Cheryl Holt

Cheryl Holt

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
October 10, 2004

Q. How did you come about the idea to write MORE THAN SEDUCTION?

A. I'm renowned as the "Queen" of erotic romance, and one of the facets that's driven my rise to fame is my innovative plot devices. I try to take a "typical" erotic theme -- in this case, water -- and use it in a new and unusual way. In the book, the heroine owns a hot springs spa outside Bath, England, which is renowned to have healing, as well as aphrodisiatic properties. When a woman swims in the water, all sorts of unexpected things happen.

Q. How did you come about the idea with [the different characters] all seeking affections with different situations who lives interactive and are similar in some form?

A. It's difficult for me to describe how I create characters, plus I plotted this about 18 months ago! so I don't remember a great deal of the details of my character construction, but in my last few books, I usually have three love stories interwoven through the plot. I labor under many restrictions as to the kind of story I have to write. Some are imposed by my editor, and some by myself, and they're based on what works to build a sexy story, and what my fans enjoy the most. But the restircitons also depend on my ability to write a certain kind of story.

I have to have a virginal heroine, but at the same time, I have to have a story with high and constant sexual content, which I try to incorporate from the first page onward. However, my heroine doesn't have full-on sex until about page 225, so it's very difficult for me to keep the sexual tenor hot. My books are very plot-driven, and I can't have my main characters playing peek-a-boo for 225 pages, so I've had to bring in other, more experienced characters (like Eleanor Chamberlin who's a widow), who can keep the sexual impetus very strong in the early chapters.

I'm also celebrated as the "Queen" of wicked villains, and Willie McGee and Camilla Warren are two good ones (or "bad" ones, depending on how you view them.) I usually have two villains scheming, one on the hero and one on the heroine, so that I have plenty of plot to carry the story.

As to Kate and Pru, from my first ruminations about the story, I knew that the heroine would need a burly, physically strong companion to help her at the spa, but since it's a ladies-only establishment, it couldn't be a man. So I always pictured Kate as a lonely lesbian, but I wanted her to have a happy ending, so Pru grew out of that wish.

The secondary characters and hero's friend, Mr. Charles Hughes, is one of my all-time favorite characters out of all the ones I've created. He turned out great, and I was so glad that I could give him a very happy ending with Eleanor.

Q. How did you come about the idea of the Hot Springs?

A. I keep a running list in my computer of "possible" plots, because I'm always coming up with ideas, but it's difficult to take a 2- or 3-sentence idea, and turn it into a 350 page book. When it comes time to write a new book, I go to the list and see which ideas jump out at me the most. I wanted to do something in rural England (rather than London), and I'd had the idea of "water" rolling around in my head for a long time. It just seemed like an opportune time to work it into my story rotation.

Q. Why did you choose England as your setting?

A. All of my books (with the exception of an early, shorter novel with my first publisher) are historical books set in Regency Period England. I've established myself by writing to a fan base that enjoys that setting and time period, so it wasn't so much of a "choice" as it was my finding a plot that would work in that time period and that I felt my fans would enjoy.

Q. Why did you choose MORE THAN SEDUCTION for the title?

A. I don't select my titles. My editor choses them, based on lots of factors, like marketing and cover design. This title is the second in a 3-book group that has the same sentence structure in the title:


Q. How long did it take you to write MORE THAN SEDUCTION?

A. I typically write a rough draft in 8 weeks, so I have it down on paper very fast. Then I spend 4 months editing. I deliver a manuscript to NY every six months.

Q. Are you currently working on another book?

A. Yes, I'm one of the lucky authors who's had back-to-back contracts throughout my career. My next book, FURTHER THAN PASSION, is in production, and it will be out in March '05. I just finished contracting with my publisher for three more books after that, and I'm currently writing the first of the three, which will be due in NY in January, '05.

The next three books are:
TOO HOT TO HANDLE (Autumn '05)
TOO WICKED TO WED (Autumn '06)

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from any or all of the characters from this book?

A. I have a more general message than simply a comment on the characters. I'd like to ask people to read the book, even if they never read romances. So often, I run into people who say they "never" read romances, that they don't like romances, or that they don't think romances are very good. But mine are!

I have the most incredible knack for drama, pacing, and timing. My books are very fun to read, they provide serious entertainment, and I would venture to say that readers have never stumbled on anything like them before. The villains are very, very wicked. The heroes are very, very heroic. The good guys get what they deserve, and the bad guys get what they deserve, too. (Especially in this book!) There's a great sense of satisfaction by the end.

So I hope everyone will consider spending a riotous weekend, lounging with my fast and furious (and sexy!) novel.