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Moctezuma Johnson: How long have you been writing erotica?
Luna Zega: I started writing erotica in 2011. I write contemporary romance under the penname Claire Croxton. My editor told me that my contemps are considered “hot” and I should give erotica a try. It’s the genre that sells the most, so I decided to give it a go. It’s fun to write, but it requires a lot more concentration and interruption-free time than the other genres I write. I live on a farm with my mother—thank God, not in the same house, but that doesn’t matter. She has remarkable timing. It never fails. She always pops into my house when I’m writing the most intense scenes. It’s difficult to get back to the scene after your 76 year old mother drops by to ask about a sheep’s gestation cycle.
LZ: The publisher I work with, The Wild Rose Press, considers my work “two rose” which means “Erotic Romance that may contain subject matter that is offensive to some readers, including extreme explicit language, anal sex, BDSM, fetishism, ménage, and/or GBLT.”
MJ: Judging from the publicity your book has received I think that female readers relate to your character Natalie. However, I am a 37-year-old male born in New Jersey and wandering through Asia and I related to her strongly. What do you think it is about her that makes her such a charming character?
LZ: Thank you! I’m glad you find Natalie charming. I like her too. She’s the girl-next-door—the sweet, pretty girl that no one really notices because she’s best friends with the sexiest, hottest woman in the county. She’s the quiet, behind-the-scenes girl who gets things done. No one realizes how or why everything is in place and ready to go because she does it for them. Natalie has suffered a major blow to her self confidence. I think everyone can relate to that. I also think everyone can relate to having a crush on someone he/she thinks is unattainable. Plus, Natalie’s acceptance of her roommate’s unorthodox lifestyle shows she’s not a judgmental prude. Overall, I wanted to create a character that everyone could understand, sympathize with and cheer on. I hope I’ve achieved that goal.
As an American man who is living in Asia, I’m sure you’ve met women like Natalie. As explained in Tokyo Tease, the majority of Western men want Asian women. The majority of Asian men desire petite, blonde Western women. Natalie doesn’t fit into either category, so her dating life has been rather stagnant since arriving in Japan. She’s not needy or vulnerable. She’s still a strong woman, so I think that makes her a likable character. When she gets what she wants, I hope readers are happy for her. I know I sure was!
MJ: What do you think it is that makes you express yourself through erotica?
LZ: That’s a good question. Not something I’ve ever considered before. Hmmm…well, I like sex. I’ve never been afraid to express myself and I’ve never shied away from writing realistic scenes in anything I’ve written. When my editor suggested I give writing erotica a try, I jumped at the chance. Most of my friends are writers and several have asked me to help them write the love scenes in their books. It’s not something you can force. If you’re not comfortable with certain words or particular activities, then you can’t write it. It has to be true to who you are as an author.
That being said, I find erotica more of a challenge to write than other genres. Not because I can’t think of awesome scenarios. God knows, I spend most of my days thinking of such things. The challenge is writing fresh scenes and not using the same words and actions over and over again. Sure, repetitive action is great in real-life sex, but reading “he pressed against her” and “throbbing cock” repeatedly bores the reader.
MJ: What made you choose Tokyo, Japan as the location for your novel?
LZ: I taught English in Tokyo. Loved it. I’ve always wanted to set a story in Tokyo and honestly, the train scenes are a long-time fantasy of mine. So, I decided to go for it. Plus, I can certainly relate to Natalie’s situation. I’m neither petite nor blonde. However, naked Marines in my living room wasn’t uncommon. Darn it. I wish!
MJ: When you’re not writing steamy smut what do you do with yourself?
LZ: This is so boring. I live on a farm in the Ozarks in Arkansas. We raise heritage breed (essentially endangered) livestock. We have hogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and soon geese. It’s busy and hectic and crazy. I also have a house in Alaska where I’d like to spend my summers, but with the farm I don’t get there as often as I’d like. I also love to cook and I make quilts. Yeah, I know….yawn.
LZ: Without a doubt, Elizabeth George. She writes British mysteries with the main characters: Inspector Lynley and Barbara Havers. Recently, I met Desiree Holt. USA Today called her “The Nora Roberts of erotica.” She’s an absolute delight. I’ve read several of her erotica stories. If you’re looking for some major kink, check her out.
MJ: What is your favorite book?
LZ: This is a tough one. I have so many. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is simply brilliant. As a child, I read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. That book inspired me to become a writer. There’s an obscure book by Colleen McCullough, The Ladies of Missalonghi that I read once a year for over a decade. It’s about a woman who has no prospects, no fortune, no hope and yet she prevails. Love it!
MJ: Finally, can you tell us a little bit about your latest book.
LZ: My latest book is Desert Dreams. It’s about a woman who sent a care package to a random soldier in Afghanistan and they started corresponding via e-mail. When he finally gets stateside the sparks fly. I’m really having a great time writing the e-mail exchanges. They are so romantic and yet steamy as hell.
MJ: Will you write me a short bit to post on my site. That would really get Moctezuma going.
Luna has always been an avid reader and that love naturally led to writing her own tales of woe, romance and sultry summer nights. Over the years, the world in her head has developed into a fascinating place populated with kilt-clad Scottish warriors, lonely and brokenhearted soldiers in need of a little TLC, smoldering Samurai, luscious Latinos and wild, unbridled cowboys. It's easy to know when Luna has escaped to her little world to play; the grin on her face tells all.