14 June 2012
Charlotte Stein is known for her alluring, kinky storytelling, which quickly grabs the reader and seduces them into the thrall of her memorable characters and scenarios. Her latest Mischief release is the novella Make Me, which finds Maisie returning after ten years to the two men she wants to be her lovers, Tyler and Brandon. When her fantasies come true, she discovers that their ménage is even hotter, and more complicated, than what she's anticipated. Stein has also written the novel Power Play, in which Eleanor, used to submitting to, and getting spanked by, her hot boss Mr Woods, suddenly finds herself in charge, on the job and at play with sexy Benjamin. Her short stories appear in the Mischief anthologies Exposure, Submission, Sex and the Stranger, My Secret Life, Across My Knee, Girl For Hire, In Her Service and The Swap. You can find out more about her on her blog and follow her @Charlotte_Stein on Twitter.
How long have you been writing erotica, and how did you get started?
I've been writing erotica for about fifteen years, now - though I didn't get up the courage to submit anything until about three years ago. I've always loved writing, but the erotica bug probably came from my early love for Black Lace, and just grew from there.
How did you get the idea for Make Me, and how did it evolve as you wrote it?
The idea came from something that plays on my mind often—the idea of second chances and meeting up with old friends you thought you'd left behind. Well, that and the total hotness of Brandon Routh and Armie Hammer, who were my templates for the heroes of the story. That's pretty much how all my stories evolve—I'm inspired by extreme hotness, and the hotness guides me. In this case, it guided me to some pretty filthy places!
You play up the tension between the three characters, and multiply all the possible ways they can—and do—get it on. Did you find it easier to write about three protagonists rather than two? Is there more inherent tension in a ménage story?
It's definitely easier to write a really erotic novella—for me at least. I've never been very good at writing random wild sex sorts of stories...I prefer there to be some emotional and psychological underpinnings to what's going on. So a menage scenario gives me far more freedom to both have some intense connections but also have the wild sex.
Is Maisie attracted to the fact that Tyler and Brandon are, essentially, a package, or is she hot for each of them as individuals and simply getting double the hotness?
I'd definitely say she's hot for both of them. And hot for the idea of them together. And just basically hot for everything, by the end of it. Who wouldn't be, with those two contrasting beefcakes bearing down on them?
One theme of Make Me is having a fantasy, in this case, Maisie's desire to have sex with two men at once, but knowing that sometimes fantasies that get played out in real life can go awry, something it seems that all three characters are aware of. How did you incorporate this realistic tension into your story?
I can't write a sexy story without the crutch of reality. It's one of my pet peeves in erotic fiction—a total lack of realism. I have to have some sort of basis in reality or a story falls apart from me, so I just try to work in the real doubts and fears that would come with something like that - rather than just WAHEY! KNICKERS OFF! Most people, when presented with the idea of an actual threesome, would probably be nervous on top of any excitement.
You emphasize talking dirty, both Maisie eavesdropping on Tyler and Brandon and the three of them talking dirty to each other, and write, "I honestly had no idea that Tyler was this good at dirty talk. Really no clue. I mean, I knew he had the confidence, and certainly he didn't hold back when we were together, but hess so refined. His voice is like crushed velvet – though that only seems to make it worse. He's practically reaching across the bed to stroke me with each lewd suggestion, in a way that makes me certain he knows. He just does." What do you think makes for sexy dirty talk? What are turnoffs people should avoid?
For me, sexy dirty talk is all about explicitness and urgency. People saying things they usually wouldn't in the heat of the moment, people goading each other, people saying "forbidden" things. It adds another layer to a sex scene that straight description can't provide. As for what to avoid...as always, turn off words. "I love how your bulging glans are swelling in my rectal passage," for example. In dialogue, the ladyboner-killing effect of those medical sorts of terms is magnified.
If you were going to cast a movie of Make Me, who would star in it?
Ha! Think I've already answered this one. Armie Hammer and Brandon Routh for the heroes. Anne Hathaway at the start of Devil Wears Prada for the heroine.
You Tweeted about your "things that make me hot about a man in erotic fiction." Can you elaborate on what makes a hero hot? What about a heroine?
There's only really one thing to me that makes a hero hot: the passion of the author. Any type of hero can be hot, as long as the author sells him. Give me details, give me intensity, give me his character in all of its flawed, varied, weird, beautiful glory. That's the stuff that makes a hero hot to me - though on a personal note, I do prefer a sweet beta over an asshole alpha.
As for the heroine...reality. Relatability. That's what's important to me. I put myself in her shoes, so need to believe in her.
Your other Mischief release is Power Play, which you wrote on your blog made you the most excited while writing it. What about Power Play made you excited? Do you often get turned on while you're writing, and if so, is that distracting?
The themes. Femdom is my absolute favourite erotic genre, and I absolute adore a big, eager to please beta hero. The randier the hero is, the better—and that's what I loved. I loved that Benjamin was as randy as hell! And yeah, I'd say I do. I think it's really important to feel something when writing a sex scene...otherwise, how can I expect other people to have that response? It's not distracting, though. Once I'm in the zone and the scene is making me crazy, the writing flies by.
Power Play has female and male submission; do you approach writing each of those kinds of scenes differently? Do you have a preference, or do you like to mix it up?
I wouldn't say I approach them differently—though as I said, I do prefer writing femdom! Lately, though, I just find myself writing whatever grips me. At the moment, it's voyeurism and uptight billionaires.
You're working on a new book for Mischief; can you give us a hint about what it's about and what's next for you?
I'm working on a novella that's about two people who form a tentative and rather kinky relationship through their windows. Quite dark, quite unsettling, I think. And then I'm writing a novel for Mischief that's got a hero who's a bit of sexual adventurer, and persuades the heroine to be likewise. Other than that...the usual eight hundred projects on the go. Billionaires, alien warriors, centurions...you name it, I'm writing it.