Conversation with Jane Lockwood

Today we have as our Risky guest Jane Lockwood, whose first erotic historical, Forbidden Shores (Signet Eclipse), is released October 2. Your comment or question through Monday will enter you into a drawing for a signed copy of the book; the winner will be announced here on Tuesday.

Janet: Jane, welcome to the Riskies. I feel as though I know you already! Tell us about the book.

Jane: Forbidden Shores is about three people who each fall in love with the one person of the three who cannot love them back. I think I tend to see love as a catalyst, a powerful force that can be destructive as well as healing. Generally everything I write starts off with people who are quite happy as they are until they fall in love. Then they kick and scream as everything changes. It’s set against the background of the abolitionist movement and takes place mostly on a Caribbean island; Clarissa, the heroine, actually quotes from The Tempest at one point, and Hero #2 (March) is the enigmatic, powerful ruler of the island, a sort of Prospero figure. And if you were really going to explore the analogy, Allen, Hero #1, is Caliban. (Oh, and by the way, it’s much more explicit than the cover or back cover blurb suggests.)

Janet: What was your inspiration?

Jane: A brilliant book called Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild about the British abolitionist movement. Abolition was a hot, polarizing issue in Georgian England and full of conflict and sacrifice and passion, and I knew I wanted to write about abolitionists after I read it. I originally intended to set the book in England but my editor thought Quakers collecting signatures for petitions in the rain not nearly as sexy as sex on the beach of a Caribbean island.

Janet: So you had to deal with the issue of slavery in the book.

Jane: It was very painful and difficult to write about. Slaves working on sugar plantations were treated inhumanly and shamefully. I certainly didn’t want to go into lurid details, but I didn’t want to tone it down, and neither did I want to idealize the slaves who appear as secondary characters.

Janet: OK, let’s talk about something safer–sex. You have a menage a trois–was that difficult to write? And since there are so many erotic romances with menages, how did you make yours different, or dare I say, risky?

Jane: After diligent research–[unseemly snorts of laughter]–I didn’t want to make it too slick and multi-earth-moving. It’s part crazy lust but it also represents the desperation of all three not getting what they really want and knowing that this is as close as they can get. So there’s a fair amount of clumsiness and reluctance, but the heroine, whose idea it is, has the best time (my editor’s suggestion).

Janet: What’s the hardest thing about writing erotic romance?

Jane: I think you could have phrased that a little better. Really, finding other things for your characters to do; making them believable as people.

Janet: Is there any sort of sexual practice you’d feel uncomfortable writing about?

Jane: In this book, with its context, any sort of master/slave sex play. I guess I’m expected to say “no non-consensual sex” but I think once your characters are experimenting and exploring they may well do things they don’t want to do–or think they didn’t want to do.

Janet: Did you do any special research?

Jane: Not as much as I would have liked. For the sea voyage, I re-read a wonderful book by Eric Newby, The Last Grain Race, that gives an incredible portrait of life below decks on a sailing ship. Newby, who died last year, was the travel writer for the Observer in England, and in 1939 he sailed on a grain ship from Dublin to Australia on a ship that’s now a restaurant in Philadelphia, the Moshulu. I also re-read The Wide Sargasso Sea, a book I find unsatisfying because both voices are Jean Rhys’s (even though she has a wonderful voice). As well as some books on the history of the Caribbean, I found a couple of great websites: the Antigua & Barbuda Museum and Brycchan Carey’s Links and Web Resources for Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation. I visited Bristol, now my favorite English city, and its wonderful (free!) museums. And I borrowed the wording for a manumission from Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative.

Janet: What’s your favorite part of the book?

Jane: The chapter where Allen does his own laundry (a big no-no for a Georgian gentleman) and then climbs the mast of a ship (talk about phallic symbolism!).

Ask Jane questions about Forbidden Shores or writing erotic romance. I’ll make sure she’s here to answer them!

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33 Responses to Conversation with Jane Lockwood

  1. Nathalie says:

    Hi Jane!

    I read your book Dedication and absolutely loved it 🙂 and I was wondering if I will also like this book, because it must be quite different than a regency romp!!!

  2. Lily says:

    Why do authors take 2 identities when writing different genre? I mean… even on your website you have your 2 alter egos on it.

  3. Hi Nathalie, glad you liked Dedication and I hope you like this one too.

    Lily, the two names business was a contractual obligation, that I write erotic romance as Jane–it’s all to do with option mss. and so on. But I’m cross-marketing as you’ve noticed!

  4. ChristyJan says:

    Hi Jane,

    Congratulations on the upcoming release of Forbidden Shores. The cover is beautiful. I’ll definitely have to read this book – erotic romance and a male who does his own laundry. Wow! lol

  5. I am still awaiting a copy of your marvelous The Rules of Gentility
    (I can say this with total honesty because I already read it and laughed all the way through) which I won somewhere, so it would be beyond greedy for me to score Forbidden Shores…but a girl can hope. Love your wit, even in this interview!

    I set a novella on Barbados once, but the race issue proved to be too tricky for me. I know American Civil War-era books are pretty dead just because of this. Did you find resistance to your concept, or was it accepted since you set it on an island? Did you get to hang out in the sun and drink rum drinks?

  6. Hi Christyjan and Maggie.

    Maggie, if Janet hasn’t sent you a copy of The Rules that you won as a prize she is destined to spend most of the afternoon getting ready to mail things…I can see I’ll have to spank her.

    Maggie, as I said, the slavery issue was difficult. I started off with an interest in the abolitionist movement and I think my editor was right in asking me to move it to an (imaginary and anonymous island of my imagination) because it made the stakes greater for my characters.

    I think the American civil war is coming back–my buddy Diane Wylie
    has done pretty well with her civil war-set historicals.

  7. AndreaW says:

    Jane and Janet, what a great interview! The book sounds so….forbidden! Do you do anything special to put yourself in a different “frame of mind” when writing in such different genres?

    ~Andrea

  8. tetewa says:

    Hi Jane glad to have you here today. Enjoyed the interview and love your cover for the book! I’m looking forward to adding this book to my TBR pile.

  9. Jane:

    What is next for you? Are you working on something else? And how does your voice change between Mullany and Lockwood, if at all?

    {I just got RofG, btw, haven’t cracked it yet, but am saving it for a treat after I write enough)

  10. janegeorge says:

    Am now thinking unseemly thoughts about Quakers in the rain…

    Okay, enough of that. A question: was it difficult to satisfy the demands of a HEA with the way you set up your menage? Or, (without giving anything away) is the HEA less of a given in an erotic romance?

  11. Diane Gaston says:

    Janet and Jane, do you ever find yourselves talking to yourself? Inquiring mental health professionals want to know!

    I also want to note that there are commenters here who LIKE THE COVER.

    Lily, I think one reason authors take different names is so that they signal the reader what type of story they are getting. JD Robb – futuristic suspense; Nora Roberts – Romance. Jane Lockwood – erotic historical romance; Janet Mullany – historical ???? chic lit??? I think Rules of Gentility is in a class all its own!

    I applaud you, Jane, for taking on two (or more) risky story elements. Way to go!!

  12. KimW says:

    ooh, I like the sound of this risqué book or is that Risky book. Who can resist a love triangle in the Carribean. I want to join in and hear more about it. lol

    Your answer to “What else do you like to do” on your site had me laughing. That’s a great answer. So I’m going to ask….

    Name a place that you’d like to go to that you’ve never been to?

    Name one place you’ve been to that you’d love to visit again?

  13. I may have to get this book just for the novel concept of a man doing laundry… :))

  14. Andrea and Megan–you both asked, more or less, about voice for both subgenres. I think I write pretty much the same in both identities, it’s more a question of different characters. As Jane I choose people and situations that will work in an erotic romance.

    Think of it this way: Janet’s characters would slip on a banana skin; Jane’s characters would have unpeeled the banana

  15. Hi Jane!

    The menage is very fragile and for various reasons none of the three are very happy with it. That’s about all I can say without major spoilers!

    Tetawa, Diane, and Kim–I’m glad you like the cover but I feel it doesn’t represent what the book is about at all.

  16. Name a place that you’d like to go to that you’ve never been to?
    Prague. I’ve heard it’s gorgeous and I’d love to see a performance of Don Giovanni in the opera house where it premiered

    Name one place you’ve been to that you’d love to visit again?
    Bristol. I was there last year for research and I’d love to go back for several days (and this time visit my nephew who’s a chef in the city).

    Great questions!

  17. ellie says:

    Hi Jane!
    Congrats on the release. Sounds unique and lovely artwork cover. I enjoyed the interview which had great information about the book and background.

  18. Santa says:

    Congrats on your latest, Jane. I am still waiting to get my hands on a copy of Rules. I hope to do so this coming weekend.

    I am fascinated by this new book on a number of different levels. A setting outside of England and the Regency. The abolitionist movement as background. A menage at the suggestion of the heroine. I can’t wait to read it.

    I adored Dedication which has become a favorite re-read on my keeper shelf. I know it will have great company very soon.

  19. Hi Santa
    both Janet and I will be signing at the NJ Bookfair on Saturday Oct 6 so I hope we’ll finally meet. We really can’t go on meeting online like this…

  20. Elena Greene says:

    Thanks for the great interview, Jane! I feel as if we are friends already…

    My copy of FS just arrived a few days ago. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  21. bamabelle says:

    Jane,

    Forbidden Shores sounds amazing! I enjoy erotic romance and look forward to reading your contribution to the genre.

    I’m sorry that your cover did not represent the book accurately, but it is very aesthetically pleasing. 🙂

  22. Elena, how strange. I feel as though I know you, too… and you have FB already????
    I’m jealous. I have one author copy. Actually the cover is better in real life because the title is embossed (or whatever–it’s bumpy) in gold and my name is in bumpy white. It invites fondling.
    I’m also blogging today over at Kate Pearce’s blog (it’s a real chore for me to figure out the html so please google!) and there’s a contest there too. And you can see all of my appearances (actually there aren’t that many) at my website, http://www.janelockwood.com.

  23. Tracy Grant says:

    Great interview! (Janet seems to know Jane so well :-). The book sounds fascinating! Janet/Jane, have you been to the Museum of the City of London? They had a wonderful exhibit on the abolitionist movement when I was there a few years ago.

  24. Cara King says:

    I see now, Jane, why you weren’t thrilled with the cover! I do think it’s very pretty, but it does seem to promise a different book… 🙂

    Cara

  25. CrystalG says:

    Great interview. Forbidden Shores sounds great.

  26. Amy S. says:

    Great interview! Have you ever modeled a character from a family member or a friend? Forbidden Shores sounds great!

  27. Have you ever modeled a character from a family member or a friend?
    Not consciously, Amy (good question). I think tho that writers tend to have a sort of radar that picks up and stores gestures or mannerisms and bits of dialogue. I know that if I want to think of something in Regency-speak I imagine how my father would phrase it (he’s 96!). Possibly not the sort of things my hero in this book says, tho!

  28. Lily says:

    Thanx Jane for the explanations for the two names… part of the contract.

  29. Nathalie says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Nathalie says:

    Hi Jane, Maggie is not the only one who won a copy of Rules of Gentility… but I won it on another website.

    And don’t spank Janet, she will be a good girl!

  31. Caffey says:

    Hi Jane!!!! I know you’ve heard this, but wow, sounds so fab! I rarely can find more sensual historicals. I read them from traditional to erotica romance ones! So its exciting to know about this one! Jane, will we expect more of these reads from you? Either more connected characters from this book or other of more erotica romance historicals?

    By the way, I do remember DEDICATION. Its a keeper!

  32. Caffey says:

    Jane, I have a fun question for you! You might have heard something similar to this before 🙂

    If you could invite 3 to 5 authors from the past or present, who have inspired you in anyway, to your home for dinner, who would you invite? What would you want to ask them?

    Last do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to serve them?

  33. Santa says:

    Fab, Jane/Janet! I look forward to meeting you(s) as well. My people will call your people!

    Santa
    Off to find people….

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