Greetings, OA readers! I have interviewed a very ambitious debut author this Wednesday. Please welcome C. Solet.
So, tell us, what is your main character’s most admirable quality?
I try to give each of my main female characters the ability to go out and get what they want, even if perhaps it's scary or outside of her comfort zone. I also try to make sure my main female characters are comfortable in their skin, no matter how their skin might look. I have enough body issues in my life; I don't need to drag down readers with them. And amazingly, focusing on body-positive imagery in my stories is helping me focus on it in my life. So there's that little side benefit to this endeavor of mine - increased confidence, for the win!
Increased confidence is always wonderful.
What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters? (Example: Lou's mother never sitting down in Me Before You (June's Operation Awesome Book of the Month), or Harry Potter's lightning bolt scar.)
I'm not certain if it's memorable, but so far all of my main female characters are big, beautiful women. I am a tall woman with ample curves, and of all the romance and erotica I have consumed, precious little of it portrays women of a larger size in a positive light. I believe all body shapes can be beautiful, and it's important for me to note that in my writing.
Is there any other diversity or underrepresented ideas featured in your book?
Not particularly, not at this point. That may change as time goes on, but my experiences influence my writing, and my socioeconomic status doesn't give me a lot of diversity in my life to use. I am not adverse to writing diversity or underrepresented ideas, but it is critical to me to be authentic. As I develop as a writer, I hope to be able to work more on this aspect of my writing. Right now, though, it's fun, it's fast, and yes, I expect people to be masturbating while reading.
Is there any charitable organization that is close to your heart?
While National Novel Writing Month (formerly The Office of Letters and Light) offers structure, community, and encouragement instead of funding, I have to list it. It has been an invaluable resource in my development as a writer, along with the friends I have made along the way. I would encourage anyone who has ever thought they have a story in them to give writing a 50,000-word novel during one of the dreariest weather months of the year along with thousands of other humans a chance. It is an enormous amount of fun.
That it is! I, too, love partaking in NaNo.
How do your stories stand out from others in your genre?
I'm not certain this qualifies, but I'm focused on safe sex in my stories. In erotica (I have heard from some) it is to be assumed that the sex is safe unless the application of prophylactics moves the plot forward. I say, f*** it. Sex without protection in some form is unsafe, so I mention it. Sometimes frequently. More than once I mention the lack of it and have my characters deal with the consequences. I seem to be making an effort to be certain that everything is purposeful.
I think that's admirable.
Now here's a tough question. As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read?
Let's assume that all books are free, because the honest truth is that cost can eclipse all other interests at this point in my life. Once all books are on that level playing field, recommendations from friends motivate me to purchase new books. It helps if I know the friend, and they are recommending a book they've written, but a friend who loves a book will drive me to that book faster than a cattle drover in a particular Aussie epic.
For your author debut, you stacked the shelves with several books almost overnight. Can readers expect that same level of enthusiastic publication to continue?
Well, I certainly hope so! I am currently (although it hasn't always been the case) of the opinion that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to do. And right now, I have set my mind to write at least one short story a week, even though I am definitely capable of more. Especially now that I've got the whole "formatting for Smashwords" thing under my belt. My most recent story, "In the Stacks", is begging me to go back to it and engage its characters Shelbi and Sawyers for more fun.
What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
Frankly, it's a control thing. Right now, I want to be in control of my work, where it gets distributed, how it looks, how it reads, everything. I don't mind being responsible for all of my marketing, proofing, and design. I enjoy those things separately from my writing life, and so it's easy to turn to self-publishing. I am working under the umbrella of the independent publisher, Ivey Books, but I am doing all the work myself. It's a good arrangement. I'm not excluding the possibility of writing for other publishers, or for trying traditional publishing at some point, but I'm not searching out those opportunities right now. I'm certain when the time is right events will unfold as they should.
As your books are classified as erotica, what "heat level" should readers expect?
1- Just above romance, 2- Some dabbling in fetishes, 3- Plenty of spicy scenes on nearly every page, 4- Do NOT try this at home without an experienced partner, 5- Even the Dom's will be taking notes.
That's an odd scale that feels (to me) less like an incline and more like the middle of a roller coaster. If I might present my own:
1: Romance with "fade to black" sexual encounters
2: Romance with plot-driven, possibly graphic sexual encounters that will not offend the mainstream, "vanilla" reader
3: Romance with gratuitous, graphic sexual encounters and adult language, may offend "vanilla" readers
4: Erotica with extreme sexual encounters and language that will offend "vanilla" readers and appeal mostly to specific kinks
With the erotic romance I have published so far, I probably rank somewhere between my two and a three (currently leaning towards the two). For me, it feels like plenty of spice. Like a lovely, kettle-cooked jalapeno chip, but not ghost pepper heat. I'm capable of hotter stuff, but I'm just getting some things I've been carrying around for a while washed out of my head. As I grow more comfortable with my characters, the heat will likely increase.
Anything else you would care to share about your book (an excerpt or blurb) and yourself (short bio, social media)?
Well, since you asked. :)
"Friends and Lovers"
It's taken Ami a while to get back into the swing of things after her husband left her. But when she finally finds the nerve to go to dinner with friends, she proves to herself that she's not ready for this "functional adult" thing by confessing her true feelings for her friend, Alec.
Humiliated, Ami retreats, full speed ahead. But there's someone out looking for her, and he wants to prove that he can be the man she needs in her life, and in her bed.
Friends and Lovers is an erotic romance that wonders if losing control of your tongue can sometimes be the best path to opening your eyes.
If you enjoyed the blurb, and you haven't already read any of my stories, and you find at this point perhaps you might like to, allow me to make it easier on your wallet! Use coupon code "TC76V" at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/639327 to purchase "Friends and Lovers" for the low, low price of $0.00. (Psst...tell your friends.)
C. Solet is a hopeless romantic with a lusty streak, quick to both fall in love and to forgive. She writes the characters she wants to be; the ones not afraid to face their fears to get what they want. She is driven to share her fantasies, pushing them into other people's brains, hoping they can enjoy them as much as she does. She also suspects she may have been named after something that appeared on a billboard that one time. She can be found online on Twitter (@csolet_pen) and all her stories are on display at her website (www.csolet.com).
Thank you so much, C, for agreeing to be my first debut author in this spotlight.