Lexi Post has been combining her brand of romance to classic stories to produce intriguing tales filled with a modern taste of saucy heat to the simpler historic love stories. She has revamped Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of Red Death in her novel, Masque. Taken Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Daughter to create her novel Passion’s Poison. In this Making Love 101, Lexi will talk about her retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as the modern love story Passions of Sleepy Hollow. Thanks for your time, Lexi!
Lexi Post’s Making Love 101:
The Passion of Sleepy Hollow is a clever revamping of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. You successfully wove the original story into a new tale and an old romance into a new passion. When you were looking at the Legend of Sleepy Hollow what was the lure of the folklore that made you want to create this erotic love story?
For me it was the realization that the character that receives the most focus from Irving is actually an anti-hero. Ichabod is not a nice person if you read the story carefully, so I wanted to highlight the two characters who were. My only problem was that Brom Bones wasn’t really my type, so I created Braeden. What can I say? I’ve always been attracted to the quiet ones.
How much time did you put into learning about the time period of Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Did you visit Tarrytown or Sleepy Hollow, New York?
There were so many times I drove by Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow and never stopped, so when I started writing this story I beat myself up for not stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. However, as a literature major in school and a literature professor, I am very familiar with the time period. Still, there were a few historical details that hadn’t been covered in classes like the type of stove used, the bathroom situation in an early settlement, and of course the clothing. I even researched the flora and fauna. Luckily, Irving provides some of this last piece in his story. And when it came to the Dutch feel of this early settlement, I called up my aunt and her Dutch relatives for help 🙂
Katrina Van Tassel is a blend of many modern day qualities: independence–both in business and in her personal life since she doesn’t feel she needs to marry. Liberal–she does not blindly believe in the superstitions that her town feels and is interested and supports Max’s excitement for Newtime technology. And she has has a sense of sexual freedom that doesn’t necessarily hold to the sexual conservatism of 18th century; she has no shame or feel remorse in giving herself to Braeden. Is Kat meant to be a woman outside of her own time period or when you were creating her were you making her to be a woman who was timeless?
The answer is all of the above 🙂 First, what we learn from history books about the private lives of people in any time period is often whitewashed. As early as Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, set in a time and place with a very strict societal code, we see Hester following her own passions despite the fact she was married and the man she was attracted to was a minister! My Katrina actually appears rather tame when compared to that character. Second, I wanted Katrina to appeal to the modern reader and since she regularly interacted with women of our time, I could see her recognizing behaviors, dress, and attitudes of today that she liked and adopted.
The first meeting between Kat and Braeden was something I found rather ironical. Braeden who comes from Newtime, 21 century, arrives in Sleepy Hollow which is 18th century–yet it is Kat who is seeing a ghost. Was it a purposeful plot device that the past is being haunted by the future in seeing Braeden as Brom?
Absolutely! I try to give each of my stories a different paranormal twist to make the original classic story more appealing to a modern romance reader. Also, I wanted Braeden to be one of those direct descendants that is a spitting image of his ancestor. This provided me with a great emotional struggle for Katrina.
The magic that is between Braeden and Kat as well as Braeden and Sleepy Hollow is very much steeped in a physical expression of love rather than an emotional bond between them. Why did you make the pivot point of New and Oldtimes sex rather than simply it be a confession of love? Is this basically because this is an Erotic Romance or is there a more involved reason?
Primarily, the reason was that it is erotic romance and I prefer the sex in my books to play a dual role. First, that it shows the progression of the relationship, and second, that it is critical to the plot. Lastly, for this story, I wanted to use it as part of the curse because the witch, based on Katrina’s time period, would not have expected Kat to have sex which made it much more probable that the curse would never be broken. Besides, if I waited for these two to say “I love you” before they could spend more time together, Braeden would have been an old man!
Something I never quite understood about the Van Brunts and the curse was why Braeden was affected yet his brother, Stephen, bore no signs. Why was it specifically Braeden who was huge and freakishly strong? Was he the only Van Brunt; I had assumed from what Dame Vandend had said about the curse that all of Brom’s line were to be cursed to be too strong for courting/dating/mating.
Very insightful! I had one boy in each family be the one born with the ridiculous strength. Braeden’s father had it but his uncle didn’t. I felt this was closer to how real genetics works. I just didn’t see the witch having enough power to change biology that much 🙂
What was it about Kat that made her so special that Braeden’s strength never caused her harm?
I like to think of this as fate. Braeden’s instinct with the small in stature, big in heart, Katrina, was so deep seeded that he didn’t have to “think” about his actions around her.
Braeden is a perfect example of someone who should at some point learn from the three strikes or lightening striking or striking out deals being bad, bad, bad. Several times in the book he screws up and Sleepy Hollow disappears for another year in Newtime time. Why is it that he is such a knucklehead and never develops a sense of perspective in these 363 day vacations apart from Kat that he should put on his big girl panties and learn the value of getting all his eggs in a row and ducks in a basket?
Hmm, I think what you are asking is why he doesn’t figure out the time glitch earlier? It is always a difficult balance when intersecting the paranormal element with the “real” world as opposed to simply having a whole paranormal world where witches and ghosts are an accepted norm. For Braeden, the idea that a whole village could disappear into the past was just too impossible to accept. He is a numbers man. He reads the Wall Street Journal, not X-Men comic books. That something so impossible was possible had to be taught multiple times before he could accept it. That’s why I had to literally hit him over the head with it before he got it 🙂
Kat makes many protestations about not loving Brom and that she is in love with Braeden even though she is hanging on to the resentment of her loss of Brom. Is she necessarily hanging on to her love for her first lover and dividing her heart or is her heart solely Braeden’s?
Kat’s journey from loving Brom to loving Braeden is long and bumpy and Braeden’s physical similarities to Brom don’t help. Kat’s unresolved separation from Brom also plays into her quandary. In addition, Brom was her first and only which makes his imprint on her heart all that much deeper. Luckily for Braeden, Kat is finally able to let Brom go and give her whole heart to Braeden, but it does take some tough experiences to make that happen.
Is this going to be a stand alone novel or is there any chance at all that we might see Reed’s story?
Ah, you caught that. I am hoping to write Reed’s story eventually, but he has to wait as there are a few other stories in front of his 🙂
If you were to review your own book what would you have to say about it? Tell me what you feel are the strong part and the weak parts about your novel and in hindsight is there anything that you might have changed.
Whoa, review my own book? Now that is a scary thought! I guess what I like about Passion of Sleepy Hollow is that there is so much story to go along with the erotic pieces. I also like that if a reader is familiar with the original story, there is a whole other level of appreciation for the characters. As for what I would have changed, I would have liked to put more in, such as the history, more about the ancestors, and especially more about how the villain became what he was, but the story was already quite long and I needed to keep the pace moving along.
What is the difference between how you structured love stories when you first began writing novels and how you do it today?
OMG I have learned so much! My first story which took two years to write, I had a cast of thousands with about eight point of view characters and a black moment that was purely external. And that is just to name a few of its problems. When I started writing that story, I had no idea where I was going to go with it. Today, I am still about 80% pantser, but now I start with a few crucial elements that I have worked out thoroughly. I have also become more character focused and having a Professor of Psychology as a friend who I can bounce ideas off of regarding character motivations and past histories has definitely helped. I’m still learning to torture my characters to help that happily ever after become even sweeter and I have goals for improving other areas of my storytelling. My hope is that each book becomes a better and better experience for the reader.
If you were recommending your other books what would you tell someone–in brief summation–to get that person interested?
I would have to say MASQUE is about Synn, a man living in stasis who is determined to take Rena through the 7 Pleasure Rooms to free 73 trapped souls, but who could lose what he never thought he could have in the process. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death.”
PASSION’S POISON is about a woman who discovers that love and death far outweigh the one-night-stands she must have to release her sexual poisons and stay alive. Inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”
What is the ultimate love story ever told as far as you are concerned?
For me it will always be Beauty and the Beast. I am forever hooked on the idea of inner beauty and worth as opposed to outer beauty, and that it takes a special someone to see the beauty inside and make another’s life amazing. Yeah, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool romantic. What can I say?
Thank you for being part of Making Love 101!
Meet this Love Maker:
Lexi Post spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From the Medieval work “The Pearl” to the 20th century American epic The Grapes of Wrath, from War and Peace to the Bhagavad Gita, she’s read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.
But Lexi’s first love is romance novels. In an effort to marry her two first loves, she started writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and found she loved it. Lexi feels there is no end to the romantic inspiration she can find in great literature.
Lexi lives with her husband and cat in the beautiful Virgin Islands where gorgeous sunsets, warm weather, and driving on the left are the norm.
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Passion of Sleepy Hollow Synopsis:
Recluse Braeden Van Brunt is not happy to be the Headless Horseman…until he meets Katrina Van Tassel, owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, whose allure bewitches him from the front desk into the bedroom. When he discovers Kat and the village of Sleepy Hollow are cursed to exist in the present day for only one weekend a year, he realizes the sacrifice he must make if he wants to keep her.
Katrina Van Tassel lives between slivers of time. She thought she was through grieving her betrothed’s death, but her dreams flare to life when his mirror image arrives, requesting a room. Drawn to Braeden, she is taken to more erotic heights of intimacy than she ever imagined, but she can’t be sure if her heart is with him or the love from her past.
Knowing he must conquer both time and ghosts to keep the only woman he’s ever loved, Braeden must put the past to rest. But the dead may not rest in Sleepy Hollow.
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