Today I am delighted to welcome Lily Harlem to my site, in a continuation of my series of erotica author profiles, featuring the photographs of David Woolfall.
Over to you Lily-
Who are you and where do we find your blog/website?
When and why did you start writing erotica?
I started writing erotic romance a little over three years ago. I’d just finished a creative writing course at the local university and my teacher sparked my interest in the genre by having something of his own published. I wanted to read it but he told me to get my head around some of the classics first – Anaïs Nin, Pauline Réage – so as not to be shocked by his naughty story!
Far from being shocked I was completely fascinated, not only that, hooked. But it was some months before I tackled writing erotica myself. It took a competition (LoveHoney’s Award for Erotic Fiction 2009) to force my head down and type. The entry requirement was for something sharp and sassy that would get them hot under the collar.
I remember writing my entry, Madam President, on a warm Sunday afternoon, the birds singing and a light breeze shifting the curtains at my window. After checking for typos I hit send and fanned my flushed cheeks! Phew! Who would have thought sex in the oval office between a female US president and the British PM could be so hot?!!
I never expected to hear from LoveHoney, this was after all my very first attempt at writing erotic romance. But several weeks later I received a call telling me I’d won first place. I was elated, beyond surprised and squirming with pride.
How have you and your writing developed in that time?
After winning the competition I had a boost in confidence as well as several stories accepted for publication in anthologies – Stable Manners in Best Women’s Erotica 2010, The Champagne Whore in Maxim Jakubowski’s Sex in the City, Making Shapes in Orgasmic. I also came second in another competition with a story called A Devilish Incantation, and became involved with Coming Together, a charitable publisher—all stories donated by the authors and profits going to good causes.
This was all a steep learning curve in not just honing my writing skills but also in editing and marketing.
I then signed contracts with UK publishers, Total-E-Bound and Xcite. Both of whom are great to work with. But my biggie was Ellora’s Cave, the US giant of erotic romance. I sent them a story called Mattress Music after I spotted a call for submissions that required erotica with a musical theme. They loved it, and my new editor emailed, “Do you have anything else we can read? We’d love to consider it.” Did I have anything else? No. But six weeks later I did. I rattled out Shared, a ménage a trois novel set in Cardiff and to my delight within hours of sending it to Ellora’s Cave, I was signing a contract for my first full length novel.
Two biggies at the moment. I have a free read at Ellora’s Cave called Stockholm Seduction about a girl and a hunky kidnapper. Readers were very vocal about it being too short (well, it is free!) and that it should have been a first chapter or a prologue and they wanted to know more about him and more about her and what happened next, and, and, and…!!!! So, wanting to please, I got my head around the characters again and tapped out the full length novel, Stockholm Surrender. I’m expecting a release date in April 2012 and I hope it hits the spot with my readers.
My other exciting project comes to fruition on the 2nd of April 2012. It’s my first co-author and will be released from Total-E-Bound. I wrote it with the insanely talented Natalie Dae. It was a privilege, a learning experience and an enormous amount of fun to write with her. That Filthy Book gets its name from the working title we gave it, because at times we shocked ourselves at just how rude it was. It is about a married couple on a journey of sexual discovery. Reminding themselves what it was that first made them fall in love and lust with one another all those years ago. It’s graphic and certainly on the edge, and Karen and Jacob travel way beyond the boundaries they ever thought they would.
What is your favourite story to date?
Its not one book, it’s a series called Hot Ice which is published by Ellora’s Cave. Each novel follows a member of the Vipers hockey team as he finds true love (yep, I am a romantic and I do like my HEA’s). The books are fine as stand-alone reads but if read in order the main character of each sequential book is introduced.
Why did I write this series? Well, because I completely adore hockey, and have a particular thing for the players. They’re just so damn big and tough and sexy! So writing these books is endless fun and because they’re written in the first person, from the female POV, I really get to indulge in every tiny detail when it comes to the sex scenes. I like my guys to be hot with a capital H and with a sprinkle of kink thrown in too. There are three books available and the next two are awaiting publication, book six is rattling around my head and needs to get out!
Best thing about writing erotica?
Lots of things! Being able to think about sex all day and call it work. Allowing my imagination to run wild and without restraint. Never being bored, because if I’m waiting in a queue or on a long journey, my mind is busy either dreaming up plots and characters or fine tuning details of a story already written. All in all, it’s the best job in the world and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Many thanks Lily! – Don’t forget to check out all Lily’s work on her excellent web site.