Angela Knight Shows Authors How to Turn Up the Steam
Angela Knight is the New York Times bestselling author of 20 novels and over 30 novellas and e-books. She’s written books for Berkley, Red Sage, Changeling Press, and Loose Id.
She got the call to writing early in life. She says her first book was written in pencil and illustrated in crayon—when she was nine years old! She’s also had stints as a reporter and comic book writer. Interesting careers run in the family. Her husband, Michael, is a polygraph examiner and hostage negotiator.
Angela is well-known for writing steamy novels and teaching others how to craft them. She believes both aspiring and published authors should always keep learning and improving. Her next workshop is Burning Ink: How to Write Erotic Romances with Characters and Scenes that Sizzle. It’s offered by the Passionate Ink Chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA). The four week course starts September 8, 2016. It’s for RWA/Passionate Ink members only. Find out about joining RWA here and join Passionate Ink here. (Check her website for other courses over the year).
Also look for Angela’s latest novel is Paladin, the story of a fantasy novelist whose fictional hero becomes more real with every kiss. We chatted with Angela about writing and teaching.
A.C.Rose: Your new book, Paladin, sounds like every writer’s fantasy—a hero who becomes more alive to the author with each kiss. Tell us about it.
Angela Knight: Struggling novelist Summer St. Clare can’t remember her murdered mother’s face, or most of her childhood before the age of twelve. The only constant in her life is Paladin, once her imaginary childhood friend, now the handsome detective of her urban fantasy series. There’s nothing imaginary about Paladin now. Hot, seductive and dangerous, Paladin blurs the line between fantasy and reality. The passion Summer experiences in his arms makes her question what’s real — or whether she cares. Her confusion mounts when she fights off five attackers with a display of dazzling martial arts skills she doesn’t remember acquiring. As she searches for answers and runs for her life, her dream lover becomes more real with every kiss.
How would you define an erotic romance book?
An erotic romance is a romance in which the love scenes are a driving force in the plot. That is, they aren’t just porn breaks; if you tried to skip the love scenes, you’d have a hard time following the story because major plot events happen in those scenes.
Why do you suspect the field has become so popular and populated with new writers?
Women have historically been told that they shouldn’t like sex, that they’re sluts or worse if they do. If a woman is shown enjoying sex in, say, a horror movie, you can be sure she’s shortly going to die. Erotic romance shows women enjoying sex, going after what they want, and getting it. That’s very empowering. New writers are often readers who have discovered erotic romance and want to write it — to explore their own secret dreams of falling in love with an incredible man and doing all kinds of amazing, erotic things with him.
It’s been a few years since the steamy book market exploded. Why is it important for authors to update skills and gain new insights about how to craft good and sexy fiction?
I’ve been writing for 20 years, and I’ve written more than 50 novels, eBooks, and novellas, yet every year I go to conferences and read books on writing, often by people who haven’t written as many books as I have. Yet I often find I learn something new about the craft even from a writer who has less experience than I do. Maybe she’s created an interesting technique I haven’t thought of, or gives me an insight I didn’t have. The minute you think you’ve learned everything and have it down is the minute you start getting stale. It’s vital for writers to experiment with new techniques and learn new things in order to keep their work fresh and challenging. Otherwise you might as well flip burgers.
Can you share one secret ingredient needed to make erotic tension sizzle in a novel that you use in your own books?
Conflict. If the characters have a tremendous physical attraction, and yet some really good reason they think they really shouldn’t go to bed, that just lights a wonderful erotic fuse on the firecracker.
What are some of the keys to erotic romance writing success you will cover in your upcoming workshop?
We will be exploring how to:
- Write a romance hot enough to burn the pixels off the screen.
- Create characters with the intense sensuality needed in erotic romance
- Build a believable erotic attraction that gets lovers into bed without turning either of them into sluts.
- Design a plot in which sex plays a major role, without morphing into porn.
- Craft an evolving romance with intense sexuality.
- Give readers something they haven’t seen before.
Is your course also helpful for people who have trouble writing sex scenes? How so?
The mistake people make is they focus on what they’re revealing about themselves when they write a love scene. We have the attitude this is something good women aren’t supposed to talk about in such steamy detail. Put all that aside. Focus on the characters. Here you’ve created this sexy, remarkable man and this heroic woman. You’ve worked so hard to build their romance. Now you have to give them the amazing sex scene these people deserve. You have to show how glorious it is. You don’t want your hot, sexy stud to be a lousy lover, right? Of course not. Focus on that, and you won’t feel shy about what you’re doing. Because then it’s THEM, not you.
People tend to think erotic novels are about the author’s love life? Any thoughts on how true or untrue that may be?
I also write about vampires. Nobody asks me if I drink blood. <Smile>
What makes you fall in love — or lust– with a character when you are writing?
I have to fall in love with him, or I can’t write about him. I think heroism and the fact that he genuinely cares about the heroine. She’s not just a piece of ass to him. Though it’s also important that he really CRAVES her, and that he’s dominant and demanding.
Where does the magic happen? Do you write in a home office?
Yep, sure do. Though these days I also go out and dictate the day’s pages into my smart phone in four-mile walks. Then I use Dragon Naturally Speaking to transcribe the pages. If I just wrote it at the keyboard, it would probably take me four or five hours to write 2000 words. This way I get it done in an hour and a half.
And the question we ask all authors: Why do you think erotic romances are good for readers?
Because sex is great for the brain and body. There have been all kinds of studies that say a good orgasm is fabulous for promoting mental and emotional health. It’s also good for your relationship with your significant other, because a hot romance makes you want to find your lover and try out some of the fun things you just read about! There’s just no downside to reading erotic romance, no matter what the prudes may say.
Find out more about Angela Knight here.
Buy her latest book, Paladin.