Today I’m happy to have Elisa Hepner in the hot seat. Not only has she agreed to answer a few interview questions but to tell us about her newest book Ex-Retreat. Now… let’s see what we can learn about Elisa…
I see that you’ve worked with several publishers. Tell us about your journey to publication.
It started in 2009 after I graduated college when my first goal was to be in a Cleis Press anthology just like the ones that were lining my bookshelves. In the meantime I tried my hand at writing short stories and I got my first BDSM threesome spanking story published by Excessica. A handful of other short stories followed until I felt confident that I had my genre down pat and then I slowly creeped up my word count book by book. It was kind of methodical, not very exciting. I basically studied my genre like you would any other class, having come from a strictly college background when I dumped into the deep end, research is still my favorite thing even now.
What draws you to write erotica and erotic romance?
In college I became really interested in gender studies and sex studies as it relates to our culture. From there it was only natural that I dove headfirst into erotica to study and learn about fetishes, how the mind got cranked over to attraction, etc. What started out as hobby, as a fun research project, turned into something I couldn’t let go of and a genre I wanted to write more than anything else out there.
What are you reading right now – or what are some of your favorite books?
I’m reading five books right now, I tend to juggle books. Currently I’m shuffling between The Happiness Project, Hunting Eve, Sweet, Filthy Boy, and Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. I’m also restarting Outlander for the ninth time, I can’t break my way past the first 60 pages.
What do you like most about Chloe, from Ex-Retreat?
Chloe is normal, with normal fears and insecurities, but she surprised me in the way she thinks because originally Noah was going to be the dominant partner in the relationship, I even have a few deleted scenes from that original manuscript. Until Chloe turned the tables on both of us and brought out a vulnerability in Noah that I wasn’t anticipating at all, I wasn’t aware of how strong and focused Chloe was once she shucked off her insecurities and gave into exactly what she’d wanted for a while.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be writing the second book in my Entangled Ignite romantic suspense series about triplets who head up a security team in a small town in Maryland. The first book, A Fight for Shelter comes out Spring 2015. I’ll also be releasing my first cozy mystery as my alter-ego E. Hepner at the end of October 2014.
Blurb for Ex Retreat
Warning: This book contains a geeky, secretly insecure but overly cocky handy-man with a penchant for pleasing, a dominatrix in training who’s on the rebound, and enough smut to strip a couple layers off your soul. Plus there’s mac n’ cheese with a smattering of self-actualization for good measure.
After Chloe Barrons’ fiancé cheats on her via webcam, she begrudgingly accepts her Type-A mother’s offer of a spur of the moment luxury spa weekend. But things don’t play out quite from point A to point B when she arrives drunk and disoriented on the front porch of a deserted North Carolina beach house. From the very start she’s caught off guard by Noah Knightly, a sinfully sexy, self-proclaimed commitment-phobe who’s a handyman for his sister’s relationship rehabilitation center—a rehab where Chloe is the sole guest during off-season.
But faced with temptation, to stay guarded she’ll have to call the shots.
Noah shouldn’t have taken Chloe’s reservation. But in need of a second pair of hands to fix up the beach house, he throws all his sister’s rules out the window. Soon he worries that maybe he’s bitten off more than he can chew: each day Chloe cracks more of his cocky façade bringing down his guards to reveal a stuttering geek who has a hidden will to please her in any way possible.
With no way to ignore her pain, Noah sets himself up as a guniea pig to prove to Chloe that not all men are created equal—in or out of the bedroom. As Chloe comes into her own through every sexual session, Noah needs to decide if he’s man enough to accept the one thing he never thought he wanted—love.
With a reserve of energy she didn’t feel, Chloe bounded up from the bed. Not the best idea, considering her brain’s penchant for rattling around in her skull the minute she moved because of her hangover. Maybe she could get Noah to make a Bloody Mary to take the edge off before she left? Chloe climbed the plush carpeted stairs back up into the living room.
“Since it looks like we’ll be spending a bit of time together, care to enlighten me on why you took a reservation when it’s off season and your sister wasn’t even here to run it?”
Chloe sat back across from him and took a slow drink of her juice, using the added time to get a closer look at his slightly freckled face. Cute. Whatever attraction rose up tightening her throat she quickly squashed it down. A man had gotten her here in the first place. If it wasn’t for her mother’s penchant for psychological healing, without the aid of television and a quart of ice cream—she would be surrounded by piles of good books, take-out, and new workout DVD’s she wouldn’t attempt to use for a solid month.
When Noah caught her watching him, she deflected her stare to the bookcase behind his head, cringing at the A to Z self-help tomes. When she came out of rehab she might have more of a complex than when she went in last night.
“Didn’t feel like turning down company. Plus I could use the extra hands around the house getting the place weatherproofed for hurricane season.”
Chloe had to cover her mouth to keep from shooting citrus out of her nose.
“Nice plan, right?” He waggled his dark brows and took another bite of bacon.
“You purposely let me come here because you were looking for a playmate while you babysat the house?”
“You’re much more fun than building model cars and searching for the meaning of life.”
“Plus, I won the genetic jackpot. You’re quite the looker,” he said it offhand, meeting her eyes, and winking with darkness in his gaze that left nothing to imagination.
“What are you, sixty years old?”
“That was a compliment, in case you’ve never heard one.”
“Yeah, great going, complimenting a woman who probably just got out of a debilitating relationship, is emotionally vulnerable, and ready to kick some ass. What a charmer you are, Noah.”
He cleared his throat, picked up his plate, and headed toward the kitchen. Despite her resolve to let his comment slide off her back, she’d opened her big mouth. But more than anything she wished she could close her eyes to get the image of his fine ass out of her mind as the swinging door closed behind him. Pathetic didn’t cover it. She needed another dictionary definition. What were the odds of finding a dictionary in this house?
Was she even thinking about staying? The idea was idiotic at best. In a house with a total stranger in the middle of nowhere for any span of time—when did that choice go from you’re crazy, to eh, it’s workable? The fact that she managed to miss kind of a big decision when she was the one making the choice in the first place made her feel like she’d come to the right place for her discombobulated mental state. Yet…she trusted her gut. There was something to women’s intuition and Noah didn’t scream psycho killer. Of course, she didn’t think they made a t-shirt for that type of thing. But either way her first layer of apprehension peeled back with the knowledge that she had basic knowledge of self-defense and there were plenty of knick-knacks around the house to double as weapons should the need crop up.
It would be an adventure, right? He wasn’t keeping her here. She could leave and walk away—literally—at any time.
“Oh, by the way—”
Noah stuck half his body through the swinging door, large fingers splayed across the pastel green paint. He licked his lips, mouth shaping into a wolfish grin that left her fingers twisting together in her lap. Noah raised one of his hands in the air.
“One, I’ve been told I’m not relationship material. Two, I’m great rebound sex in case there isn’t anything else in this boarded up hole to occupy your mind. And last, but not least, if you want to kick my ass on behalf of my species that’s all well and good—I’m a gentleman, I’ll let you—but you bet your sweet ass you’ll be playing nursemaid afterward. And that’s with the kinky outfit, or no deal.”
There were no words. Chloe sat there without a single retort even close to her mouth. Was he kidding? Before she could regain her senses he’d popped his head back into the kitchen, and water ran in a loud rush. Almost, but not quite, blocking out the joy in his gruff laughter as it echoed through the door. Gentleman, yeah that was a joke. He was a gentleman like Rhett Butler wasn’t a cad—and Rhett was the best bad boy of ‘em all.
Elise Hepner lives with two spastic cats and a very supportive, slightly crazy husband. There is never a dull moment in the house, unless the caffeine runs out, which it never does. She’s a multi-published erotica author with Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Xcite, and Secret Cravings Publishing.
She’s driven by her tea addiction and a tiny stuffed turtle her husband picked up from Disney World that sits on her desk and “supervises” her work.
When not writing (which is rare), she’s watching countless hours of reality television, playing the Sims or shopping online. Plus there’s that odd obsession with the color purple. Everything is purple. Visit Elise at her website www.elisehepner.com to keep up with her naughty ramblings, random tidbits and future work.
She has a newsletter where you can sign up for sneak peeks, contests, giveaways, new release news and other fun things: http://eepurl.com/pW8Sj
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