Blacker Than Black By Rhianon Etzweiler
We here at Sinfully Tasty Reads are so honored to help with introducing Riptide Publishing to the world. Riptide will be officially open for business on October 30,2011 BUT pre-orders started October 1,2011. Today we are pleased to bring you an interview and giveaway with author Rhianon Etzweiler. She will be giving away a book of the winner's (18+ and older) choice: Pick any one backlist book from Rachel Haimowitz, Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Brita Addams, or Cat Grant (“Frontlist” books, i.e. Riptide releases and newest non-Riptide release, are excluded, as are the Courtland Chronicles). To enter leave a meaningful comment with your e-mail address. Riptide Publishing is going to be making a BIG SPLASH so hold on tight for an incredible ride.
What draws you to romance?
I think of romance as a natural progression of a story that incorporates high stress and high emotional engagement from the characters it portrays. From a purely scientific side of the equation, humans are sexual creatures and pheromones are everywhere, right? More than anything, I want my stories and my characters to be ones that engage the reader, that the audience can relate to—more than that, the end result is, optimally, a story that sucks the reader into a vortex and doesn’t let go, whips them around on a roller coaster of emotion that doesn’t relax until the train pulls into the station on the final page.
Sexual attraction and emotional involvement are in my writer-mind two of the larger factors for developing strong reader engagement, and the conflict and tension in a story. An illicit romantic involvement, for instance, is one of the few factors that could influence a given character enough to compromise their impartiality, their professional ethics, and as a result risk the lives and well-being of others, or jeopardize an entire endeavor. The romance plays a crucial role and while I try to give my stories at least a HFN ending, I’m not so kind as to make the journey to getting there an easy one.
Have you ever written outside the romance genre? If not, do you ever plan to?
I’ve come close… but every time I start working on a new and exciting story idea or plot arc, one of my characters goes and gets horny and starts eyeballing one of their comrades. Every time. Without fail. It comes back to that mix of adrenaline and pheromones, of excitement and the edge of danger mixing with lust and arousal. The chemical responses in our brain are very similar, the only difference is the circumstance or situation providing the trigger. Endorphins are addictive. It’s one of the reason why soldiers are often described as adrenaline junkies, or having a death wish.
Ultimately, we’re emotional creatures and romantic entanglements will arise. I write in many different genres, actually—speculative fiction is a broad and sometimes vague umbrella—but all my stories have an element of romance in them somewhere that plays a crucial role in the development of the plot and outcome. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s always earth-shattering, mind-blowing, or life-altering, but it’s there—I think that the majority of readers enjoy having that angle present. It makes the characters come alive, that they have that sort of depth and facet present. Like saying, “see, this character is flawed too. They couldn’t help but fall in love with someone they knew they shouldn’t.”
Do you prefer alpha/omega relationships in stories, or alpha/alpha relationships, and why?
I enjoy pitting alpha against alpha – in the end, it isn’t really necessary for one to dominate the other, or for one to clearly ‘come out on top’…not in most of my stories, anyways. The romantic involvements I write about, for the most part, don’t involve D/s. I’ve always thought that the best relationship would be a mutual partnership, a meeting of the minds… finding common ground, not exerting dominance over another. I try to show that in my stories. For me as a reader, there’s little fascinating in an imbalanced relationship—little in the way of tension to play with, you might say. Put both characters on relatively equal footing, and all the sudden the dynamic is totally different. The power play can go either way. Won’t say that I don’t dabble in “omega” situations, but ordinarily I do so with specific intent to f*ck with it.
What’s the sexiest feature on a man to you? And on a woman? Why?
Regardless of gender, the sexiest feature for me is the mind. I’ve known some physically attractive individuals over the years who, the moment they opened their mouth, totally ruined it for me. At any rate, it’s ultimately intellect that attracts me. A lively debate or a controversial discussion that gets the blood flowing and challenges me to think… that’s porn for me. Yes, I’m a geek. Geek is chic. =)
By night you’re a caped crusader, romance writer. What do you do by day?
I have a degree and work in customer service. Hey, it pays the bills. I’m not really a caped crusader, though—I’ve got the geeky “Clark Kent” look all the time!
What’s your earliest childhood memory?
The turquoise oceans and pristine beaches of Bora Bora, my birthplace.
What was the very first romance you ever read? How old were you? Were you being naughty and sneaking it off the shelf before you really even knew what sex was?
It was some Jude Deveraux book, I don’t recall what. I got it from the library at school, and recall being riveted by the story. I really had no inkling that there was anything naughty with what I was reading. It was a story. About relationships, and emotion. All perfectly natural, normal stuff.
How did it make you feel, and is that what hooked you on the genre?
It certainly isn’t what got me hooked on the genre. I don’t quite recall what shifted my focus from speculative fiction to something with a stronger romantic theme. Frustration with trying to write good, authentic female characters led me toward exploring other avenues. Which I’m still doing, and always will be—what led me to writing gay romance, though, were two male characters in an action flick (hot guys and muscle cars, what more could a girl want), and the subculture of slash-fanfic that I stumbled upon not long after.
Who are your latest crushes (celebrity, book character, or otherwise)?
I’ll always have the hots for Vin Diesel. And Paul Walker. Like cinnamon and nutmeg, they’re awesome together, but I’ll take the cinnamon straight if I must. Something about the shaved head and he takes great care of himself, but beyond that, it’s the eyes. His gaze is so expressive, it’s dumbfounding sometimes.
Do you ever keep those people in your mind when writing your own works?
Absolutely. I love the way Vin as an actor uses body language and expressions as much as the lines in the script. Not that other actors and actresses don’t, but there are times when I’d swear he takes it to this whole different level with just a glance. I strive to convey that sort of character aspect to the readers in my prose. That intensity, energy. As though, if you were to reach out and try to touch them, you’d get zapped by static electricity.
If you could pick anyone in the world to be the cover model(s) on your latest release, who would it be?
I would give my gonads to have Andrej Pejic model Black on the cover of “Blacker Than Black.” He is just so startlingly beautiful in the most fascinatingly androgynous way. Also? Camui Gackt would make a very nice Garthelle.
What’s your favorite hobby outside of writing?
Experimenting with different blends of spices in my dark roast coffee brews. Right now, I’m loving the combination of cloves and strangely, pepper.
What would constitute your own personal happily ever after?
A hammock back on Bora Bora, with my laptop. And a wifi signal.
Do you own an e-reader?
Does my laptop count? *laughs*
Are you a book hoarder?
Yes. They’re everywhere. Half the time I can’t find something when I want it. Shelves are crammed and double-faced. It’s a sin, I know. Everything from Terry Pratchett’s “Monstrous Regiment” to “The Exhaustive Encyclopedia of Guns” and “The Naked Empire” from Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series.
What’s the one question you wish people would ask you when you tell them you’re a writer?
That I wish they’d ask? Wow, that’s a tough one. “Where can I buy a copy of your books?”
How do you answer it?
With my business card. It has my website on it. And that’s got my books, and buy links.
If you were doomed to spend the rest of your life on an island with only one book, one person, one food (coconuts and fish aside), and one object from the modern world (computer, deodorant, vibrator, etc.), what would they be?
Oh, coconut-battered Mahi-Mahi on the sun-kissed beaches of Bora Bora! I’m so there, point the way! Let’s see, coffee beans, definitely. MacGyver, without a doubt. He could probably make me a computer out of coconut milk and driftwood. And make coconut moonshine. Those are the easy ones. For a book, I’d have to go with Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” And one item from the modern world? A coil of paracord. A really long one. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from marinating in military culture over the years, it’s that you can never have too much rope.
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Website URL: http://www.rhianonetzweiler.com
Blog URL: http://rhianonetzweiler.blogspot.com
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4867331.Rhianon_Etzweiler
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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhianon-Etzweiler/e/B005E0C7X4/ref=sr_tc_2_rm?qid=1312474013&sr=1-2-ent