Interview with Janelle Denison

SR: How would you define erotica?

Janelle: Straight erotica, in my opinion, deals with the physical, sexual aspect of a relationship between a couple, and isn’t necessarily tied to a monogamous relationship. The sex scenes are graphic and explicit, written mostly to stimulate and arouse the reader rather than to further the emotional relationship between the characters. While there is definitely a readership for erotica, for me, personally, I cannot write a story without emotion and depth between my hero and heroine. That bonding is essential, to their growth as a couple, and to the sensuality of the love scenes.

SR: How would you define erotic romance?

Janelle: I would define erotic romance as sexual love, and the satisfying of sexual desire with emotional ties between the hero and heroine. Erotic romance is hot and spicy, yet always sensual, bold yet familiar, pushing boundaries yet always making the reader feel as though the hero and heroine are committed to each other in some way – physically and emotionally. There is also an openness and trust between the characters that heightens the sexual tension between them, yet also provides depth to their relationship. Ultimately, their romance and emotional involvement is at the core of the story.

The new Harlequin Blaze line is geared toward erotic romance, allowing authors to create highly sensual stories based on sexy premises and characters who are willing to explore their sexuality and what turns them on -- with the right man! I love exploring the sexual relationship between my characters, and feel that growth is just as important as creating the emotional bond between my hero and heroine. With Temptation, and especially Blaze, I have the freedom to explore that sexual relationship as far and as deeply as the story allows. There isn’t anything that I’ve wanted to do sexually in a story that I’ve been told no.

SR: How would you define sensual romance?

Janelle: Sensual romance is all about imagery aimed at the senses, and the slow, gradual build up of sexual tension between the hero and heroine. It’s about physical and emotional attraction, and the bond that is created between your characters when they make love. Sensual writing not only affects the senses, but one’s emotions, and pulls the reader into the story, makes them part of the character's lives, and keeps them turning the pages. I like to evoke all five of a reader's senses in my writing and love scenes, and so the sensual aspect of a story is far more important to me than the actual act of sex between my characters. Loves scenes are just an added bonus, for my hero and heroine, and for my reader :-)

SR: What are the differences in writing for Harlequin Temptation and Harlequin Romance?

Janelle: There is a huge difference between writing Temptations and Romances. The main difference is the level of sexual tension of each line. Temptations are hot and sexy from the get go, involve at least 2 or 3 sexual encounters between the hero and heroine, and you know when you pick up a temptation every one of your senses are going to be seduced! In a romance, you'll usually find a more traditional story line – something a bit on the sweeter side. The loves scenes and physical encounters between the hero and heroine are more sensual rather than overtly sexy, and leave most of the encounter to the reader's imagination.

SR: Do you feel that as readers have more spicy and sexy options, such as the upcoming Blaze line, that the other end of the spectrum (lines like Harlequin Romance and Silhouette Romance) will get hotter as well? I recently read you May HR release, THE WEDDING SECRET, and it was not the same kind of romance that I remember starting out with 9 years ago. *g*

Janelle: I don't see the Harlequin and Silhouette Romances lines following the trend into hotter, sexier stories. I think those sweeter, traditional Romances fill a niche in the marketplace, and please those readers who prefer their stories to be on the tamer side, and not as explicit as a Temptation or Blaze tends to be. There are so many varying tastes when it comes to reader preference, and I think Harlequin does a good job of catering to reader's needs with suspense, comedy, the highly sensual romances, and even the longer, more dramatic stories. What might appeal to one reader (super-sexy books!), might totally turn off another reader!

I do think that Harlequin and Silhouette Romances have evolved over the past 10-15 years, in as that they've become much more sensual, and the awareness between the hero and heroine is much more upfront. You can expect more than sweet, chaste kisses, and even love scenes in some cases, but I think these books will always be traditional at the heart of the stories.

SR: Do you think that the move towards such "hotter" romances will have an
opposite effect on the other end of the spectrum. That is, rather than pushing it towards hotter romance too, if there will be more of a call for "tamer" romance?

Janelle: Like I said above, reader's taste vary, and while some may like their romances hot, others are going to like their stories much tamer and without all the explicit, sexual undertones. Harlequin has both bases well covered!

SR: Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming Blaze, HEAT WAVES?

Janelle: HEAT WAVES was such an incredibly fun book to write and will be part of the “Sexy City Nights” series within Blaze, along with talented HQ authors Julie Elizabeth Leto, Carly Phillips, and Julie Kenner. HEAT WAVES will be out in stores October 2001, and here's a blurb to whet your interest: Radio personality Erica McCree knows firsthand that you can hide a lot behind a microphone. Although she's earned a reputation for discussing every aspect of sexy on her show, she's never had to back it up . . . until a sexy mystery caller proves to be even more irresistible in person. Their on-the-air chemistry sizzles and they heat up the airwaves, debating any and all provocative issues possible. As the ratings soar, so does the sexual tension. But what will Ian do when he discovers that Erica isn't the sex expert she professes to be?

And from there, you'll find a story that has it all -- fun, humor, romance, and hot, steamy, sizzling love scenes! *g*

SR: What are the differences in writing for Temptation and Blaze?

Janelle: Longer length in the new Blaze books is one difference, along with room to create characters who have more depth and a book with a layered plot.

Blazes are more explicit in language and in sexual situations, and explore the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine on many different levels. While sex is prevalent in Blazes, creating these books are about more than just writing a super-hot, over-the-top love scene with kinky elements thrown in for good measure. These books are about fantasy mixed with seduction and emotionally compelling characters. The stories are bolder, broader in range and style and tone, and offer readers everything from suspense, to character driven stories, to light-hearted reads.

SR: How will the Blaze line differ from Harlequin Temptation/Heat?

Janelle: *Most* of the Temptation Heat books will be hotter than the normal Temptations out that month. The “Heat” books will showcase that sexier story and lets readers know that they'll find a hot, provocative story between the pages. I highlighted the word “most” for a reason – while the Temptation Heat might highlight a hot story, that in no way means that the other Temptations out that month will be any less hot and sexy. For me, every Temptation book I write, whether it's a regular Temptation or one of the upcoming Heats, readers will get what they've come to expect in a Janelle Denison book: a sinfully sexy hero, a sexy premise, and a super-hot, provocative romance that is packed with sexual tension and emotional conflicts.

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