First, I’d like to thank you, Desiree, for taking the time to visit my blog. I know you have a busy schedule and I definitely appreciate the opportunity to chat with an author of your caliber.
You have led an incredible life, from being a summer fishing guide to representing musicians to your own PR agency. How do all these experiences inform your writing?
I’ve used practically all of them at one time or another, as well as many of the people I met. My novel, Downstroke, was based on my experiences in the music business and one of the opening chapters was taken straight from a concert where one of my bands was the opening act. Having it All also called on the experiences of those years. Some of my heroines have been in public relations and Cassie, the heroine of On de Burned, is a sports reporter, one of the things I also did.
Last year you achieved an amazing milestone―100 books. How did it feel to release that hundredth book? How do you keep the ideas and the writing as fresh as you do? Do you have one book that is your favorite?
Yes, hitting the Big 100 was amazing for me. When I wrote my first book eight years ago I never foresaw this kind of success. At the time I was just hoping to sell one book. But a lot of people advised once I submitted a book not to sit around and wait for an answer but to start on the next one and then the next one. So while I was waiting for that first sale I just kept on writing. My ideas come from everywhere. I have an overactive imagination (just ask my family!) and almost everything I see and hear generates a story idea. Keeping everything fresh is work, but I never want my readers to think I’m just phoning it in, so I make sure I love everything I write. As far as favorites, that would be so hard to say. I love them all, some more than others, but they’re like my kids—all of them my favorites!
I’m sure this is a question you are asked a lot, but what advice do you have for an aspiring author of erotic romance? How does a writer get from her first novel to her hundredth?
Well, as I said in the previous question, don’t wait around for a sale, start on the next project. Write something every single day, even if it’s only one page. I read somewhere that Karen Robards writes every day, even the day of her son’s wedding. Make notes of ideas. Watch people and play the What If game-what if they aren’t a couple on vacation but two spies, for example. Join a critique group and soak up their comments. No writer is capable of fully editing his or her own work. And never, ever quit.
You also write as Judith Rochelle. How does a Judith Rochelle book differ from a Desiree Holt title?
Basically the Judith Rochelle books were sensuous but Desiree writes full out erotic romance. Otherwise, same plots, same hot characters, same plot twists.
In June of this year, Mature Times® dubbed you the world’s oldest author of erotic romance. Again, just an awe-inspiring accomplishment. How does your family feel about the genre you write? What got you started writing this genre? Who are some of your writing influences?
My family thinks it’s a hoot! My kids of course refuse to read anything I write but they love to tell people about it. They’re my best P.R. people. My late husband was the one who really pushed me to get stated and who believed in me. When I was considering answering a call for submissions from Ellora’s Cave he asked me if I thought I’d try it. I told him I’d never written erotic before. He just said, Buy a few books, read them and see if it’s something you’d like to pursue. He really, really encouraged me. And once I got into it, I found I really enjoyed the writing and kept challenging myself to keep it fresh and new and interesting. And hot! But I think the final push came from Joey Hill. I read her two-book set, The Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul and fell in love with the stories and her characters. She writes the most beautiful erotic romance ever. She inspired me and continues to do so. Anyone who wants to write erotic should really read her Nature of Desire and Knights of the Boardroom series. Also check out Deep in the Woods by Annabel Joseph and Beyond Eden by Kele Moon.
As a part of and a witness to the evolution of women’s sexual freedom in the 20th and 21st centuries, how do you feel about the role you play in helping women embrace their sensuality?
I feel really good about it. I think it’s time for women to come out of the closet, so to speak, and not have to hide their sexual fantasies and desires. I think women should be able to express their sexual needs as freely as men and not feel they are committing a social no-no. If reading my books taps into women’s fantasies and gives their sex lives a boost, that makes me feel really good. I hope that my books give them hours of pleasure. wink
Though attitudes have changed, especially with the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, there is still a stigma attached to writing erotica. How do you handle people who disapprove of your current career choice?
I tell them that every genre has its detractors. They are certainly free to dislike mine but I ask them not to disrespect it. They are free to disapprove but not disrespect. Besides, my guess is that most of the people who disapprove don’t actually know what erotic romance is all about. There is nothing wrong with writing about sex or reading it as long as the characters are treated with respect, something I work hard attached to writing erotica and erotic romance.
What keeps you dedicated to writing scorching hot, sexually explicit books?
I find erotic romances to be the most honest, believe it or not. All the curtains are pulled aside and people are out there, bare naked, so to speak, with no way to hide who they are. That kind of relationship is then based on trust and respect. Besides **wink** I like to live out my own fantasies, too!
What are you goals for the future? Is there a two-hundredth book planned?
Not on paper, but I expect to get there. I currently have 15 different books and novellas in different stages of development with notes on several others. I wish my fingers worked as fast as my brain.
What upcoming release do Desiree Holt addicts (myself included!) have to look forward to?
Training Amber, the sequel to Teaching Molly, is out September 9 from Ellora’s Cave.
Amber McCloud is taking a two-week timeout with her friend Molly to heal the wounds from a bitter divorce. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy man like Cesario “Rio” Negron. But the attraction is instant and hot. Not only does he teach her how good sex can really be, he also introduces her to the world of BDSM, a world she takes to like a kid with candy. It helps when she learns Molly and her husband are also advocates of the lifestyle. But when the two weeks are up Amber has to decide if what’s developed between her and Rio is real or if she will turn her back on it, afraid to risk her heart again.
“Man, is it always this hot in Texas?”
Amber McCloud stowed her suitcase in the trunk of Molly Trajan’s candy-apple-red Mustang and slid into the front seat, positioning the air-conditioning vents so they blew directly on her damp skin.
Molly laughed as she pulled out into the flow of exiting traffic. “Honey, you’re spoiled by all that chilled air up north. If you’re going to be here for a couple of weeks you need to toughen up.”
Amber fanned herself. “Maybe I should have planned this visit for the winter.” She glanced sideways at her friend. “Molly, I want to be very clear about something. I really, really appreciate you letting me dump myself on you while I try to put myself back together. I need the distance from New York and…and…everything else.”
Molly reached over and squeezed her arm. “What are friends for? Sweetie, we’ve known each other for twenty-seven years, ever since freshman year in college. I would be highly offended if you chose someone else.” She paused. “Besides, been there, done that. So it’s all good.”
“Does Nick… Did you tell him what’s going on?”
Amber was totally aware of how ecstatic Molly was in her second marriage, with the man of her dreams. A younger man who adored her. All the things that were missing in her first marriage, she’d found with Nick, and more.
“Only the basics,” Molly said.
Amber bit her lip. “I just don’t want him to look at me with the awful, pitying look I was getting from our so-called friends in New York.”
Molly snorted. “Let me tell you, pity is the last thing you’ll see. If I let him off the leash he’d be on the next plane east to beat the shit out of Dennis McCloud. Believe me, he thinks men like that are scum.”
Amber wouldn’t have minded getting in a few licks herself. After fifteen years of marriage Dennis had somehow woken up one day and decided she was too flawed, too shopworn, too—whatever. He needed a re-engineered model to present the right image to his high-profile clients and the moneyed crowd they ran with.
Oh, he didn’t want much. A boob job. A butt lift. A facelift. Her teeth capped. Something that would take twenty years off her age.
“Nearly all your friends have done it,” he pointed out in a reasonable voice. “They understand what’s important.”
At first she’d been so shocked she hadn’t known what to say. She hadn’t even pointed out to him that the women in their crowd were hardly her friends. In fact, if she was truthful, she couldn’t think of one real friend she’d made since moving to the city. Most of her girl talk was via telephone with Molly.
Eventually she sank into a fit of depression until anger finally took over.
“Maybe you should get yourself someone already young enough for your specifications,” she spat at him.
Which was exactly what he did after a thoroughly nasty divorce.
Now Amber was trying to pick up the pieces of her life and stitch back together her shattered self-esteem. Not only was Molly her oldest and closest friend but she’d been through the same thing herself. And come out of it a real winner. She needed Molly’s humor and common sense and cheerleading. And the isolation of her home to hide from the world while she got her act together.
“I don’t want to make any kind of plans,” she said now. “Just take it day by day. All right?”
“Sure, honey. But you know Nick and I both work from home, right?”
Nick was a highly sought-after architect and Molly had found a new career in interior design. They often worked together on projects.
“Yes, but you meet clients in the office space you share in downtown San Antonio. Right?” She didn’t think she could handle strangers being around all the time.
“Yes, of course. It’s all good. Except…” She paused.
Amber’s stomach tightened. “Except what? What’s going on, Molly?”
“I know I told you about the cocktail party we’re having, right? Tomorrow night?”
Damn! She’d forgotten all about that.
“No problem. I’ll just take myself off to the movies. Or something.” The very last thing she needed was a bunch of people staring at her with curiosity and asking questions she didn’t want to answer.
“Up to you,” Molly said, “but I’ll stick my two cents in here. It might do you some good to mingle with people who don’t know your history. People you can just be yourself with. You can’t hide from the world forever.”
“I know, I know.” Amber sighed. She leaned her head back against the seat and closed her eyes behind the big sunglasses. “I just don’t think I’m ready to face anyone yet. You can’t imagine what it was like in the city, running into people who knew the story. Or worse, those who didn’t know and asked rude questions.”
“Oh,” Molly scoffed, “I do know. Believe me.” Then her voice turned sly. “But you know, Amber, I forced myself to go to a Fourth of July picnic when I didn’t even want to leave the house. If I hadn’t I would never have met Nick.”
Amber shook her head. “I’m not interested and not looking. Can we just leave it at that?”
“Sure, sweetie.” Then she chuckled. “For now, anyway.”
Before long they exited the Interstate Highway and rode in comfortable silence along the two-lane country road. They passed through the tiny commercial section of Limerock, an exclusive Hill Country community, then they were navigating the long driveway that led to the Trajans’ magnificent glass and limestone house.
“Wow!” Amber stared, drinking in the gorgeous structure before Molly hit a button and they pulled into the wide garage.
“Exactly the way I felt the first time I saw it.” She laughed softly. “But here’s the best part of it.” She pointed through the windshield.
Standing in an open doorway that led to the house was a man Amber could only call sex on a stick. Nick Trajan was well over six feet, lean and dark with thick, wavy black hair. His soft linen shirt and jeans outlined a graceful, athletic body. He opened Amber’s door, helped her out of the car and greeted her with a warm smile.
“Welcome to Casa Trajan,” he said, giving her a light kiss on the cheek.
Amber couldn’t help but smile back at him. “Thank you. And thanks for letting me intrude on you this way.”
“Not a problem. I’m happy to have one of Molly’s friends here for a visit. She’s been really looking forward to this.”
“Well, I appreciate it. I just want you to know.”
Molly had exited the car and come to stand next to her husband. “Only the guest gets a kiss?” she teased.
Nick’s voice deepened. “You know better than that.”
He pulled his wife close to him. Watching the kiss he gave her made heat surge through Amber’s body. An unfamiliar pulse throbbed deep in her cunt and her nipples tingled. Holy cow! And she wasn’t even the one being kissed!
Nick laughed softly when he finally broke the kiss. “You’ll have to forgive us, Amber. I have a feeling when I’m ninety my wife will still have this incendiary effect on me.”
A sharp bolt of jealousy speared through Amber, one she immediately tried to suppress. She was happy for her friend, delighted that her life was so on track. But somehow it only underscored the disaster that was her own life at the moment.
She turned away and went to retrieve her suitcase, but Nick was there before she could press the trunk release.
“I’ll get that. You go on inside with Molly. I’ll bet you could use a nice chilled glass of wine about now.”
Amber forced a polite smile. “That sounds nice.”
“Come on.” Molly linked her arm through Amber’s. “It’s a good thing I have my husband to remind me of my manners. Let me show you to your room. You can take a quick shower while I get the wine and some cheese and crackers. Don’t worry. All is good.”
Thank you again for being my guest today. I’m honored to count you among my colleagues and I can’t wait to see what your brilliant mind has in store for us next!
Thank you, Cindy. And it’s my honor. I’ve enjoyed being here today and hopefully giving some people insight into the world of erotic romance.