Lucy Felthouse brought me a good deal of sunshine and dirty minded happiness in offering to let me review her novel, Stately Pleasures. My body may still be feeble and weak because four months of being ill is just plain old crazy talk but this book is just what the doctor ordered and I had no issue taking my medicine. Lucy took the time to talk about how she makes the love that makes the reader satisfaction and I am sharing it with you. Thanks Lucy, for the chat and the naughty book read while I am too sick to be naughty!
Lucy Felthouse’s Making Love 101:
I couldn’t help but find Jeremy Davenport deliciously appealing. While he is first interviewing Alice he isn’t actually doing anything untoward but he seemed incredibly decadent and seductive. I was confused if it was the way Alice was perceiving him, something you were implying somewhere in subtext or my own mental naughty just being incredibly sensitive. Was Jeremy meant to have some arresting allure upon his first introduction?
I think it’s inevitable that Jeremy came across with this allure. Since the story is told from Alice’s perspective, the reader knows everything she’s thinking and feeling, and from the very first moment she meets Jeremy, she finds him attractive.
Of course, the fact that I based his looks on one of my favourite male celebrities probably meant that there’s some subtext, too!
Alice is a very down to earth and a comically relatable female character. I think that despite her very easy agreement to a rather alarming sexual harassment in the workplace situation that she is someone that is very likeable; you never get irritated by her actions or mental state. When you were developing her character what did you want the readers to keep in the forefront of their minds about her as a heroine?
I’m really glad you found her relatable, because that’s exactly what I was going for. I wanted her to just be a normal woman with a huge drive to succeed.
The main thing I wanted people to have in mind is that she agrees to Jeremy and Ethan’s proposal not because she’s weak, but because she’s so determined to climb the career ladder, to achieve her ultimate goal and get the job she’s always longed for.
When writing a Menage Romance there is a great deal of balancing to be done as well as working on intimacy amongst the interpersonal relationships of all three characters. When you were writing Stately Pleasures were you ever having any problems in the development or formations of the individual connections between Ethan/Alice, Jeremy/Alice, Ethan/Jeremy and maintaining that balance?
Stately Pleasures isn’t the first menage I’ve written, but it is the first menage romance. It was also my first novel, so there were always going to be lots of challenges for me.
Having said that, I didn’t really have any problems in working out the individual connections between the three of them because I had a very good image in my head of how the two men behaved together, and how their differing personalities would make them behave with Alice. The rest, I just wrote and tried to trust my brain. If I worry about these things too much along the way, I don’t get anything written!
When you are writing a book that is a menage love story how does it vary from writing a novel involving a traditional love story between two people? What do you feel makes a successful menage story work and what are some of the things that makes a menage love story fail?
It’s more complex, naturally, but it also adds another exciting element to things. Love between two people can be confusing and awkward enough with lots of barriers for people to cross. So with menage, you’ve got three people involved and this adds an extra unpredictability to things – you’ve got to get three people to be on the same page about their relationship to end up with a happily ever after.
As for what works, and what doesn’t, it’s difficult to say as books are such a subjective thing for each reader.
The sexual dynamic between Jeremy and Ethan is in a somewhat grey area at times. They are not sexually involved with one another but there is one scene in particular in the library, and Alice takes note of it, where Ethan performs a sexual act on her that easily rides the line of male/male interaction. Where do the lines between the two friends blur? Do you feel that when you are writing a Menage Romance like Stately Pleasures with two men with a long history like Jeremy and Ethan that those lines are less defined? How do you feel it effects the story if at all and do male/female/male menage stories have any different dynamic than male/male/female stories?
Jeremy and Ethan have been friends for a long time and as such are very comfortable with each other. They’re close, but there’s nothing sexual between them – they just happen to be two men that like sharing a woman between them. And when a woman such as Alice comes along and blows them away, their desire for her probably does blur those lines a little, or at least makes them less aware of things they might previously have found odd.
Their relationship unpins a great deal of the story, their comfort and trust in each other allows the whole plot to take place.
And yes, there are definitely different dynamics between different types of menage relationships. But this is all down to the characters and their wants and needs. Before I wrote Stately Pleasures, I always knew that both men would be utterly focussed on Alice. Had they tried to lead me in a different direction, I would have gone along with it. But they didn’t, so I trusted them 🙂
Ethan is much more in touch with his emotions and he has a more tender relationship with Alice. I felt many times like it felt you were favoring him because he was more emotionally accessible and softer. Is it easier to write for a character like Ethan who has a great deal more emotional scope than for Jeremy who is a lot more of a dark, intense and more controlled? Who do you think is a more identifiable hero?
Jeremy and Ethan needed to have differences. They’re friends and are close, but everyone’s personalities are different so I needed to reflect this in the book. It just felt more natural to me to have the “lord of the manor”, the one with the aristocratic upbringing to be more controlled, and his friend to still be utterly alpha, but to allow his feelings to control his actions, too.
I can’t say who’s more identifiable. I absolutely adore both of them 🙂
I couldn’t help but start wonder about halfway through the book if Alice had learned anything at all about her workplace other than where the best places to be tied up to were. When you were writing the book did you develop a history of Davenport Manor for your own knowledge?
Davenport Manor is utterly fictional – it’s a place that’s been pieced together like a jigsaw in my mind from real stately homes I’ve been to. So I have an image in my mind of what the place looks like, but not of its history. I’m sure, though, that Alice knows all about the history, partly because it’s her job, and partly because she’s a total history buff 🙂
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.
It’s really difficult to answer this question because I wrote the book! I’m so close to it that I can’t review it objectively. I’m sure if I went back into it now with my editing hat on that I’d find things I wanted to change and tweak, but there’s nothing major, I don’t think. It’s had great reviews so far, so I’m going to stick with them 🙂
What is the difference between how you structured love stories when you first began writing erotic novels and how you do it today?
Stately Pleasures was my first novel, though I’ve since co-authored another novel and am just about to go back and edit my second solo novel. Stately Pleasures was my way of proving to myself that I could write a novel. It’s very much structured almost like each chapter is a short story, a separate scene with the love story as the arc.
My second novel is very different, it’s a lot more complex, with more characters and the plot itself is a mystery/thriller. So, just as I’ve been doing with my short stories for years, with my novels I’m trying something new each time.
If someone who had never read any of your stories was to ask you to recommend them a book from each genre you have written what would be the list you would give them and why would you choose those books?
Wow. That’s a lot of stuff to choose from. Okay, well if someone wanted one of my novels, they only have Stately Pleasures to choose from, currently.
If they’re looking for more vanilla erotic romance, I’d recommend Off the Shelf or A French Affair. They’re both very romantic stories with hot sex, too.
For m/m, I’d recommend Illicit Relations because it’s heavy on the romance, but the sex is still super hot.
For f/f, I’d recommend Girls Rule, Boys Drool because it’s my latest lesbian collection and has a good selection of stories.
For paranormal, I’d recommend Reindeer Games: Cupid because it’s sweet and sexy all at once.
And if someone was looking for pure erotica, I’d recommend my World of Sin series. It’s part of the Ellora’s Cave for Men series, but every comment I’ve had from women so far has been good, so it’s good for people that don’t necessarily want romance with their sex.
I’ll stop there, as I could go on forever!
What is the ultimate love story ever told as far as you are concerned?
The love a writer has for writing, definitely. It’s incredibly hard work, it can be upsetting, frustrating and have very little reward, but we do it anyway, because we love it. That, and we’re all crazy.
Thank you so much for being part of Making Love 101!
Meet this Love Maker:
Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati.
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Stately Pleasures Synopsis:
Alice Brown has just landed her dream job. Property manager at Davenport Manor, a British stately home. It’s only a nine-month contract to cover maternity leave, but it’s the boost up the career ladder she so desperately needs.
Unfortunately, things don’t get off to the best start, when Alice finds her boss, Jeremy Davenport, in a compromising position. Far from being embarrassed by what’s happened, Jeremy turns things around on Alice and makes her out to be the one in the wrong. So when he and his best friend and head of security, Ethan Hayes, then throw an ultimatum at her, she’s so stunned and confused that she goes along with their indecent proposal.
When the dust settles and Alice has time to think about things, though, she realises that perhaps it isn’t such a bad thing. There are worse things she could be doing to advance her career, after all.
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