Carolyn Rosewood read her first romance novel at age 19 and was hooked. But it took a devastating tornado in her city to spur her into pursuing her dream of becoming a published romance writer of spicy paranormal romances and sometimes mainstream contemporaries. She joined the Romance Writers of America, and it lit a fire that's still burning. She's a PRO member of the RWA and serves as treasurer for the Nashville Tennessee RWA chapter, the Music City Romance Writers. Married to her real life hero, they have a daughter in college and a cat named Shadow who loves to watch Carolyn type.
Q. Welcome to TwoLips Reviews Interviews, Carolyn. We're so pleased to have you with us this month. I'm curious; what prompts you to write paranormal over more mainstream contemporary?
Carolyn: Thank you for having me here today! I really enjoy writing paranormal because anything goes. I can make the story more of a fantasy, and I can give my characters special abilities and powers that definitely give me an advantage when I write their sex scenes.
Q. Does your family know you write…gasp…erotica? Are they very supportive of you?
Carolyn: My husband and daughter (over 18) are very supportive. They read everything I write. The rest of my family… not so much, but that’s life. I love what I do and I’m not ashamed of it.
Q. You have a series out, Seduced By a Demon, with Evernight Publishing. What was your inspiration behind the creation of this series? And can we expect more stories based in this universe in the future?
Carolyn: Seduced By a Demon had its start as only one book, The Last Soul, which is book one of the series. TLS started out as an erotic horror short story, but my editor at Evernight Publishing, Emma Shortt, challenged me to write something outside my normal genre and comfort level. I have a dark side and had rarely tapped into it writing romance. She loved TLS so much she asked me to expand it (it was originally only 1000 words!), and together we worked to make it a romance so I could sub it to Evernight. I had so much fun writing it that I knew I had to make it into a series. The first time I wrote (about) Jahi, the hero in book two, Hunted, I knew she had to have her own book. The same with Teresa, who we first meet in Hunted. I knew she’d be the heroine in book three, Playing For Keeps.
The inspiration for delving into the world of demons and hell came from my lifelong fascination with spirits. My religious upbringing aside, I’ve always believed there are beings out there we can’t quite hear or see, but they exist regardless. There are simply too many accounts of humans interacting with them to ignore it. But since I write romance, I had to tone down the nastier side of my demon heroines so the humans they fall in love with would be able to relate to them. My husband calls them my kinder, gentler demons.
I have a new series I’m working on that will have a similar theme. The heroes are Nephilim - fallen angels who have been imprisoned on earth by a powerful spell for their sins. While there won’t be demons as heroes or heroines in this series, one demon is mentioned by name because she played a part in the fate of my heroes. This series will also span an entire century. Each of the six books will be set in a different era to showcase the entire story of all 12 heroes. The heroines are all human, and each book is a M/F/M ménage story.
Q. You have two new books coming out next month, a Naughty Fairy Tale entitled The Rebellious Princess Chooses Two Lovers from Evernight Publishing and a novel from Siren-Bookstrand Publishing, Inc. – His Majesty's Secret. Can you tell us something about them?
Carolyn: The Rebellious Princess Chooses Two Lovers is a slight twist on The Princess and The Pea. In a post-apocalyptic world where medieval kingdoms have once again evolved, Princess Cadence is forced to choose only one lover, and he must be a real Prince.
Dominic of the Northern Free Zone received a Royal Invitation to journey to the New West Dominion and meet Princess Cadence by mistake. He’s not a real Prince at all. Still, he isn’t about to pass up a chance to meet Cadence, who it’s rumored can please beyond imagination in bed.
Cadence turns out to be more than Dominic bargained for, both in and out of the bedroom. When he realizes Ethan, one of the Royal Gardeners, has worshipped her from afar for years, he invites the servant to join them in the Princess’s bedchamber.
But what happens when Dominic’s true identity is revealed, and the King and Queen find out their daughter has bedded a servant?
His Majesty’s Secret is a full-length fantasy romance set in a parallel universe. This is the first manuscript I ever wrote, and I’ve been tweaking it for 20 years. I’m thrilled it’s found a home with Siren-Bookstrand!
When his half-brother Austin declares himself King, Crown Prince Dalmas of Ashdowne is forced to flee his castle or be put to death for treason. On his way to find proof Austin’s claims are false, he prevents the imminent rape of a beautiful young woman, killing Castle Guards in the process.
Fleeing a forced betrothal, Ravenna LoPresti of Wythmail finds herself a reluctant companion to sexy, lustful Dalmas on his journey to find the truth and win back his rightful Crown. While Austin and his Guards chase Dalmas, a Royal Proclamation declares a price on Ravenna’s head as well.
Dalmas and Ravenna awaken each other’s sexual desires, but will lust and growing love keep them together, even if they find the proof Dalmas needs? Or will Ravenna be forced to return to her kingdom and marry the Count, or be put to death for a murder she didn’t commit?
Q. You've also written some short stories for anthologies. How is the writing process different with a short story? How do you manage to put a lot into so little?
Carolyn: The trick to writing a short story that allows you enough time to show a character arc – and this is even trickier in a ménage – is to start with characters who have a past together. Knowing which details you can skip without taking away from the romance can be a challenge, and I usually go way over the word count the first time I write the story.
Once it’s written I go back and review my GMC for each character. Yes, I make a GMC – Goal, Motivation, Conflict – chart for each of my characters, even if it’s a short story. I use this as a roadmap so I know where I’m going with their growth and resolution of conflict. It also helps me keep their internal monologue and reactions consistent throughout the story.
Then I cut what isn’t absolutely necessary to show each character’s growth and resolution. Sometimes I have to give up things I love, but if it makes the story tighter, it’s worth it. The writing process for me is really the same whether my word count is capped at 10K, or I have free rein to make it as long as needed.
Q. You're noted for books that are romantic yet very sexy. How do you manage to achieve both in one book?
Carolyn: Sex can be very romantic. I may regret saying this, but a lot of what I put in my books are things I’ve either experienced in real life, or are part of my very active imagination, and have been for a long time. For me, an active, fun sex life is an important part of any romantic relationship, so I give that to my characters as well. I write stories that I want to read, and that turn me on when I’m writing them.
Q. Do you feel your stories are character or more plot driven?
Carolyn: I think they’re both. Certainly the emotions of two people falling in love and working through the conflicts that keep them apart are an integral part of any romance, but two people standing around talking about their feelings is downright boring. I want my characters to be doing something as well. I want them to be in danger, to be faced with life-changing decisions, and to be pulled apart by evil impossible forces. It makes them getting together at the end even sweeter, because they fought so hard for it. I love fast-paced exciting plots, and I try to put that in each of my stories.
Q. Are any of your characters actually inspired by people you know?
Carolyn: Oh yes. Many of them have qualities from people I know. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Q. Have you ever fallen in love with any of your hunky heroes? If so, what makes him so special to you?
Carolyn: I’m totally in love with Dalmas from His Majesty’s Secret. He’s been with me so long it’s like he’s real to me. He has a face and a voice, and he’s made an appearance in more than one of my dreams over the years.
Q. Do you ever fear you may be going too far with a particular love scene and if so, how do you rein the scene in?
Carolyn: Never. My characters are sexy beings that like to explore. As long as the scene doesn’t make me uncomfortable or cross my publisher’s guidelines, I go with it.
Q. What do you feel are the biggest misconceptions about erotica?
Carolyn: That it’s only sex and there’s no story behind it. Not true at all. There may be difference between erotic romance and erotica, depending on the publisher’s guidelines, but whether the focus of the relationship is the sex between the hero and heroine or is more focused on the romance, there’s still a story.
Q. Can you give us a peek at your current projects?
Carolyn: Sure! I’ve already outlined the Naughty Nephilim series above. I’m also working on another erotic fairy tale for Evernight. This one will be a twist on Sleeping Beauty. And, I have another series planned that will take place on another planet, with aliens as the heroes. In my youth I was a huge sci-fi fan, so I’d love to explore that world.
Q. Is there a genre you are dying to delve into but haven’t yet had the chance to explore? What within that genre would you like to write about?
Carolyn: I’m a huge Stephen King fan and I would love to try my hand at horror one day. I don’t know if I ever will because really… how can you top him?
Q. Do you find series books or single titles to be more challenging for you?
Carolyn: Series are challenging because you have to plan them out ahead of time to keep from writing yourself into a corner, or forgetting important details that need to be consistent from book to book. Because Seduced By A Demon didn’t start out as a series, I ran into both issues while writing Hunted and Playing For Keeps, but I also learned a lot. My Naughty Nephilim series is all planned out this time, thanks to a large white board and giant post-it notes of different colors.
Q. What is your opinion about current attitudes towards erotica moving into the mainstream market?
Carolyn: I think it’s going to be met with a lot of resistance and will take time to firmly seat itself there. I’ve run into elitist attitudes from other authors who look down at erotica and erotic romance, and I’ll tell you it hurts a lot. I never imagined that once I was published I’d be defending my chosen genre or route to publication, but I find myself doing just that at times.
Q. Many of your books tend toward a D/s theme. What draws you to bondage and spanking? Would you ever do a D/s romance with a female Domme?
Carolyn: Probably not. I enjoy being the submissive too much. I really don’t know what draws me to spanking and bondage. I’ve always felt that way, even before I was old enough to understand it. There’s something so incredibly sexy about being under the control of your lover. And by that I don’t mean you lose your free will. Obviously you have to trust the person to respect your limits, and because spanking does actually hurt, you have to know your own personal limits as well. My characters usually go through a bit more pain than I can comfortably handle in real life.
Q. Do you work with a critique/editing partner before submitting a book to your publisher? Do you use beta readers?
Carolyn: I used to use beta readers but I no longer do. And I don’t currently have a critique or editing partner.
Q. When you complete your novels, do you breathe a sigh of relief or do you feel sad the experience has ended?
Carolyn: I’m always sad to leave my characters. They’re so real to me.
Q. Where can interested readers learn more about you and your work?
Carolyn: My website is: http://carolynrosewood.com. On it you’ll find excerpts and links for all my published works. On Saturdays I post a free read, and I’m always running a contest or participating in a blog hop.
Q. Please describe who Carolyn Rosewood is in three words.
Carolyn: Intense, loyal, dedicated.
Q. What’s better to have….girth or length? Does size really matter?
Carolyn: Size only matters if he knows what to do with it.
Q. What’s your favorite word for penis? Least favorite?
Carolyn: I usually use cock or shaft. I hate reading member unless it’s in an historical, because that seems appropriate.
Q. What’s more fun: a ménage or one very hot dude?
Carolyn: Depends on whether they know what they’re doing.
Q. What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Carolyn: Blowing off an entire day to watch trashy reality shows and eat whatever I want.