Book of the Month - Deanna Ashford interview
In an ideal world history lessons would be taught by Deanna Ashford, whose historical romances are peppered with sex scenes so hot that even the laziest students would start paying attention.
Whether your tastes run to the slave markets of Ancient Rome (Barbarian Prize), the depraved aristocrats of wartorn Kabra (Wild Kingdom) or the courtly intrigue of Richard the Lionheart's crusade to the Holy Land (Templar Prize), Deanna's sure to set your pulse racing.
How did you start writing erotic fiction?
I just fell into it by mistake really. I'd been writing for a while and not really getting anywhere when a well-respected writer told me that I wrote great sex scenes and she asked me if I'd every considered writing erotica. It was she who suggested that I send a submission to Virgin Black Lace and within a few months I had sold my first proposal. Since then I've written five books for them, with a new book hopefully coming out next year.
What inspired you to write Templar Prize?
I love historical movies and I watched the extended cut of Kingdom Of Heaven starring the gorgeous Orlando Bloom. Seeing that movie prompted me to read a book about the Third Crusade and while I was reading it the plot for Templar Prize just popped into my head.
There's a strong sense of time and place in the novel. How did you do your research?
I do most of my research in books mainly because I don't find the information on the internet altogether reliable. In fact I end up reading some pretty heavy stuff at times, but I enjoy the research almost as much as I enjoy writing the book. I do like to visit the places I write about whenever I can. For instance a visit to Pompeii prompted me to write Barbarian Prize.
To be honest I do far more research than I actually need and most of it doesn't find its way into the book, but it does help me get a true feel of the period in history I am writing about.
How many of your characters are based on real historical people?
Most of the major characters in Templar Prize, apart from the hero and heroine, are based on real people. Richard the Lionheart fascinates me and his relationship with his wife Berengaria isn't that well recorded, mainly because she travelled with him and as far as I recall never actually visited England during their marriage.
Richard wasn't really a very good king; he was more interested in waging war in farflung lands than he was in ruling his kingdom. There have been questions raised about his sexuality. In the past historians claimed that he was a homosexual but recently opinions have changed. This ambiguity in his character fascinated me but I've included no homo-erotic scenes in this book (my editor wouldn't let me). However there are homo-erotic scenes in some of my other novels.
Do you have a personal favourite of the sex scenes? Voyeurism seems to crop up regularly!
No, I don't have a favourite sex scene. In fact when I start writing I don't think of the sex scenes at all; they just seem to evolve naturally as a result of the interaction of the characters and the twists and turns of the plot. Until this question was raised I had not even noticed that voyeurism crops up regularly.
What do you think of the current Black Lace trend of putting men on the book covers?
I think it is great. I could never understand why an erotic imprint aimed directly at women had females only on the covers of the books. I must say, however, that I would like to have rather more say in the choice of men on my covers. I have happy thoughts of checking a few muscular male models out one by one but I doubt that will ever happen.
Are there any other authors you would recommend?
All the other lustbiters of course, but most specifically my dear friend Portia Da Costa, she is a great writer.
What do you think of the concept of an online Erotic Book Club?
A great idea, I love it. Erotic fiction isn't reviewed very often and the few reviews that do appear aren't usually very accessible to the reading public. Lots of people read erotic fiction but I've found that few will actually admit to reading it.
Any message for your fans?
Do I have any? LOL, that's a silly joke! Just that I love writing erotic romances, and my books are romances - I make no bones about that. I will keep writing them as long as they keep buying them and thanks for choosing my books. Oh, and if you have any favourite characters most of their stories will continue. Their further adventures may be locked in my head at the moment but no doubt they will appear in book form very soon.