping? The first thing when you wake up?
Part of my nightly ritual is to say this little verse: Open my path before me and grant me the opportunity to be of maximum good in this world. (I read that somewhere and apologize for not being able to credit the author.)Then, I think how cute my honey looks while sleeping, and wonder if I can stay awake long enough to read one more chapter!
When I wake up, I think of something to be thankful for, before I even get out of bed. Oh, I get to sleep fairly late, and I sometimes need a good reason to get up early and get moving, so I think of all the projects I have going on and convince myself to leap into action. Though I'm trying to cut back on caffeine consumption, I promise myself coffee if I get up early.
That seems like a great way to start the day; I think I’m going to give it a go! Could you also tell us what makes you happy and why?
See above reference to sleeping honey. Listening to him and my cat snore softly makes me really happy. I'm happy I feel groovy. I have health issues, like most everyone, and some days would like to feel groovier, but for the most part I'm in pretty good shape. Having enough food to eat, clean water to drink, goals to reach, a reliable car, Saturday date night, a business to run, lunch with a girlfriend, jokes on my Facebook page, movies on Netflix, my Kindle, signing a book contract, special chocolate, dry red wine, getting a massage, boy, I could go on and on. A lot of these are little things, but that's what I've found are the biggest joys in life.
I completely agree. Now would you rather have chocolate or coffee? Why?
Oh, do I have to choose? Isn't that why Café Mocha was invented? Okay, I'm going to go with coffee. Black. Dark roast, organic beans. I love to brew one cup in the morning and get a little sage burning. What a delicious aroma that produces! The ultimate indulgence for my sense of smell. Heavenly!
Mmmm…well we are Coffee Time Romance. I wish I had a cup of that right now. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
I'd like to thank Coffee Time and Margo for having me as their guest. You guys have a fabulous website, and I enjoy participating in your many events. Thank you, readers for buying books and supporting authors. You can't believe the thrill we get when we sell books. Really, we do. I raise my mug in a toast, to coffee, romance, and fabulous books!
Thank you so much for joining us Naomi. To coffee, romance and books!