Monday, February 10, 2014

Let's Talk about Sex (in Writing) with Author Samara King

With BRP’s focus on romance (and all that ties into that) and writing this month, I thought it would be a great idea to talk with one of my favorite romance authors, Samara King. I don’t call Samara a favorite because she’s my best friend. No, I call her that because her stories have wonderful blends of intriguing characters, humor, fierce attraction between heroine and hero, great sex, great stories (so that the sex isn’t just a prop), and a fast pace that makes you want to race to the end of the story. I wanted to get her take on how she as an author comes to the page to write her sexy love scenes, how she considers the story she works on when developing sex scenes, and what advice she would offer to writers looking to develop sizzling sex scenes.

Let’s see what she had to say!



Samara King is the author of eighteen multi-genre works within romance fiction in novel and novella lengths as well as poetry. Writing romance has been a part of Samara’s world since her days of sneaking to the back of the library in grade school with a love story in tow; soon after, she wrote her own.

She was a Poet of the Year nominee in 2011 by African Americans on the Move Book Club and is a current member of The Romance Writers of America, several sister RWA chapters, and Sisters In Crime. Samara has penned stories for Totally Bound, Cobblestone Press, Loose Id, sexy mobile reads for Ether Books, and also writes under her co-produced self-publishing entity, Crimson Whispers with author Shonell Bacon.

Samara previously co-hosted SoundNOff, a poetic format for poets and spoken word artists and hosted InCharacterN10, a former showcase for authors on Blogtalkradio.com/samaraking. Her newest endeavor is On The Hush, a monthly book column at MsNixInTheMix.com that focuses on relational issues. Samara’s first poetry collection, The Ebony Kryptonite, was well received and was followed with Stripped Barefoot, a sultry mix of poetry and spoken word, which went on to reach #20 in Chicago’s Top 40 on Reverbnation in September 2013. Her next poetic endeavor, The Naked The Bare is slotted for late 2014. To find out more about Samara’s poetry visit: http://reverbnation.com/samaraking or listeners may also find her on Spotify.

Currently, Samara is hard at work on her next romance series, as well as a new co-written mystery, Mama Has A Brand New Bag.



Q&A with Samara King

ME: Every story you write is laced with sexy, racy love scenes, and for me, they seem to fit into the context of the story. How do you come to the page when it's time for you to write these scenes? Is there a particular vibe you need to be in? Music set? Atmosphere prepared? How do you bring Samara to this intimate action between characters?

SAMARA: You know, lol, it is very hard to think sexy all the time. There are many deleted scenes that have characters dying of mysterious deaths during times of stress, etc. I have to come to the page devoid of everyday Samara and put on the diva-may-care Samara face, something akin to BeyoncĂ© vs. Sasha. I haven’t developed a name for my alter-ego yet (I’m sure something will come to me). I employ lots of music; it transform my environment into the neutral space I need to create, and then in rare occasions, I am okay with silence. Sometimes, characters need you to really listen to what they are saying—if they aren’t shouting at you. Lastly, each character has their own voice, own passion, and own likes/dislikes. Those are the tidbits that I truly showcase within any love scene. It’s important to show a character’s struggles and triumphs, especially during intimacy. It is there that you witness their weaknesses and authenticity.



With her best friend murdered, the man believed to be partly responsible under the nose of her gun and a stranger looming in the shadows out for blood, Officer Elle Taylor is running out of time and people to trust. Will Elle risk crossing the line between attraction and revenge to take help from an unexpected source before the murderer strikes again and leaves her life in flames?

Durant Kane is no stranger to trouble, especially the kind that comes with a gun trained on his face and an angry woman attached. But Elle's something different, something unexpected and sweeter. He never could have imagined coming to feel so deeply about her, even if his own disastrous path in relationships hadn't left him so wary. But he'll have to take the risk if he doesn't want to lose the woman he's come to realize he can't even think of living without.

Sweeter Than This is available at Loose Id, All Romance, and Amazon!


ME: Talk to us about the experience of writing sex into your latest story, SWEETER THAN THIS. My first question focused on how you, the author, come to the page to write your sex scenes. Here, let's focus on sex within a particular story: what did you think about in regards to the story and your characters and how the sex scenes developed were to enhance both aspects?

SAMARA: In Sweeter Than This, the heroine Elle Taylor is a cop, tough on the outside and tender, needing of love on the inside. Through her point of view, becoming intimate and staying sexually involved with the hero brought forth a lot of self-doubt about her identity as a cop and her needs as a woman. Her fears of losing the life she built heightened, and at times, counterbalanced her growing need to lean on the hero, thus showing her vulnerability. The struggle I described is what makes the intensity of a good sex scene more than just two bodies or sex for sex’s sake. I believe showing all the nuances of a character’s fears, doubts, and life changes, and mixing it with sensuality and sexual attraction is what passion is about.


ME: What are three pieces of advice you would offer to writers to help them write better sex scenes?

SAMARA:

  1. Be authentic—let your character’s taste and individuality shine through your intimacy scenes. What one character will do, the next may not. Therefore, know what turns on your character because it will truly shed light on how they will or will not respond to their partner.
  2. Be messy—sex scenes are a true opportunity to dig deeper into your character’s back histories, fears and vulnerabilities. Don’t be afraid to make your love scenes messy; doing so brings a heightened sense of connection with your characters and readers. Don’t let your characters have sex simply to add length to your story or to add SEX into the mix.
  3. Have fun—let’s face it—if we aren’t turned on, will our readers be? My thought is a resounding “NO”! Have fun with your intimacy scenes. Sometimes, that means remembering your own adventures in the boudoir or remembering racy lyrics to a song. Capturing those sensations and enveloping those emotions are what set your sex scenes apart. Harness that power!


You can read a sexy excerpt of Samara’s latest story, Sweeter Than This, at ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING.


Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator, whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services and online programs at CLG Entertainment. Shon has her own sexy little story, Saying No to the Big O, that was published last year: check it out!

29 comments:

  1. I look at sex scenes the same way I look at battle scenes: give them a reason for being there. Have a character gain or lose something. Don't throw it in because the script called for it.

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    1. I like how you look at sex scenes, Diana!

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    2. I agree, as well. Some romance novels seems to just be written to a formula, "we must have a sex scene by page 20" but what if the characters don't want to do the deed on page 20? LOL

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    3. Maryann I agree. There is a big push for doing the deed quickly, since I write short contemporary erotic romance usually that's not a problem, but there are instances in which the characters hold off for awhile. Characters don't always like each other right off the bat, which is true to life, I think.

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    4. Diana, I agree. I think the gain and lose factor is paramount when writing love scenes.

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    5. There is a formula modern readers love for each genre. How soon do you need a corpse in a murder mystery? A lot sooner than Dorothy Sayers gave you one!

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    6. I really have a hard time sticking to formulaic prose. I've tried, but I tend to deviate or rather it's my characters sticking in their two cents.

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  2. As a person who neither reads nor writes explicit sex scenes, I'm probably not the best commenter here. However, I must agree with Samara that authenticity in my characters is an absolute must. If they are not true to themselves and who they really are, they won't grip my readers and pull them into the story. Also, the uniqueness of each character as he or she develops and grows throughout the book brings variety and realism, which makes the story "live" for the reader.

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    1. I agree on that, too, Linda. It's important that our characters are not cookie cutter; we need to infuse them with their own unique personalities in all areas of their lives... to include their sex lives if we are to present that in our works.

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    2. I love eccentricity in characters and agree with Linda too.

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    3. I've read a lot of romance in the past year - some better written than others - but I can't say I'm missing much in the way of character authenticity. Each author makes a huge attempt to develop the personalities and sex really is just part of who they are. I've not yet gotten the sense from a story that's it's just about the sex scenes. Maybe I notice this because I actually read the genre? Could be. The stories sometimes may seem a bit predictable (but so is a lot of cozy mystery when it comes down to it), but the characters are mostly pretty strong. Just my 2 farthing worth there, based on my experiences.

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    4. Dani, I actually think a lot of the authencity comes from the dialogue and the backhistories I think as well.

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    5. I've probably said this 100 times but will say it again for new readers - if you want to read or learn to write snappy and intelligent dialogue, read Regency Romance. Nobody does it better. That's what really hooked me on the romance genre about a year ago.

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  4. Samara, thanks for sharing here today. Your comments are helpful as we writers figure out how to handle the love scenes. I liked that you assume a different persona sometimes. I think that would certainly help with any hesitancy to "tell it like it is." LOL

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    1. CHUCKLE... I think you're right about that "hesitancy," Maryann. LOL

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    2. Oh my goodness, I have to assume a different identity simply because it's hard to think "vixen" when I'm sporting rollers in my hair.lol. Thanks for reading Maryann!

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  5. Absolutely terrific post, you two! I especially like the example of the tough woman cop having to allow the vulnerability of intimacy with her love interest. That adds all kinds of layers to the characters, doesn't it? I know about this - it's been part of my life, trusting and letting go after being strong and independent all day. Dealing with it for real has giving me depth - and that all goes into my romance writing now too. Thank you for sharing with us!

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    1. Thank you very much for your comments Dani. I too, agree that reali life experiences intertwines with emotional scenes within my writing, it deepens the writing journey for me. And thank you for connecting with me. I will do likewise. Best to you!

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  6. Samara, I just sent you a friend request on FB - will connect on Twitter too. We all should.

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  7. Samara, up top, in a comment to Maryann on "rushing the deed," you said, "Characters don't always like each other right off the bat." Now you have my creative wheels turning, because certainly not all sexual partners love or even like each other. Now I'm thinking how you could show that at the start, and how that might change by the end...It was practically a writing prompt, thank you!

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  8. Hi Kathryn, that's wonderful! I believe the "in like" factor creates some good emotional and physical conflict, especially if the main characters start off as enemies, or in themes such as a marriage of convience.

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  9. Terrific convo, everyone! Thanks again, Samara and Shon.

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