|If ... Then|
About the Book
Title If…Then: a collection of erotic romance stories
Genre Erotic Romane
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
Interview with Emerald
Why did you write this book?
Well, since it is a short story collection, this book was written in a number of different segments propelled by varying motivations. But the reason I took it upon myself to collect it into a single work and pen the original stories I wanted to include is because I recognized that certain of my stories held an energy or tone or underlying evolution—clearly this is something I find a bit difficult to articulate and definitely consider intangible!—and I wanted to see them all collected in one volume that I felt represented the deepest asipiration I feel in writing erotic fiction.
As it turned out, the collection I submitted was divided into two volumes (more on this in answer to a later question), so to me, If… Then represents what I described above in the context of the romantically-oriented stories—those that focus on a committed relationship of conscious intention between the characters (as distinct from the erotica ones in which the sexual connection is the foremost focus, regardless of the relational intent beyond that).
What is your favorite genre to read?
As far as romance, I've often enjoyed historicals—such fascinating detail, and it seems so fun to read about a distinctly different time period. Overall, though, I tend to read a lot of nonfiction. In particular, in recent years I've gravitated toward books on consciousness and spirituality by authors like A. H. Almaas, Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, etc.
What is your favorite character from fiction (not including your own characters)?
Jeez. What a tough question. It strikes me as the kind I'll remember the perfect answer to after I've already given one off the top of my head, lol. But I'm going to go with Albus Dumbledore, as he comes closest of any character I've read to embodying and exhibiting the level of consciousness and awakeness to which I myself aspire.
Do you enjoy films and/or TV shows? Which are your favorites?
I almost never watch TV (unless the Yankees are playing), and while watching movies hasn't been something I've done a lot of either, I do have a few favorites. First is Dangerous Beauty, which is a film adaptation of a biography of sixteenth-century Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco titled The Honest Courtesan, by Margaret Rosenthal. I also love The Dark Knight, Shakespeare in Love, and A League of Their Own. And despite my qualification about television, my partner did introduce me to the series Firefly long after it had been discontinued, and I did enjoy watching that. :)
What are you working on at the moment, and what are we likely to see from you in the coming months?
While I'm still largely working in the short form (short stories) at this time, I do have a story in progress that seems to have made it known that it is going to be longer—perhaps even a novel. Given that it's been in progress for literally years, though, I do not have a sense of when it might actually be completed!
I have a short story coming out in a couple months in Cleis Press's Best Erotic Romance 2015 anthology, and next summer I'll have a novella-length (11,000 words) contribution in a Sweetmeats Press anthology on sex and sports titled The Athletic Aesthetic. (My story, "Doubleheader," is about baseball, of course. ;))
Please tell us about your latest book.
If… Then is an erotic romance short story collection that was originally submitted as part of a larger manuscript. I submitted a short story collection to the publisher (1001 Nights Press), and they came back and suggested splitting the manuscript into two books—one with the erotic romance stories and one with the erotica stories. If… Then is the erotic romance one, and it contains ten stories (eight previously published and two new).
The stories cover a range of characters and themes and include some LGBT and BDSM content. The first and last stories in the book, "If…" and "…Then," respectively, obviously make up the title and are related to each other—essentially, "…Then" is a sequel to "If…." Both were previously published in Cleis Press erotic romance anthologies edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.
I feel particularly close to one of the original stories in the book, "Shattered Angels," as it was the most recent one I finished, and I wrote some of it during my solo writing trip to Niagara Falls almost two years ago. The story is partially set in Niagara Falls, and while it was the last story in the book to be finished, I actually started it and drafted it in a different form (before I was writing erotic fiction) almost a decade ago. So it's been through a number of iterations and feels particularly symbolic of the culmination of If… Then as my first single-author short story collection.
All of the stories mean something particular to me, though, which is why I included them in the collection.
In these tales of sizzling erotic romance, deep affection and the warmth of familiarity underlie the erotic connection between longtime lovers. "The Plant on the Mantel" explores the unexpected implications of a generations-past affair on a young married couple. "Honey Changes Everything" finds Kim wondering how to lead her husband out of his state of despair upon losing his job; inspiration comes when breakfast in bed serves up more than just pancakes. And "If…" and "…Then" examine what happens when Valerie finds herself intensely attracted to someone other than her boyfriend—and what he does when he finds out.
With two original stories ("Soft and Gray" and "Shattered Angels") joining the eight previously published tales in this collection, If…Then is a testament to the scorching eroticism that can so seamlessly subsist with long-term romance.
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Emerald is an erotic fiction author whose short stories have been featured or are forthcoming in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, Logical-Lust, and Sweetmeats Press. She is an advocate for sexual freedom, reproductive rights, and the rights of sex workers, and she serves as a Facebook group moderator and assistant newsletter editor for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW). Her first single-author collections, If…Then: a collection of erotic romance stories and Safe: a collection of erotic stories, are out now from 1001 Nights Press.
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