Keira: What are your favourite romance subgenres and why?
Sandra: I have been reading romance novels for a while now, and I have to say I like immersing myself in period romance; the Regency and Victorian periods are very attractive to me, and being the horror fanatic that I am, supernatural romance novels have a tendency to grasp me in a way that some don’t. GLBT romances have that extra something I like and they are interesting, and show a different way of how people of the same sex find love and try to keep it. I think it is mainly due to GLBT fiction being different from standard romance that is the reason I enjoy reading it so much.
Keira: Sum up your top 5 favourite short stories in one sentence each and /or retitle your top 5 favourite books.
1. Unsent by Greg Herren from The Mammoth Book of New Gay Erotica
2. The Unmasking of Lady Loveless by Nicola Cornick from Wicked Regency Nights
3. Whitby by Jeff Mann for Men at Noon, Monsters at Midnight
4. Fangs for Hire by Jenna Black for The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance
5. Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman from Smoke and Mirrors
Keira: In romances is it the hero or heroine who makes or breaks the novel? Why?
Sandra: It depends on how the novel is structured, and whether the hero is a bit of a rake. In quite a few of the novels I’ve had the pleasure to read, it is the heroine who has the power to make the novel readable, and the character has to be the type of woman who is fair, strong and knows her own mind, especially in historical romance novels.
Keira: Time to put you on the spot *g*…how do you define love?
Sandra: Unconditional, and sometimes deep, love can strike at any time and it can be at first sight – for me love is special. Love is when the one you are with finishes your sentences and vice versa during those cuddly, intimate moments.
Keira: What are the most memorable sex scenes (good or bad) that you’ve come across?
Sandra: In The Master of Seacliff by Max Pierce, the sex scene between Andrew and Duncan was kept right until the end of the novel, and was worth waiting for as it was subtle, plus there was enough tense build up between the characters for the pay off to be that much sweeter. Usually men writing gay erotica can be a bit coarse with their sex scenes, but I found this author’s sensitive approach to the bedroom sequence different and refreshing; it felt right, and would be the sort of scenario the couple would have engaged in, so they were actively in character.
Keira: All’s fair in love and war. If it came down to a fight who would win: a Regency rake or a Regency heroine?
Sandra: I would say it would more than likely be the heroine – think about what she can do with the heels on those shoes! Despite her delicate attitude and her pristine looks, she has quite the punch when she needs to. Plus I think the rake would let her win just so he could
seduce her later.
Keira: What storylines do you love the most? The ones where if you saw any hint of them on the back blurb would make the book an auto-buy?
Sandra: Something original, instantly memorable; for me the back blurb of a novel is crucial and my favourite storylines are comical situations between characters who seem the most unlikely to get on so there is plenty of conflict between the two before they get to the hugging and kissing.
Keira: And the opposite…what are some things you can’t stand reading about in romance?
Sandra: Some contemporary romance settings don’t appeal to me where the characters are too predictable, and lack substance and originality. I suppose it is easier to come up with a story like that, but in my mind more taxing to come up with one that has required a lot of research, time and effort. I rarely come across books that don’t have effort put in them thankfully, but they do exist.
Keira: What was the first romance you ever read? Do you own it? Is it the book that got you hooked on romance?
Sandra: Erotic Fairy Tales: A Romp through the Classics by Mitzi Szereto. I do own the book, and bought it from Borders many years ago. It happened to be the book that got me into erotic romance, which is what ultimately got me into contemporary, supernatural and other romance subgenres. There is something for everyone between those pages, and its lots of fun to read.
Keira: Is there anything else you’d like to discuss? Floor’s Open!
Sandra: When I first got into reading romances I made a mental note of the various authors along the way, and on browsing websites and blogs I noticed they had started out writing for romance publishers, and then moved into penning more daring erotica novels. I found this quite surprising, but I suppose everyone needs a change now and again, and what else could be as fulfilling!