January 11, 2013

Writer Wrangler: T.C. Anthony

Stops by today to talk about her brand new erotica series, Three Stages of Love: Lust.

Braine: Three Stages of Love: Lust is your debut novel. How long did it take for you to finish the book?

T.C. Anthony: The writing time for the novel took me about three months. And this is only because I work full time in a very demanding job, my two kids always keep me on the move and I make sure never to neglect my husband. I have snippets of stories written in journals and on my iPad, but this story just wouldn't end (in my mind, that is). I have limited time to write, but I am thankful for my insomnia at times. I have weeks and sometimes months where I just don't sleep, where mind thinks about all the things I can or should be doing instead of sleeping. And that is what happened with this story. The story of Eva and Alexander continued to play out in my head and it filled me with so many emotions that I couldn't shut my laptop off. Had I had more free time, it probably would have been written sooner.

Braine: What was the biggest challenge you encountered in the writing process?

T.C. Anthony: I would have to say that I encountered one major challenge in writing, and one post-publication. During the process, the writing flowed nicely. I had full-blown scenes play out while I drove to and from work. But, life as a whole was challenging to put aside or pause so that I could take the time to write. This was probably the most difficult part of the process for me. Imagine a story coming to you as you sit in a meeting or while cooking dinner or doing homework. So I would scribble down notes and pray that I didn't forget all the pieces...which almost always happened. And then I would spend more time trying to remember that amazing scene that floated in my thoughts hours earlier. Finding the time to do what you love isn't impossible, but squeezing what you love into a small window of time - that takes a lot of patience and some juggling.

Braine: Yup. I think I can relate to that. This too happens to me when I'm in the middle of composing a book review in the middle of making a meal. I can only imagine it must be frustrating if it happens in a bigger scale like writing a book where every scene can make or break the outcome of the story.

T.C. Anthony: Post publication, which I consider still part of the process; I never really prepared myself for negative feedback/reviews. I am a realist at times, and am well aware that you will never be able to please everyone. It's just not humanly possible. I have always been the type of person to jump into something whole-hearted and head first, letting the fears and uncertainties fill me after the fact. And so went the publication of the first novel. But my writing is so personal to me, like a therapist’s journal. My writing is my therapist and so putting those emotions and thoughts out there for people to criticize was a part of the process that took some getting used to. It took enough energy out of me, where I paused my writing of Book 2 until I could grasp it—and I did. And now...the negative reviews are just like the positive ones—they help make the story even better!

Braine: I'm so glad to hear this. I know every word is personal to you and to put it out there is a big risk not just in terms of the success of the book but it also test you personally. It takes a lot of grace to accept negative reviews with a grain of salt. We've seen several writers succumb to the meltdown, resulting in various Goodreads "scandals", good to know your name won't be part of the list.

Braine: Since Fifty Shades we've seen an influx of erotica novels with varying themes. How is your book different from what's out there?

T.C. Anthony: The saturation of the genre concerned me at first. Fifty Shades was great, and I adore Sylvia Day (Crossfire) -- I don't have it in me to criticize any writer, because their thoughts and words are their own, no one can say they are right or wrong, good or bad. My book has a different purpose though; it's deeper and more emotional, and no character has had a terribly painful, cringe-worth past. It falls into the category of erotica because of the sexy scenes, but the storyline is so much more. This book has so many underlying themes that all women can relate to. Love is one of the most powerful and uncontrollable emotions and events that happen in our lives, and in this novel, I wanted to portray the emotions in the most heightened of ways. Many reviewers have contacted me writing "I cried, I laughed and I got excited" the writer, those were the exact emotions that I felt writing Three Stages of Love: Lust, and that is what I wanted the readers to feel. There is more to erotic sensation and sex than just a good sex scene; fighting and anger and sadness all create the same adrenaline rush of emotions...hence where makeup sex comes from! Then there is the inevitable discussion of a woman’s place in society in our post-feminist era. Women have so many choices now that some women skulk into a ‘safe zone’ and feel overwhelmed, which in turn leaves them dissatisfied and missing out on all life has to offer. 

Lastly, the greatest theme of the book is wanting it all...women should want it all! I have seen too many women my age, younger and older, live their lives with a checklist of what to do first, second and third. These are the same women who wake up at the age of 50 and say “oh my god, I'm having my first child” or “I want to get back into the workforce now that I've raised my children” or, the one I hear the most, “I have to finish my degree before I can think about love!” This Three Stages series shows that no matter what it is you fear, what you think you do or don't have time for, you CAN do it all and have it just takes a little sacrifice!

Braine: That's the first "different" thing I've noticed actually. While Fifty Shades and Crossfire are hero-centric, yours focuses more on Eva. Evangeline Chase is a firecracker and a lot of women, career women especially, can relate to her. As her creator, what is it about her character do you think would-be readers find the most compelling?

T.C. Anthony: It's funny that you call her a firecracker—that's how she was written to be perceived, but many readers have called her a bitch!

Braine: Firecracker is more... tactful... plus have you been burned by one? It stings like a bitch!

T.C. Anthony: I didn't see it. I didn't write her as a bitch - she just evolved into a strong, boisterous woman. She is young and successful, and those two things take balls to maintain, to put it plainly. There are few women who can make the choice in today's economic times to be stay-at-home moms and wives...and so most women have pieces of Eva in them. A successful woman has to fight and work twice as hard as any man. She has to dot her I's and cross her T's at every corner. But in her strength also lies her biggest weakness—letting go and losing a little control. She is an intelligent woman and she is well aware of the consequences of true love, and that is what she fears most. Women today don't seek love and ‘happily ever after’ as much as they used to. They share the same fears and uncertainties that Eva does. More than ever, women today can relate to the anxieties of having to do it all, to be expected to be a Yale graduate and make six figures and raise a family and be a housewife and mother AND still look gorgeous every minute of the day. It's exhausting and daunting to even consider, but it can be achieved. We as women find our strength to push forward when we hear or see a success story of another woman. To be driven by the 'look, she did it' desire to surpass the fear and dive head first into the world...that's Eva's story and so many other women.

Braine: I think career women in general have a bitchy layer to them. Even if it's the 21st century, the proverbial glass ceiling is oh-so present and we're still a few steps away from achieving real gender equality. 

Braine: No surprise, Alexander Mason is one hot male specimen. How is he different from all the other Alpha Males we're obsessing about?

T.C. Anthony: I am in love with Alexander! In part because when I envision him I see my husband...which is a good thing for me.

But, Alexander didn't start off as the Alpha male. He started off as just a guy who, though he had felt the sadness of loss, wasn't looking for love or some great challenge to fill the void. Like Eva, he is young and very successful but he takes life as it’s thrown at him—very much like his first encounter with Eva. Only this time, he falls in love and falls fast and hard. Trust me ladies, it can happen! Men are always expected to fall for a woman in time—well, I ask, why? Men are no different than women. I have seen grown men with pounds of muscle on them cry like babies. I have witnessed men quiver at the idea of losing a woman. It's all real and very true and men need to be seen as both prince charming, doting lovers and hot sexual beasts all in one. But Alexander isn’t weak through this...he, unlike most Alpha males, can maintain full control without a drop of sweat on his brow. He's giving Eva the control she wants while holding the strings. What Eva perceives to be ‘control’ is just an illusion of sorts, and Alexander has her in his grips. He keeps his alpha male internal until she pushes him to unleash it! Stay tuned!

Braine: I know book 2 and 3 are still in the works. But can you give us a snippet of the series' progression?

T.C. Anthony: I'm very excited about books 2 & 3. Book 2 should hopefully be out in February. It takes a turn to the dark side of lust and desire and progresses to the actual situations women face in the world of 'relationships and business', and the sacrifices women will make to have someone or to forget someone. Without giving away too much, here is a snippet from book 2:
Unexpectedly grabbing my wrist, Alexander shouted an order, "Put the shot down Evangeline," he said in an angry tone.

"Excuse me," I answered giving him a 'you don't own me' grin and giggle, "I'm not with you, remember?"

His eyes widened and his grip tightened on my wrist, "Don't make me punish you, put the shot down and tell the boy to go away. I should have killed him out there on the dance floor but I thought you could have handled yourself."

Alexander growled at me in a hush, my sex tightened between my legs and my lungs took a deep breath as I thought of the jealousy that was spewing out of him and ultimately what punishment he could possibly give me. Never had I craved to be dominated so intensely than at that moment.

Last book you've read: Bared To You

Favorite hot/cold drink: 
Hot: Nocciola Espresso (Hazelnut cream mixed with espresso)
Cold: It's a toss up between Caramel Iced Latte or Raspberry       Long Island Iced Tea (depends on the time of day)

Best gift received this Christmas: Michael Kors Bag that my seven year old picked out and my husband paid for (she's learning fast).

Number 1 item on your NY resolutions list: Stop sweating the small stuff. To realize that the energy and time spent on something that only exists in the moment is only going to cause regret for the loss of time in the future.

A fellow author you're dying to meet: I would love to meet Sylvia Day. I really do enjoy her writing and her vivid imagination. It's difficult to write an emotion intensely enough to make the reader experience it first hand. And I think she does it real well.

Thank you so much for having me and for your great questions!!

Purchase Three Stages of Lust: Love

Writing for me is; a complete physical and emotional surrender to the written word. I have been writing for 15 years, starting at a young age with poetry, moving into short stories and now the Three Stages of Love Trilogy. As a young wife and mother of two, I am also successful in business; a trifecta that has required much reinvention of the woman within me. The 'keeping it together' throughout the evolution is what so many women fear and want to know about. My writing is guided not by the desire to sell a book, but with a passion to venture into a life long fulfilling career and piece of mind as an author in a variety of genres.

I am simply a woman who believes that the only risks one regrets in life are the risks that one does not take. My new erotic romance novels explore the boundaries in which women toy with in order to have it all.

Fan Girls & Boys Welcome

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