Today I’m interviewing award-winning erotic romance author Elia Winters.
Winters has always been a New England girl, despite having spent much of her childhood in Florida. She holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. Elia dabbles in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels.
In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. Now, she combines her kinkster identity with her nerdiness to write geeky, kinky romance. Her first novel, Purely Professional, was a 2015 RITA finalist for Best Erotic Romance and Best First Book. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband, their cat, and a tame mourning dove.
Her book being released on July 4th, Even Odds, features a heroine who is a game designer and hero who is an artist/animator who works with gaming companies.
Warning: it is labeled erotic romance, so it’s not for the kids, though this interview is safe for teens and above.
Q: Your books are labeled “geeky, kinky romance. What makes Geeks sexy? Is it their big…brains?
A: Geeks like to know how things work. We’re fascinated by function, not just results. We want to understand the nuances and details of things that interest us. Of course, this also extends to sex! Many of the kinksters I know are also geeks, and many geeks I know are also kinky. It makes sense that people who want to know everything about a topic will investigate all the creative aspects of human sexuality as well. Plus, knowledge in general is hot.
Q: How did you develop the leads for your stories?
A: The first character I created in this series was Isabel Suarez, the female protagonist in Even Odds. I knew I wanted to write about a game designer, so I crafted her character the way I craft all my characters: by asking questions. What are her goals, personally and professionally? What is stopping her from achieving them? What are her fears? How is she going to change during the book, and why? In this process, I created a character who wants professional success above all else, who fears that her gender will hold her back in a male-dominated field. That fear has led her to hide her sexuality. Knowing what she wants and fears, I designed the male protagonist, Caleb, to challenge those fears. I figured out first how he was going to interact with Isabel, and then what his own fears and challenges were. In revision, the novel became even more about Caleb’s transformation than Isabel’s. The refining of character goals and motivations is one of my favorite parts of the revision process.
Q: Is there anything unique you take into consideration when writing a geeky sex scene (or a sex scene involving geeks) that wouldn’t be in a non-geek sex scene?
A: I tend to put a lot of joking in my sex scenes, and geek jokes are no exception. My characters make references to pop culture and to their own geeky interests, much the same way I do. Maybe I’m revealing too much about my sex life by saying that! I think that non-geeks make jokes, too, but probably not such painfully geeky jokes. The book Even Odds gets its title from the way Isabel sees many of her social interactions like gaming tournaments, where she constantly considers her odds of “winning.” He turns this on her in some humorous ways throughout the book.
Q: Why do you decide to make geeks the romantic leads?
A: I’m a geek. I’ve always been a geek. I write characters I would like to meet or know, so they naturally share some characteristics with me, and my geekiness is one significant characteristic that tends to make its way into all the stories I write. I think it’s okay to be geeky, now, in a way that it wasn’t always okay when I was growing up. Back when I was a kid, before the days of the internet, I felt isolated in my passionate fascination with TV shows, movies, and games. Now, the internet has allowed us geeky people to find each other independent of distance, so I think we’re seeing a lot more geekiness in the world. People are learning that it’s okay to be outwardly passionate about something other than sports, and I think that’s great.
Q: What’s your favorite geeky thing to do?
A: I’m an avid gamer. My husband and I host near-weekly Dungeons and Dragons sessions at our house, and on weeks where we don’t play, we’re into Tabletop games. I also love PC games, too, including the ones my characters love in my books. I also go to conventions and cosplay, dressing up like characters from shows and games that I enjoy.