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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Author Interview: Tonya Ramagos

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Tonya Ramagos, whose latest release Stupendously Yours is now available from Total-E-Bound.

Tonya began writing young adult romances when she was a young adult herself. As she grew and learned, her writing changed. For a while, she moved into cozy mysteries, then sweet romances, and finally began writing erotica romances. That is the genre she writes mostly in now, in various subgenres.

She often jokes about erotica and erotic romance as being "porn with a plot."

"In my opinion, erotica is a plot driven story with equal sex in which the characters have a good time with their partner whether or not they remain together in the end," she said. "Erotic romance is much the same except that the plot revolves around a romance where the characters generally live happily ever after or are at least believed to. Pornography is merely sex for the sake of sex. Rarely is there ever any true plot involved and the only happy ending is the release the characters achieve."

Here's the test she uses to determine if her own work is good: if she can take out the sex and have a strong romance story, then add the sex back in and steam up the computer screen, she knows she has a good erotic story. But the strong plot has to be there first.

There are several authors who write, in Tonya's opinion, excellent erotic fiction: Lora Leigh, Anya Bast, Lara Santiago, Morgan Ashbury, and Ann Jacobs are included in this list.

Since she has written both sweet and erotic romances, I asked her which she found the most challenging.

"I think they are equally challenging," she said. "I would find it tough to write a sweet romance again because I would have to revert to the 'flowery' terms to describe the intimate scenes. However, erotica offers a challenge in keeping the sex fresh and innovative."

"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I asked her.

"I think the biggest public misconceptions are that erotica is dirty, that anyone who reads or writes it should be embarrassed or ashamed."

Tonya uses a wide variety of methods for her research: Internet, books, television, interviews. Actually, any resource she can think of that might give her the information she needs. She also told me that her husband is great for research information as well, but maybe not in the way you're imaging. He often reads scenes to fact check for her.

"As a former firefighter, and an avid history and military buff, he's often my biggest source for research information," she explained.

Her entire family is supportive of her writing. She admitted that her mother doesn't care much that she writes erotica, but still brags to everyone that she's an author. Her stepmother reads all of her books.

On more of a personal note, I asked, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"

"Actually, I would have to say myself. I enjoy my life and I like who I am as well as the person I have become. Not to mention, I've invested too many years in being me to become someone else at this stage in the game."

She's thought about piercing her eyebrow, but has been told that her eyebrows aren't shaped right for it.

"I don't know what it is about that particular piercing I like. I just do," she said with a smile. "I think it's actually the body that makes the piercing sexy rather than the other way around. A piercing that flat does it for me on one person may not have the same effect on another due to different features."

Since chocolate is Tonya's favorite food—"any kind, any way, any time," she exclaimed—it's not surprising that chocolate also tops the list of food she considers best for eating off another's tummy. Other choices would be whipped cream and/or strawberries.

When asked if she could tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi she wasn't hesitant to tell me, "Coke tastes good. Pepsi sucks!"

Her favorite letter is "S". "There are so many words that start with it," she explained. "For instance: sex, sensual, stiff, stroke, stud, Silver Springs (my heroes series)."

She likes painted toenails, when she remembers.

"I tend to do it in spurts," she said. "Oh, there's another S word! I might go for months where I put fresh polish on my toes every week. Then I may go months with none at all."

Her mother can tie a cherry stem with her tongue. "I tried," she told me, "but…well, we won't go there."

A strange habit she has?

"Talking to myself. I do it CONSTANTLY about everything. Yes, I even answer myself too," she said with a smile.

Finally, I asked what advice she had for a new writer.

"Don't stop writing and read, read, read! So many people say they don't have the time to read these days. I've even heard that from writers. But you cannot keep up with the latest market trends and styles if you aren't reading what's out there. Don't be afraid to attempt something new too. And, above all else, don't give up. Sit down at that computer or pick up that pencil and write!"

And, specifically for writers who want to write erotica, she added, "Don't hold back. Never be embarrassed to let your imagination and fantasies run wild. And, by all means, have fun with it!" You can keep up with Tonya on her blog, http://tonyaramago.blogspot.com

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