- Who is Adriana Kraft? Tell us about yourself. Adriana Kraft is actually the pen name for a married couple writing erotic romance together. Most of our stories feature bisexual heroines or lesbian couples, though we do feature some M/F pairings on occasion. We’ve lived on the East Coast and in the West and currently call Iowa home. At the top of our list of hobbies is staying fit – working out year round, hiking and biking in the summer, cross country skiing in the winter, and enjoying Dance Central on our new XBox 360 Kinect. Writing fiction actually started out as a hobby, and of course reading, always. We love to travel, especially when we can put together enough vacation time for a long motor home adventure. Our day jobs have been in academia and the social services, currently consulting (him) and counseling (her).
- When did you know you wanted to become a writer? When did we not? We’re both academics with PhD’s in the social sciences and have written together professionally much of our careers. Since childhood each of us harbored dreams of writing fiction, so we decided in 2000 to pour energy into making that dream come true. Both of us have been lifelong avid romance readers and thought it would be fun to try – turns out it’s a lot harder than we thought, and we had a lot to learn, even though one of us is a grammar perfectionist and has free lanced as an editor for some indie pubs. We took workshops, submitted to contests, critiqued, revised and edited, and five years later we had a sale.
- Where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration? Anything in our lives can spark inspiration for our books – though of course we never recreate any personal event exactly, just elements. We love to visit places where we may want to set a story—for example, we spent a week poking around the South Dakota prairie visiting historic sites, museums, and just getting a feel for the land, with the idea that we'd set some books with characters who have prairie backgrounds. We use the internet a lot to research specific places, occupations, and even weather. In The Diary our hero and heroine dine at a restaurant in Stratford upon Avon—when they do so, they select from the actual menu that’s available on line. We've 'been' at the top of the Eiffel Tower looking through a 360 degree webcam recalling the layout of the city. We've each traveled to Paris years ago and visited the Louvre—while writing a book that is still in the pipeline, it was very helpful to revisit the city just as our characters did.
- What made you chose to write erotic literature in particular? And is there any other genre you’d like to write? And if so, why? Tough question. We actually started off writing romantic suspense, but because we’ve always loved steamy sex scenes, we didn’t hold anything back. We got feedback from contests and agents that we wrote sexual tension well *big grin* so we decided to go with our strong suit. We’ve never looked back! All our works so far are contemporary, with some dabbling in paranormal elements such as time travel, ghosts and telepathy.
- Which appears first when contemplating a new project: A character, the plot and/or the title? Usually a kernel of a plot idea is first, although sometimes a character pops out at us and demands a story. Once we were driving through a small Lake Superior town and saw a house painter getting out of the truck to start a job – when we got closer we saw it was a woman. Believe me, she’s got her own story (not subbed yet). Another time an interaction we noticed at an interstate rest area begged for explanation and we had the plot sketched out before we were another hundred miles down the road. But always as soon as we have the broad plot arc, we pour a lot of time into getting to know the characters: what they love and hate, what they fear, what drives them, what they hope for, where they’ve come from, what matters to them. Lots of this stuff never actually gets on the pages of the story, but it’s what makes them coherent and drives their responses to the obstacles we throw at them. Titles? Sometimes those are the hardest challenge. Recently we didn’t come up with the true title of a novella until it was in final edits!
- What’s the hardest part of a novel for you to write: Beginning, middle and/or end? Why? I’m not sure any one part is harder than any other. We do so much character analysis and back-story development that the story is practically ready to write itself by the time we start putting it on the page. Sometimes, though, after the beginning is drafted we realize we haven’t dropped the reader into the best spot to set the hook, so we have to rearrange things a bit. Once we’re over that hurdle it feels like the characters take over and keep the story rolling – truly sometimes we think they do have an existence outside of normal reality, and they’re just waiting for us to get it right.
- Has your own life influenced your novels? And if so, how? Yes, of course. At the surface level, lots of events and relationship dynamics from our own lives turn up on the pages of what we write. But more importantly, the causes we care deeply about drive what we choose to write. All our professional lives, both of us have seen ourselves as helping others, and that’s a major reason we write erotic romance. Truly. We celebrate sexuality and sexual freedom among consenting adults, and we want to be part of helping others do so. Especially, we celebrate the LGBTQ spectrum, in our writing and in our personal lives. We hope our stories turn people on and honor freedom of sexual expression. Oh, and we hope they’re fun.
- Writing sex/romantic scenes can be a challenge for some authors. Do you find it difficult? If yes, how do you compensate? If no, where do you draw your inspiration? Um, not difficult. We keep our sex scenes fresh the same way couples keep the sex fresh in their relationship! Seriously – there’s a limit to how many appendages can go into how many openings, but there’s no end to the nuances of each specific sexual encounter in anyone’s life. Sexual experience is so deeply influenced by context – mood, stage of the relationship, events that just took place or are anticipated – so many variables that make each encounter unique. In addition, in fiction, the sex scene only goes on the page if it also serves to drive the relationship/story arc forward. Thank goodness we don’t require that criterion for every personal sex scene!!
- Do you have a method you use to write the sensual parts? Do you prefer the sex to be open and bold? Or left to the imagination? We do try to keep a balance, since variety is part of what keeps erotic interest alive. Sexual activity between (or among, since we do write ménage) our characters is never hidden and often very bold. But there’s a lot to be said for letting the reader’s imagination heighten the tension. We don’t always put the entire sexual encounter on the page. We might drop the reader in after the characters have gotten started, for example, or allude to an encounter through having a character remember snippets of it. Whatever turns us on! Which, btw, is the major criterion: we read all our scenes out loud, and if they don’t get the proverbial juices flowing, it’s back to the drawing board for serious edits.
- Are your characters based on people you know? Or are they completely fictitious? At some level yes, everyone we know and all our interactions feed into development of our characters. But we never base a character completely on any one individual. For one thing, real lives rarely make for good fiction – and sometimes real lives are less believable than fiction, as well! I think the most fun we’ve had basing characters on real persons is in our recent lesbian novella The Lady Wants More. It’s part of the Sapphic Signs series at Torquere, so we based each of our lead characters on our own Zodiac signs (Cancer and Aquarius) and had a blast with each other’s quirks and foibles. Pretty close to home!
- Who is your favorite character, which you’ve created? And why? Can’t we just say we love them all? The quickest answer is whoever we’ve just finished writing – and it can be really hard to say goodbye to a character after we’ve plumbed their depths and watched their triumphs through the long writing process. Recently I’m partial to Claire Johnson (see question 12) because she and I share a lot of values, and I admire her for being unafraid and “out there” all her life. Plus I think she has a lot of fun. Long term? I go back to the heroine of our first erotic romance release, Kate Noble in The Diary. She makes some serious mistakes, and she has face what she’s done, reach deep inside and make some major changes to claim the happy ending we wrote for her.
- Can you tell us about your latest release? Give a synopsis. Ripening Passion is second in a series based at a (fictitious) New York institute that studies sex practices and creates videos. We enjoyed giving the romantic lead to a pair of Baby Boomers – here’s the synopsis:
Claire Johnson’s dedication to sex—the cornerstone of her career—led her to found the Center for Sexuality and Sex Practices. Now in her fifties, she knows the Center must keep pace with the rapidly growing Baby Boomer market, so she agrees to go back on camera for a series on sex and aging. But work with her nemesis?
Former English Professor Max Wilson has championed the cause of the Center ever since his deceased wife sought the Center’s help to rekindle the nearly extinguished sexual flames of their relationship. He loves working on camera and welcomes the challenge to perform with the svelte but feisty temptress.
Sparks fly immediately on and off camera. Can either Claire or Max transform those sparks into a fire of sexual desire for their viewers? And if they succeed, what will happen when the movie’s over?
What’s your newest WIP? And when we can expect a publication date? We’re working on a series based on Welsh/Celtic myth and lore. The series opens during the Roman occupation of the British Isles and spans two thousand years – with the help of a little time travel, that is. A young woman in Wales is captured by a Roman soldier, separated from her infant daughter and taken to Italy, where she eventually gives birth to a son. She spends the next two millennia seeking to reunite her family. No publication date yet, but the series is contracted at Extasy Books.
How many novels do you have, that are currently published? We have a total of twenty six published novels and novellas, at Extasy Books, Whiskey Creek Press Torrid, and Torquere. We’ve also serialized a novel at Literotica.com to offer our readers a free read – you can find Chapter One HERE. Our short stories are featured in anthologies at Logical Lust, Torquere, Love You Divine and Extasy Books. All our published books are also available at Amazon.com and All Romance Ebooks.
Where to find Adriana Kraft:
Midnight Seductions http://midnightseductionsauthors.blogspot.com/
Sapphic Planet: http://www.sapphicplanet.com
Thanks so much for stopping by, Adriana! It was great to have you and I wish you the very best in the future.
Happy Yaoi Hunting