Cheryl Holt

Cheryl Holt

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
August 20, 2005

Q.    How did you come about the idea to write the novel TOO HOT TO HANDLE?

A.    I like to take common erotic themes and rework them, with new twists and turns, so that modern-day readers will enjoy them. In old Victorian erotica, it's very typical to have a story where the lord of the manor is determined to seduce the young governess. I thought the idea could be made very fun, instead of seedy, so I decided to try it.

Q.    How did you come about Emily's character?

A.    I wanted a heroine who was strong and determined, and who cared about her family, who would do anything to keep them safe. Emily grew from there.

Q.    Why did you choose to make Mary's character blind?

A.    I wanted the stakes for the heroine, Emily, to be very high, or else there would be no reason for her take the job of governess with Lord Winchester. I wanted her panicked and desperate and at the end of her rope -- not for herself but for her family.

I also wanted her sister to be the star of the secondary love story, but she had to have a handicap so that Emily was taking care of her and worried about how she'd provide for Mary. There were a few choices -- deaf, dumb, lame, etc -- but blind seemed to appeal to me the most, because it set up the most interesting sensory meetings between Mary and her beau.

Q.    How did you come about Amanda's > character?

A.    The hero, Michael, just seemed destined to have a nasty mistress, and there's nobody who writes a better nasty mistress than me. I knew I could make her selfish, greedy, and cruel, and she exceeded each and every one of my expectations for a malicious character. I like to create women who go beyond what the reader expects as far as malevolent behavior. The more horrid I can make the villain, especially a female villain, the more fun the book will be.

Q.    How did you come about the idea to have Pamela and Margaret be wards to Lord Winchester?

A.    I get tired of reading romances where the children are always adorable and loveable. If they have some bad traits in the beginning, it usually turns out that they're just misunderstood and they end up being sweet in the end.

It always annoys me! So I wanted to have a really mean, scheming girl who had no redeming traits, and I definitnely succeeded in Pamela! I don't think I've written another character who was so conniving and so good at it. Readers will love to hate her!

Q.    How did you come about the idea for Lord Winchester's character?

A.    I wanted Michael, Lord Winchester, to be very dynamic and very sexy, but very lazy and in a rut. I knew I was going to surround him with a story full of women, so I wanted him to be a total "ladies' man" who never had a clue about what all the crazy women were doing. He was detached and uninvolved, so it was easy for them to scheme and manipulate him without his noticing the depth of their perfidy until it was too late.

Q.    How long did it take you to write this novel?

A.    I write a manuscript very fast, in about 7 or 8 weeks from beginning to end, but then I spend several months editing, which really takes up most of my time. I finish a book every six months and have one due in NY twice per year.

Q.    What method do you use to promote your books?

A.    I really do very little to promote my books. I have a great web page, which I think is essential in this day and age. I'm always running contests and giveaways that help me build my mailing list so I can have a good list of fans when I need to notify people about a new book coming.

Other than that, I don't do much. I write books that appeal to a specific taste, to people who aren't shy or timid, and I don't like to suggest to people that they read one of them, because some people are shocked by the content, not realizing that they're marketed as "erotic" books to an audience that likes steamy stories.

I let my fans find me, let the books sell themselves. The stories are very exciting and very dramatic, and readers have been great about seeking them out. They're flying off the shelves. My last three have been USA Today Bestsellers.

Q.    Will you give your readers a brief synopsis of your > next book?

A.    My next book will be, TOO TEMPTING TO TOUCH, and it will be out in Spring '06. It's setting is again Regency England, and the hero is a man who's about to become engaged to his cousin, in a boring marriage that was arranged when they were children. He's certain his life is over, so he's determined to carouse and revel as much as he can before the betrothal becomes official. The heroine is a spinster who doesn't understand male needs or drives, and she's determined to keep him on the straight and narrow -- as well as very celibate.

Q.    Are you where you would like to be as an author?

A.    No. I'm at a level that's so competitive, and I have to keep getting better and better with each novel. Every author would like to be where I am, so I can't grow complacent, or I could easily lose my place. My sales have to keep rising. I always have new goals for higher sales numbers, and higher sell-throughs on my print runs. I want to start breaking in under #50 on the USA Today list, and eventually see the words "NY Times Bestselling Author" on my book covers.

Thx again! It's always so fun to go back and figure out why I did what I did.