Inspiration for characters comes to me from a variety of different places. For example in Dark Warrior (an MM novel set in Kenya) I’d seen a gorgeous picture of a man from behind who grew in my imagination to become Malik, a strong tribal man who is full of passion, very brave and modern thinking.
Thank you for inviting me to Fresh Fiction today it’s great to be here. I’ve brought with me my new novella HEAT OF THE DAY. It’s a ménage a trois story with M/F, M/M and M/F/M scenes in it and set in beautiful Southern Spain.
I’ve been lucky enough to spend quite a lot of time on the Costa Del Sol in and out of the holiday season. It’s a beautiful place, there’s always something going on and the people watching—if that’s something you enjoy doing, which I certainly do—is incredible.
Jen: Today we welcome Lily Harlem back to Romancing the Book. Lily, will you share a short bio with us?
Lily: Lily Harlem is an award-winning, best-selling author of contemporary erotic romance. She lives in the UK with a workaholic hunk and a crazy cat.
Okay, today lets talk about something often overlooked in erotic romantic fiction – ‘maschalophilous’. You maybe don’t know what it means but I bet a rather high proportion of you would appreciate a little more literary dedication to it. Here’s a clue…
It’s great to be featured here on Cara Sutra! A little about me. I’m a UK based erotic romance author. Before letting my imagination run riot with the written word I worked as a nurse in London. But after a move to the countryside I found the time and the headspace to put down all the raunchy stories I had spinning around my imagination onto paper.
Dark Warrior will take you far, far away, to the dusty, dangerous plains of central Kenya. You’ll be able to admire majestic Kilimanjaro and the wild predators that stalk the foothills. It’s a story of voyage not just miles but also in the journey the characters, Leo and Malik, must take to admit what they want and figure out how that can be achieved. No journey is easy, though, especially when faced with lions, pirates and disease but this just makes reaching the destination all the sweeter.
The erotic romance genre found me! I won an erotic fiction competition five years ago after completing a creative writing course and that was it, I was hooked! Now I write full time, enjoying the view from my attic study which looks out upon the beautiful rolling hills of Wales.
Thank you for inviting me today, I’m thrilled to be here. I’ve brought with me my new contemporary romance novel Breathe You In which is set in modern day England. People often ask me if I will ever write historical or sci-fi and I always say an emphatic no. It’s just not my thing. I’ll dabble with paranormal and even switch from male/female to male/male pairings, but stray from contemporary settings, nope, not for me.
Vulnerable doesn’t mean that Ruben isn’t strong – because of course he lives up to his name! – and he’s certainly very sexy, and he’s not shy about kinking it up a little either. But Ruben has had a tough time.
I was recently having a conversation with a few fellow authors about the importance of location in our novels, and specifically whether it was necessary, as a writer, to have visited the place you decide to set your story in. The verdict was fifty/fifty, some thought it was vital to travel, research and absorb the atmosphere of a setting before it became the backdrop of a plot, and others felt imagination along with some online research was sufficient.
I always enjoy thinking up locations for my novels and Caught on Camera was no exception. This serial is about the making of a porn movie and the first part, to get you in the mood for hot man on man action, is FREE.
How did you come up with the idea for this serial?
I was browsing the internet - as I often do - and needed some cute 'guy love' pictures for a blog post. I stumbled across a short documentary about the making of a porn movie in the US. It was something the presenter said that got me "I've never seen two actors fall in love on camera before." I was curious by this. What did he mean? Of course I then watched the whole documentary and saw that while it was very graphic, the camera right there recording the action, I could see what he meant when he said the actors had chemistry, that they were falling in love.
When I decided to write a M/M serial I sure made it complicated for myself! Phew, why do I do that! The call was to write five parts of a novel that could all be read individually—each with a beginning, middle and end— but put together they would make one steamy full length read. To add to that complication I then had the idea to create a story within a story.
In Burning Rubber my hero is Gid. I say hero but he flirts with being an anti-hero if I’m honest. He’s not one for obeying rules and certainly has an air of vigilante about him. He’s was a complex character for me as an author to write about. Gid is a break from the norm, he’s not sweet and romantic, he doesn’t wine and dine and send red roses. He has much more unique ways of wooing the heroine, Sandra and some of them are pretty extreme and well outside the boundaries of the law.
Wow, that makes me sound like Tarzan flying through the trees! What I actually mean is that I’m a complete floozy when it comes to sticking to one genre in the world of writing erotic romance. I swing and slide and fling myself around them all! I’m completely unfaithful. I should have pampas grass growing in a tub by my laptop.
I’ve always had a thing for bikers. It stems back to my teenage years when the guy around the corner, who I’d secretly been crushing on, got himself a seriously nice bike. It was a Kawasaki Ninja, lime green, and to this day I still stare if I see one of these beasts out on the road. They definitely push my oh, la, la buttons.
These stories make for a very gritty read. Did you enjoy writing a non-traditional romance?
Do I enjoy writing non-traditional romance. That's a Yes, a big YES! I really do, I find it more and more compelling the more novels I write. I want to create characters that like people in real life don't always play by the rules or make sensible decisions. I'm not saying stupid, mean or irresponsible characters, just more real and less formulaic. People make mistakes, people feel vigilante, they let passion rule their thoughts and couples from all walks of life hook up and make it work. I want readers to be able to put themselves in the head of a character and understand choices they wouldn't make themselves but still can invest in. That to me, is escapism.
When it comes to writing about the physical act, Harlem says that authors shouldn’t be afraid of including practical details. And they should focus on reality, rather than trying to obscure facts in metaphor.
“A lot of writers aren’t confident enough to write about what’s actually happening. They talk about other things like stars exploding above them, rather than talking about how it actually feels and the emotions,” says Harlem.