Today please welcome the lovely Brantwijn Serrah and her new and very amazing book, His Cemetery Doll. Take it away Brantwijn!
1. How did you start writing erotic romance?
I read too many erotic romance novels that ended up disappointing me. It already seems like romance and erotica aren't taken very seriously as literary genres... and the authors of these novels weren't taking their work seriously either. I wanted to write something that was not only erotic and emotional, but had a strong story and solid plot as well. As I wrote Lotus Petals, my first erotic romance, I discovered I really enjoyed the freedom and creative potential of writing erotic stories. Since then, I find a lot of great fun and expression in telling stories embracing eroticism and relationships.
2. Plotter or pantster?
I plot, mostly, though I don't like to use outlines or other more 'structured' methods. Most of my scenes come to me in little nuggets, and I sort of 'massage' them into a plot. For His Cemetery Doll, much of the plot has been involving and developing since my earliest days of writing stories for myself and my friends. It's evolved from a very special love story my husband and I made up together as kids, and has gone through a few incarnations.
3. What are three things you have on your writing desk?
Sometimes it depends on what I'm writing. When I was writing my supernatural western series, I kept a deck of Nordic Rune Cards near so I could shuffle and draw them while I worked. These days it's usually a large iced tea, the controller for the TV (even if I'm not watching anything I seem to need background noise to work), and my iPod.
4. Favorite food?
I love Macaroni and Cheese, especially if it's sharp cheese or white cheddar.
5. Tell us a little about your new release. What character in the book really spoke to you?
His Cemetery Doll has been a really fun project for me, from the start. I had an easy time connecting to both the main characters, Conall Mackay and his Broken Doll. I like to get out of the female point-of-view every now and then, and write from the perspective of a male main. Con made for a good partner in that sense; I could really get into his head. The Broken Doll spoke to me in a very different way, of course, and I usually connected to her with music. With the right piece playing, I could slip into her perspective quite nicely.
6. I write because I have stories to share, and my biggest dream is to know others might enjoy hearing them as much as I enjoy telling them.
7. What is your favorite type of character to write about? I like to vary my characters and try out new things, though by this time I've got so many in my head there are, of course, some very similar personalities. I have to admit I'm a fan of the independent "warrior" woman, like Rhiannon (from Lotus Petals) and Reagan both are. That doesn't mean I don't write other characters, though: Sarayana, my dragoness from Equinox, is infinitely more feminine and Talaith, Reagan's paramour, is much more a thinker and a schemer. I'm always looking to stretch my boundaries, but I think the gals like Rhi and Reagan are definitely my most comfortable types.
8. What is the sexiest scene you ever wrote?
If we're just talking straight-up, X-rated, no-holds-barred sexy, I'm going to say Bad Dreams, the experimental "tentacle" story Breathless Press released in early October.
9. What advice would you give new authors in the erotica/romance field?
Don't limit yourself to stories reflecting your own fantasies or lifestyle. Be open to possibility of writing a something new and different, something you haven't experienced and maybe never even considered. Do some research, talk to people 'in the lifestyle' (whatever that lifestyle might be). For years, I wanted to write a story about a polyamorous trio, a concept I thought of as 'a perfect love triangle'. I'm not poly myself and have never really felt the desire to explore the lifestyle in my own relationship, but I knew there could be a really wonderful story there, if I took the time to learn, ask questions, and discover new things.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
One day I'm going to learn to stop adding new projects to my writing desk!. I'm currently working on the sequel to Goblin Fires (and I've been looking forward to getting into my half-elf male's head). I've got my first novella, Angel's Keeping, in edits with Breathless Press, and for the longest time I've been wanting to get out a story about a deep Master/slave, BDSM relationship.
Social and buy links
Brantwijn's Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/qf2bzwk
Foreplay and Fangs blog: http://brantwijn.blogspot.com/?zx=6ba3380c7201b326
Foreplay and Fangs on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/q2cmnep
Find Brantwijn on Google+
And on Goodreads
Say hi to her on Twitter
When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.
In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology. She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.
There's a woman in the graveyard.
Conall Mackay never put stock in ghost stories. Not even after thirteen years serving as the cemetery keeper in the village of Whitetail Knoll. But things change. Now, his daughter is dreaming of a figure among the tombstones. The grounds are overrun by dark thorns almost faster than Con can clear them. White fog and gray ribbons creep up on him in the night, and a voiceless beauty beckons him from the darkest corners of the graves.
When the world he knows starts to unravel, Conall might finally be forced to believe.
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He hadn't slept long before he heard sounds from down in the kitchen below.
"Shyla!" he called gruffly. "Weren't you heading into town?"
No answer came from below, but the sounds of pots clanging told him his daughter toyed about down there. Perhaps she'd decided not to leave him after all and taken it into her head to now re-organize the house, since he'd so clearly wanted her to stay out of the cemetery. With a low groan, Conall rolled out of bed and stepped out into the hall.
"Shyla!" he called again, coming to the head of the stairs. If she had stayed home, she could at least do it without making a lot of noise.
He staggered then, as the hallway dimmed. Afternoon light flickered strangely, lightning cracking a dismal sky outside, and in the space of time afterward everything else darkened. Conall darted a glance around him as the house fell into shadow.
From the top of the stairwell, he saw the first whispering tendrils of white fog.
The heat of adrenaline shot through his limbs. Conall stumbled back into his bedroom, even as the fog pursued. His gaze shot to the window as the last gray light of day faded away and eerie darkness replaced it, like an eclipse sliding over the sun.
More cold mists veiled the glass, dancing and floating. Trembling overtook him as he spun to find another escape.
He froze, finding himself face-to-face with the broken mask of the cemetery doll.
"You—" he gasped. His breath came out white as the fog enveloped them both, leaving a space of mere inches between them, so he could still see her expressionless face. Gray ribbons wound and curled through the air around him.
"Who are you?" he asked.
The doll stared up at him. He sensed her searching, looking into his eyes even though hers remained covered. She held him there with her unseen gaze, until her cool, cold hand came up to touch his bare chest.
Conall let out a low breath. He closed his eyes, and a shudder of strange ease rippled through his body. The cool pads of her fingers ran down his sternum, to his navel. The silky ribbons brushed along his side.
Then he noticed her other hand. She lifted it up, to her own chest, and she held something tightly in her fingers: Shyla's stuffed dog.
"I made that...for my daughter," he whispered. The woman with the broken mask tilted her head down toward the small toy, studying it. For a fraction of a second, her fingers appeared to tighten around it. She returned her gaze to him, then, and the toy fell from her grip into the fog, forgotten.
"Wait—" he said, but she brought her other hand up to his chest to join the first, and he recognized eagerness in the way she pressed her icy skin against his. Her face tilted to him, and then came her lips again, ivory and flawless.
"I—" Conall breathed. "I...don't understand..."
Her fingers slid up, around his neck, but he pulled away.
"No, this...this can't real. I'm asleep. I must be."
Gray ribbons danced, pulling him back to her, and she stroked his face. He sucked in a breath at her touch and found his own hand coming up to brush hers.
"You're so cold," he said. "Like stone...but..."
Her cool touch thrilled him; it made his skin tingle and the heat of his own body sing. Her perfect flesh did, in fact, prove soft under his hands, as if the contact with his worn calluses infused cold ivory with yearning. She caressed his cheek, and Conall leaned into it. Before he could stop himself, he bowed his head to her and kissed her frozen lips.