Brace yourselves readers! Last weekend Liz Everly reblogged this post against saccharine romance by Erica Chilson. Here’s a shortened version of Erica’s thoughts on your typical alpha male transformation in an average erotic romance novel:
The first 25% or so of these saccharine romance novels is the best of the book. The male is strong, gruff, often misunderstood.Yummy, angsty goodness ensues![...]The female is usually a career woman in her early twenties, who is a spunky little spitfire. Hot as F*ck, too! Yet, she is always a mary sue virgin. Yup, they manage to make it through high school, college, and work, without anyone tapping that hot, tight ass[…]Back to our alpha male. He is so fine that he woos that lacy thong (on a virgin, no less. *rolls eyes*) right off her perfect ass within hours of meeting her. He is so hot he could melt paint or burn Satan. He’s also a total badass.*Fans self* [...]Cut to a hot smutty sex scene where our virgin is always shaved bare and an expert (no fumbling embarrassment whatsoever). They connect on a deeper level just hours after meeting. The I love yous flow like water. *Gags* [...]Next morning my alpha male is a pussy-whipped, spineless doormat. EVERY FREAKIN’ TIME! I get turned the hell off. “Honey, let me do that for you. We don’t want you to break a nail. Let me carry that for you. Don’t worry your pretty, empty head for a moment…” You get the point… *caresses her cheek and tucks her hair behind her delicate ear*[...]I’m like, “What the F*ck, Batman. Where did my alpha go?”…I realize woman love this shit- NOT ME- EVER! Even in small doses. Yes, romance is supposed to be fantasy, but the lesbians in a ff book [have] a stronger personality than the alpha male once he has a taste of that irresistible, personality-changing cunny.
I about died reading this. Like Tiffany Reisz, Eric Chilson has successfully tapped into this world of loving to hate and hating to love. She does it with a brawler’s spirit that called to me. I simply could not resist asking her to participate in today’s Q&A.
A note of caution first–what is Dark Erotica you ask? Well, according to Good Reads dark erotica books (most of which seem to be written by Kitty Thomas) involve a much more tortured side of erotic sex–and I mean that literally.
ERICA CHILSON: I’m a very good girl who can turn into a very bad girl in an instant. I hold my inner-bitch back for the safety of the universe.
MADELINE IVA: (!)
ERICA CHILSON: I let her out to stretch her legs every once and a while. She leaves chaos in her wake. You’ll recognize her by her throaty, sadistic laugh and the trail of victims begging her to come back.
MADELINE IVA: Back to your blog post: how bad can a fight get between a ‘spunk bitch’ and her ‘mean, gruff alpha male’? And what’s the make up sex like afterwards?
ERICA CHILSON: A fantasy I’ve had for years is beating the ever loving shit out of my ex. I want to ride him to the ground, sit on his chest, and pound all of my aggression out on his patronizing face. The release would be epic.
I brought this lifelong fantasy to life in CHECKMATE. Two characters who hurt each other in countless ways engage in therapeutic ass-kicking sessions. Regina & Jamie beat each other until they reach climax. Anger and hatred [...] are funneled into fiery passion that is stoked through sex or violence.
MADELINE IVA: Is there an erotic romance you’ve read in which the Alpha falls in love but doesn’t (in your own words) ‘lose his massive set of testicles’ afterwards?
ERICA CHILSON: Oh, wow! I’ve read thousands of books. I’ll seriously have to think on this one. I understand why a woman thinks the power of love will soften an Alpha male. Soften the edges perhaps, but not castrate him.
MADELINE IVA: I’ve never seen such unanimous reviews on Good Reads before. People say that reading to the end of your first book was ‘like watching a car wreck–I just couldn’t look away.‘ They also seemed to believe that the ending was ‘massively f***ed up.’ And these are the people that liked the book! Give us a hint–what are they talking about?
ERICA CHILSON: HEA! HEA! People only want to read about happily ever after. I put my characters through their paces. I offer them a glimpse of their HEA and rip it away just before their fingers find purchase. Fantasy is sweet and everyone is happy in the end, [but] life is a wicked mistress. She doesn’t believe in HEA. A romance novel usually ends with a marriage. I can attest that a marriage is not HEA- it’s work, the hardest work you’ll ever trudge through. I don’t write HFN, either. Life will tear a partnership to bits, but if you’re strong, you’ll survive.
ERICA CHILSON: RESTRAINT dealt with rape, the loss of innocence. Everyone was f*cked up in some unique way. They weren’t right within themselves. In no way were they ready by book’s end to be right with each other. Broken people will break anyone in their path.
MADELINE IVA: I hadn’t thought of it exactly that way before, but I can see what you mean. Your book comes with a warning that forced sex is involved. Do you draw the line at writing certain kinds of sex in erotic romance?
ERICA CHILSON: I draw no lines in my work. RESTRAINT’s foundation was built on the violent, life-altering effects of force. Something that happens to countless women every day. I’m drawn to Dark Erotica for a reason. I’ve been through situations that turned me into someone I won’t acknowledge. I read and write it to prove that I’m not there anymore.
As for whether or not rape lessens the saccharine nature of a book: It depends on the author, the way the force was presented, and the personalities of the characters. I’ve read a lot of this type of book and it has ranged from extremely syrupy sweet to a punch to the gut you’ll never forget. I don’t want my readers to forget the trials I put my characters through. They should expect that sharp jab.
MADELINE IVA: Part of the reason why I was drawn to your blog post was that it was written with a sort of over-the-top sort of intensity that made me cheer. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. What’s an ideal Valentine’s Day with your favorite hottie like? Whips? Chains?
ERICA CHILSON: My answer will undoubtedly surprise readers. I’m a highly cerebral person, who finds sex to be 90% mental. Our date would involve tests of mental and physical prowess. Nothing gets me hotter than a man who can best me. If he can catch me, he can have me- in any way he pleases.
MADELINE IVA: What’s an average hospital visit from your favorite hottie like? Whips? Chains?
ERICA CHILSON: Hmm… now, why am I in the hospital? The answer is drastically different if some toxic relationship with an asshole landed me in the hospital. That would be the moment for a long lost badboy hottie from my past to swagger in. My TRUE knight in shining armor’s first words will be, “You look like shit. Is the other guy still breathing?”