Warning: longer than usual intro ahead.
“Cate Ellink became intrigued by the erotic when her grandfather used to pass books to her father saying, “Don’t let the girls read page X.” Although her mother and
sisters never bothered to chase those pages, Cate always did. Invariably, her
imagination was better than what she read.”
What’s life without sexy stuff? Cate Ellink’s novels prove there’s no need to cower in the cupboard with your copies of erotic romance. Everybody’s reading this genre. Come on out and own up – and see what writers of this genre are really about because it’s not what you might think – there has to be an emotional or physical battle or two to be won in every fictional story. Erotic romance is no different - just a whole lot more … erm … descriptive. Oh, and the authors tend to live the sort of lives you and I live too. Surprised? Read on.
Take it away, Cate:
Will you tell us about yourself and what genre(s) you love writing?
(As if we didn’t know from the intro.)
I was born in the city but always said I’d move to the country, which I did after uni. I worked in agricultural research for almost twenty years and have now moved to the coast.
I write erotic romance and erotica as Cate Ellink. I’ve also got some women’s fiction (with an agricultural flavour) I’d like to publish under my own name, some day.
(Steady Cate, sounding a little like Rural Romance there.)
I love writing erotic stories because they’re challenging. Trying to capture that sizzle, the intensity of emotion with sex, and the power of attraction is difficult but so much fun. Strangely enough, when I write women’s fiction, I’m after emotion of a different kind, so they have closed-door sex, if any. With women’s fiction I want to investigate the depth of emotion in trying circumstances e.g. surviving through drought, living after the death of loved ones.
Okay – I’m butting in here for a follow-up question: Cate, what do you term the difference between erotic romance and erotica?
For me, Erotic Romance still follows the romance convention of a guaranteed Happy Ever After ending, or at the very least a Happy For Now ending. So, you get a sexy book with explicitly described sex scenes, where the sex is integral to the story and a relationship develops to a fulfilling end.
Erotica does not give the guarantee of a happy ending, not even happy for now. Erotica is more an exploration of a topic, which may not end well. (eg an affair which ends, a one night stand and you never see the person again, wild or rough sex
that you run from).
There are a thousand and one definitions out there, so my interpretation is only just another to add to the mix, but that’s what I think the difference between the two is. And sometimes, I can’t think of a happy ending and need to just explore
That explains it perfectly. Next question.
What are books for?
Books have such a huge role in my life. They’re for entertainment, escape, and fantasy. They’re also for learning, exploring and discovering. They’re for collection, loving and browsing. Every time I move house I have to leave some behind and it breaks my heart. When my Dad moved, we found a tub of my old books tucked in the garage. Oh, what a joy that was to have those old friends back in my life. Books are for memories - creating them and bringing my favourite ones back.
Will you name one entity you feel supports you outside of family members?
I’m a member of the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA). I have never belonged to a group as supportive. I joined after entering a contest where I got feedback on my writing (I didn’t understand what the feedback meant but after looking it up, I thought, this group might be useful!). That was in 2008. It’s taken me a while to get published but I’ve done so many things in RWA that I would never have had the chance to do otherwise. I’ve learned so much about the industry, writing
craft, characters, point of view, etc., etc., but I’ve also made friends with people all over Australia (the world, really). I would never have been published without RWA - I would have given up.
I hear this so many times from my interviewees – and I love reading it – every time!
Can an online fantasy ever become real?
When Condamine connects with Esquire in a chat room, neither expect their mutual pleasure and close
friendship will become something far more intimate and real. But when the opportunity to meet Esquire in the flesh comes up will Condamine Caitlyn, in real life be bold enough to act out her deepest fantasies, or will she hide away
from the world behind the comfortable glare of her computer screen?
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I see writing as my new career. In 2005 I contracted Ross River Fever and Glandular fever. I’ve never recovered fully, so I can’t work fulltime. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (and so do many other writers, I’ve found) and so I work for myself to allow me to manage my time around my illness.
Losing my science career was devastating because it was how I saw myself. To suddenly not have that, I felt like a lesser person. Writing has given me back myself - a different me, but it’s me with a goal and ambition again.
My ultimate aim is to be able to write while I travel around Australia with my husband. He loves travel and if I can manage to repay his support for the last eight years by supporting our travel, then I will be happy. This is still in the 5-10 year goals! LOL.
What was the hardest part of writing your books?
I find it easy to rip out a story with a kernel of an idea in it. I get the characters on the page and I have a rough idea of what I want to say and how it’s going to be said.
From that point on, it’s a constant struggle. I doubt myself. I doubt my abilities. I don’t make enough time to edit or
re-write. I lose myself in other people’s critiques. Then I re-focus. I might leave it all percolate for a while. My brain somehow whips into gear and I know where I’m going again. I rework, reshape, dig deeper, eliminate repetition
(repeatedly). Then I go through the doubt saga again. I do a bit more on the story. And by this stage it feels like I’ve beaten myself over the head a thousand times. Somehow I bravely float it out into the submission slush pile - and even that is difficult.
I do wonder why I don’t just write for me, like I did before. But I think there’s personal growth each time I go through this process, that wouldn’t happen if I only wrote first drafts for my pleasure alone.
That is so pertinent, Cate. It’s a rather sad moment when our beginning naivety is lost (because we feel we’re losing the creativity) - but a wholehearted lifetime of pleasure when that moment is understood. Because we’re living the creativity and its pathway. That’s the point where we head forth, with courage and dedication (my two favourite attributes).
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your current story to life?
The Virginity Mission is based on a trip I did—a scientific expedition to the Daintree rainforest. That trip was the most challenging thing I’ve done, and shaped so much of my personality. I wanted to use those experiences and weave a story around real life.
An erotic new adult romance about old insecurities, new beginnings, and the things
you can get up to in a tent…
It’s lust at first sight when Mac sees Jason shirtless and sweating on the back of a
truck. Jason is the army sergeant assigned to support the six week scientific
expedition that Mac is participating in, and might just be the perfect candidate
for another journey of discovery that Mac is desperate to undertake — sex.
Fraternisation between students and staff might be strictly
prohibited, but everybody knows fruit always tastes better when it’s forbidden.
The hardest part about writing The Virginity Mission was divorcing myself from the facts. With my science background I’m pretty big on facts… but there wasn’t a readable story in the facts. I had to create people and a romance and build it on a distorted version of the facts. I had to omit much of the reality and drape it in fantasy. That was a struggle. I wanted to make it real but that would have bored people to death.
I’ve been pleased that most of the reviews have said the rainforest details and descriptions were very real. That has made my struggles worthwhile.
Another challenge with this story—I was writing an erotic story where the hero and heroine were apart much of the time, and one where the sex was always going to be sweet. So it wasn’t a very “saleable” commodity. But I wanted to be true to
what I wanted to write—a virginity story where she had to overcome her own fears to awaken sexually, which had to be an evolving process. It annoys me when people lose their virginity and are suddenly sexual goddesses (jealous, me?
*grin*). The Virginity Mission survived a fair few rejections but I finally found a home at Escape Publishing.
Thank goodness for the e-book revolution. It’s great for people who don’t follow genre rules, like me!
So, readers of my blog, is that what you expected from an author of erotic romance and erotica?
Cate, there is so much to thank you for other than popping in to my country manor blog. I’m in awe of your honesty, your dedication to your new (and obviously happy) career, your husband who must love you to bits and pieces and lastly – your charm.
Did you know you had charm? Probably not but I assure you you’ve got it in
abundance. It shows in your style and I like a person with 'style'!
Jennie says head over to the publisher’s websites and “Buy. Buy. Buy.” ☺
The Virginity Mission by Cate Ellink
A Real Online Fantasy (short story) by Cate Ellink
Thanks for popping in, feel free to leave a pleasant comment or ask a question. We'd love to hear from you.
Jennie & Cate