I know it's been interview central around here lately, but hey! There are fun new authors to meet and books to win! Today, we've got Elise Hepner and she'll be giving away a copy of her new book, Roped Emotions. All you need to do for a chance to win is leave a comment for Elise and your email address - easy peasy! I'll draw a winner Sunday evening.
Now, on to the interview...
What type of research do you do for your books?
Normally, I start by heading to my local bookstore in the mall and look up the sexual positions books in “Health and Wellness” section for inspiration for my sex scenes, since they most often come to me first before anything else in the book. From there, depending on what time period my story takes place, I use my Google-fu to check out images of the time period including houses, clothes, and any other relevant details.
But my favorite kind of research still comes from books in the library where I have to cross reference the back appendixes and fit all my information together like a piece of a puzzle. I don’t get to do very often because I don’t write many historicals, but I did get to do it with a steampunk work in progress and it was so much fun!
I habitually research—as a hobby. My husband loves it because he can use me to find any information he’s too lazy to find himself.
Tell us about your upcoming releases?
My new release is with Ellora’s Cave and it’s titled Roped Emotions. It’s a bondage fairytale novella based on the story of Rapunzel. Here’s the blurb:
Rapunzel is trapped by the harsh, inescapable reality of her prison, so she builds vivid sexual fantasies where she has full control and no one can take it away. If nothing else, at least she has command over her thoughts.
When Prince Samuel climbs into her tower it’s a small, satisfying excuse to break the rules—until his gentle touch coaxes her trust. But it’s not enough. No longer can she keep her dark, sexual secrets inside. Rapunzel yearns for rough, passionate sex—a way to unlock her sensual freedom for good.
Vulnerable but unable to turn back, Rapunzel leads Prince Samuel on an intimate journey to define their sexual limits, while twisting their definitions of control forever.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I’m working on edits for an erotica novel with EC entitled Not So Pure. It’s a modern day re-telling of Snow White with drugs, sex, and a Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer look-a-like.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like least?
I love that I can make my own hours and entertain myself throughout the day without ever leaving a chair. And the rush of getting an acceptance letter is an indescribable feeling that sort of becomes an addiction after a while.
I don’t like the waiting or my editing process. But those are two things that won’t ever change, haha.
What would you do if you weren’t a writer?
I would like to think that I could pick up a job at an e-pub somewhere since before I started writing professionally I worked for two small presses as an intern and acquisitions editor. Hopefully a job where I would be able to stay in publishing.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
There is nothing I adore more than watching junk TV like Real Housewives shows, Vampire Dairies, and Teen Mom. I thrive off of TV because it makes my brain shut off and I need that working 12-14 hour days every day with not many weekends off. I also love any Sims game and—well, duh, of course I read!
What genre of books least appeals to you and why?
I’m really not a high fantasy or sci-fi kind of girl. I do read them, but it takes a lot to not make me stop in the middle and put the book away. Although there are exceptions to this rule because I’m really liking a lot of steampunk right now which could be categorized as an off-shoot of sci-fi. Also big on The Game of Thrones books by George R.R. Martin—just hoping that they will get happy—and soon.
What makes a man sexy?
Complete and utter cockiness and an ability to banter smartly and verbally play with a woman.
Do you family and friends know you write erotic romance – if so, how have they reacted?
My grandfather apparently reads my work. That was a conversation I wish I could have dodged.
What’s your favorite food?
Mac and Cheese and Olive Garden Breadsticks.
Do you have any bad habits?
I’m a really bad procrastinator only because I have way too much going through my head at any given time that I’m bound to push something off to the side just so I can breathe.
If you were stranded on a desert isle, what five things would you want to have with you?
My Nook, my husband, my two cats, Ian Somherholden, and paper.
If you could travel back in time, would you? If so, what time period would you visit and why?
Oh I would totally take that chance and travel back to the premiere of Gone with the Wind to seduce Clark Gable.
Where can readers find you?
How about an excerpt of your new book?
“What in Christ’s name…”
I must be hearing echoes from the town nearby, where Mother sells her herbs and braided goods. No one ventures this far toward my tower because Mother’s gone to great lengths to see that they don’t—bear traps are her new favorite method of discouragement. Once one life is claimed, I imagine word spreads fairly quickly to stay away from the area. Why then are there hoof beats that make my head pulse with a slight pain?
There’s no understandable excuse I can delude myself with any longer. Before I can focus on the consequences, I swing my head out the window into the oppressive, humid summer air. Just the very top of his head is visible, his hair brushing past his cheekbones, glowing from the sunshine and shot through with gold. Never have I seen a color so close to my own before—not that I see many people.
For a few moments I can’t quite come to terms with his presence and it’s not for a lack of staring that my pulse inevitably echoes inside my head like an overbeaten drum. This is my chance. Mother won’t be back for quite some time with her wares. He’s circling the tower, slouched over a horse who looks a bit like a nag. Certainly not a proper horse for a man with such fine clothes in gorgeous colors and sumptuous fabrics.
There’s no going back from this moment. It’s a certainty that makes my teeth chatter in a wash of cold fear, despite the heat, and my hands clasp around my middle as I try to hold myself together. He hasn’t looked up yet, more intent on studying the free-standing structure than noticing my shadow plastered across the grass. My mind is desperately working out what I’ll cry out to him. Even as my throat closes with an infusion of happiness that makes me rock on my feet.
“Excuse me?” A tentative question I’m not sure he will hear because it can’t be any louder than a frightened whisper. “Sir, you’re really not supposed to be here.”
Somehow, I’ve managed to make this part louder because he glances up—and his slack-jawed expression is a blow to my chest. He possesses the most gorgeous cobalt blue eyes. Underneath my ribs, the pain grows until taking a full breath is hard. Mother is right, he hasn’t even overcome his shock as my heavy plait of hair rests down the stone side of my prison. He’s not to be trusted.
What am I thinking? He won’t even come near me to aid my escape and his eyes are swamped in confusion—and there’s a flash of unreadable emotion that I refuse to question. He must leave here now and I must somehow convince him to bring no one back with him. I won’t be paraded around for anyone’s amusement. This man has made a mistake coming here.
Yet, there’s still a part of me that grips the windowsill until my palms are numb and that clings to the hope that he will at least acknowledge me. So long since I’ve had any kind of normal conversation. One that didn’t revolve around my hair, my rules or my mother’s day. Won’t he say anything? I’m as trapped by his thick silence as I am by the beauty of his face.
“Please, you must go and tell no one about what you’ve seen. You shouldn’t have ignored the traps. They are there for a reason.”
I don’t know how I’ve gotten that all out because my main focus lies on the foreign stirrings of heat in my cheeks as the pulsing sensation twists lower in my abdomen. What is happening to me? With a certainty that surprises me, I find myself clenching my thighs together, only to have the subtle touch of flesh-on-flesh be more than I can bear. He has yet to take his gaze from mine and a shudder slips up my spine.
“How long have you been here?” His voice carries the strain I hold back and I’m slightly put at ease that at least we are on similar ground. “Who did this to you?”
“For a man who is about to leave, I don’t believe it matters.”
The words barely tumble out of my mouth before I clamp my hand over my lips. I hadn’t meant to be so harsh and instantly regret it. He is so handsome—and these sudden urges, they are overwhelming and confusing to the point where I wish to completely remove the problem. My lips part in an apology and I watch a jovial grin span from ear to ear as he laughs at me until I can’t hear anything but the frantic beat of my heart.
Who is this man? Now he stares at me with a playfulness that washes a wave of goose bumps across my flesh. He doesn’t seem offended, merely amused at my suggestion that he leave. To further that fact, he quickly dismounts and ties his horse to a nearby tree branch. While I can only stare at the way his tight riding boots and breeches hug his muscular body from his calves all the way up to his perfectly rounded buttocks.
Though I’d learned of desire from my mother—and all its wicked principles—I never expected it to rear its head in my lonely, simple world.
However, now my life spirals out of control quickly enough that I tilt back against the wall to my left and watch with trembling hands. This mysterious man climbs the wall of my tower as if it had been built to be climbed so easily—without any aid from my hair. One strong, sun-kissed hand and booted foot at a time. When he offers up his hand to me to pull him over the side, what choice do I have? Even a man that strong would eventually grow tired and plummet to his death—and I want him tucked close to my body, not on the ground.
“I was beginning to wonder what it took to get some assistance.”
He softly grunts and clasps my hand hard enough that I gasp as I shift my weight to pull him over the side. Muscles I didn’t know existed inside me burn with sharp pain from disuse because of my isolation. His touch radiates heat all along my arm. If it wasn’t for his precarious situation, I would fight to pull away on instinct—but as it is, he manages to throw himself into my home with as much grace as a charging boar—and he trips, falling on top of me and sending us to the hard, stone floor.
His surprisingly soft hand brushes the hair out of my face and lingers, gently stroking, down my cheek. Should I be frightened? Probably. At the moment I can’t bear the thought that my first sincerely gentle touch from a man would be anything but special. His sharp leather scent surrounds my tingling skin.
“Isn’t this a day for surprises?” His gaze cuts through all the fear inside me and his mouth holds the subtle curve of a half smile. “I should move myself off you, this isn’t proper at all when we’ve barely been introduced.”
Yet he doesn’t move an inch.
A realization whips through my mind and would have left me on the floor if I wasn’t already pinned there by a gorgeous man who touches me with such reverence I might weep. When will this happen again? After this twisted, meandering path of fate, there is no doubt I will be alone again—and I want a loving memory to cling to at night when my old fears tighten my chest until I can’t breathe. This is a choice I can make for myself. And I won’t live the rest of my ordinary, sheltered life not knowing true passion when it burns across my skin.
“They call me Rapunzel.”
His inviting smile lights up my whole world.