Berengaria Brown is the author of over 100 works crossing all genres from Paranormal, Adventure, Historical, LGBT, Contemporary and Menage Erotica. When she runs out of things to read she makes up her own stories to keep her occupied. She allowed me to review her book Seeds of Love and to interview her about how she creates love. Thank you, Berengaria!
Berengaria Brown’s Making Love 101:
I’ve read three of your novels, Seeds of Love, Seducing Susannah, and Enslaved (Freedom Be Damned book1) and in each book you have very different relationship dynamics. When you are creating a story what do you feel is the foundation of any good love story?
The characters. It’s all about the characters.
In Seducing Susannah the novella is more of a fantasy encounter Susannah has with two men she has been lusting for for sometime. In your mind what differentiates straight up erotica from erotic romance and where do you feel Seducing Susannah falls?
It’s completely character driven. The characters make it very clear to me what they want. I thought “Seeds of Love” was going to be a lesbian romance. Bev certainly wanted Hyacinthe and only Hyacinthe. But Cinthe decided she wanted Inigo as well and the story evolved from there.
When you were writing Seeds of Love which character spoke loudest to you? Who do you feel was the easiest for you to develop?
Beverley is the central character. It’s her story. She arrived in my head with all her worries and troubles, yet with a shining, radiant love and courage centered around Cinthe.
Seeds of Love is a very interesting read for me. I am someone that gets a great deal from subtext. Did you intend for there to be any meaning in Hyacinthe being named a flower with a reported promiscuous nature who would be pollinated by many of those she encountered? And only through her love with Beverley and Inigo was she able to blossom to her fullest?
Congratulations! Not very many people notice that. My characters tend to name themselves and often surprise me with their names. I got to the third book of the “Forever Yours” series before a minor character in all the books told me he was a vampire. I was really shocked when he told me. I’d never written a vampire before. And then he pointed out his name comes from the Carpathian Mountains so why wouldn’t he be a vampire? Hey, there was no way I was going to argue with him. I just take dictation from characters like him some days!
There aren’t a whole lot female/female love stories; it seems to be an overlooked genre whereas there are a great abundance of male/male romances. What do you feel creates this imbalance? What makes writing about the love relationship between Beverley and Hyacinthe special to you?
I think where gay lovers have been persecuted at times in the past, lesbian lovers were ignored because that patriarchal kind of male leadership never realized that any woman could find true pleasure without a man. It’s awesome that more lesbian romance stories are being written now, even though some mainstream publishers still won’t buy them. Beverley’s story is very special because she has been stomped on so often she lacks self-esteem. She doesn’t fit the traditional concept of beauty, and it takes a very special person to see the grace, courage, strength, and loyalty in her soul.
It seemed to me that Beverley’s love for Hyacinthe was more intense and emotional because of the fact that she was so worried that it was going to be retracted. The relationship that you gave her with Inigo and Hyacinthe actually enforced her security more so than Hyacinthe could have provided alone. Some might feel that this means that he is “turning” her straight. How would you respond to reviewers who might nitpick over her new feelings for Inigo?
Inigo’s feelings for Beverley aren’t sexual. He respects her as a person
and a friend, that’s why he’s prepared to work with her because they both love Cinthe. In turn, Bev knows that Hyacinthe loves and needs Inigo as well as her. Bev doesn’t love him and never will, but she’s willing to cooperate with him because of her love for Cinthe. Inigo and Bev will never have a sexual relationship, but already they’re moving from tolerance to friendship and respect.
In Enslaved there is a love quadrangle that is m/m/m/f where a female enters an established relationship between three men. I know you have many more books than what I have read–but what is it about the three books I have read that sexual fluidity within the groups appeal to you in such a strong way?
Once again, it’s all about the characters and what they want. These three men were such a tight group that Evelyn had no hope of choosing just one or two of them. Besides, they all wanted her.
When you are crafting a story do you have any special key elements you find yourself using over and over again that you feel have become an unconscious Berengaria signature plot device or symbol of love or favored love making act?
I have tried not to repeat things, but after a certain number of books it gets harder. I have a spreadsheet of all the main character names I’ve used, to try to avoid repetition there, but as I said earlier, the characters often name themselves anyway.
I have written far more book set in summer than in winter. Summer is my favorite time of year and I guess it shows. Although the “Elinor’s Stronghold” series is set around winter and winter itself is an important factor in the books.
One way I keep myself fresh is by changing genres. I write paranormal, contemporary, and historical.
I read the author blurb at the end of your books and it said that you began writing because you became frustrated when your voracious appetite for erotica couldn’t be fed by the availability of books before you. When you first began writing erotic novels what was it that you liked most about the experience? What of your first few novels do you look back at now and feel most strongly about those first storylines and why?
My first heroines (and quite a few of them now as well) all had a flaw. One wore glasses, another was an asthmatic, one was very tall, one was overweight, and so on. I hated the old-fashioned stories where the heroine was always stunningly beautiful, so my heroines were always ordinary women who found a man (or men) who thought them very special.
For me, writing is always a journey of discovery. I begin with a start, an ending, and a few points I want to hit along the way, but how we arrive there is always an exciting adventure.
Do you feel that you have personally grown through your writing? That your journey as a writer has lead you to discover things about your own character you hadn’t known before?
Hell yes. Every book, every character teaches the writer something they didn’t know before. As I write, I’m stretched and changed with all the new people I meet, even if some of them are only in my head. I don’t plot each chapter before I write, so the journey is always one of exploration and discovery.
What is the difference between how you structured love stories when you first began writing erotic novels and how you do it today?
I tend to include more details of how the characters think. I like to get into their heads more than I did before. But I still don’t ever outline chapters. It’s still a journey of discovery to get to the end.
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?
Male Male: “Dogged Pursuit” – A werewolf who’s a limo driver!
Lesbian: “Lady Caroline’s Reward” – how could lesbians find love and happiness in the past?
Menage: “Shared Possession” – I worked really hard building this world. It’s very different from anything else I’ve done.
MF: “The Vicar’s Virgin” – possibly the best book I’ve written.
Historical: “Pillaging Elinor’s Castle” – I love the whole medieval concept.
What is the ultimate love story ever told as far as you are concerned?
Now that’s hard. “Gone With the Wind” perhaps? With “Romeo and Juliet” as runner up.
Berengaria Brown’s Bio:
Since her favorite authors could not write as fast as she could read, one day Berengaria decided to try writing a book herself. While she was waiting to hear back from the publisher she wrote another one, and another one. Now Berengaria is a multi-published author with books right across the spectrum of erotic romance. Whatever your taste, Berengaria has a book for you. And she is thrilled to be here at Ellora’s Cave.
Berengaria Brown’s Web Tracks:
Berengaria Brown’s Book:
Beverley is hopelessly in love with Hyacinthe. Hyacinthe loves Bev, but she also loves their hot-bodied coworker Inigo. Which doesn’t help Bev’s already low self-esteem. The only saving grace is that Inigo seems a pretty decent guy. Menage sex gradually brings the triad together-until Cinthe’s fairy wings sprout. Inigo and Bev don’t cope well with this change-because everyone knows there’s no such thing as a fairy. Bev’s obsession with her physical inadequacies takes a backseat to her concern over the wings sticking out of her lover’s back. While Beverley struggles to come to terms with having a fairy for a girlfriend, she also has to deal with someone stealing rare plants from the botanical gardens where they all work. Inside Scoop: Female/female/male sex is what every fairy needs to make her wings sprout.
Berengaria on All The Things Inbetween:
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