Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interview With Blog Mistress Rebecca of Dirty Sexy Books

Close EncountersThis month, romance blog Dirty Sexy Books is spotlighting science fiction romance for its Book Club! Rebecca is the brain child behind DSB and I was absolutely delighted when she contacted me to learn more about SFR and inform me that her online club would be picking a title in the sub-genre.

The group will be discussing Katherine Allred’s CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: AN ALIEN AFFAIRS NOVEL. It kicks off tomorrow, so to gear us up I interviewed Rebecca about her love of romance and her blog.

Read on to learn about the DSB Book Club, what type of romance Rebecca would especially like to read (hint: Antonio Banderas) and why she’s particularly deadly with a spatula.

The Galaxy Express: What prompted you to start Dirty Sexy Books?

Dirty Sexy Books: First, I just wanted to say thank you Heather, for having me here at The Galaxy Express. What you’re doing is akin to shining a spotlight on a minnow, and this minnow is grateful, although I might piss myself out of fear/excitement. I hope I don’t embarrass you in return for your vote of confidence, although it’s a given that I’ll embarrass myself.

So, to your question… what prompted me to start DSB? Well, it was rage Heather, pure and simple. I primarily use Amazon to make my online book purchases, and I’d read these five-star rave reviews, I’d buy the book, I’d read the book, and then I’d think to myself, are these people out of their freaking mind?

There are zombie fans who slavishly lick and praise any output by their favorite authors, there are genuinely nice people who listened to their mommas and keep bad thoughts to themselves, and there are evil people spreading misinformation for commercial gain. What’s a reader to do? I realized that my brutal honesty could serve a purpose, and I started posting reviews on my website six months ago.

TGE: What do you consider to be the ingredients for a great romance?

DSB: When it comes to literature, I just ask to be entertained, but romance is different. I want a romance to give me that tingly feeling in the pit of my gut that I got in high school the first time a cute boy passed me a note. If it’s an erotica, I want to throb down low in that place we don’t really talk about out loud, but if we’re being honest, it’s ruling a big part of our primitive lizard brains.

I digress - back to romance. I could talk about plot, character development, pacing, blah, blah, blah, but that’s boring, and it’s dancing around the question rather than charging it like a bull. How do writers create that first love euphoria? The hell if I know. If I did, I’d write a book, make a mint, and buy a house in Hawaii myself.

What I do know is that the best romances build that feeling through small gestures, not honking huge sex-fests. I love good sex in a romance, but it’s not the reason I read them (my hubby *thud* just fainted from shock). For me, it’s about love, and I say to authors, don’t TELL me they’re in love, SHOW me. Sometimes a single look can send a shaft of heat down to my toes. That’s the stuff I live for.

TGE: Which romance couples are unforgettable in your mind, and why?

DSB: Finally, a question I can answer with brevity…

Jamie & Claire from the Outlander Series
Cat & Bones from the Night Huntress Series
Kate and Curran from the Kate Daniels Series…

Aw crap, I just realized you said “and why?” I thought I’d get away with just listing them. You’re killing me Heather. Here’s why: I love these couples because I wish it were me.

TGE: In the past year, which books kept you up all night?

DSB: I read about one book a day, and over the course of a month, I usually come across two or three books that earn my top rating of “It Kept Me Up All Night!” My most recent favorite reads are as follows:

Eyes of Crow by Jeri Smith-Ready
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Sieg Larsson
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Black Blood by John Meaney

I could go on and on, but I put the best books on my Top Ten Lists page, where I list stellar books by genre. I built it for readers who don’t have time to wade through all my reviews, they just want to find a great book pronto.

TGE: Are you seeing any trends in the genre? Will contemporaries and historical romances make comebacks?

DSB: Are historicals on the decline too? Jeez, where the hell have I been? I know why contemporaries are hitting the skids, and it’s because when I think of reading one I get this blotto feeling inside. As a society we’ve all developed Attention Deficit Disorder when it comes to straightforward contemporary romances. If there aren’t any vampires, or zombies, or magic beams of light shooting from the heroine’s fingertips, it’s considered dull. It’s possible there will be a backlash against the supernatural, and people may yearn again for simple stories about us weak, imperfect humans, but for now the paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy books rule.

I suck at predicting trends, so I’ll stay mum on that topic, but I’ll tell you what I’d like to see. I’d like to see a top tier author write a really good romance about Zorro. I have a serious man-in-black-with-a-mask fetish, and nobody is feeding it. Heck, I’d buy a romance featuring any masked superhero really. HELLO PUBLISHERS! GIANT MISSED OPPORTUNITY HERE!


TGE: How does your Book Club operate? What’s the process for joining? What else should potential members know about it?

DSB: Ah, the Dirty Sexy Book Club is an online book group that reads one book a month. We discuss it online at DSB over the course of a week via comments, although I do a video introduction to kick things off.

We’re a fairly democratic group. As moderator I pick a theme for each month. October is devoted to Sci-Fi Romance, so I dubbed it “She Thinks My Tractor Beam is Sexy.” We spend the first week of the month gathering nominations. The second week is open for voting, and then readers have about 5 weeks to get the book and read it before the discussion opens.

Our club is open and all-inclusive. In order to join all anyone needs to do is participate. Some members skip certain months if they don’t like the theme (we’ve done historical, vampires, and romantic suspense so far), so folks can come and go as they please. There’s a hardcore group of 5-6 ladies who stick with it through thick and thin, and I’m pretty grateful they keep me from looking like a total fuck up.

TGE: Is there anything else you’d like to share about Dirty Sexy Books? Upcoming events? A favorite pie recipe?

DSB: Heather, who told you I could cook? Certainly no one in my family. The only humanitarian thing I do with my spatula is kill cockroaches.

I must be a total loser because no, I can’t think of anything exciting coming up at DSB. If I plan out a Rant & Rave column a few days in advance I’m doing really well. I’m like Han Solo, cruising the galaxy, and flying by the seat of my pants in a broken bolt bucket.

Heather, thank you for indulging this dirty book lover, and sharing your personal soapbox. I had a blast, and I’m coming back here again and again to read your stuff, even if you bar the door.

Rebecca, it was great interviewing you (sooo glad I’m not a cockroach), and thanks for your interest in science fiction romance!

To help pass the time until the book club discussion, be sure and check out her post A Nod to My Favorite Sci-Fi Movies—with Romance.

Edited to add: Here's Rebecca's video introduction for the discussion.

Joyfully yours,