Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Simply Sinful...thoughts behind the book

by Kate Pearce

So last week I was wittering on about introducing m/m elements to erotic romance novels and how everyone is doing it. I also mentioned my book "Antonia's Bargain" as my jumping off point toward finding exactly the kind of hero I wanted to write about-not the classic Alpha male or the Beta, but a man struggling to come to terms with his unique sexuality in a time period when being different could mean severe punishment or death.

In Antonia's Bargain we first met Peter Howard, a man who enjoys sex and spent seven years in a Turkish brothel along with his best friend Lord Valentin Sokorvsky. Peter's not your usual hero. He's in love with Valentin, has been addicted to opium and is bored by both his sexual reputation and the variety of sexual pleasures available to him. In Simply Sexual, we see him having to come to terms with Valentin falling in love with a woman and now being considered an occasional diversion in their marriage bed.

Simply Sinful changes narrators and allows us to see Peter's side of the story and we soon realize (hopefully) that Val has got him all wrong. Peter's not weak and during the book he'll prove it as he has to face a personal crisis relating to his very identity, and delve into the deep currents of an established marriage he is invited into.

I loved writing this book. Peter was so different to the average romance hero and the couple he interacts with, James and Abigail Beecham develop in surprising ways as well. When I sent the proposal to my editor I asked him if it was okay if there was no woman in the first three chapters. Surprisingly, he was fine with that and I went on from there.

Here's a little piece from the beginning of the book:

Peter remained standing by the door and took out his pocket watch. “I believe you requested an hour of my time. Don’t waste it.”
Lord Beecham smiled and strolled toward him. He wore a black coat and brown waistcoat which enhanced his good looks. A diamond glinted in the crisp white folds of his intricately folded cravat.
“Can I get you a glass of brandy, or even better, persuade you to sit down?”
“No, I prefer to stand.” Inwardly, Peter grimaced at his choice of words. He sounded like a bad actor in a melodrama. “What do you want from me?”
Lord Beecham stopped in front of him. His brown eyes level with Peter’s.
“Don’t you know?”
“It seems you find the situation highly amusing, but I would ask you once again. You won your bet. What do you want?”
Beau Beecham smiled. “I want your cock in my mouth.”
Before he could stop himself, Peter pivoted and slammed the other man up against the door. He wrapped a hand around Lord Beecham’s throat.
“Do you think I am some kind of male harlot or Molly to be bought for your perverted pleasure?”
Lord Beecham coughed and tried to clear his throat. “No.”
Peter pressed harder. “I will not become a figure of fun for you and your obnoxious cronies. If this is how you choose to win a bet, tell me how much you stand to lose and I will willingly pay up for you.”
Lord Beecham held his gaze, his brown eyes steady. “There is no bet. Only the one you lost. If you are a gentleman, you will honor my request. I want my mouth around your cock. I want to suck you until you come.”
Peter stared right back at him, already aware from their close proximity that Lord Beecham’s cock was erect and rubbed against his own which was rapidly filling out too.
He tightened his grip on the other man’s throat. “I will honor your request. But if I hear one word about this in the clubs, if my reputation is damaged by your gossiping tongue, I will find you and make you sorry you ever lived.”
He stepped back against the wall and ripped at the buttons of his breeches. Lord Beecham exhaled and sank to his knees. Good lord, the man was eager. Peter looked down at the thick wet crown of his cock which already thrust through the confines of his under things. He tensed as Lord Beecham shoved the fine linen away to expose him in all his glory.
With agonizing slowness, Lord Beecham simply stared at him. Peter shuddered as Lord Beecham’s tongue emerged and licked a drop of pre-come from the crown.
“Get on with it, damn you.”

Look Ma! No girls!

I originally intended to write this book as a true menage a trois, but the further I got into the story, the more each individual characters sexual tastes changed, and by the end, things came out very differently. You'll have to read the book to find out what I mean :) I don't plot, I don't keep notes and I only write down a page of where I think I'm going to end up about two-thirds of the way through the book :) so trust me, the ending is sometimes as much a surprise to me as it is to anyone else.

Today was a good day because not only did I get a box full of books from Kensington to lick, which is always a thrill, but I found an early review from Romantic Times for Simply Sinful which gave it 4 stars and said:

Pearce provides an interesting twist to the standard "love lessons" plot in this story where both the husband and wife receive erotic training from a master. With historical detail, strong character development, a slight mystery, caring relationships and smoking hot sex, there is something for everyone. The action includes threesomes, M/M and sex toys, as well as light bondage and discipline.

Summary: Abby and James were forced to wed at a young age, but have lived apart for most of their 16-year marriage. Wanting a child, Abby wants James back into her bedroom, but both have troubling memories of their prior relations. Enter Peter Howard, who spent a number of years as a slave in a Turkish brothel. Peter is attracted to the couple and believes he can tutor them in the numerous ways to enjoy passion. These intense encounters result in a happy ending -- just not what everyone expected. (Aphrodisia, Nov., 304 pp., $13.95)

The best thing, is that Kensington offered me a contract to write two more in the 'Simply' series. #3 Simply Shameless is already written and due out May 09 and I'm currently writing the fourth, as yet unnamed, which will be out Nov 09.I suspect Valentin and Peter will be turning up in these books whether I want them to or not. Sometimes I love being a writer.

Here's a link to Amazon UK and US, just in case I've inspired you to go and pre-order.

I can't think of a question to ask you all-perhaps you'd like to ask me one?

Kate x


Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Okay, I'll bite (happy to do so when requested!): Can you elaborate on your process of writing from a male pov, especially from what seems to be a somewhat tortured, conflicted, bi male pov?

Janine Ashbless said...

Look Ma! No girls!

I like the sound of this, lots.

I love the fact that you don't know where your characters and stories are going to end up - I too am a great believer in the Story finding its own way, and in the power of the subconscious to create. But doesn't it cause problems when submitting outlines to publishers?

Portia Da Costa said...

Wow, that's a steaming hot mini excerpt there, Kate. Yum yum!

No questions, except, how do you come up with such delicious story lines? Wish I could think up things like that... Way to go!

And many congrats on the super RT review. :)

Olivia Knight said...

MEEEP! Oh dear, that is smoking hot. Biting my knuckles. When are you going to give us a good long smut slot from one of these? That was just a tease, dammit! Stopping just when it got started!

Ditto Janine's question. I'm slightly in awe of your ability to freestyle a novel - I think it's because plotting doesn't come naturally to me that I have to plot fairly carefully in advance, otherwise I end up in that oh-too-familiar situation when your characters all hang around studying the scenery and having witty conversation wondering what on earth they should be doing. (A slight variation on the woman-in-bath-unable-to-get-out-because-no-plot-awaits-her.)

Still salivating over that scene. You've filled my head with filth now. Yummmmm...

Kate Pearce said...

Hi Dayle!
Writing from the male pov-well I have 3 teenage sons so I have plenty of opportunity to observe the male in all his natural slobbery beauty. I worked out that men communicate differently-why use ten words when one ugh will suffice?
Not sure where the tortured bi-male pov comes from, sexuality and all its grey areas just totally fascinates me :)

Kate Pearce said...

Hi Janine-I write terrible synopsii (sp) and yes, it can be an issue with a publisher at first. With Kensington I can get away with being a bit vague because they know I can produce. For book #4 which I'm writing at the moment, I gave them a one page synopsis and one chapter and they were okay with that.

For new proposals, my agent asks me to write a high-concept blurb, a synopsis and then the chapters which I actually find quite hard to do :) I can guarantee that the book I'll deliver will differ widely from that I proposed.

Kate Pearce said...

Thanks Portia! I was very relieved to see that RT liked the book because it is very heavy on the m/m and has lots of kink in it too.

Plots? Valentin and Peter turned up together in my head one morning when I was just waking up-I 'think' the trigger was a conversation about Turkish pirates and white slave traders, so my mind went "hmm...wouldn't that be more interesting if they were men?"

Kate Pearce said...

Olivia, I never get to a point when I run out of plot or don't have some idea what's going to happen next. (I know-it's infuriating-you can hate me)

And yes, I will put a longer excerpt up nearer the big day of 'release' :)

Madeline Moore said...

Great stuff, Kate! I'm coming around to this m/m stuff...Lord help me.

Fascinating insight into your plotting, or lack thereof. I know my plot changes a lot in the writing, and wonder if Adam is ever disappointed by the result. If so, I don't hear about it.

It's always a great moment when something brand new pops up and announces, 'I'm here - the answer to your plotting problem is right here!' It always makes me feel like I'm on the right track.

I am slow today, so this hot-blooded post is just what I needed to pump me up to attack my own WIP. Thanks!

Kate Pearce said...

Madeline, if I plotted it all out I'd feel like I'd written the book already and wouldn't be at all inspired to actually write it :)

Madelynne Ellis said...

Lovely, Kate! I'm looking forward to reading it. You're very naughty for posting such a short teaser.

Olivia Knight said...

Sorry, Kate - I can't hate anyone who writes cowboys, intergalactic vikings, and historical m/m porn! Must be some kind of genetic defect. I'm not sure even a longer excerpt will satisfy; I think I gotta go a-shopping...

Natasha said...

OMG, Kate! I can't wait to read this! I love the fact that you don't plot out ahead of time, cuz I can't either. :)

Louisa said...

Congrats on the great review Kate, and a very teasing excerpt!

It's great to hear about your approach to plotting. I often get better ideas that way than if I try to plan everything out beforehand.

Madeline Moore said...

About plotting: I just don't know...I think I'd be afraid the story wouldn't last long enough to be a novel. We don't want those 'gratuitous sex scenes' now, do we?

I think I need the plot to persuade me to write the book (the opposite of how plotting makes you feel, Kate.) My WIP has the synopsis at the end of the draft, and as I write each bit I remove it from the synopsis. Eventually there is almost no synopsis left and I know I'm almost home.

I have a wild imagination and I think without a plot to rein me in I might go so far off into looney tunesville there'd be no coming back...

Interesting, to read the many ways writers approach this issue. Lust Bites is great for that.

abc said...

I love the feeling of being really excited to find out what's going to happen in the next scene - even though I am going to be the one writing it. It's such an adventure!

I know roughly where I want to end up but, until I go through the mental processes of my characters and their reactions to each other, I don't know how I'm going to get there. And I may end up somewhere different. It's so exciting!

Very stimulating post, Kate. Thanks!