Monday, February 16, 2009

Sex Through the Zodiac UNZIPPED: An Interview with Neve Black

It’s a very tempting idea, appealing to the same basic lust that makes your eyes gleam and your mouth water at the fragrant vision of a beautiful smorgasboard feast. A taste of this, a nibble of that, no commitment necessary to any one dish. You can try it all!

Indeed debut erotic novelist Neve Black gives us a buffet of celestial pleasures in her book Sex Through the Zodiac, recently released through Ravenous Romance. As the story begins, her feisty and newly single heroine Roxanne is doing bridesmaid duty at her friend’s New Year’s Eve wedding, and the sight of the happy loving couple has her pondering love and sexual chemistry. According to the zodiac—Roxanne is an expert in the field—the bride and groom aren’t supposed to be a good combination. “But maybe her water bearer air sign had a large cock and a strong tongue, and in that case, who really cares what his zodiac sign was?” That’s been my credo, but Roxanne decides she does care, and the adventurous Scorpio vows she’ll break free of her Virgo male fixation and seek out erotic encounters with all twelve signs in the zodiac in the year to come.

A woman’s journey of sexual self-discovery is the classic theme of many erotic novels (including mine), but Neve Black’s celestial twist adds an interesting dimension. You’ll get a quick refresher course on the erotic predilections of every sun sign and will no doubt smile in recognition, as I did at the Capricorn with the hard-earned gorgeous view from his office, at the way Roxanne satisfies your own sign according to his—or her—desires. Yet at the end of her light-hearted romp, Roxanne finds she’s opened her mind as well as her legs. Clearly hands-on education is a good thing!

Neve has graciously consented to stop by and answer a few questions about her novel, the writing process, and “chocolate gelato” lovers.

DGS: I read in another interview that you wrote Sex Through the Zodiac in two months. Were there any challenges and surprises you faced in completing your first novel in such a short time? Or has the idea been simmering for a while?

Neve Black: Well, let me first start by saying how much I appreciate your interest in Roxanne, the book and my novel, Donna. And these are really terrific interview questions. You really are a woman of many talents.

Yes. I did write this story in less than two months. It was actually just shy of five weeks’ to be precise. Similar to my character in the book, I’ve also been fascinated with astrology for as long as I can remember. I’ve always thought the topic of the zodiac is fun and often a great ice breaker when meeting new people. I’ve found that most people like to talk about themselves too, and the topic is light enough that it gets people sharing stories about one another.

I had originally pitched my story idea to Lori Perkins, who I met out here in blogland via Alison Tyler in fall of last year. At that time, I hadn’t written a story that was longer than 6K words. I had originally envisioned this story at 12-15K words. I was in heaven when Lori said she loved the idea, but instead of my novella word count, Lori said I’d have to step it up and write close to 50K. I think I had a stroke at the initial idea of writing that many words. I didn’t want to shoot myself in the foot, and of course, I didn’t want to miss out on the fantastic opportunity, but I certainly didn’t want to over-promise and under-deliver either. I asked Lori if I could have a week to contemplate making that kind of time commitment, and to also start writing and get a feel for word flow. She was more than accommodating. That first week, I wrote over 7K words. And Roxanne was on her way. I was very diligent with my time and focused on writing this story.

Your heroine Roxanne is impressively focused on her goal to sample the delights of every sign in the zodiac. Is this characteristic of the Scorpio? Could Roxanne work as a character if she were any other sign? (And, if I may get personal, are you a Scorpio?)

Yes. Scorpios are supposed to be goal oriented and very focused once they set their minds on something. There were several times within the story that Roxanne met lovers she could have settled down with, but instead she chose to romp onto the next zodiac sun sign; focusing on her goal of having sex with each of the twelve sun signs. Roxanne of course was also trying to work through a failed relationship with her Virgo-lover boyfriend, which was also fueling her desire to move forward. Yes, my sun sign is Scorpio. I thought it best to write this story from the sun sign perspective I knew best, which is my own. I do however feel Roxanne could have been another sun sign too, because Scorpios are certainly not the only zodiac signs with ambitious, sexual natures.

I'm hoping you include Capricorn in that list, right ;-)? I found it interesting that each encounter Roxanne orchestrates is exactly suited to the sun sign of her partner. Here’s one of my favorite scenes, with the home-loving Cancer, Ben, who’s prepared a delicious dinner which concludes with a home-made lemon meringue pie.

“I know you like sweets. I saw you eat two pieces of cake at the wedding, “ he said, smiling at me.

God. I could go for second helpings of him as the dessert tonight. My mind raced, and I turned my head and smiled back at him mischievously.

“Do you like it?”he asked. He was stalling on making a move.

Of course, why didn’t I think of it earlier? It must have been the wine, the food, and being in close proximity to him that I didn’t think of it earlier. Cancers are shy. I would have to make the first move and Cancers were okay with that type of arrangement. My thoughts became clear.

“Ben?” I said slowly and seductively as I put my half-eaten piece of pie down onto the coffee table.

“You want coffee, don’t you? Coffee is always good with pie,” he said, putting his pie plate down and getting ready to stand up to once again dote on my every whim.

“No. No. No. Please, I don’t want coffee, Ben,”I said turning toward him and placing my hand on the top of this thigh, guiding him to sit back down.

“Oh. Can I get you anything?” he said moving closer to me now.

“Yes. I’d like to taste you now,” I said as I closed my eyes and kissed his lips very gently, careful not to intimidate him, or else he’d run and take cover somewhere and my moment of seduction would be lost.

Fortunately, Ben responded to my lips pressing against his and I heard a moan escape somewhere from the back of his throat. He pulled me closer to him; opened his lips up and plunged his tongue inside my mouth.

We sat on the couch and kissed for what seemed liked hours. My pussy was so wet and I wanted to show my appreciation for all his hard work in the kitchen. My mouth wanted a taste of his cock.

I pulled my lips away and started unbuttoning his shirt. He leaned back into the couch and let me continue seducing him. His chest felt smooth and hard at the same time. I felt his heart beating as I unfastened each button. I pulled his shirt away and kissed the nipples on his sensitive chest and then ran my tongue down the middle of his belly; stopping at his belly button, I inserted and circled my tongue. He closed his eyes, let out guttural moan and lifted his hips up to me, begging me to continue.

I did.

I'll leave you to imagine what comes next. Now I’m not sure how Roxanne could give up a guy who is so very good at satisfying oral urges of every kind, but then again, she would have missed the Italian “chocolate gelato” lover which would have been a shame! Was it difficult to decide on the perfect setting for each encounter? Can you share some stories about your process?

Isn’t Ben a slice of heaven? Surprisingly, creating each sexual encounter based upon her lover’s sun sign characteristics wasn’t difficult at all to conjure up. I did have a number of astrology books scattered across my floor for reference though. Using your example above, the zodiac sun sign, Cancer are very sensitive and romantic. They also tend to be homebodies, so for Ben to want to make Roxanne a home-cooked and romantic dinner seemed like the perfect scenario. Not to mention adding a little romance into her sexcapade episodes struck a nice balance not only for me, but I think Roxanne appreciated the romance also.

I’ve noticed that jazz music plays a big role in Roxanne’s seductions. Are you a jazz fan? Any plans for a “soundtrack” for Sex Through the Zodiac?

Thanks for picking up on the classic jazz that weaves throughout the story, Donna. I think classic jazz music is raw, exciting, and very smart… and well, it’s just sexy as hell…which is a lot like a fantastic lover, wouldn’t you agree? No plans for a soundtrack, but I like how you think Donna.

There’s also plenty of humor in the novel, but I have to ask: what is it with fire signs and public restrooms?

Roxanne does have a good sense of humor. Public restroom and Fire signs – yeah, clearly there was a pattern there in the book, eh? Fire signs are generally very spontaneous and impetuous when it comes to sex. Okay, I’ll confess. A few years ago now, I had been involved with a Fire sign and we, well, ahem, we christened a number of public restrooms for awhile. He’d look at me from across a crowded room; eyes sparkling with mischief and almost instantly chills would run down my spine. Before too long we would both be in the bathroom going at it, as if it were the very first time. It was fun and crazy. And the bathroom door; it was always unlocked.

It is always interesting to hear how life informs art. While I'm being nosy--tell us what’s next for you?

I’m continuing to write erotica and submit stories for various editors and publishers. I’m also currently writing copy for a sex toy company; evoking a visceral response for their customers to help boost sex toy sales. It’s been said that sex sells (wink, wink). I’m also working on a screenplay because one of my passions is film. The screenplay is of course sexually related.

Of course! Now we get to our trademark questions here at Sex, Food and Writing. Name a writer (or two, living or dead) you’d like to have dinner with, one you’d like to trade talents with, and one with whom you’d most like to have quickie in a public restroom.

May I choose you for all the above, Donna? (smile). I have such a long list of writers I admire. First, I feel so lucky to have met many talented writers out here in the blogosphere and I couldn’t possibly choose just one or two. I don’t think I could choose just one or two writers that have passed on either. How does one choose? I’m choosing not to choose, but instead, I’m offering a solution: I create these incredible scenarios in my head where groups of multi-genre writer’s get to spend a long, glorious weekend together; drinking, eating, laughing and telling stories. I’m sure there would be sex involved, and probably not much sleeping.

Well, I am flattered and certainly wouldn't expect the talent behind Roxanne to want to choose just a few partners in pleasure! But maybe you could describe a perfect meal that would be guaranteed to seduce you (is lemon meringue pie involved?)—into a deep conversation about the writing life, if not something even starrier!

It’s incredibly sexy to me to prepare a meal with my lover: Can you hear and smell the hot olive oil and garlic as it dances in the pan? “Chhhhop, chhhhooop,” that’s the sound of the sharp blade slowly cutting through vegetables picked from the garden earlier today. “Thwaaorkkkkk” is the meticulous, but glorious uncorking of a great bottle of wine. Oh my, suddenly all my juices are flowing inside me. There’s of course classic jazz playing in the background as we both move around the kitchen in synchronicity; touching, laughing, talking and creating. I imagine we’d sit on the couch; nothing too fancy-shmancy; plates in our laps; pouring more wine and talking for hours about our shared passion for culture and art – later over more wine, there’d be dark, rich bittersweet chocolates for dessert - fed of course from the other’s finger tips.
All this talk about food and sex has me…well feeling very hungry. Thank you so much for the interview, Donna. This was a lot of fun!

P.S. Roxanne also wanted to say, “Thank you!”

Wow, you (and Roxanne) really do know how to get the juices flowing--no wonder you two had such success in your mission. Thank you so much, Neve and Roxanne, for this delicious and sparkling interview. I think we're all a little hungry after talking with you! Best of luck with your novel and your future projects and come back to tell us about your further adventures soon.


Neve Black said...

Thank you again, Donna for this really fun and creative interview!

As if I didn't already know that Capricorn goats are stead-fast sexy, smart and loaded with lots and lots of sexual ambition!

Climbing orgasm mountain with you, Donna. :-)

EllaRegina said...

Congratulations, Neve!

Great interview, Donna!

Craig Sorensen said...

Excellent interview, and great answers!

Thank you both!

Jeremy Edwards said...

This was so much fun to read!

What an illuminating "behind the book" interview, Donna and Neve ... and what a delicious seduction scene you've excerpted! I can't wait to open up this novel with a satisfying "Thwaaorkkkkk"!

And my spamword is dogicong.

Erobintica said...

Great interview!

And what's with the Capricorn thing? Just wondering. Am I not the only horny old goat around here? ;-)

my spam word is scrests - fancy secrets

Neve Black said...

Yes, Capricorns are very sexual and probably one of the MOST ambitious signs in the zodiac wheel. Roxanne could have most definately been a goat.

Madeline Moore said...

Congratulations on publishing your book, Neve. And thank you for the mouth watering interview, Donna.

I tend to describe meals in loving detail in my Black Lace novels. There's usually lobster involved, and sirloin tips. Or hamburgers on the barbeque. Sizzzzzzle. Lots of visits to Thai restaurants as well, because I adore Thai food. It's so tasty and always so elegantly presented. Love that cilantro. For dessert, yes, chocolate and often that ol' erotica staple, strawberries and whipped cream.

Your idea for a novel, Neve, has me grumbling, 'Why didn't I think of that?' Simple, yet simmering with possibilities. Sort of like paella?

Thank you for this tasty morning treat. Since we're reporting our spamwords, here's mine: hymish.
Well, my hymen has been mishing for years now...

Donna said...

Robin, yes, I'm a Capricorn,too, and I could very well see myself setting Roxanne's goal and seeing it through to the finish!

Madeline, oh, my, I'd had some chocolate, but now I think I need to go out for Thai food! Thanks for a delicious post.

Donna said...

Thanks, Kirsten!

I can only imagine what a sensual feast you'll cook up with that lucky partner.

Mind if I watch ;-)?

Neve Black said...

Thank you once again Donna. And thank you to everyone that stopped by to comment; offering support and talk about sexy, food.

I'm ready to make travel plans for our erotica weekend writer's conference. Where are we going? More importantly, when are we leaving?

Donna said...

Me, too, just let me grab a couple of bottles of wine to bring along.

For this "conference," I think we need a spa setting, maybe mountains or ocean. Great food, naturally....