Welcome to the torrid world of Blakely Bennett, an author of erotic romance and suspense. A Florida native, she currently lives in Seattle. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a degree in psychology, which accounts for her particular interest in crafting the personalities, struggles, and motivations of her characters. She is an avid reader of many genres of fiction, but especially enjoys erotica and romance.
MJN: On your website, you state that you are an author of erotic romance and erotic suspense. Can you educate me a bit about the distinction between the two branches of the genre? Are there any mandatory built-in components?
BB: Any good book has a bit of suspense in it, which keeps you engage in the story, reading past the point you should otherwise be in bed asleep. The difference between erotic romance (Bound by Your Love Series) and erotic suspense (My Body Trilogy) is the same difference you find between romance and suspense. In true romance, the protagonist and his or her love interest end up together in the end. It’s a given. In suspense, however, the ending is unpredictable and the not knowing adds to the tension. What will come next, keeps you on the edge of your seat.
MJN: Many mainstream romance publishers won't touch material that has an element of violence. Or even if violence is present, it has to be depicted in the context of an S&M game in which the heroine has a say. And yet, I find that the combination of pleasure and violence stimulates certain parts in our brain. This is why novels by Marquis de Sade continue to disturb people 200+ years later.
BB: I honestly don't worry about what other people are doing. I just strive to write better and better with each subsequent novel. I want my readers to feel all the emotions, including the hot steamy sex, my protagonists are experiencing. As long as I do that, and do that well, I don't think I need to be worried about the competition.
MJN: You have organized your novels in series. When an idea for a novel occurs to you, do you know in advance if that will be a segment of a particular series?
BB: I enjoy series myself and I write what I would enjoy reading. It’s really that simple. If I like a novelist, I tend to read all the books they have written especially if they write series.
MJN: With so much explicit material available in various formats, I imagine, the readers have become quite desensitized, and things that used to arouse and disturb people 30 years ago no longer do the trick. How does a modern erotic writer maintain her competitive edge without slipping into gratuitous silliness? (I'm referring to "Fifty Shades").
BB: I don’t agree that we are desensitized. Good writing is good writing. If an author can make you feel what is being written and strives for originality, I don’t think it ever gets old. Each sex scene I write is different but I don’t feel the need to get harsher or darker each time. Each character’s needs and desires are different and I honor that.
MJN: You have co-authored with Dana Bennett. How does co-authoring work in general? Is each author responsible for developing separate characters? Is it always a 50/50 division of labor?
BB: I can’t speak for other co-authors or other experiences. For Dana Bennett and me, writing The Demarcation of Jack, we wrote in all kinds of ways. Sometimes we were side by side, as I typed and we discussed. Sometimes I worked on a scene while he worked on another. One time we recorded ourselves having an argument as Jack and Jenna (I was Jack) and then I transcribed the fight. It was much faster to write together and there was a lot more compromise too. However, we always read and edit each other’s individual projects and act as a sounding board for each other. So in some ways, we are always co-authoring.