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
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
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
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 :-)
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?
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.