I love to read. Sometimes I read up to 3 books a week. Romance and erotica books are my guilty pleasure. I sandwich all my well-being reading with lots of delightful lusty romance.
About a year ago I discovered a book by Cara McKenna called Willing Victim. While the subject matter might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it was clear that the voice of the book was the freshest thing going in the romance/erotica genre that I had read in a long time.
I stayed up until like 3 am with a flashlight under the covers (before my hubs got me a much needed light for my kindle..) to finish this book. It was that good.
There are so many romance books in the marketplace and ever more coming all the time. So it makes sense that sometimes books become predictable, cliché, and formulaic. It is not uncommon for me to start a book, get a few chapters into it, then give it up to the dust pile because the hero and heroine are so idiotic and unnatural that suspending disbelief becomes impossible.
So when I read Willing Victim I was utterly blown away. I was amazed how well McKenna tackled what could potentially be intense, heavy subject matter that could go all kinds of wrong in terms of resembling plausible sexual fantasy. I was captivated how Cara managed to not only make the story and characters real, approachable and fun, but defined healthy, honest sexual care and boundaries between two responsible consenting adults, while still making the characters layered, fun and realistic.
I was hooked.
So I promptly downloaded all her books. They are all pretty different from each other, but the “realness” of the emotional world of the characters is always substantial and always interesting. No two dimentional nit-wits in the bunch. She seems to really understand on a very primal level what is sexy to women.
The thing about Cara is her men are always that delicious balance of masculine, and sensitive. Animalistic and humanistic. Utterly sexual and emotionally approachable.
She worships at the alter of the everyday hero. She picks out the best parts of men and revels in the really sexy bits, while revealing what vulnerable qualities might matchup with their complexes. She defines the line between sexual fantasy and reality with rugged aplomb.
She is a modern writer breathing fresh paradigms into an old genre.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love my romance classics, but Cara’s work speaks to modern women and makes it ok to embrace our fantasies and sexuality in a way that matches our contemporary ideals.
If you are not sure if you like edgy modern erotica, then definitely give Meg Maguire’s romance line a try. You get the same voice and textured characters with more of the relationship build up.
Honestly all her books are great, but I feel like she comes largest to the page and is really in her element with her erotica.
I like all her books. Here are my faves:
All her books offer snapshot bits of life between two people who are facing their authentic emotions and their sexual edge, and how these come into play in terms of relationship potential. Her work gets better and better, I can not wait to see what she does next!
I had the privilege of being able to ask her a few questions. Here is what she had to say.
1. What is your daily routine like? How do you stay disciplined to write?
Unless I have major revisions to tackle, I write new words every morning, Monday through Friday, usually between seven and twelve. By lunchtime I’m usually tapped, creatively, so I switch to other tasks, like edits or web updates or paperwork. If inspiration strikes, I’ll write in the evening or on the weekend, but I try to keep that time writing-free, to recharge my brain and to remind myself that there’s a greater world outside the one in my head. I stay disciplined simply because writing is the thing I usually want to be doing most, and because I believe if you treat writing like a serious, lucrative, full-time job, eventually it can become just that.
I don’t have daily word count goals. I used to, but I found that I beat myself up unnecessarily on days when the words weren’t flowing, and stopped short on days with good momentum as soon as I hit my 2,000-word goal, even though I probably could have gone on and maybe doubled that. So now I have weekly goals, usually 10,000 words a week. That’s still an average 2,000 per day, but I might write 1,000 on Monday, 500 on Tuesday, 4,500 on Wednesday… My word counts fluctuate like the weather here in New England, so I quit viewing a 500-word day as a failure, because usually a drought one day will mean a flood a day or two later.
2. What is your favorite aspect of male beauty?
Oh, there are as many favorite physical traits as there are lust worthy men! Eyes, hands, arms, voice… But above all, I think charisma is what makes a man truly attractive. And you can’t pay a tailor or trainer to give you charisma.
3. Are there any core beliefs that you have that inform your life on an ongoing basis? (Ex. vegetarian, dog is my co-pilot, church of warm baths, etc.)
I guess the closest I’d have to that is, “Trust your gut.” I’m a big believer in intuition. Oh and karma, too. I have to believe in the laws of karma, since if karma weren’t real, the world would simply be too unfair a place to live in.
4. What are your top three favorite things about being a woman?
a) The aforementioned gift of intuition
b) more interesting clothes and accessories than men get
c) multiple orgasms
5. What are you most proud of?
Huh. I’ve never really thought about that question, possibly because I don’t have children yet. I guess I’m proud of lots of small things, like having some books out, having no credit card debt, being able to run a few miles without stopping, the volunteer work I’ve done with penguins, traveling alone to New Zealand, and having cultivated the perfect chocolate chunk cookie recipe.
6. Just for giggles can you tell us what your top five favorite books are?
I’ll give you my all-time top five, some of the books I re-read on a nearly yearly basis, in no particular order:
1. The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King)
2. A Clergyman’s Daughter by George Orwell
3. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (no, really)
4. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
5. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Oh, and 6. anything by David Sedaris
Thank you so much to Cara/ Meg for the quickie interview!
And the most exciting thing is Cara has offered to give away a book to one lucky reader.
So just leave a comment and your name will be entered in a drawing to win the book of your choice!