We're thrilled to have Leigh Court as our guest today. Her story appears in Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures. Thanks for being here, Leigh. Please tell us about The Bet. And do you have a review you could share with us?
Sarah Silversmith at Romance Readers Connection gave my story a rave: "THE BET is a sensuous story that had me captivated the whole time I was reading it... my favorite of the anthology."
Awesome review! What do you find most difficult about writing erotic historical romance?
Well, if I'm honest, the hardest thing for me about erotic romance is that it tends to be more graphic than mainstream romance. Don't get me wrong -- sex is undeniably a big part of romance whether it's EroRom or mainstream, but I guess that's why I write historical. It lets me be "comfortably vague" about certain body parts!
Your story mentions an erotic work of literature. Can you tell us about how you researched it and worked it into your story?
My story THE BET in Secrets Volume 27 relies heavily on the Kama Sutra. My hero Damian makes a bet with a friend that he can seduce a virgin (my heroine Claire) using only his words. But Damian knows there's a good chance the virginal Claire won't even understand what he's talking about, so he gives her a copy of the Kama Sutra as a sort of visual introduction. For me, the most interesting part about researching the Kama Sutra was the history of Richard Francis Burton, the man who brought this ancient work to the attention of the modern world. 'Ruffian Dick,' as he was nicknamed, has a fascinating story of his own that Damian shares with Claire in THE BET.
It's a wonderful story! What element of story creation is your favorite?
I think the part of story creation that's most fun for me is asking the What If question. I like to throw my characters into an impossible situation and watch how they deal with it (while falling in love along the way, of course)! In THE BET, Damian is forced to agree to an outrageous wager, despite his better judgment .
I love Damian! When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I became an author because of one particularly bad week at work. I was a TV news reporter who had to cover the death of a very good friend of mine, and then later that same week cover the particularly gruesome death of a New York State Trooper. I picked up my first romance novel that week, hoping to cheer myself up. When I got to the end, I thought, "Hey, I write for a living, maybe I could write one of these!"
I can imagine. I almost never watch the news. What is your writing process or method?
LOL, I'm a pantser who -- when I get stuck during a story -- really, really wishes I was a plotter!
Please describe your journey to publication.
Ironically, I wrote three single-title stories before finding a copy of Red Sage Publishing's SECRETS anthology in my local bookstore. I picked it up and saw these were novellas. (I also loved the fact there were contemporary, paranormal and historical stories -- something for everyone!) As a news reporter, I was used to telling an entire story in one-minute-thirty-seconds for the nightly news, so I know how to "write tight." I went home and banged out a Victorian romance called THE DISCIPLINARIAN, and Red Sage bought it two days after receiving it! (You can find THE DISCIPLINARIAN in Secrets Volume 15.)
I loved The Disciplinarian! Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
Every author says this, but it's true: just keep writing. You get better with each story, your craft improves, and you'll sell when you're meant to sell. Perseverance is key, and luck plays a part, but the most important thing is to just keep writing!
Great advice! What’s next for you?
I just sold a contemporary novella to Samhain, which is scheduled to be out at the end of September!
Congratulations! And thanks for being our guest here. It's been fun!