AKA: In Which Anne Explains How She Came To Write Liberating Lacey…
[ETA: The contest is now closed, and the winner is Rahab M! Thanks to all who entered!]
(If you don’t care about how Lacey came to be, I’m gifting either one Kindle version of Liberating Lacey or a paperback version to one person who comments. US residents only, please. Thanks for stopping by!)
A few years ago when I was just starting out as a writer I read an erotic romance by a really well-known author. The hero was a cop, the heroine was a shy young thing coming into her sexual own. There was emotional conflict, there was sex, there was growth, there was a scene where the heroine asks the hero to use his handcuffs on her. Pretty standard erorom stuff, right? Except the handcuffs scene lasted all of TWO PARAGRAPHS and I was freakin’ pissed.
I mean, I felt short-changed.
Because, for the love of all that’s right and holy and erotic, don’t flinch. If you’re going to go there, you should GO THERE, and you should hang out. Get the lay of the land. Take a bunch of notes. Maybe draw some sketches. All for the purpose of sending the rest of us a really detailed, explicit travelogue. It’s just kind. Polite. Like holding the door open for the next person, or offering the bread basket to your neighbor at the dinner table. It’s what your mom raised you to do, and you should do.
That author had a different story to tell, but something about the cop/handcuffs thing getting tossed into the story, almost an afterthought, caught my attention. What if everything they did, everything in the story built to that really compelling night? And what if that night was really explicitly described? How would going deep into the emotions affect the story that came before, and what happened after?
That’s how my first erotic romance novel was born.
Around the time I started writing the story, I learned Ellora’s Cave was actively seeking older woman/younger man stories (in the very initial pages of Lacey, Hunter was actually older than she was). I don’t find age to be a very interesting conflict so I mixed it up; Hunter was not only younger than Lacey, she was completely out of his league. We see that fairly frequently in “wrong side of the tracks” backstories, but usually the bad-boy-teenager has grown up to be Filthy Rich. Hunter isn’t. He’s a pretty average guy. Respectable upbringing. Decent job. Loves his dad. Hates downtime. Knows who he is, what he does, and what he has to offer.
Protects a secret that tells him no matter how much he offers, he isn’t enough for Lacey.
When I started writing that book I always knew the most important scene in the book would be that “hot in handcuffs” scene. I always knew she’d ask him to do it, and I knew it would be the demise of everything they’d built up to that point. With as much as they had going against them, a kinky role play wasn’t going to provide the foundation for a long-term relationship.
Because sometimes handcuffs aren’t enough, but being loved for who you are always is.
Let’s see…other interesting facts about Lacey. The finished book came in at 82K words, which is a bit short for a single title romance, but respectable. The book I sold to Ellora’s Cave was 31K, comprised of the initial scene at bar/parking lot, the restaurant scene where she asks him to role play a bad cop, the role play, a really horribly written breakup scene, and the reunion. That’s it. EC bought the book, and then my editor, God bless her and her children’s children, let me take the time I wanted to revise it. I started in September with the promise she’d have it by 10/1, then by 10/15, then by Halloween, then Thanksgiving. I finally delivered on Christmas Eve. I extensively revised every word of the 31K I’d submitted, and added everything else. The scene in the park with the Ultimate Frisbee game. The night at the Metropolitan Club, and its aftermath. The botched dinner date. Lacey’s mom walking in on Hunter. Whole Foods. Sweet Dreams. The scene in the rain. Even the ending was different.
And speaking of endings, I frequently get emails asking for more of Hunter and Lacey. Occasionally they kick around in my brain a little, little flashes from people I know and love. Mental postcards. They’re not done with me yet…just don’t hold your breath.
Thanks for stopping by the Hot in Handcuffs blog hop. For the giveaway you can comment or tweet me @annecalhoun with Hot in Handcuffs in the tweet. Hop on over to the next blog, and thanks for stopping by!