Sunday, 5 February 2012

Why I Write Erotica... by K.D. Grace + Giveaway

Button made by the very talented Susi! Thank you!!
Today I am very happy to welcome to the blog and introduce to you K.D. Grace, the wonderfully talented author behind such outstanding erotica novels as The Pet ShopThe Initiation of Ms Holly and other gems I still have to discover. The Pet Shop was one of last year's revelations for me: K.D. has stretched my boundaries, taken me out of my comfort zone and shown me how much fun it can be to experience the unusual and unknown. When putting together this month-long party I knew I wanted to have her over and I was very glad when she accepted to tell you all why it is that she writes erotica novels and how they are different/harder to write (pun fully intended *winks*). So please give a warm welcome to K.D. and let us broaden your reading minds and horizons! :-)

Happy Blogoversary, Ex Libris! And what an honour it is for me to be invited to the blogtastic party! I still get happy butterflies when I think about pulling up my email a few months ago to discover Stella's fabulous review of my novel, The Pet Shop. It’s always a pleasure when someone likes your baby!

Writing erotica is a minefield of contradictions, contradictions that, for those of who love the genre, are as much the reason we keep writing as they are the cause for the frustration we face every time we take up the pen or settle in at the keyboard.

Several years ago, I sat in the audience listening to a panel of romance writers discuss their craft. When asked about writing sex scenes, they all collectively shivered at the thought. In one breath they talked about how difficult it was to write a good sex scene, in the next they denigrated the writing of sex scenes as though it were equivalent to filling out the pages of their novels with their daily grocery list. Not important. Beneath us. Wouldn’t want our children to know. But really, shouldn’t we writers be above all that? Their consensus: Real, proper, grown-up writers don’t write about sex. Wow! I was stunned. And saddened.

I write erotica because the sex act gives me a level of contact, a level of intimacy and understanding with my characters that I would never get in any other act, except for maybe the act of dying or giving birth. Granted, I also write sex because I’m a bit of a voyeur, and I enjoy it. But though human sexuality is endlessly fascinating, the real power of it reaches way beyond the procreative act of two sexually mature people.

I know of no other act that can connect us to our animal nature while at the same time lifting us outside ourselves to the realm of the gods. I also know of no other act in which we become physically one with another human being, in which we literally get inside the skin of another human being, in which there is the possibility of literally creating new life. The human sex act is about as close to magic as we can get. These are heady experiences. These are experiences that on the one hand function to keep the human race alive and on the other cement bonds, open souls, and raise us above ourselves even as we make ourselves the most vulnerable we can possibly be. That’s powerful stuff! I can understand on one hand why it would be hard to write sex well. What I can’t understand is how anyone could consider it unworthy of writing. I find it difficult to imagine how writing about human connectedness on such a visceral, vulnerable level could be considered anything but most worthy.

I think this is what separates good erotica from other genres. Good erotica begins in the most vulnerable, most secret place of the human psyche, and that is the core around which the story is woven. And oh yes, there most definitely is a story. There’s always a story. Even if the naked act of sex is a cover-up for something else in the story, the act itself is a very different kind of exposure. And nothing can express the character laid bare like sex – bad sex, frantic sex, rapturous sex, self-conscious sex, masturbatory sex. If I want to expose the very soul of my character, I write them having sex, and then I know them, and so will my readers.

Having said that, I think all genres would benefit from a good infusion of human sexuality and all the facets it adds to any story. That we find it necessary to have a separate genre for stories that we deem too sexual says a lot about the neurotic discomfort Western culture has toward the human body and sex. No other human drive in literature is separated out as its own genre nor so highly policed. But then again, no other human drive defines humanity quite in the same way sexuality does. That being said, perhaps erotica should be the all-inclusive genre, rather than the bastard stepchild.

The act of sex lays bare the human heart even in its attempt to hide itself. This is the context into which The Pet Shop was set. No matter how hard he tries to be otherwise, Tino is never more Vincent than when he’s making love to Stella. And Vincent is never more Tino that when he’s making love to Stella. And Stella’s is the heart who can embrace both, and at the same time find healing in doing so.

The Pet Shop is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. In part, the theme of the story is our effort to understand the beast that lives within all of us, to tame it and make it acceptable to polite company. Of course in the taming of anything wild we run the risk of losing that wildness that compelled us to love it in the first place. The Pet Shop explores the effort to find a balance between the two.

I’ve always been fascinated with our animal nature, and I’ve often wondered how much of that nature is ancestral behaviours reasserting themselves and how much of it – especially from the standpoint of the human pet situation I’ve created in The Pet Shop, is simply a need to be loved and adored, and to be able to trust someone enough to give up control to them.

Beauty and the Beast and my retelling of it in The Pet Shop are both about seeing the true nature of a person, with all their flaws and neuroses, and loving them anyway. But ultimately the story is also about trusting enough to allow oneself to be loved, and believing that one is worthy of love, warts, blemishes and all.

Because The Pet Shop is a story of the need to be loved and accepted as we are, it makes perfect sense that sex, and the intrinsic vulnerability that it demands, is the vehicle that allows the reader to know and understand the characters, who they are, what they fear, and what they most long for.

Thanks again, Ex Libris, for letting me help you celebrate! May you have many more happy blogoversaries!

In appreciation for a job well done, Stella James's boss sends her a pet - a human pet. The mischievous Tino comes straight from The Pet Shop complete with a collar, a leash, and an erection. Stella soon discovers the pleasure of keeping Pets, especially this one, is extremely addicting. Obsessed with Tino and with the reclusive philanthropist, Vincent Evanston, who looks like Tino, but couldn't be more different, Stella is drawn into the secret world of The Pet Shop. As her animal lust awakens, Stella must walk the thin line that separates the business of pleasure from the more dangerous business of the heart or suffer the consequences.

K D Grace lives in South England with her husband and a back garden full of free-loading birds. When she’s not writing, she practices extreme vegetable gardening. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. This August she and her husband walked the Coast to Coast rout across England. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots.

She believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she, cuz otherwise, what would she write about?

She has erotica published with Xcite Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance and others.

Her critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, and 
The Pet Shop, both published by Xcite Books.

The first book of her Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, Body Temperature and Rising, is now available in all eBook formats. Available in paperback February 2012.

You can find K.D. at her website, on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.


K.D. has generously offered an ebook copy of either The Pet Shop or The Initiation of Ms Holly (winner's choice) to a lucky commentator.

To be entered all you have to do is:

1. fill out the main form so I have your contact info (just once, if you have already filled it out for a previous giveaway that's enough)

2. leave a comment and answer K.D's question: what is the sexiest gift you ever got, or if you haven't received anything sexy, then what is the best gift you got?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 15 March 2012.

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