TwoLips Reviews Interview
with Adriana Kraft
When I first met Adriana Kraft, I was blown away by the stories I believed she put together. And then the most fantastic thing happened. I found out she's not just one person ~ a strong and talented female ~ but a wife and husband team. I was blown away. Not only at their cohesive ability to create fantastic stories but by their work ethic as well. Not many people can say that they would work with their significant other in such a creative outlet and make it work. I ’ve enjoyed both their swinger and paranormal stories for the past year. Yes, I have tons of catch-up reading to do and I can’t wait to say I have every single title of theirs.
Welcome to TwoLips Reviews Interviews, Adriana!
Q. Since you’re a collaborative team, do you “plot” out your stories or just write them by the seat of your pants?
Adriana: We do a broad plot arc when we start every story – but we spend even more time getting to know our characters: where they come from, what they care about, what they’re afraid of, what they hope for – lots of this detail never gets on the page directly, but it very definitely drives the plot. We don’t start writing until we feel we deeply understand the characters.
Q.What do you hope every reader gets out of an Adriana Kraft book?
Adriana: Pleasure, for starters – hot erotic scenes that are definite turn-ons. We also hope readers will connect and care about our characters. That can be harder to accomplish in short stories or in what we sometimes call a romp, but part of the delight of reading any romance novel is the invitation to place ourselves in the character’s shoes, so we always strive for well developed, engaging characters.
Q. What inspired you to start writing?
Adriana: Both of us wanted to write fiction since childhood, but careers took us in another direction. We did a lot of academic writing together before it dawned on us we could have a lot more fun creating fiction!
Q. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve discovered about the writing process?
Adriana: I used to read what others said about characters having minds of their own – I think this is what has surprised me the most, especially since there are two of us “creating” and connecting with the characters in each story. It truly does feel like these people have a full life in some other dimension than ours, and we’re privileged to drop in on a segment of their story and put it on the page. That was a total surprise to me.
Q. Which book was your favorite (so far) to write and hardest to write?
Adriana: We might have to have a “his and hers” here. Hers: Of our published works, my favorite is probably The Diary (Extasy Books), because Kate has to really examine herself and do an about face (and a major apology) in order to claim the love that’s waiting for her. His: Smoldering Passion (Whiskey Creek Press Torrid) is my favorite because its seeds were planted years ago in graduate school, and it embodies much of what we hope readers will garner from our work: permission to embrace untried sexual possibilities and a willingness to be surprised by fresh adventures. Hardest? The hardest is Seed Plot, yet to be published, which involves a female villain. Coming to grips with her story and her ending within the overall work was gut and soul-wrenching. It took a couple years in fits and starts to complete the manuscript and we are still editing.
Q. Do you do anything special to celebrate when a new book comes out?
Adriana: Now? We smile at each other and move on to meet another deadline. The first time? Dinner out and champagne!!
Q. How do you determine the “heat” level in your stories?
Adriana: The heat level is consistent with character development. Some characters are already quite experienced and others ease into hotter and hotter experiences. While we don't set forth with a predetermined level of heat we do try not to be redundant or overly long or mechanical. For example, we often drop the reader into the middle of a love scene.
Q. What do you feel is the most important element in your sexy stories?
Adriana: A sense of mystery and seduction, often subtle. And the element of being surprised by discovering something about oneself or one's partner.
Q. You are known for writing steamy erotica (stories). How do you keep the sex fresh in each story, not letting it get repetitive?
Adriana: Short answer – the same way couples keep the sex fresh in their relationship!! Seriously – there’s a limit to how many appendages can go into how many openings, but there’s no end to the nuances of each specific sexual encounter in anyone’s life. Sexual experience is so deeply influenced by context – mood, stage of the relationship, events that just took place or are anticipated – so many variables that make each encounter unique. In addition, in fiction, the sex scene only goes on the page if it also serves to drive the relationship/story arc forward. Thank goodness we don’t require that criterion for every personal sex scene!!
Q. Where do you get your ideas from? Are any taken from events and people you’ve met in life?
Adriana: Of course! Anything and everything that’s ever happened to either of us can serve as inspiration for part of a scene or a character, and between us there’s a lot of life to draw from! We do take care never to fully base a character or plot on any single person or event – true life doesn’t really work very well as fiction, we’ve found.
Q. Have you ever had one of those profound “AH-HA!” moments while you were writing?
Q. Would you be willing to share it?
Adriana: Oh, you mean that we can put on this page? Actually, because we write together, each of us continues to have new insights into the other’s gender culture, if you will. We continue to hone our skills in getting inside the minds of the opposite gender – what they think, how they think it, what words they use, what crazy connections ensue. It’s been a terrific eye opener in our own relationship and I know we are the richer for it.
Q. What advice can you give aspiring writers?
Adriana: Decide what you want, decide how bad you want it, and go after it. If writing fiction is important to you, build your life around it, and never give up.
Q. How important is cover art to your book? Are you given any input into the final cover to each book?
Adriana: We both think a good cover is vital. Covers either sell books or drive readers away. We’ve never ended up with a bad cover; the houses we publish with all have great cover artists. Most houses have the authors fill out cover art forms, so we do have some input – but cover artists are more skilled in what will sell a book than we are, so if the cover departs from what our concept was, we look at whether we think it works. Once in a while we’ve had to ask for changes, and the final product has always been worth it.
Q. What upcoming projects can your fans (like me) look forward to?
Adriana: We’ve mostly been doing shorter works lately because of some family pressures, but we hope to return to full length novels. We’re working on a pair of sequels to Smoldering Passionbased at the same sex institute but following a pair of older characters and then a young newcomer. We do enjoy writing the Swinging Gamesseries (Extasy Books) and keep finding new material that inspires more books, so I think we’ll keep that series going for a while! And we’re polishing a sequel to Colors of the Night(Extasy Books), our very first release, and our first TLR review and perfect score) in which the love goddess Aria returns to bring a new couple together.
Q. Where can interested readers learn more about you?
Adriana: Our website! All our books are featured, many with excerpts, and we blog at least weekly and sometimes more often. We also have author pages at Amazon.com and GoodReads. Here are places to find us:
Newsletter Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/adrianakraftnewsletter
Adriana Kraft at GoodReads
Adriana Kraft at Amazon.com
Midnight Seductions http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MidnightSeductions/
Sapphic Planet http://sapphicplanet.com/
Rainbow Romance Writers http://www.rainbowromancewriters.com/
Q. When you complete your novels, do you breathe a sigh of relief or do you feel sad the experience has ended?
Adriana: More sad than anything – especially so when we end a series and have to say goodbye to the characters, as we will do with Meghan Keenan this month! I think the sighs of relief come when all the editing and galley proofing is finally done – that’s a chore, and we’re always glad when it’s over.
Q. What do you think is sexier, an implied love scene or the actual scene from the first kiss to the grand finale?
Adriana: That really depends upon context and where the characters are in their relationship. We very much want love scenes to drive the story and vice versa. So we do both. Hopefully readers won't simply be able to thumb through the pages scanning for hot sex scenes – we want them pulled into the story.
Q. What genre holds your heart the most?
Adriana: That's a real tough one. We like variety. The romantic suspense draws on much of our professional career backgrounds. The paranormal allows us to go with the flow. And the romantic romp often makes us laugh. We wouldn't want to be limited to one genre.
Q. How did you get into writing swinger stories?
Adriana: A secondary character in an unpublished paranormal piece we wrote awhile back alluded to having participated in the swing lifestyle at a Chicago club. When we saw that detail on the page we questioned whether such a place actually existed and whether swinging continued past the "key parties" of the seventies. We put on our research hats and voila―our eyes opened to possibilities in this reality of which we'd been completely unaware. It sounded pretty hot and sexy to us, so out of a mention by a character eventually an entire series has evolved.
Q. Have you or your partner ever considered writing alone?
Adriana: One of us has, but at this point we’re not sure either of us really could pull this off alone. We’re so used to bouncing plot ideas off each other, relying on each other to keep characters true to their voice, and of course the endless editing. Think we’ll keep up the partnership!
Q. What drives your paranormal stories?
Adriana: Simply delving into places we've never gone. The ghost couple in Mistress of Purgatory Point were a hoot. But they did scare us with some of their antics, just as they frightened the heroine. We never knew for certain where they would take us next. We learned to trust the process. When we didn't we were stuck. At least the ghosts had lots of patience and waited for us to come around to their point of view.
Q. Do you believe in soul mates?
Adriana: Yes. We each believe we’ve found one (each other, obviously) and that’s who we try to write when we develop our characters. Soul mates doesn’t imply perfect, and any relationship requires a lot of hard work, honesty and forgiveness. But someone who shares those values? Definitely a soul mate!
Q. If you could choose anywhere in the world to set up your desk and write your next book, where would you like to be? What’s special to you about this place?
Adriana: Hmm – we’ve taken some fabulous writing vacations: Sedona AZ, Ramona CA, Fortune Bay MN, Las Vegas NV, Lake Okoboji IA – what’s been wonderful about them all is the freedom to just be writing and be together and not have to be squeezing in a day job or household chores. So pretty much anywhere we could live like that would be divine, and if it’s beautiful, even better!
Q. Do you set any limits as to how controversial you want your stories to be?
Adriana: No outside limits – we’re not trying to either duck or cause controversy. We just stick to the plots that fit our preferences. We don’t like pain, for instance (other than occasional spanking, which can be hot), so we won’t be writing BDSM. On the other hand it’s probably unusual for a male to be writing f/f scenes (at least in the erotic romance genre), so if it’s controversial that we write those together, so be it! We don’t believe anyone should judge what does or doesn’t turn someone else on. We’d just like to be free to share the stories that arouse us, and we’re pretty sure there are other folks out there who like them too. On another level our characters seldom shy away from the social issues or our time. Across our work characters have been known to take on, explicitly or implicitly, sexism, ageism, racism, classism, and obviously sexual orientation. We enjoy having our characters challenge stereotypes, often to their own surprise. For example in A Gift for Adam (Whiskey Creek Press Torrid), our playboy-type hero winds up being totally smitten by a Plain Jane heroine who surprises him with her wit, intellect and humor.
Q. How much of your motivation is personal preference or curiosity about a time period or topic vs. what markets are “hot”?
Adriana: We write what we love – LGBT characters, especially bisexual women. That’s way outside the mainstream market, but we’ve never envisioned ourselves as mainstream authors. We’re writing for the niche we find ourselves in, and we know there have to be lots of people out there who share the same interests and erotic fantasies.
Pillow Talk Time!
Q. Do you have any strange habits or talents?
Adriana: Hmm, we often like to set the scene before making love – incense or perhaps scented candles, sometimes Celtic music in the background, sharing fantasies or treasured moments from the past, or perhaps reading one of our favorite erotic scenes out loud (ours, or someone else’s!). Not that it always needs to be perfect or planful – but we do believe in setting aside significant time to enjoy being sexual.
Q. What do you find sexy in a woman?
Adriana: Ooh, do we both get to answer this one? We have similar taste (no surprise there!). The woman needs to be confident, to care about her health, and it’s great if she works out (love handles are okay, but not letting her whole body go to seed), to be flirty and fun loving. What she looks like doesn’t matter as much as that she has a genuine smile and loves life. In a man? Actually, a lot of the same qualities – I want to be able to look into his eyes and see his soul: confident, loving, tender, grounded. I want him to actively care for his body and value his health. And of course to have a tender touch!
Q.What’s your favorite curse word?
Hers: I’m afraid I use the F word more often than I think I should – maybe for the shock value. I do love that I can get away with it!
His: Son of a Bitch, most likely – it seems to work well for both peaks of excitement and depths of frustration.
You two are fabulous! Thank you so much for your time atTLR; it’s been memorable.
~Hales for TwoLips Reviews Interviews~