Desiree Holt is the author of over 100 novels of all sorts, covering all genres, with love in mind. Since she is an expert in creating romance and bringing lovers together she is just the person to chat with for a Making Love 101. Talking about her novels Quarterback Sneak and Coyote Heat, Desiree clues us into how she comes to make sparks, magic, heat and forever afters between her heroes and heroines. Thanks, Desiree!
Desiree Holt’s Making Love 101:
In Quarterback Sneak you employ one of my most favorite relationship plots which is the longtime crush. Max was plainly the obvious choice for her before he came up with Operation Valentine’s Day. What is it about romances about lovers discovering that the one or the other has wanted them for so long that appeals to readers?
I think everyone wants that happy ending, their Prince (or Princess) Charming and who better than the guy or gal that you have the hots for but have to pretend you don’t. You get to know that person first and by the time the emotion and the intimacy arrives there is a solid foundation. Readers go, “Aah. Of course! I want one, too.”
When you are creating a love story like Quarterback Sneak where the focus is so clearly on the heroine, Stacy benefiting from all of Max’s efforts–do you worry that readers won’t find her likeable? She was always about how she would feel being alone at Valentine’s Day. How she would be perceived at her Valentine’s Party after Kurt dumped her. She wouldn’t even repay him by going to his party. Seems sort of self centered to me.
I hope they didn’t get the impression. I wanted people to see her and think, I’ve been there. I’ve made bad choices in guys. I always seem to be on the outside looking in on holidays, wishing others well. I wanted them to see her tough outer shell really hid a woman with fierce longings and a sense of insecurity. We’ve all been there, right?
I read another title by you called Coyote Heat, it’s a part of series about Navy SEALs (SEALs on Fire Series). I am a huge sucker for military men, alpha to the max. I found that in both books the men admit to strong emotions quickly and want the commitment before the women do. Is this a touch of creative fantasy or is this what you feel makes a good relationship?
I think it’s a little of both. Men usually take longer to commit leaving women uncertain. The heroes I create are all in for a committed relationship but because of the nature of what they do, they want the commitment from the woman first. It’s the security of that relationship that sustains them when they are laying their lives on the line every day. I think men sometimes get a bad rap. I was married to the ultimate alpha male and he wasn’t afraid to let me know he was all into the relationship if I was.
Just what do you feel is the best foundation in writing any novel for lovers to connect and love to develop and grow?
Wow, that’s hard to say! My stories are character-driven. I create my hero and heroine first and flesh them out as people, and the story develops from there. So I guess for each story it depends on who they are. Sometimes the foundation is a shared interest. Sometimes it’s danger. Sometimes it’s fighting the past. The most important thing is to learn about each other. And by the way, my heroines are always strong women.
Both of the men in your books are very much alpha men, in your opinion what traits make up the ideal hero? On the flipside, what are some of the things you feel ruin male characters? Of all the characters you have written are there any you feel you failed in hindsight?
Wow. Okay, the ideal hero. Strong, protective, secure in his own identity. So secure that he not only gives his woman the freedom to be herself but encourages her. Whatever direction that takes. He has many good qualities but is also flawed, because, well, he’d human. And it’s those flaws that make him so appealing.
What do I think ruins male characters? When authors substitute arrogance for self-confidence and don’t know the different. When they confuse cruelty and strength. When they don’t show the hero’s softer side, his romantic side, however minimal it might be. When they confuse the ability to control with the need to possess. Women want their romantic heroes to be like those in their fantasies, but they also want them believable.
I’m sure there are some of my heroes I shortchanged, especially in the beginning before my craft improved, so it’s hard for me to recall a specific one. On the flipside, however, I have written a lot of heroes I love but the one that is my favorite is Joe in Once Upon a Wedding. I can’t tell you why or it will spoil the story, but I just truly love him.
When you are creating a love story and you are developing a leading female character do you create her to compliment the male character or do you create her separate and then when she possibly does the things that drives readers crazy (jumping to conclusion, endangering herself and/or both of them, lying to him), do you make her appealing by making us see her through the heroes eyes so that we can see her and hopefully love her like he does?
My stories are all character driven. The plot evolves from the chemistry between the hero and heroine. Once I have them firmly fixed in my mind I play the ‘What If?’ game. ‘What if they met at, oh, an adult toy store?’ Maybe she’s looking to put a little spice in her life, maybe he saw her outside and was so drawn to her he followed her inside, and…well, you get the idea. And I try to make them complement each other, so one person’s flaws are the other one’s strength. Also, they talk to me while I write, so often I end up in a direction I hadn’t even thought about. And I always write from both POV’s in my stories. I feel it gives the characters dimension to see them through a set of eyes besides my own. It allows me to offer explanations for their actions and also to show that people are human, they have flaws and can still be lovable. It’s all about adapting to each other. If the hero can love her, than so can the reader.
Coyote Heat was part of a series you worked on with a group of other authors. How does putting a story like that together work? How do you all coordinate so that the storytelling doesn’t conflict?
We’ve done this before and some of us still do. We create a basic outline for the series-the setting, the theme, then we outline our own plots and characters. We discuss crossover scenes from one story to another and then one person will write the scene and send it around for revisions. And of course, when we have our story together we post a synopsis so everyone can refer to it.
What sort of love stories do you like most to write? Coyote Heat is military men, Quarterback Sneak is sports celebrity, I know you have some BDSM, Paranormal Romance and at least one Historical Romance.
I think for me it’s just writing a good love story. It’s a toss-up between cowboys, cops and military, with some BDSM thrown in! In my series Attack Force (Volume #1 is just out in print) I have a Delta Force team where the leader owns a ranch in Texas and when they have down time there they are all Doms. So I manage to work it all in together. Also, I am writing a book with the fabulous Joey Hill, which is a BDSM book and my hero is a cowboy. My paranormal Night Seekers came about because I so admire the wolf. I guess basically I like the type of man who is the image of the alpha male and then it depends on what strikes me.
You have so many novels. What is the difference between how you structured love stories when you first began writing Erotic and Romance Novels and how you do it today?
I like to think my writing is better, certainly. I work very hard on that. But basically my stories have always been the same. Hero. Heroine. Who are they? What brings them together? Why do they fall in love? What breaks them apart and how do they get past it? One of my favorites is the second one released by Ellora’s Cave called Once Upon a Wedding. It has everything in it: strong needs from the hero and heroine in a challenge they faced and how they overcame it. I just love the ending. I was very fortunate when I began writing. I joined San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA) and was lucky enough to be in a critique group with Delilah Devlin and Myla Jackson. I learned so much from the two of them.
You write under another name, Judith Rochelle. What is the difference between the romance books you write under her name and those you write under Desiree Holt?
Well, actually, Judith is retired (LOL!). She wrote spicy but not erotic. Desiree sets fire to the computer.
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?
Oh, well, of course Once Upon a Wedding because, well, you know, Joe. My hero. From my cowboy books I’d say Rodeo Heat because it’s a story of a man who takes a woman on a journey of sexual awakening. Also Stark Naked, because it shows you how yummy naked cowboys are. For my romantic suspense, I’d say Jungle Inferno, Book #1 in the Phoenix Agency series. I love those books. I just finished listening to them in audio. Paranormal? Definitely Lust Unleashed, about a team of shifters (all wolves) and the hunt for the legendary Chupacabra. With of course lots of hot sex sprinkled it. Straight romance? Joy Ride, but this spring the sequel, Aftershock will be released and that will probably be right up there with Once Upon a Wedding as my favorite. Want to read about a Cougar? Pick up Teaching Molly. A new twist on an old theme. And of all my BDSM stories I have to list two, both of which will be out this spring-Beyond Addiction and Spurred to Submission. I’ll have to work very hard to surpass those, or so my editors tell me!
What is the ultimate love story ever told as far as you are concerned?
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, The hero and heroine eacd made a huge sacrifice to bring happiness to the other, and of course it had a happy ending.
Thanks for taking part in Making Love 101!
Desiree Holt’s Bio:
Desiree Holt has lived a life of excitement that brings the color to her writing. She was a summer fishing guide, a summer field hand where she was one of only three women working, a member of a beginning ski team that skied in competition (and no, no broken bones!). She spent several years in the music business representing every kind of artist from country singer to heavy metal rock bands. For several years she also ran her own public relations agency handling any client that interested her. She is twice a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award, a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio, and is published by four different houses. Romance Junkies said of her work: “Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.”
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Desiree Holt’s Book:
Quarterback Sneak Synopsis:
Stacy Halligan has spent her adult life focusing on her career, choosing men with far less care than she does her professional path. That’s probably the reason all of her relationships end in disaster. Now, she’s senior editor of the magazine where she works, and she was so sure this latest hunk would be the one. When he dumps her just before Valentine’s Day, who does she complain to? As always, her nextdoor neighbor and friend, backup quarterback Max Sullivan. She sees Max as her best friend. Comfortable. Easy to be with.
Max doesn’t mind hanging out with Stacy, but in the three years they’ve lived next door to each other, he’s hoped for a lot more. Now, he sees his opening. When he offers to put on a blitz leading up to Valentine’s Day to make the guy jealous, he has an ulterior motive. He wants to show her he’s the one she should pick because he wants Stacy for himself. His campaign includes chocolate, flowers, little gifts, and hopefully, really hot sex. Because he’s been dying forever to get her into his bed and keep her there.
Will this work? He only has until Valentine’s Day to find out.
Desiree Holt On All The Things Inbetween:
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