As part of the blog tour for A Divine Life, the second in the To Serve is Divine Trilogy, I decided to interview friend and fellow RenRom author, R. E. Hargrave. Most questions are about reading and writing to try and get an insight to her, but a few are a little silly…
Over the past year of being Jayden Masterson’s collared submissive, Catherine O’Chancey has worked through the mental terrors left behind by her old Dom — she thinks. To celebrate their collar-ing anniversary, Jayden organizes a special day, during which her final limits and fantasies will be realized. Will it prove to be more than she can handle? Can she endure the erotic onslaught her mind and body will experience and survive unscathed?
While Catherine faces dark shadows and pleasurable highs, Jayden finds his own inner strength being tested.
He has come to realize that, somewhere along the way, Catherine has taken possession of his heart, mind, and body. Now he faces his biggest challenge ever; he must let go of all his submissives but one: his jewel, Catherine. Can he leave his philandering ways behind? Has he made the ultimate mistake by putting his jewel into the hands of others?
What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself? When I get the chance to read just for me, my guilty pleasure usually involves paranormal; vampires in particular. However, as long as it has some kind of magical/mystical twist, I’ll be happy. Next in line for my reading preference would be my current written genre: erotica. The trouble with that, is finding good books that offer a story with the ‘heat,’ so I tend to stay in the paranormal section when I need an escape read.
How have your personal experiences affected your writing? I’d have to say my personal life has played a huge part in my writing. I’m a firm believer of drawing from those experiences to bring realism to your story. A large part of my childhood was spent in South Carolina, and as a result, it’s a favorite setting of mine to use. I’ve lived in Texas since 1998, and again, I tend to ‘write what I know.’
When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning? The actual meaning, not so much. When starting a new story, one of my first steps is to define my characters. I can’t really let them in to talk to me without getting to know them first. Trying out a variety of names until I come across one that fits the person in my head is how they get their name. However, I do have one YA mermaid story that I began a while ago, where the actual meanings behind the name are important. But isn’t that usually the case in fantasy tales?
What’s your favorite part of a book? Hmm. I like first opening/starting a book, because you don’t know what’s ahead or who you are about to meet. If you’ve chosen wisely, the book in your hand could be your next getaway, and isn’t that always fun to anticipate?! Then, there’s that point in the book where you know you’re in it for the long haul. That spot where everything is starting to come together and the questions are being answered, and you know you won’t be setting it down until its finished — food and bathroom breaks be damned.
How did you chose your particular field or genre? I think it chose me! The first thing I tried writing and sharing was an erotic fanfiction (the one that The Divine Trilogy has since grown from) and it was so well received, that’s what I kept writing. The erotica part, that is. I’ve not stuck with a BDSM theme to all of my projects, just making sure that some good old fashioned bump and grind finds its way into my tales.
Is there an author you’d really like to meet and why? I’d love to meet Laurell K Hamilton. I adore her two series, and have learned so much about how to integrate sex and plot from reading her works. She’s never been shy about letting her fans into her life, and it would be really cool to spend an afternoon sharing a drink with her . . . if I could remember to breathe that is!
Do you have a hard time writing dialogue? Actually, yes. My theory as to why: I’m very shy. I don’t handle unknown situations in public arenas where I have to interact with strangers very well. I’m not a big talker, so I guess I have to work at being ‘social’ in my books.
How do you feel about good reviews? Bad reviews? There is no ‘bad review’ unless it was written purely to crush the spirit of the author out of pure meanness. I find that most reviews have something positive to say if you read them carefully. The parts that might seem ‘bad,’ you just need to think on. Often, your reader is giving you hints to help better your story telling abilities. They teach you to anticipate questions – and answer them – in the course of your manuscript. Glass half-full is the easier way to live.
How do you feel about sharing your work to the world? Its nerve wracking. You hope people will like it, maybe even a few will love it, but you know that there will be those who don’t like it at all. And there’s nothing you can do about that. So you suck it up, take the good with the bad, and keep writing.
How do you define success as an author? When you don’t get so bogged down by everyday life, and what people are saying about your books, that it stops you from writing. As long as an author still has a story to tell, I call that success.
How Has Writing Changed Your Life? I’ve made some amazing friends, and at almost forty years old, my self-confidence has never been stronger than it is right now.
Would you rather …
Be attacked by 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck? Considering I’ve been ‘attacked’ by geese when in Hawaii, I’d have to go for the miniature horses. How bad could it be?
Have hands for feet or feet for hands? *Giggles* I’ve always been accused of having ‘monkey toes’ because I do alot with my feet; I imagine it wouldn’t be a far stretch to just put hands at the bottom of my legs.
Go without your cellphone or laptop for 24 hours? Laptop would be much easier to go without than my phone. Besides, my phone can usually connect me to Facebook when the internet is down and my laptop won’t!
And now for an excerpt:
“So, how does that work? I mean, how does one draw the line between Master and husband?” Was such a complicated relationship possible? Could Jayden see her that way? Just thinking his name caused a funny feeling in Catherine’s chest. Her thoughts continued, now on overdrive . . .
No. Master didn’t do personal relationships. He’d said as much when they’d first signed their con-tract together. They’d both agreed to the understanding that this was nothing more than a sexual relationship. Hell, he was fucking two other people besides her that she knew of. If there were a chance that he wanted something more with her, he wouldn’t have handed her over to complete strangers today. Would he? Oh, God. Sir Jonathan’s offer to take Catherine on repeated itself in her memory, along with the knowledge that she had more sessions today with an unknown number of Doms. Was that what today was? Had the ‘inspection’ Sir Jonathan performed not been part of the scene? Was Sir Jonathan looking her over as a potential acquisition? What about Miss K offering to take her on back in February? Catherine’s stomach soured again.
“No. No, please, no. I — I can’t,” Catherine mumbled and began to shake.
Her world began crumbling around her, and panic took root. Catherine gasped for air, wrapping her arms around her mid-section.
“Erin! What’s wrong?”
Paige’s shriek snapped Catherine to attention, and she raised her watery eyes to meet her new friend’s.
“Paige,” Catherine started to cry. “He figured it out. I tried to be so good, so careful. He knows, and he’s going to get rid of me!” She thought she’d done so well at hiding her secret over the months, protecting her heart.
Paige had wrapped her arm around Catherine and was rubbing slow circles on her back. With a wince, Catherine became quite aware of every lash mark from Sir Jonathan’s whip. They now burned to her core when Paige’s soft hands brushed over them. Catherine flinched away from her.
“Shh, Erin,” she said in a calming voice. “Who knows what, sweetie? What are you talking about?”
Turning wide eyes on her, Catherine choked out, “Jay . . . Master. He knows I’ve fallen in — in love with him. I wasn’t supposed to. He found out, and now he’s interviewing me with strange Doms to get rid of me. I broke the rules and he —” she swallowed a sob, “he doesn’t want me anymore!”
R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children from elementary age to college age. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter and now, a writer for Renaissance Romance Publishing.