Vampire Menage with a Historical Twist: Q&A with Tracy Cooper Posey
Tracy Cooper Posey is known for her paranormal MMF menage time travel books. She’s here today to celebrate the release of book two in her Kiss Across Time series. Book two–KISS ACROSS SWORDS released on June 1st.
MADELINE IVA: Tracy, you’re known for your awesome plot twists. Tell us how you craft these wonders.
TRACY COOPER POSEY: Aww, really? People say that? That’s very cool. Can I quote you?
It’s in the beginning stages of the plotting phase that all the really cool stuff happens – the what-if’ing, and what could make it worse? brainstorming. That’s where all the plot twists and subplots get built into the story.
Despite all that, as I’m actually writing the novel I’ll still sometimes come up with a way better idea, and I’ll stop and incorporate that into the novel instead. It usually involves back-trekking because by that stage I’ve usually got a better handle on the characters, setting, conflicts, etc., any ideas I get as I’m writing are usually stronger than my original ideas, so I tend to use them rather than not.
MADELINE IVA: You’re from Australia– is there an Australian mind set in terms of romance that is different from the American way of thinking about romance?
TRACY COOPER POSEY: Yes, there is a different mindset toward romance in Australia, both in real life and in fiction. I think my different “upbringing” has an impact on the sort of romances I’m writing now.
As for real life romance in Australia…well, the attitude of the men towards women was borderline misogynist and romantic gestures like flowers and gifts make the average Australian male break out in hives.
MADELINE IVA: Tell us (in gritty detail please. ;>) what difficulties writing MMF can present? I’ve heard some people use barbie dolls to work out their sex scenes.
TRACY COOPER POSEY: Sex scenes in general are a bitch to write, and I’d raise my brow at any erotic romance author who says differently. It has nothing to do with coyness (not after a decade of doing this), but everything to do with the challenge of writing romantic sex scenes properly – keeping the incredibly delicate balance between sensual, sexual and romantic, and not wandering into “eeewww” territory, and finding a different or at least interesting place for the couple or group to do the deed…
I’ve never used Barbie dolls – that’s a new one! But I do visualize the scene in Technicolor to ensure that I haven’t got bodies doing impossible things. Sometimes that means having to go back through the already-written portion of the scene to track who was doing what.
All this work and on top of that there’s avoiding my own personal clichés, which I’m sure my regular readers could recite for you without too much thought. For MMF scenes that involve double-penetration, there are only so many ways to arrange the bodies, unlike MF sex. So coming up with something fresh when there’s three people in the bed/on the counter/in the backseat/frolicking in the meadow is one of the biggest challenges an MMF author faces.
Even then, there are outside factors at work that an author can’t predict: Some readers, for instance, can’t stand the word “cunt” while others don’t mind it at all, or even like it. Others object to the word “vagina” used for the same piece of anatomy. I’ve had readers tell me that the use of either word has killed the scene, the book and the entire series for them.
Other readers have no problems with Anglo-Saxon nomenclature, but object to “profanity” (a whole other discussion)…
MADELINE IVA: You’re prolific. How did you come to set the terrific pace for yourself, and what kind of writing schedule do you keep? What’s your go-to strategy if you sit down at your desk and you just don’t feel like writing today?
TRACY COOPER POSEY: Uh-oh. I don’t write enough. I wish I had the luxury of writing full time. My writing schedule is appallingly inefficient, because it’s so stop-start. I catch a bus to and from work. So in the morning, I get about 50 minutes of writing in, on my laptop on the way to work. I write at lunchtimes as often as I can (not always an option). I write on the way home, on the laptop again. In the evenings, after dinner, I prefer to be able to write for another couple of hours, but I only manage to pull that off maybe every second day, sometimes less.
Saturdays are my big writing days. There were two or three Saturdays when writing KISS ACROSS CHAINS that I sat down at 5 a.m. and didn’t get up again except for bio breaks, until 6 that night. On those days I can produce 40+ pages and I love those days. Sinking into a book like that is one of life’s little luxuries.
The full-time all-day Saturday sessions outline in hard figures that I’m better suited to writing marathons than the short sprints I get during the week. My wordage on Saturdays, per hour, is much higher than weekdays.
Sunday mornings, I try to get in another couple of hours. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Life has a way of interrupting, and there are some things you can’t afford to ignore in favour of writing, although I do a dazzling (and some family and friends would say ‘obsessive’) job of cutting off anything that isn’t genuinely important.
As for ‘not feeling like writing’ – this occasionally happens to me when I’m starting a novel. The first hundred pages or so are sheer slog as I’m still coming to grips with character, setting, and channelling the plot lines into my brain. It’s during this phase that I’ll get the “I don’t wanna” mood. The only cure is to keep writing. Sometimes, if I’m being a real two year old about it, I’ll make myself sit there for five minutes and write one paragraph. That’s the only expectation I set. At the end of five minutes or one paragraph, I’m free to close the computer and go veg on the sofa. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually got up and quit after that five minutes has passed.
I suspect that most writers’ block and procrastination habits are an outcome of not knowing where the book is going. If I find my writing pace slowing or the two-year-old raising her voice too much, I stop and replot, or fine-plot the next few scenes. Invariably, getting to know the characters better, and developing the plot so I know exactly where I’m going gets the juices churning once more.
MADELINE IVA: You have two series, Kiss Across Time and Beloved Bloody Time, both of which use time travel, vampires, and MMF menage. Any do’s and don’ts you’d like to share about using time travel in a book? In your writing which came first–vampires or the time travel? (This is not the set up for a bad joke, ;> )
TRACY COOPER POSEY: I’ve always been drawn to time travel stories. I was encouraged to write MMF paranormals – actually, I was asked to write MMF urban fantasy, originally, which is how I got into paranormals at all. However, writing true urban fantasy, with a first-person point of view and an über strong female lead who kicks butt all over the place doesn’t work so well in MMF romance, where it simply has to be in third-person, and feature two other protagonists, as well. I borrow everything from urban fantasy that is great about it: Fantasy creatures in our suburbs and cities, fighting a war while humans may or may not know about their existence, plus the tough-nut heroine.
I realized that I could add time-travel into the mix because it’s a paranormal element, too. I could wallow about in history, leap centuries inside a single novel, and do all the funky time-twists that came with the territory…it was like opening up a cupboard and finding it full of chocolate. I’m still gorging on it.
As I was already writing vampires and MMF ménage, the blend was just the next step.
I’ve read other authors’ time travel novels and some authors seem to grasp the consequences of moving through time, while others treat time travel as a handy way of getting a modern character into an historical setting and after that, they screw around with history, famous characters and political events with nary a mention of how it might affect events further down the road.
Veris, one of the heroes of the Kiss Across Time series, says in KISS ACROSS CHAINS: “Einstein’s theory of relativity doesn’t go on a holiday just because you’ve lived through it once already. You go back there, you stand a real chance of fucking up your own future.” All of my time travel books bear this constantly in mind.
MADELINE IVA: You live with a man who seems larger than life. How does your family handle living with a mom who writes erotic romance and a dad who’s larger-than-life?
TRACY COOPER POSEY: Mark is very supportive of my career, and I of his. He was a professional wrestler, now he’s building up a blogging career. We attend conventions together, which is much more fun than going alone, as Mark can talk to anyone and often does. Now he’s blogging, I’ve had the surreal experience of Mark telling me he can’t do xxx tonight, he has to write. I’m the one that has been doing that for sixteen years! Saturdays are an intimate twosome; both of us slaving over hot keyboards.
Our kids considered a romance author as a mother, and a professional wrestler as a father a mixed blessing. They both loved and hated how different it made them at school, and my daughter still gives me grief about the copy of one of my historical romances that circulated her junior high school, with all the sex scene pages turned down at the corner. For the record, I was not responsible for the copy escaping into a school full of adolescent girls!
MADELINE IVA: Ouch! Well, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us today. Readers — KISS ACROSS SWORDS was released on June 1. This is the second book in the Kiss Across Time Series. The third book in the series, KISS ACROSS CHAINS, will be released July 1st. You can find Tracy and her books at her website here: http://tracycooperposey.com/