by Jina Bacarr
I'm thrilled to be a Harlequin author and I'm often asked about writing for Spice so here are my thoughts and experiences about writing for the line that I hope will answer those burning questions.
Spice is an erotic/erotic romance imprint, no holds barred in the bedroom. It's very important that you read the stories...no two books are alike. Historical, modern, fairy tales, emo-core--they all tell a good story besides the sex scenes.
As far as how accurate "the world" must be--again, this depends on the story--if you're writing paranormal (as I did in Cleopatra's Perfume), you can create your own world, but it must be believable--that's the key. I chose to use World War II as the backdrop--my job was to put my story of Cleopatra's perfume into that very real world. I was careful to place my characters into events when they happened--e.g., the heroine and hero are making love in the desert of North Africa when Hitler marches into Poland. When they return to the hotel in Cairo, they find this out and the story takes off in a different direction from there.
Also, I've been asked by other writers which is better for Spice--contemporary or historical, home-grown or exotic. This is a personal choice--the Spice books explore everything from medieval times to Victorian England to Las Vegas to the guy next door, so you see there is room for everything. I prefer historical and exotic because it fits me--I've traveled a lot, had different life experiences and know the worlds of which I speak.
For example, my next book, The Blonde Samurai, is about Japan in 1874-76--I've studied the Japanese culture for many years (my non-fiction book, The Japanese Art of Sex: How to tease, seduce and pleasure the samurai in your bedroom is a compendium of Japanese culture, mores, spiritual guidance, etc.) and I've worked with Japanese companies since college.
In a previous post I wrote about the different personalities of "The Faces of...an Erotic Romance Writer" where I talked about the "hidden you" so many of us writers have that comes out when we're working at our computer and the words flow...many factors go into the hidden you--what you've seen, read, emotions you've experienced and, I like to believe, a bit of magic that comes from your soul. You put all that together and that's how your story begins…where it goes is up to you.
So if you wanna write for Spice, write a story that brings all of your experiences, knowledge, etc. together, a story you can layer with texture about that world to bring your characters to life.
And always, always write from the heart...
The Blonde Samurai Feb 2010
She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.