Sunday, April 10, 2011

Interview with Francesca Hawley

Today at the Passion Sense Blog we have erotic romance author Francesca Hawley talking about her latest release from Ellora's Cave called CONTROLLING INTEREST This book is one of the titles in the HOT new BDSM author series called 1-800-DOM-help. I just finished reading Controlling Interest and it was a great read! I loved the heat and emotion between Mouse and Tor and the sex scenes were unique and hot.
Thanks Francesca for visiting.

-Tell us a little about the book and where did you get the idea to write this story.

I was kicking back and watching The Devil Wears Prada one afternoon. As I watched Meryl Streep tear up the screen, I had a vision of Regine Stuart. Regine led me to her seemingly abused and overworked assistant Mouse and her headstrong but loving son, Tor. The story idea gelled quickly. It was the writing that was the headache.

- What’s the best and worst part of being a writer?

The best part is having an outlet for my creativity. I can sit down at a computer and craft a world where everything runs at my whim (unless one of my characters decides to take over). I also love having contact with my readers and discovering I’ve touched them in some way. It’s humbling and uplifting at the same time.

The worst part? Staring at a blank computer screen when the words won’t flow. I know I should be writing but nothing is working. I hate that with a purple passion because I hate writing crap.

- Are you seat of the pants writer or plotter?

I’m a bit of a hybrid – part pantser and part plotter. When I write, I can generally find the beginning and a few plot points in the middle and I usually know the end. I have to write from point to point and hope I don’t get lost in a blizzard of irrelevant words.

- Which actor screams SEXY to you?

Viggo Mortensen. He didn’t hit my radar screen at all until The Lord of the Rings but from the moment I saw him in Fellowship, I was hooked. It’s hard to miss the fact that he’s smokin’ hot. Not pretty, but ruggedly handsome. I’m also a sucker for a guy who looks good in chain mail, and Viggo certainly does. Plus he has a sexy speaking voice and he sings like a dream.

Aside from the pure eye candy aspect, I like the fact that he’s a Renaissance guy. He’s an artist, poet, and photographer as well as an actor and I especially admire his commitment to his acting craft. I’ve read stories about how he became so focused on learning to sword fight during the filming of The Lord of the Rings that he had a tooth knocked out during a fight scene, but kept working until the scene was finished. Now that’s dedication.

- A lot of people think that genre hopping isn’t a good idea. What do you think?

Well, since I genre hop madly, I think it’s a good idea. Grin.

But seriously, it may not be the best idea in the world for author branding. However, it’s wonderful for author creativity. Once of the worst things that I can imagine happening to a writer is for the creative juices to dry up of for an author to be “typecast”. When an author only writes one thing, it’s possible that she will begin to stagnate because she feels confined or because she won’t step out of the comfortable box she’s created for herself. And no matter how pretty, a prison is, it’s still a prison. Just as our characters have to break down their walls for a happy ending, we as writers must do the same by going outside our own comfort zone to keep things fresh.

One thing I really love about writing for Ellora’s Cave is that I’ve had the opportunity to write a paranormal/shapeshifter romance, a medieval romance, and a contemporary. I can go where the muse takes me. It makes us both happier.

- Are you an outgoing person?

It really depends on the situation. When I first meet people I’m very shy. I tend to sit back and observe before jumping into things. But once I get to know people, I’m a wild and crazy gal. And anyone that’s met me at Romanticon KNOWS how true that is. LOL

-Do you write a novel straight through? Or revise as you go? Plan a whole series in advance? Or does the series evolve?

I’m very chronological when I write. I need to start at the beginning and write to the end. However, I revise as I go too. After I’ve left off in my story, I will pick up again and go back into the previous chapter to “get into it” again. While I’m reading, I edit. Just little stuff, but it gets the juices flowing so that when I hit white space I can just keep rolling with the story.

I usually don’t plan a series. As I’m writing a secondary character will wander into a scene and play scene stealer. When that happens, I know that I’d better pay attention. This person is important. Usually the scene stealer is a potential hero for another story. I have to go back into my story and make sure the secondary character hasn’t managed to seduce me from my main hero. If that happens, I have to fix it. As I write the idea for a series will evolve.
- Which books were the most fun to write? The hardest to write?

Protect and Defend and Seeking Truth were the easiest to write and Whirlwind Affair and Controlling Interest were probably the most difficult. The reason, of course, is length. I’m better at writing longer. I think in novels much more than novellas. My brain wants to develop all kinds of subplots and secondary characters and when you write a novella, you don’t have the time or space to do that.

Protect and Defend and Seeking Truth were also fun for another reason…research. I’m a real research slut. I love it. I can get lost in it. When I was finishing Protect and Defend, I had the opportunity to attend a Citizen’s Police Academy. It was a blast to have the opportunity to shoot a gun and drive a police car. While writing Seeking Truth, I went diving into books about the reign of King Stephen. It was fascinating. Then I also had the opportunity to pick the brains of my friends in the Society of Creative Anachronism on the topic of martial arts. I learned a lot from the fighters and knights I interviewed.

- Have any of your characters ever ended up completely different than you’d intended?

Eaduin Kempe. He started out life as a psychopathic medieval villain but he kept whispering seductively in my ear that I had him all wrong. Eaduin does seduction really really well. When I finally started to listen to him I discovered he was right and I ended up with a much better story with him as my hero. He was incredibly compelling to me. A guy who’d been deeply abused by his father and older half sister, yet he remained capable of giving and receiving love from his family and ultimately Verite, the heroine I created for him. He was truly a joy.

- What’s next?

I’m torn in a million directions right now. I’m working on a follow up to Controlling Interest which will feature Master Drago, but it’s also tied to Whirlwind Affair because the heroine is the younger sister of Erika Larson Bergstrom who was the heroine in Whirlwind. I’m also working on a story where the hero is Erika’s younger brother Andy Larson is the hero. Those are at the top of pile right now, but I have more in the works. This will be an exciting year for my writing.

Apart from writing, I’ll be visiting a friend who lives in California during April. That should provide a lot of inspiration for my writing. And I’m planning to attend Romanticon 2011 in Akron, OH. Ah, cover models. How can I not have fun staring at all those lovely young men? Evil Grin…

Blurb: Mozelle “Mouse” Vincent inherits money, a club and her boss’ son as a business partner when society leader Regine Stuart dies. Torin Stuart knows what his late mother’s wishes were for his exclusive BDSM club, Erotically Bound, but he’s pissed that he’s forced to trust Mouse—especially when her inherently submissive nature arouses the sexual Dominant in him.

After baring all in a heated, intense scene, Mouse realizes they still have to work together, but now Tor challenges any business suggestion she makes. When she wants to offer education classes, Tor dares her to organize the class and participate—as a submissive.

To his chagrin, Mouse agrees, but he can’t stand the thought of any other Dom touching her. Suddenly there’s far more at stake than the controlling interest in their club…because love is the ultimate prize in their power exchange.

Excerpt: “She did what?” Torin Stuart rose from his chair with a roar.

Mouse was entirely grateful that the lion’s roar was directed at his late mother’s attorney and not at her, but the attorney was unperturbed.

“Your mother left her controlling interest in your club Erotically Bound to Ms. Mozelle Vincent.”

“But Mother knew…”

“Please sit down and allow me to finish reading the will in a proper manner, Mr. Stuart.”

Tor ran his fingers through his bright ginger hair and glared at her briefly before sitting with a growl. Mouse kept her hands tightly around her purse. He’d been really kind in letting her stay in the townhouse his mother had set aside for her use, but with this news, he’d probably toss her out on her ass. Damn it. She thought she was done with being homeless.

“Ms. Vincent, shall I continue?” Mouse nodded. “Very well.” The lawyer cleared his throat. “I leave my controlling interest in the amount of fifty-one percent in the club Erotically Bound to Ms. Mozelle Vincent. In addition, I will her the townhouse and all furnishings thereof in which she has been living for the last five years. The estate will pay property taxes for two years, but then, and I quote ‘you’re on your own’. Do you understand, Ms. Vincent?”

Mouse’s jaw dropped. That townhouse was stunning. Huge and smack in the center of Washington D.C. with a multicar garage. It was located in the historic Capitol Hill district, just blocks from the Capitol building and Pennsylvania Avenue. The place was worth…millions.

“Ms. Vincent, do you understand the terms of the will regarding the townhome?”

“Yes, I own it and Regine’s estate will pay the first two years of property taxes then it’s my responsibility.”


“Is that all? Can we discuss my club now?”

The lawyer frowned at Torin over the top of his reading glasses, his bushy white brows extending over the frames. “I have not finished. Please remain silent until I do, sir.”

Tor waved his hand with a sigh and the lawyer nodded. Mouse wanted to laugh at the byplay between the two men, but she was too shocked. What had Regine been thinking?

She had to have had an ulterior motive for doing this, God knew, she always did. Regine Stuart was always three moves ahead of everyone else…a master strategist. That was how she’d managed to be one of D.C. society’s reigning queens. When Regine spoke, everyone listened…even the president.

“Ms. Vincent, please attend.”

Mouse looked up as the lawyer admonished her. “Sorry.” She shrugged.

“Finally, for—and again I quote—surviving six years in my employ as my downtrodden Jill-of-all-trades and for making my final years a pleasure instead of a burden, I will Mozelle Vincent twenty million dollars.”

Ice filled her body before unbearable heat melted her emotions. Her jaw dropped, but she was so utterly shocked she couldn’t move. Then she burst into uncontrollable tears. Throughout most of her life she’d hadn’t had a pot to piss in, but then six years ago she literally tripped over Regine Stuart and her world had completely turned on its head. The lawyer rose and approached her.

“My dear, are you quite all right?” He awkwardly patted her shoulder and she nodded, still trying to cover her abrupt emotional response.

She hated crying. She hated losing control of her emotions. She hid whatever she felt behind a fa├žade of calm, which was something Regine had always valued in her. And it was something they had in common. Even if the world came crashing down around them, both she and Regine could remain calm to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Mouse glanced at Tor, worried that he’d think she was being overly dramatic or that she was getting money she didn’t deserve, but he seemed moved by her emotional display rather than scornful. When she could catch her breath, she cleared her throat.

“Don’t mind me, really. Go on with reading the will.”

“There isn’t too much more.” The lawyer returned to his desk. “To my household staff…”

Mouse stared at her perfectly manicured fingers as the lawyer finished. Those nails were a luxury she’d gotten used to with a steady paycheck and Regine’s insistence that she look polished at all times. God, if she had walked past the Capitol building five minutes earlier or five minutes later six years ago, she and Regine never would have met. Regine had given her a chance when no one else would. Sometimes miracles really did happen.

“This concludes the last will and testament of Regine Stuart.”

“Can we discuss my club now? Please…” Tor growled as he turned to her. “Mouse, how much do you want for it?”

The lawyer held up his hand as the remaining listeners filed out of the room, leaving Mouse alone with the lawyer and Tor.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Stuart. Your mother left explicit instructions. Mouse…rather Miss Mozelle is required to hold her interest in the club for a minimum of six months. Under the terms of the will, the two of you are required to work together during that time.”

Tor opened his mouth then closed it again. He stood and began to pace. Broad shoulders, narrow hips and the most amazing ass she’d ever seen. Add a stunning body to his ginger hair and bright blue eyes and he was a package of mischief that made better women than her melt and get silly.

Mouse looked down at her hands out of habit. Ever since she began to work for Regine, she’d quietly had the hots for Tor, but putting that attraction to the test was unthinkable. First, she was sure Regine wouldn’t have been keen on having her assistant flirt with her son. And second, and most important, Torin Stuart had been seen escorting tall, slender and decidedly beautiful super models around town—his lovers had most definitely not been chunky personal assistants with frizzy, flyaway, boring brown hair and dull brown eyes.

“Mouse… Mouse, did you hear me?”

She met Tor’s blue-eyed gaze and felt the blush crawl up her neck. Damn.


He sighed and rolled his eyes. “You’ve had a tough six years working for Mother. Just relax for the next six months then I’ll offer you a great price for the interest in the club.”

The lawyer cleared his throat, causing Tor to whip around. “Damn it, Thompson. What the hell is it?”

“Your mother required you to work together to manage the club. If any of the terms of her bequest are violated, the shares will be sold…but not to you.”


“If the two of you don’t work together, or if you make an offer for her shares before six months have passed, which she accepts, then the shares will be sold to anyone but you.”

“The shares belong to Mouse. She can sell to whomever she wants.”

“No, I’m afraid not. If she goes against the terms of the will, she loses everything your mother willed to her.”

God, she didn’t want to challenge Tor about this, but she wouldn’t go back to living on the streets. She just wouldn’t.

She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry, Tor. I have to abide by the will.”
To learn more about Francesca and her books check out her website and blog.


Paris said...

Great interview, ladies! I loved Controlling Interest. Even if you've never read a book featuring the BDSM lifestyle, Francesca makes the entire world easy to understand. Mouse and Tor are easily some of the hottest characters that I've ever read and I literally read this in one sitting because I couldn't put the book down:)

Mannouchka said...

Woo very good interview with Francesca,
I enjoy reading a books Iam waiting for her new books
I wish you all a wonderful Sunday here it's raining like cats and dogs. And also thank you Kathy.

Ari Thatcher said...

It's amazing how you could take a "sweet" movie like the Devil Wears Prada and turn it so...well, kinky. Love Controlling Interest, Francesca!

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Paris, I agree, what a great read. Francesca does a great job writing BDSM. Even if you're new to reading these stories, you'll love this one. Characters you can fall in love with.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hello Mannouchka, Yes, wasn't that a cool interview? It's a dreary Sunday here too but supposed to be nice tomorrow. You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hey Ari, Devil Wears Prada is a cool movie. Goes to show a good writer can find ideas anywhere.

Cris Anson said...

Francesca says:
But once I get to know people, I’m a wild and crazy gal. And anyone that’s met me at Romanticon KNOWS how true that is. LOL

Anyone who has seen Romanticon photos of Francesca on the dance floor in her bare feet wearing a blinding smile and a hot red dress and shaking her booty at Angelo will know she's a bubbly person.

(Sorry that's such a run-on sentence LOL)

Love ya, grrl! And love your writing, too.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Cris, Yes, you are a wild and crazy gal. Thank God, cuz you're so fun to hang with. And Francesca too. She's a sweetheart as well.