One of my favorite friends and authors, Nerine Dorman, has graced my miserly blog with her presence. Her accumulated experience in the realm of making awesome stuff totally dwarfs mine. Writing, editing, journalism, film-making, writing music, playing said music while being a Goth chick who's probably even stage dived! I mean, my god, am I showing how good she is and how wimpy I am yet? Onward to the questions. Although first, I have to squeeze this in - what an incredible cover!
Nerine, give us some idea of the background that inspired you to write Hell's Music.
Hell’s Music was born out of music. After a long absence from having any definite love for any particular bands or sounds, I started listening to my old favourites again last year. These include bands such as Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie, Rammstein and Type O Negative, but also newer sounds such as Seventh Void and A Pale Horse Named Death. The music ignites something in me, and sparks my creativity. This got me thinking along the lines of an unlikely love story where the girl meets the totally unsuitable guy. Despite the differences in their backgrounds—or perhaps because of their contrasts—they make a go at being together. And it’s not easy, because of the destructive aspects of the man’s personality. Sometimes we love the wrong people. We love them despite the fact that they will make us hurt. But to not love them leaves us missing some profound aspect of our lives.
The story itself is born out of a “what if” scenario. What if you had a chance to be romantically entangled with a celebrity? What would the consequences of such a relationship be? Of course I modelled my celeb on a melange of my favourite bad-boy lead singers. The novel itself is dedicated to Peter Steele, who passed away in April last year. Type O Negative’s music has kept me company through many dark patches in my life and I listen to it a lot while I write.
What sort of men do you like to feature in your stories? Ditto for the women.
Most of my men and women are damaged in some way, be it from past relationships or issues that are as of yet unresolved. This obviously affects the way they deal with their problems.
One of my writing partners and I have coined the phrase “Tall, Dark & Looming” or “TD&L” for when we Tweet or share on Facebook, which refers to my preference for tall guys, who usually sport loads of tattoos and have long, dark hair. Considering that I hang out in the alternative scene, this is pretty much what turns me on about guys. Often, despite these tough and somewhat intimidating exteriors, these guys are surprisingly sensitive. I like that contrast.
I prefer my ladies as individuals who are in control of their lives. Or show them taking control of their destinies as a story progresses when they’re in a bad space. It’s not often that they need rescuing, although that does happen from time to time. Sure, they may have been hurt, or get hurt in the process but there is always some sort of personal transformation that takes place—or a shift in world view.
One theme that is prevalent is that most of my stories feature people who are bohemian or creative in one way or another. It’s a case of “write what you know”—and most of my friends are photographers, filmmakers, performance artists, authors, musicians or models. Also, my characters will offer what I know is a more authentic approach to how subcultures are represented in fiction.
Do you think erotic romance is too formulaic?
It can be, but then the same goes for all genres, be it fantasy or horror. That being said, there are certain criteria that are universal to a good romance novel, the same as for a fantasy or good thriller. It all lies in how an author can build a story on the framework and satisfy readers’ expectations for the formula without it being too predictable.
Is there ever too much sex in an erotic romance story?
I’m a firm believer in balance. A novel that is weak in plot, that is just one sexual encounter after another bores me quickly. However, if an author writes with enough “down time” between sex scenes then the only limit to how much sex there is depends on the intended word count. This is, however, a personal preference of mine. I prefer less sex but more simmering tension in a story. Once the characters have done the deed, it’s difficult recapturing some of that initial anticipation a reader feels when boy meets girl.
If you were in the same situation as your female main character in your story would you too be chasing after the man?
Without a doubt. I have a weakness for unsuitable men. I married my husband, after all. Everyone predicted I’d end up in a gutter with a needle in my vein. I’m happy to say it’s been the opposite: I live in a treehaus near a national park and am a multiply published author whose day job allows her to travel every once in a while. Living with a man whose second name is Trouble certainly makes for a very exciting life. Sometimes a little too exciting but hey—I never run out of ideas for novels.
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Click here to buy Hell's Music at Lyrical Press (or to read an excerpt)