Columnist Bridget Hartwell agrees to write about BDSM to impress her new executive editor at Sultry, the “sex-positive magazine for sex-positive women.” Unfortunately, it’s a topic she knows absolutely nothing about…but if she ever wants that promotion, she’ll need to learn the ropes, fast.
English professor Max Harlow is active in the Dom/sub scene, but only for casual play—he’s never found his ideal partner: a woman who is his equal, but sexually submissive. When he’s asked to explain the lifestyle to his cute but obviously inexperienced neighbor, Max is certain it’s best to approach it academically—to keep things purely professional.
Until Bridget’s first article is a huge hit, giving her the perfect excuse to delve deeper into the naturally submissive side of her sexuality. But as their encounters intensify and each of her boundaries is skillfully pushed, Bridget must decide what this all means… for her identity, her career, and, most importantly, her future with Max.
Welcome to All I Want and More Books. We’re glad to have you here.
Thank you for having me! It’s great to be here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m a combination of geeky, quirky and kinky. I’m a sex-positive feminist, and I love romance novels, tabletop games, and having adventures. I live in New England with my husband and our pets. When I’m not writing saucy romance novels, I teach high school English and work to keep my students from finding my saucy romance novels.
In this book, who was your favorite character to write and why?
Bridget was my favorite. I enjoyed finding the balance between her sexual submissive side and her career-oriented independent side, letting her be a confident woman who really enjoys getting dominated in bed. Plus, she’s a smart mouth, and I like writing that.
What 3 words would you use to describe your main characters?
Bridget – spunky, talented, adventurous
Max – focused, confident, affectionate
Can you tell us a little bit about this book? Maybe a little snippet?
Purely Professional is the BDSM erotic romance that I always wanted to read, so I decided to write it. Bridget and Max are independent career-oriented professionals, and neither loses their independence or confidence even as they explore the dynamics of a BDSM sexual relationship.
How do you go about picking character names? Do you have to get them just right and make sure they fit with the characters personality?
Character names tend to come to me randomly. I try to pick names that aren’t names of any of my students, but after 12 years of teaching, that becomes more difficult with each book. Honestly, though, I think I’m the exception in that I don’t spend hours agonizing over getting “the perfect name” for my characters. I keep a running collection of names in my head, and when I create a new character, I pull out a name. I have an unexpected trend of 3-letter names for the men in my books – Max in Purely Professional, Ian in the upcoming Playing Knotty, and Eli in the upcoming Combustion – a trend I didn’t realize until recently and one I’ll be breaking soon.
We’re cover hussies. What was your first impression of this cover?
My first impression was, “Wow, those cuffs look kind of loose!” (I’m laughing just remembering it.) My second impression was, “She’s really hot,” and then, “Holy crap, my name is on a book.” I love the cover of Purely Professional because of its simplicity and that absolutely gorgeous font. I showed a cover draft to a male friend of mine, who stared at it for a moment in awe. After I closed the screen, he said, “Wait – what was the title again?” So I guess the model’s as attractive to others as she was to me.
What does writing mean to you?
For me, writing is a way to let my imagination run free. I get to create a world which models the ideals that I value, where characters wrestle with issues that aren’t always as easy to address in our real world. First drafts make me feel like a child again, making glorious messes and second-guessing nothing. Editing makes me feel like a professional, where I use my self-discipline to sit down and turn a mess into something polished. Every step of the process feels like it reaffirms my own creative spirit, and I love that.
What do you hope readers take away after reading one of your books?
I hope that readers become more willing to explore their own sexuality after reading my books. Sex is glorious and joyful, but our society – despite all the sexual images in advertising – is very shaming of sexuality. We live in a sex-negative culture where women aren’t supposed to enjoy sex or be informed about it and where no one is supposed to enjoy kink, so I think people have a lot of misinformed ideas about their own sexuality. The characters in my books explore kink in healthy ways, and I hope my readers are inspired to do the same.
If you had a technology free day, what would you do?
You aren’t going to take away my ebooks, are you? Because that’s my preferred method to read now. Please don’t take away my ebooks! Anyway, I would probably spend the day sewing and reading. I’ve become a pretty good seamstress, if I do say so myself, and I make a lot of costumes. I’m happiest when I have a sewing project. I’m probably bake something, too, because food is wonderful. So there you go: sewing, reading, baking, eating. And probably a bubble bath with wine to round out the day.
Hell, that sounds amazing. I should do that today.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just sent the final proofs of two books back to publishers, so I’m breathing a sigh of relief at the moment. Playing Knotty comes out on March 16th and is available for preorder now. Combustion, my Steampunk erotic romance, releases on May 5th, so I’m also excited about that. Now that those are done, my next step is to start editing a draft that I wrote last summer. The book doesn’t have a name yet, but I can say that it starts at a gaming convention and involves a very risqué scavenger hunt.
Sexiest feature on a man?
Eyes, although as a self-proclaimed lumbersexual, I dig a good beard, too.
Boxers, Briefs or Commando?
Boxer-briefs: the best of all worlds.
What is on your night stand/dresser?
Decadence, of course. Three nJoy toys in their cases (the Pure wand, the Fun wand, and the Pure plug); a bottle of Sliquid lube; some Weleda Skin Food, not for sexual purposes, just because it’s amazing; and a stuffed peacock that is also not for sexual purposes.
Hairy chests or smooth?
Slight preference for hairy. But y’know, it’s his body, and he can keep it however he wants.
Cowboy or businessman?
Businessman. Show me that tailored suit so I can rip it off you.
Tattoos or piercings?
Yes to all. If I have to pick, tattoos.
I can always estimate the correct amount of spaghetti to put in the pot for any number of servings.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Now that I’m in my 30s, I don’t have guilty pleasures anymore. I just have stuff I like and screw judgment. If I’m going to pick something that fits that category, I say Supernatural fanfiction. I read a ton of it and have an extensive bookmark list on Archive of Our Own.
If I can only pick one, I say Misha Collins. If I can have more, I also want Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, and Felicia Day.
Night owl or early bird?
Night owl. I have to be an early bird for work, but during school breaks, I destroy my sleep schedule with abandon.
Twitter or Facebook?
Pinterest or Instagram?
ebooks or paperbacks?
ebooks. I love the smell of paperbacks, but it’s hard for me to fit a thousand of them in my purse.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think you’ve covered it all. Thanks again for having me! This has been a lot of fun.
“What? What is it?” Catching her hesitation, Max looked up from the Scrabble board.
“It’s just…” She paused and took a swig of beer. “I’ve had a lot of crushes on men in positions of power. My volleyball coach back in high school, my internship coordinator in college, a few professors…” Realizing he was grinning, she blushed, remembering he was a professor. “Right. Anyway, I never acted on any of them.”
“And yet you complain that you date weak men.” He swirled the beer around in his bottle and held it up to the light, his gaze thoughtful and distant.
“Well, I don’t want some guy to boss me around.” To hide the discomfort she suddenly felt, Bridget looked down at the board. She played reach off the H in hinder and fumbled as she chose four new tiles.
“I think we both know that’s a lie.“ Max said smoothly, and he drank his beer. “I’ll bet you’re just afraid of what kind of woman you would be if you gave in to those urges.” He rubbed a tile between a thumb and forefinger, then set it back on his shelf. “I’ve been doing this a long time, Bridget. You responded today like a natural submissive. You liked more than just the sex. You liked all of it.”
She set down her beer and looked at him. “All right.” She tried not to sound defensive. “So what does that mean?”
“It doesn’t have to mean anything.” Max shrugged. “Maybe this afternoon, I just want to play some Scrabble with you and order a pizza. But when we’re done with all this experimenting, you’re going to have a lot to write about.”
Elia 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. She balances her love of the outdoors with a bottomless well of geekiness.
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. Her erotic fiction and poetry have been published online at Clean Sheets and Scarlet Letters under a different name. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets.
Elia’s virtual life is as busy as her real life. In addition to her website, http://eliawinters.com/, you can also find her on:
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