I’m delighted to have both Willsin Rowe and Katie Salidas here today with a fascinating interview on their writing partnership :). Welcome to you both. Grab a comfy chair and we’ll get started with the questions :
How did you get started writing, both individually and together?
Willsin: Well I’d been noodling around with writing since I was about six years old. It started with me defacing my childhood books, putting speech bubbles on the characters and that kind of thing. I had it in my head that I’d be a writer one day, but then in my late teen years I switched my focus to music for about 20 years. Then, in late 2005 I saw a contest at a small publisher asking for erotic stories of new love. I was fortunate enough to win that, and so Willsin Rowe was born!
The writing together has its seeds back in 2009, when a mutual friend brought me in to blog at Coffee-Fueled Erotica. That’s where I met Katie, who was already ensconced there. we began beta-reading for each other, and that expanded to brainstorming. So we figured what the hey…why not try writing together!
Katie: Like Willsin, I have been writing since childhood. Loved to jot down silly things and funny stories. That eventually led me to longer works. I never did settle though. I write whatever comes to mind, be that erotica, romance, drama, what have you. I like to dabble in it all. That’s how I found Coffee-Fueled Erotica. Willsin popped in soon after and we became fast friends and writing buddies.
What was the best piece of writing advice you received?
Katie: Butt in chair, and write! That’s it. Short and simple. You can’t be a writer if you don’t sit down and write.
Willsin: “There’s another story in there”. It was a short, simple piece of advice for a poem I wrote as an exercise. It’s the best advice because it clicked inside my head. It taught me to look for threads that could be pulled and woven through a story.
Great advice. I love seeing everyone’s different answers to that question and I always get something new and helpful out of it :). What do you think makes good erotica?
Willsin: Connection. You can get people to rub their bodies together (in books or on film) and it can look pretty good. But without some kind of connection beyond the physical, it just doesn’t work for me as erotica. Porn, perhaps, but not erotica.
Katie: Like Willsin said, it is that connection. If you can make your readers connect with the characters and even become the characters, you have done your job.
Amen to that! Where do you get your ideas and your characters from?
Katie: Inspiration can be found everywhere you look. Part of the fun of being an author is being a people watcher. I love to study the mannerisms of people I see every day. Then, I take them and exaggerate them to help give my own characters more depth.
Willsin: Everywhere and nowhere. Overheard conversations. Misheard song lyrics. Puns, palindromes and jokes.
Following on from that, where did you get the idea for Submission Therapy from?
Willsin: Essentially we thought about the 50 Shades phenomenon, and did a little bit of research. What we learned was that more often than not, people in positions of power -such as billionaires – were far more likely to adopt a submissive role if they took up BDSM. So we kept the male Dom/female sub dynamic, but made our billionaire female.
Katie: For me, it started with the character, Natasha. She came before the plot. She was an overpowering, micromanaging, piece of work in need of a break. She needed to learn how to let go before the stress of having to control everything in her life gave her a heart attack. The submission angle worked well with this character and, well, the rest kind of fell into place. I brought the character idea and a small scene to Willsin and he just took off with it.
She sounds quite a character. I can’t wait to read this one :). What do you think makes a good sex scene?
Katie: Passion. Your characters have to have it, and your readers need to feel it.
Willsin: Heat, confidence and a walling-off of everything else. For the time it takes, there is no other part of the world for the characters involved.
You write individually and together. Do you ever find it difficult to swap between the two?
Katie: Even when we write on our own we often rely on each other to be sounding boards and betas. In one way or another, we are always working together.
Willsin: Not for me, really. Because we started out as beta-reading buddies, we’ve each managed to get a good handle on the way the other works.
Can you tell us how writing together works for you?
Willsin: Katie and I are both pretty hands-on when it comes to beta-reading each other’s work. We invest ourselves almost as if it were our own story! So our co-writing tends to flow in a similar way. I send the manuscript with, say, extra thousand words tacked on the end…Katie beta-reads that and then throws another thousand onto it. Then I beta and add. Rinse and repeat!
Katie: Willsin pretty much covered it. We tag team each story until the first draft is done. Then, we move into critiquing what we have done.
Do you ever disagree over how a story should go, and if so, how do you resolve it?
Willsin: We’ve had minor discrepancies here and there, but I don’t recall it ever being over a story’s direction. Usually only over a little bit of dialogue or an action that doesn’t sit well with one or the other of us. As for resolution…well, it just seems to happen. We’re both very good at explaining ourselves and our reasoning.
Katie: Again, Willsin said it. We may have a reservation about small pieces of a story, but never really big issues. We have been working so long we both really know where the comfort zone is.
It really does sound like an incredible way to work :). Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to write as a partnership?
Katie: You need someone you can really work with. Choose wisely if at all. Writing is a solo art. It is not meant to be something of collaboration. To add that extra person, ego, idea, etc into the mix can be volatile.
Willsin: Absolutely, choose your partner wisely. Don’t jump straight in with your latest Facebook friend, for instance. Get a handle on each other’s writing as readers before trying to co-write. That’s really what worked for us.
Do you have a writing routine? Do you need absolute quiet to write or background music/noise?
Willsin: No routine as such. I have more pies than fingers, it seems, with my two (so far) pen names, my working band and my cover art business – not to mention being a husband and father! So I often go days in a row without writing at all. I really can’t write with music on, because I’m male! I usually opt for complete silence (if that even IS an option with two sons!). Lately I’ve discovered that Youtube has some wonderful ambient sounds that run for anything from a few minutes to ten hours in length. So if the house is noisy, I throw on my headphones, crank up a forest waterfall, and write my arse off!
Katie: I need quiet to write. Occasionally I like white noise, but I need to listen carefully to hear my muse, so silence is better than distraction.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if so, how do you get over it?
Katie: I get passing spells of it. Mostly it is a lack of motivation rather than a lack of idea. Once I kick my own butt back into gear I usually get the words to the page.
Willsin: Not really. I have stretches where I believe I’m kidding myself, but because I delve in so many different creative fields, I really don’t notice any writer’s block. Perhaps it happens while I’m at band practice!
Lets hope it does :). What do you like most about being a writer?
Willsin: I’ve always loved words. The games you can play with them, the feelings they can evoke. And I’ve always been fascinated by the vagaries of people. Since I was about 13 I’ve been very interested in sex too! So to combine those three elements by writing erotica pushes my buttons greatly.
Katie: I like letting my imagination take me away. It is just as much an escape for me as it is for readers who read what I write. It’s fun and challenging.
Out of all your books, do you think you could pick a favourite and why?
Katie: I always say the one I am working on is my favorite, and that is certainly true now, but I cannot give out any details. This is my Super Secret Project.
Willsin: Oh, I’d probably opt for my first release with Excessica, “The Three-Day Hump”. It’s turned out to be an unfortunate title, that one, since people seem to think it’s all about humping for three days. In fact the “three-day hump” refers to the concept of abstaining from an addiction for three days. Making it over “the three-day hump”. Which is what my characters have to do. They’re addicted to each other sexually, and they know they have no future. It was the first piece of work I had to do some real research for, and even now, four years later, it still feels like a breakthrough for me.
Oooh intriguing, Katie. Can’t wait to hear about the new project :). What’s next for you both?
Willsin: Lots more stories, lots more covers, and who knows? Lots more band gigs, maybe!
Katie: There are always new stories to be written. I’ll keep working until the muse goes silent.
Thank you so much for chatting today. I really enjoyed it :). Below we have details of Willsin and Katie’s book, Submission Therapy
Billionaire CEO of Blakely Incorporated, Natasha runs her empire with an eagle eye for every detail. She’s an obsessive, compulsive, micromanaging hard-ass, consumed by the need to control every aspect of her life and her business.
But underneath that seemingly strong façade, Natasha is a swirling mess of anger, anxiety and sexual addiction. Only her therapist, Dr. Benson, knows how close she is to burning out…or exploding. He insists on a radical form of treatment – Submission Therapy – knowing that it’s her only hope.
Skeptical but intrigued, Natasha agrees to attend the first session. What she finds there is an erotically-charged environment that will forgive none of her habitual bad behavior. And a steely-eyed man who seems to read her every desire – even the ones she won’t admit to herself.
Will Natasha learn what it means to submit? Or will she allow her brittle pride to rob her of what she truly needs?
“If your spirit is the equal of your body…” He ran his fingers across my shoulders and down the gully of my spine. “…then it will be a rare pleasure breaking you in.”
Despite my initial apprehension, his words and his touch sent a thrill through me.
He moved from behind me and my back suddenly felt cold. I watched his muscular form as he prowled to the chair, and admired his grace as he mounted it.
“Bind her. Bring her to me.”
Chloe appeared beside me with a length of smooth rope in her hands. My instincts cried out to run, to fight, but I bit down on them. I could see where this was heading and…and I wasn’t sure I hated it.
With practiced efficiency, Chloe had my wrists secured in under a minute. She led me over to Master Sweet and handed him the loose end of rope.
“Slave, lay across my lap.”
I couldn’t help it. I hesitated. This was so new to me. He curled the rope around his wrist and pulled steadily, with a strength I couldn’t resist. With Chloe’s help he had me prone across his lap, my bare ass angled out and vulnerable. My heartbeat sped with a mixture of excitement and uncertainty. Even though there was something so degrading about being put over someone’s lap, there was a part of me that found it…invigorating. I wasn’t about to let him know I felt that way, though. I held my tongue and watched blankly as Chloe worked, binding me in place.
She took the rope and fed it through the eyelet at the base of the chair, leading it underneath and through a matching eyelet on the other side. She walked around and crouched behind me. From my angle I could only see her hands taking the rope, but I could sense her body heat on the backs of my thighs, feel her breath tickling across my ass…and everywhere else. I wondered if she was there to do more than just tie knots.
The rope’s firm grip around my right knee took me out of that reverie. I watched as Chloe fed the rope back through the loop and then around my left knee. I understood the chair’s construction much better now. Looped around it, with Master Sweet’s strong legs as a cushion, I had nowhere to go. Intriguingly, there was still enough slack in the rope that I could spread my knees apart.
“Look in the mirror.”
I raised my head and stared. I barely recognized myself. In the low light, my black hair almost blended with the room. I could see enough to know it was a mess, though.
He slipped his hand onto my ass and rested it there, soft, unmoving. The deceptively light touch sent chills rippling across my body.
“You’ve earned a spanking for your disobedience. You will watch as your punishment is delivered, and you will count the strokes.”
My breath hitched in my chest. Spanking. I hadn’t had one of those since I was a little girl. So demeaning, and yet the thought of it sent heat rushing between my thighs. There was a part of me that longed for it. In a world where I constantly had to think at least six to twelve months ahead, a consequence that was both immediate and tangible somehow felt like a luxury.
He raised his hand, cocked it like a gun. I followed the movement instinctively, admiring the pure power of it, knowing full well that its force was about to come crashing down on me.
“No. Look into your own eyes.”
I did as instructed. My mouth hung open as I tried to catch my breath, which had begun racing. I clenched my muscles and squeezed my thighs together, waiting for what came next.
The blow, when it landed, cracked like a pistol shot. For the slightest instant all I felt was the jolt through my body. My vision blurred with the impact. Then the sting bloomed on my ass and began to tingle. I watched my own mouth stretch, listened as my breath hissed in. I would not cry out.
“Count it!” he demanded.
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Willsin Rowe falls in love with a scent, a playful expression or an act of casual intimacy more easily than with physical beauty. When confronted by any combination of those elements he is a lost cause. He has done many things over and over, done even more things only once, and half-done more things than he cares to admit. He loves to sing and doesn’t let his voice get in the way. He is intelligent but not sensible. He is passionate but fearful. He is not scruffy enough or stylish enough to be cool.
Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkins off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons. She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, She still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.
And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…
Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.