Tuesday, April 3, 2007

If Love Is Blind, What Are Romance and Arousal?

Gracie ask erotic romance author Alessia Brio about fantasies and what it takes to make them...

When creating short stories, you are creating fantasies ~ how do you come up with the ideas?

I have a wicked imagination. *grin* When writing, I typically tone it down a notch or two so as not to shock the readers (or alienate the publishers). My work is predominantly published in the romance genre, and that industry has a rather... um, narrow framework for its sex. I'm not a fan of rules, but I do need to earn a living. Ideas are never a problem for me. Finding time to package them into marketable works? Yeah, THAT is a problem.

What do readers say about your stories? What do they seem to respond to the most?

The words that pop up most frequently in my feedback are "irreverent," "realistic," and "raw." I'm somewhat of an acquired taste and that spills over into my characters. Readers respond well to their humor and their (as one reviewer put it) "unapologetic sexuality." (In other words, their natural sluttiness.) I have a tough time writing a protagonist who doesn't share my values, and I think that gives my work a unique flavor.

What is the number one thing writing erotic romance stories has taught you personally about yourself?

That I'm not "normal" (as my writing partner is fond of reminding me). Normal is boring. Releasing a fantasy into the wild is a frightening venture. Erotic fiction (I still have a hard time using the word romance), moreso than other products of the imagination, is particularly susceptible to criticism. Sex is something we all have in common. It's inescapable. Thus, everyone has an opinion on it. As writers, we're dancing naked in front of a crowd, and the audience is either going to be aroused -- or bored. Fortunately, I don't suffer from performance anxiety.

What is the number one thing you think couples can learn from reading erotic romance? And in particular, what do you think your stories say? As in, "The moral of my stories would be..."

Hmm. That depends on whether they're reading it together or separately. The biggest obstacle to enriching a couple's sex life is that first frank conversation. I think reading that erotic fiction TOGETHER would have enormous payoffs in terms of opening those lines of communication.

My stories, in particular, emphasize that gender is irrelevant in terms of eroticism. It's the person's mind that ultimately attracts us, not their plumbing. That basic truth also extends to other differences (such as race, age, disability, faith, etc.). So, my underlying "message" is always one of acceptance.

I agree that our minds are the biggest turn-ons, that our brains are the biggest & most important sex organs; but so many people worry about not looking like a model or being unable to swing from chandeliers... What specifically do you think makes a story, a fantasy, erotic? In other words, what do you do in creating a fantasy, in the writing of a story which would translate to couples doing this in their relationships?

One of the ways I've learned I differ from a great many people is that I'm not visually stimulated -- as least not primarily so. In fact, it's the last of my senses to be triggered during sex. Thus, the eroticism in my work is not visual in nature. I rarely describe physical attributes as they're SEEN, but rather as they're felt or heard or smelled or tasted. That makes it easier for a variety of readers to insert themselves into my work.

I think that in order to "swing from the chandeliers," we need to focus less on the visual and more on the other senses. Very few people look like cover models. Women, in particular, seem prone to being overly critical of their appearances. My recommendation--as an experiment for timid couples--is to BOTH wear a blindfold until you learn to rely on the other senses for arousal.

And so, on that note, we have the answer to the question, If Love Is Blind, What Are Romance and Arousal?

Romance and arousal are blindfolded. *wink*

Alessia Brio is a sassy tart who lives in the mountains near Pittsburgh where she masquerades as a soccer mom. Her debut publication, a single-author anthology of poetry and erotic fiction entitled fine flickering hungers, recently won the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Erotica. When she's not writing, editing, or designing covers, she gets off annoying uptight bureaucrats and embarrassing her children. Her fetishes include SuDoku, office supplies, and stainless steel. Alessia believes that words are our most powerful weapon in the war against bigotry and intolerance. Hers are guaranteed to get under even the thickest skin. You can visit her online at www.alessiabrio.com.

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At April 4, 2007 12:53 PM , Blogger SlipOfAGirl said...

I rarely describe physical attributes as they're SEEN, but rather as they're felt or heard or smelled or tasted. That makes it easier for a variety of readers to insert themselves into my work.



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