Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dana Littlejohn – Inside the Author


At last Dana Littlejohn, multi-published sensual romance fiction author and owner of this blog, is put in the hot seat. We asked readers to send in all their burning questions and then we added stuff we were just nosy enough to ask. Dana answered them all open and honestly.

To start off, we asked Dana what her definition of romance was.
“To me romance is the seduction of one’s mind. When your mind is so seduced that your body has no choice but to follow through that is the epitome of romance.”

This is how she distinguishes the difference between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
"I think erotic romance is a loving romantic story with descriptive sexual scenes. Erotica is a romantic set of the sex scenes without the romantic story. Porn is sex for the sake of sex crudely displayed."

Dana has always wanted to write. She began in junior high when writing an ongoing story in weekly installments that she passed out in the lunchroom for her friends to read. As an adult she put her writing on hold, but in 2003, with the encouragement of her husband, she started again. Between her own name and a pseudonym for a different genre, she has written 3 full length novels, 11 novellas, 38 short stories and has had her stories in 4 anthologies, at the time of this interview. With all of her accomplishments in her chosen genre, Dana didn't set out deliberately to write erotic romance, however.
"It just kind of happened during the natural progression of the chase and capture of the love interest. It just became the ‘celebration’ of their union."

She doesn't notice any difference in the difficulty between writing a non-erotic romance or an erotic one.
"I think Behind the Wings would be considered a ‘straight’ romance. It’s more of a romantic suspense even with its sensual scenes and it is just as difficult as an erotic romance.”

What does your family think about your writing?

"They are kind of neutral, I guess," she said. "Part of my family (mother, sisters, in-laws) don't show any likes or dislike for my work. They don't read it or talk about it. My immediate family (my husband and older children) are supportive. They encourage me, throw out scenarios, help with names and have even read a few of my works."

All of your books have an African American lead female, but your leading man has not only been African American, but several different nationalities as well. Is that on purpose? 
LOL Yes, it is. In real life my interest is not restricted to just African American men. I have seen beauty and have been attracted to men of all races and nationalities. I saw no reason to limit my characters to such a luxury.

Dana's favorite erotic authors are Bertrice Small and Jackie Collins, with her favorite erotic book is To Love Again and Collins’ Luck Santangelo series.
"I can read To Love Again over and over again and I just love Lucky Santangelo. She’s my kind of lady."

Some of the research Dana does for her books has to be hands on.
"Most I get from interviewing people and the internet, but I truly believe that sometimes in order to ‘know’ something, you have to experience it for yourself."

What’s the most memorable thing you have done in the name of research?
I sent a note to my husband once and told him to meet me somewhere. Neither of us had been there before. I looked completely different, new outfit, different makeup and a wig. I got there before him and flirted with all the men, but when he walked in I pushed them away to approach him. The look of panic on his face at first was priceless but when he finally recognized it was me the panic morphed to shock and that was even better. He played along after that and it was a very interesting evening. I used the behavior of my husband and the other men in a story I was doing.

We asked Dana, "If you could be a character from one of your books, who would it be?"
"Oh, this one is easy," she said with a laugh. "I would love to be Kelley Kingsley, from Behind the Wings. She is completely carefree, has her own company, no man and no rules. Kelley has enough money to do whatever she wants and as long as it’s legal it’s doable according to her. LOL She makes the perfect balance for Jade Dupree, the main character. Unfortunately that mentality doesn’t work in the real world because there are consequences to one’s reckless actions."

I asked her about the most embarrassing sex scene she'd ever written.
"Hands down it was one from Home with The Jones’. I had to think completely out the box with that story. I did it on a dare. I found out during research that the genre for that story was not my cup of tea. LOL"

On a personal note, I asked Dana if she could be anyone in the world, alive or dead, who she would choose to be.
"I don't want to be anyone other than myself. I like me very much just the way I am. Besides, I have enough of my own issues. If I trade out there is no guarantee that their issues will be any better!"

Dana also shared with us, when we agreed that body piercing was sexy, that she had one of her own-- her belly.
"I did it with a friend of mine."
Why?
"Because men are attracted to shiny things. LOL"

Speaking of bellies, Dana tried eating grapes off someone's belly and nearly choked to death.
"Yeah, not one of my best moments. I stick to body shots now. LOL"

Dana admits to loving seafood. However, even if okra came from the sea, she couldn't bring herself to eat that.
"I have texture issues. I don’t do slimy, squishy or crumbly in my mouth. It brings hurl to mind immediately and my stomach follows through with the command."

Her strangest habit also involves around food.
"When I drink I have to eat barbecue Lays potato chips. And yes, they have to be barbeque and they have to be Lays. LOL"

When Dana’s not writing, she enjoys salsa dancing, but recently she told me her free time has been dedicated to a project preparing for the Super Bowl since it will be in her town next year.
“I am making scarves that represent each team to sell them. I am going to use the money to go on a trip to Vegas. I’m doing a story involving someone visiting Las Vegas for the first time. What better way to capture the character then to share the experience firsthand. It will be my first time, too.

Dana is a girly-girly. She likes wearing dresses and skirts, getting her nails and feet done and if someone were to play her in a movie, Dana would like it to be Jada Pinkett-Smith.
"We are of the same size and body type. It's hard being me, but I think she could pull it off."

Finally, we asked Dana what advice she would give to a new writer just starting out.
"The advice that was given to me after I sold my first story in 2006 has worked for me. ‘Find your voice and stay true to it.’ 
I love books by Bertrice Small, Piers Anthony and even Tigra-Luna Lemar. They each write in a different genre and each has a different way of telling a story and mine is different from all of theirs. I like them all for reasons, but I do not try to incorporate their style into mine.”

Thanks for letting us put you in the hot seat Dana. And my thanks to the readers who submitted the questions that were answered. If you would like to keep up with Dana here’s where you can find her:

on facebook: authordanalittlejohn (like her fan page)
twitter: Author Dana Littlejohn
and her Website: http://www.danalittlejohn.net

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