An interview by
Wild on Books is delighted to have the opportunity to interview the very talented author Eden Bradley this month! Eden talks with us about several of her books, including some upcoming releases, tattoos, and more!
Eden Bradley's Sites:
Jennifer: Hi Eden! Thanks for agreeing to interview with Wild on Books. I have personally enjoyed every one of your stories Iíve read so far, and it is a pleasure to interview you.
Many authors say they find their inspiration in dreams, from music, or from people-watching. How do you find inspiration for your novels?
Eden: Music always inspires me, in that I use it a lot to set a mood while Iím writing. And I have dreamed the premises for two of my books. But ultimately, my story ideas and characters seem to spring out of nowhere-itís a mystery to me. As long as it doesnít stop happening, Iím fine with that!
Eden: At this point in my career I have to contract two books (full length novels) at a time with Bantam, so that determines the kind of ideas I have to come up with, to some extent. Some stories lend themselves to longer or shorter length. My characters for a novel usually have to be more complex. I donít write Ďplottyí books-mine are almost entirely character-driven, so for me, thatís the crucial element.
I do still get to write novellas once in a while, and I love that! Condensing a full story into a shorter length is challenging, but I really enjoy doing it. There can be an intensity to a shorter story, like my novella, THE ART OF DESIRE, in my recently released anthology, HOT NIGHTS, DARK DESIRES. Those characters are actually very complicated people, and the relationship is extremely intense from the first moment they meet-in a novella, you have to jump right into the action!
Eden: Absolutely! My soundtrack for THE ART OF DESIRE was a lot of heavy rock and grunge music-dark, moody stuff, which is some of my favorite music. I was listening to a lot of Alice in Chains (one of the greatest bands of all time, IMO), Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Godsmack, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No MoreÖ
My first two novels, THE DARK GARDEN and THE DARKER SIDE OF PLEASURE, as well as
my novella, SANCTUARY, in the Berkley Heat EXCLUSIVE anthology, and my novella
with Phaze (www.Phaze.com), BREAKING SKYE, are all BDSM-themed books, although I
do write other themes. But I love the powerful dynamics between people within a
relationship exploring BDSM. For me, itís about the power exchange, which brings
an intensity to the relationship, and forces people to be incredibly vulnerable
with each other. I think the boundaries are set by the characters and what the
dynamic is between them. But as far as the actual fetish practices, Iíll explore
bondage, pain play, slave psychology. Iím comfortable with pretty extreme
material, although thatís not necessary to telling a good story. My only real
boundaries are those set by the BDSM community credo, which is that all behavior
must be Safe, Sane and Consensual.
Jennifer: Your latest release, THE ART OF DESIRE, in the anthology HOT NIGHTS, DARK DESIRES centers around a coupleís shared passion for tattoos. I know you have some ink yourself. What tattoos do you have now? Do they have a special meaning for you? Are you planning any new tattoos?
Eden: I have several tattoos-Iím a bit obsessed with body art. I have a tiny cherry blossom on my right ankle (the only one that hurt!), some Kanji (Chinese symbols) down the back of my neck, and this year I had an incredible cover piece done. Originally it was a pegasus on my left hip/upper buttock, which I had done when I was 18. It was terrible work and Iíd been looking for years for the right artist to do the cover work. I finally found my artist, a woman in San Francisco who also tattoos my friend, author Lillian Feisty. My new tattoo is a Hindu goddess, the White Tara. Itís a large piece and incredibly detailed. Itís not quite finished yet-I go back in August to have the color done. You can see pics of all my tattoos on my blog: www.EdenBradley.blogspot.com on the May 20th, 2008 post.
All of my tattoos have some personal meaning for me-they have to, since theyíll be on my skin for the rest of my life!
Do I plan to get more? Well, Iím pretty well inked already, but never say never!
Eden: My story is THE ART OF DESIRE. Since Iím so obsessed with tattoos myself, Iíd wanted to write a character with the same fascination for a long time.
Sophie has had a repressive upbringing and sheís trying hard to break free from
those restrictions. A writer of vampire and ghost stories, sheís lived a gypsy
life, moving from one place to the next. When she moves to New Orleans, she
falls in love with the city. And thatís where she meets Tristan, a tattoo artist
with a shadowed past. The attraction is immediate, intense, and she canít fight
the urge to be tattooed any longer. But Sophieís fascination with tattoos runs
deeper than even she ever imagined. She doesnít want to stop-being tattooed, or
being with the sexy and mysterious Tristan. Is it a real connection with
Tristan? The magic of New Orleans? The force of her own desires finally being
brought to the surface? Or the irresistible combination of it all?
Jennifer: What kind of research do you do for your stories?
Eden: I love to do research and can get lost in it for hours! I write a lot about fetishes and have done quite a bit of research, which includes reading books, searching out information on the Internet, talking to people involved in different fetish lifestyles and visiting someÖinterestingÖplaces.
In my upcoming October novel, FORBIDDEN FRUIT, my heroine, Mia Rose Curry, is a sociology professor who teaches a class on alternative sexuality, so I had to be accurate in the theories she addresses in the classroom. I spent hours reading Freudian and Jungian theories on sexuality. Iíd studied sociology, cultural anthropology and psychology myself in college, but I needed a refresher course.
Of course, some of the things I write about come from personal experience, like
my tattoo story. Iíve always had a fascination with some of the more unusual and
extreme lifestyles, and have led an interesting life, so thereís a pretty good
pool of experience to draw from. I think everything we do in life: traveling,
meeting people, hobbies, all turns up in our writing, so life experience is the
best research source.
Jennifer: Do you have any advice for readers curious about experimenting with BDSM?
Yes! Learn all you can about it before taking that first step. Always put your
personal safety first. There can be both physical and emotional consequences,
even from mild bedroom play, and this can happen whether you want to be a Top or
a bottom, so learn enough to know what to expect. There are some excellent
resources on my website.
Jennifer: I see that several of your books will be translated into German and Romanian. You must be very excited to garner such international exposure. Are you planning any events such as book signings in those countries to publicize the release in those languages?
Eden: I wish I could! My great grandmother was Romanian and Iíd love to visit. I hear itís a beautiful country.
Iím very excited about the book translations and canít wait to see what they do
with the covers. Of course, I wonít be able to read any of it!
Jennifer: I have to say, youíve had some beautiful covers, but my personal favorite is for THE DARKER SIDE OF PLEASURE, which is the one with a womanís hands tied together with a pink satin ribbon. It is intriguing, sexy, and alludes to the BDSM theme without being overt. Do you have a favorite cover? How much input have you had into your book covers?
Eden: Iíve had no input on my covers at Bantam-luckily they have an amazing art department. THE DARKER SIDE OF PLEASURE, which is my second Bantam book (a three-novella BDSM anthology), was probably my favorite for a long time, too, but I have to say Iím in love with my cover for my October release, FORBIDDEN FRUIT-which everyone can see on my website.
Iím a huge art geek, so Iím very emotionally invested in my covers. Iíve been
Jennifer: What do you like to read? Do you stick to the romance genre, or do you read other fiction as well?
Eden: I read almost everything!
Iím an old sci-fi fan and recently Iíve been reading Elizabeth Bear-an
incredible writer! I read womenís fiction and literary fiction-I like the gritty
stuff! But I also sometimes need a break from the drama-my own writing
included!-so I read a lot of chick lit. My critique partner of 6 Ĺ years, Gemma
Halliday, writes hysterical stuff, and Iím just finishing a Jane Porter novel
and loving it!
Jennifer: Of course, that last question brings me to ask who your favorite authors are?
Eden: My favorite author ever is Tanith Lee. She writes sci-fi, horror and erotica. Her work is dark and so sensual and beautiful-sheís had a lot of influence on my own writing voice.
In romance and erotic romance I love Jennifer Cruisie, Megan Hart, MJ Rose,
Nalini Singh, Portia da Costa-so many itís hard to know where to start!
Jennifer: Who or what inspired you to begin writing?
Eden: I come from a family of writers. My father did some screenwriting and my mother was a freelance journalist. They were also huge readers, as was my grandmother, so books have always been a big part of my life.
I took a creative writing class in the summer between third and fourth grades,
and thatís when I wrote my first stories. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Eddy,
and she was so encouraging, so part of the credit must go to her!
Jennifer: When you arenít writing or reading, how do you like to spend your time?
Eden: Does shoe shopping count? I can spend hours on Zappos.com! But I do get out of the house occasionally. I love to go to the beach and lie on the sand reading a good book, and to visit museums and galleries. I also love to travel and hope to do more of it-I need to see Greece and Italy in the worst way!
I also developed a new hobby last year, making ATCís (artist trading cards).
These are small pieces of mixed media art-Iím crazy about it! And through that
Iíve discovered altered books, which Iím dying to try as soon as my writing
schedule loosens up a bit.
Jennifer: Do you write full-time or do you have a Ďdayí job as well?
Iím a full time writer. Iím very lucky!
Jennifer: What awards have you earned? What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
Eden: My debut novel, THE DARK GARDEN was a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Reviewers Choice nominee, and was a Golden Quill finalist. My other books are too new for anything yet!
Honestly, my greatest achievement is just writing a book that I love, and that
my agent and editor love enough to get it published.
Jennifer: How is writing erotica different from writing romance?
Eden: For me, writing erotic fiction is about more than just writing sex. The sex itself is almost a sub plot which moves the story, the character arc and the relationship forward. While I think any love scene in any sort of book should accomplish the same things, itís a crucial, underlying element in erotic fiction.
Eden: Every scene must serve a purpose-nothing extraneous, and that includes the sex scenes. If something doesnít work, doesnít do itís job, it gets cut, no matter how in love with it I may be.
Eden: FORBIDDEN FRUIT, which will be out October 26th, is my food fetish book, and it was a lot of fun to write! Itís a sensual tale, and the research was definitely interesting-there was a stash of strawberries and whipped cream in my house for monthsÖ
I am totally in love with the hero, Jagger James. Heís modeled on Lenny Kravitz, although Iím sure readers will develop their own image of him. Heís very laid back, very cool, very sexy. I love all my heroes, but heís become a favorite.
Hereís the blurb:
Sometimes the forbiddenÖ
One taste is never enough.
For university professor Mia Rose Curry, it was all academic: her course in alternate sexuality was a safe, socially-acceptable way for her to talk about the things she desires mostóbut has never let herself experience. And while students crammed into her class to learn about fetishes, bondage, voyeurism and much more, Mia kept her own raging desires, and her most private fantasies, carefully under wrapsÖuntil one student undressed her with his eyes...
Jagger James is everything Mia wants and everything taboo, yet Mia canít help imagining drawing closer and closer to this forbidden fruit. She soon discovers how much Jagger wants her, demanding she abandon every inhibition with him. Now, they are about to take a dangerous step, tempting each otherís flesh, savoring every touch and breaking every rule in the bookóknowing that this dazzling, sensual feast is only a taste of something more to comeÖ
Eden: Each editor has their own style of working, and some are more hands-on than others. My Bantam editor is nothing less than brilliant. I always have revisions, but everything she says makes for a better book-Iíve learned so much from her. So, while itís a difficult process and I may have more revisions than I would at another publishing house, sheís made me a better writer, so I canít complain about it.
The biggest differences have been between e-publishing and print publishing. Print takes so much longer to get a book on the shelf, and the revision and editing process has been more intense for me. But you also have a bit more freedom in e-publishing as far as content-the e-pubs can afford to take more risks, which is always fun for a writer.
Iíve worked with some wonderful publishing houses, both print and e-pub, so the commonalities are attention to detail, good editing, and Iíve had wonderful experiences in both arenas.
Eden: I just finished my next Bantam novel, currently titled A 21st CENTURY COURTESAN. This book was really different for me. Itís written in 1st person, which can be wonderful and difficult at the same time. But because my heroine is a high class call girl, I felt 1st person was necessary in order to let the reader right into her head. Strangely enough, thereís a lot of me in this character-not that Iíve ever been a prostitute! But some of her issues, her personality, are very much me.
A 21st CENTURY COURTESAN is about Valentine Day, a modern-day call girl who serves the wealthy elite of the world. There is a secret to her success, one which keeps her in this lifestyle long after the allure of the money begins to fade. But when she meets Joshua Spencer, her world comes crashing down around her, and she can no longer continue the life sheís known for almost ten years.
Itís a deeply psychological book-my heroine even goes to therapy. Itís also extremely intense emotionally and sexually. This is probably my favorite book of mine!
Next up is another Bantam novel about Shibari, the Japanese art of rope bondage-and it really is an art. Iím looking forward to writing fetish material again and really getting into the power play. Iíve done my basic character outlines for this book, but thatís it so far, so the adventure begins soon! And in between Iím going to attempt my first male/male erotic romance, a short novella currently titled GYPSY.
Iíve been working with my critique partner, chick lit mystery author Gemma
Halliday, for 6 Ĺ years. Iíve also begun to work with Lillian Feisty this year,
an amazing erotic romance author. And I have a few beta readers, including
author R.G. Alexander, who just read A 21ST CENTURY COURTESAN for me.
I know Iím not objective enough about my own work to see everything, so I donít
let anything out the door until theyíve looked at it. I donít know what Iíd do
Jennifer: What would your fans be interested or surprised to learn about you?
HmmÖIím pretty open about everything, so thereís not a lot left to tell! Maybe
that despite the consistently dark tone of my work, my tattoos, my experience
with the BDSM lifestyle, Iím actually a very cheerful person-Iíve even been
called perky! And I have a really strong Valley Girl accent, so itís pretty hard
for people to see my dark side when they meet me in person. There is just
nothing serious about a Valley Girl accent.
Jennifer: Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Eden: Thanks so much for having me!
If anyone wants news and updates about my books, appearances, or the odd things currently happening in my life, they can visit my website:www.EdenBradley,com
my blog: www.edenbradley.blogspot.com
or my MySpace page: www.myspace.com/edenbradley