Primula Bond is an Oxford educated, Hampshire based mother of three boys who has been writing erotica for 25 years. Her work includes numerous short stories and novellas and the erotic romance novels Country Pleasures and Club Crème. Her most recent publication is the Unbreakable Trilogy consisting of The Silver Chain, The Golden Locket and The Diamond Ring charting the passion between Gustav Levi and Serena Folkes. Primula loves inter-acting with her readers and also provides a critique service through Writers Workshop.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I have always had my head in the clouds and have been writing romantic fiction since I was a little girl when I wrote a love story in an exercise book. But what took me into the world of erotica was a rejection letter from Mills & Boon which told me my sex scenes were too explicit! In a fit of pique I decided to put one of the offending scenes to good use and adapted it into a short story about a woman receiving her ex boyfriend naked, and in a cage, for her 40th birthday present. I sent Man in a Cage to the now defunct magazine For Women, who published it and offered me £150 for a very enjoyable hour’s work. That was 25 years ago, and my career took off.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I have three days a week to write, and can only really focus when the house is empty. So I write between 8.30 and 3.30 when my two younger sons are at school. I take endless coffee and cheese-nibbling breaks, but try to get down a chapter a day in draft, and when the first version of the novel is complete I go back and polish it.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Not only do I get blocked, I get terrible procrastinationitis where I will do anything, ironing, cooking, TV watching, rather than get down to my empty screen. If nothing will come I will walk away from it, or have a bath, or go for a drive, and let the thoughts come to me in their own time. If they come when I’m in the bath or in bed, I’ll make notes in little books dotted round the house, garden and even in the car, and then try to get not only the first two lines or so, but an over-arching picture of what the book will be like.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? Following on from the previous question, I’m a bit of both really. I feel more secure if I have a plan, a framework to step into. First it’s a synopsis, and then I try to plot it chapter by chapter, so at least I know where I’m going and if I do get that block, I’ve got something to refer to. However, characters and ideas tend to barge in to the most structured and efficient plot line and send it off into another direction, so I do allow for variation.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published, and what was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? I have mostly been traditionally published, firstly by magazines and Black Lace, and then by Accent Press, and most recently Avon and Mischief at Harper Collins. However, my first love is really short stories, both erotic and contemporary literary, which are notoriously difficult to get a traditional publisher to look at. So I have self-published a book of dark, dramatic short stories on Amazon called ‘Stabbing the Rain’ under my real name of Anastasia Parkes.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? As well as receiving a nice cheque and some reasonable royalties, and meeting my charming editors at Harper Collins, it was meeting readers at a writers’ festival in York just after the first book of my trilogy, The Silver Chain, came out. It was lovely meeting people who had read the books, liked them, and seemed thrilled to meet me. It’s wonderful after years of grafting away in secret, with friends and family slightly patting you on the head and wishing you well with your ‘hobby’, to be recognised as a professional writer both by editors and by readers.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. My most recent novel to be published was book 3 of the trilogy, The Diamond Ring which sees the dramatic resolution of the love story of Gustav Levi and Serena Folkes. Starting with The Silver Chain, then The Golden Locket, the story spans continents and cities as varied as London, New York, Venice, Paris and Marrakech. Mysterious, wealthy Gustav meets young, naïve Serena in London and offers her an exhibition of her photographs in return for her companionship. Despite his reluctance to fall head over heels and her impatience nature the lovers are drawn to each other, but there are dark shadows from Gustav’s past intent on splitting them up. His ex wife and his brother Pierre pursue them from country to country and their wicked machinations give the novels a thriller edge, but most of all they are romantic and very, very sexy!
I am now in the process of editing a fourth novel, about Pierre, the naughty brother.
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? My books are targeted at intelligent, sexy, naughty, liberated women of all ages, and they are definitely erotic romances. Although I love writing about explicit sex, the developing relationship between two people and the hurdles they overcome are essential to filling out a truly fulfilling novel.
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I have a busy household with an exhausted husband and two teenage sons, as well as an older son aged 27, and we love to relax by travelling and eating out. Having lived in Cairo and Venice in my youth I love showing the children my old haunts as well as exploring new places such as America. I enjoy cooking, cinema and good TV soaps and drama, and do a little classic portrait photography on the side. I also used to sing soprano solo and am trying to get the courage to start singing again.
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) As well as always advising new authors to read successful authors in their genre to see how it’s done, I would advise getting savvy with social media. Other than the initial push when they sent out kindle editions of my novels to reviewers, my publishers have left most of the publicity to me. Newspapers and magazines are reluctant to review erotic romance (unless you’re E L James), so I paid for a social media tutorial where I was taught how to set up a Facebook page for my writing persona as well as a Twitter account, and those are both platforms where I can push my trilogy as well as interact with readers. And obviously take part in as many blogs as possible!
11.How would you describe your writing style? I try to be true to what I really want to say and how I want to say it. Although commercial fiction requires punchy, accessible writing, I do take pride in the English language and enjoy expression myself as poetically and magically as I can without being precious.
Find me on Facebook, on Twitter @primulabond and take a look at my blog at primulabond.blogspot.com