Today's interview is with Solease Barner, author of the Draglen Brothers erotic romance series.
Solease, you were already established as a writer of fantasy/science fiction, and you've recently launched a series of erotic romance novels. I'm wondering what prompted the switch in genre?
That is true, I was already established in sci-fi/fantasy, but I kept getting requests about a romance story or series. People were telling me how much they enjoyed the love story in my first series. I eventually gave in and decided to go ahead and write one. It took me a minute to decide how I wanted the story to go, but once I sat down and thought, the story became alive to me.
And will you be continuing as well with the popular Secrets of the Ghosts series?
Yes, I will finish the 3rd book in the Series, which is titled REDEMPTION. I then intend to do a couple of novellas, as I've been asked to do a little more with that story as well. People feel like they are a part of this family of sisters.
A common theme in both series is the group of siblings. Is there something about siblings that particularly appeals to you?
Yes, it does. I come from a family of all girls and we are very close. I think people can relate more to family story-lines, even if they are only children. They more than likely have some cousins or friends who were like sisters or brothers. Nothing says drama like family drama.
That's so true. Just harking back to your response to the previous question - you seem very responsive to requests from your readers, and have taken a new direction in response to reader demand, right? Anything else you'd like to say about that?
Well, yes, I do consider my readers. I mean, if they love the romance in the series and want more, I'll give them more. I usually give it a twist, like in my romance series. I decided to do paranormal and even go so far as to create another world and a language. I do like the romance/erotic genre. I will write more in this genre, but will put another twist in it. I will go back, though, to my original writing with fantasy/sci-fi with mystery. I'm always trying to do something different. I mean that's the point of fiction writing, right? It can be anything!
Indeed! But few writers that I know of are so flexible in their response to reader demand. I'm wondering if your own background of a large, close family has made you more flexible in responding to others' needs?
Well that could be true, like I said, it was four girls in my family. We always had to share and consider each other in all things, like sharing bathroom time. I do come from a large family of cousins and aunts as well. So yes, I will say I do consider some of the readers’ demands, but not all. If they are reasonable and I can see myself writing it, then I will try. Some demands will never happen though.
What are some of the unreasonable ones that are never going to happen, if you don't mind telling?
Well just to name a few, I can't see myself writing about children being killed (like small kids) or doing a scene of a person being raped in detail. I just couldn't do it. I worked in Criminal Justice before writing, and I know that this happens for real, I have seen it. It's too close to me. I just couldn't get through the scene. In my first series I had to write about how Holiday’s sister was raped, and I never went into details like I could have, but yet I cried writing that scene.
I don't blame you a bit, I'm sure that's not what most of your readers want to see.
What would you say are the other influences on your work, other than input from your readers and your family life?
Oh I could be listening to a song, or driving down the street and see something that makes me wonder. I almost go into a thought process of how I could make a story out of these things. The little things give me inspiration.
And how about other writers? What do you read yourself, and what writers do you most admire?
I read a little bit of everything, I like historical fiction, I love cowboy books, I read paranormal, horror, BDSM, erotic, contemporary romance, I like poetry, Shakespeare and inspirational books. If it can keep my interest then I will read it. I admire so many authors, but I love Maya Angelou, E. Lynn Harris, Stephen King, Terry McMillan, John Grisham, the list could go on and on.
What would you say are the best and the worst things about being a writer?
Well, the best thing about being a writer is writing. I love it when I'm in my fantasy world, creating characters, scenes, and people. I fall in love with them. If I hate the character, everyone else does too, but I enjoy writing. The bad part for me is taking a chance on how people will react once I publish the book. I get nervous and second guess myself before I put it out. I have books written that will more than likely never get published just because of my fear of the reactions, but that is my bad part; some authors find other things bad about writing.
What's a typical day for you when you're working on a book?
I usually work around my daughter’s and husband’s schedule. I write during the day while she is at school and my husband at work. I usually get dinner prepared before they arrive home, and spend the evening with them. Then, when the house gets quiet, I go back and write some more. I really love it if I have a full day by myself, I spend the day just writing. I play music before a scene sometimes, to help get into the frame of mind of that scene.
And what about when it gets tough, what helps you to keep going?
When the writing gets tough?
Yes, when things are going badly, perhaps a scene isn't working out the way you want it to, or maybe you cop a bad review, or you get stuck with your story development - what things help you to carry on?
When I have a bad day, I don't work on the book, but I will write poems. I will watch a movie, read a book totally different from what I'm writing. I might even decide to take a drive - anything to clear my head.
So a little distance generally clears things up. And now the biggie - writer's block. Have you ever experienced it? Do you believe in it?
I never have experienced it. Do I believe in it? I'm sure it's real for some authors, but for me.... I have never had to take a break because I had a block, its usually outside influences for me. I really get into my characters, I can hear their voices. It never goes away until the story is complete.
And finally, is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?
I would like the readers to know that as I write, I'm thinking about what I would like to read and what others might find entertaining. I'm open to ideas, so never be afraid to give me a new story, I might give it a twist and add some things, but I'm always open. I hope my readers will continue to read and enjoy the books I write.