INTERVIEW and giveaway: LEXI POST

5_2 bronze cLong and Short Reviews welcomes Lexi Post whose newest book Masque was recently released by Ellora’s Cave.   Leave a comment on this interview for a chance to win this lovely Venetian mask made it Italy.

Lexi starts with the characters and, because she writes erotic romance inspired by classic literature, she also re-reads the orginal story. Masque was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” Then she decides who, or whose ancestor, would be the focal point of her story. She also pulls the characters’ backgrounds and emotional baggage from the original story.

I asked her to tell us something about Masque that’s not in the blurb.

“Oh, but there is so much to tell! There is a villainous ghost who will do anything to keep from crossing over because where he is headed is not as fun as staying in the Abbey.  I also have ghosts that become more solid as the moon turns full and they disappear completely when it is a new moon. And of course, I kept the 7 colored rooms that Poe had in his story, but instead of entertainment rooms, I made them Pleasure Rooms. After all, this is erotic romance,” she said with a wink.

Lexi has just sent her editor To Bea Rappaccini, which was inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”  Lexi’s Bea is as poisonous as Hawthorne made his, but she can expel those poisons through intercourse.

“Unfortunately, this makes long-term relationships a bit difficult since she causes the men to become ill,” Lexi explained. “In fact, she already put one man into a coma! So when she falls for former logger, Zach, things get interesting. I hope my editor likes it. I’m crossing my fingers.”

“Do you use a pen name?” I wondered. “If so, how did you come up with it?”

“Yes, I do.  Lexi is the name I grew up with and my family still calls me that, except my siblings who call me Lex. I wanted to use a name I would actually turn around to when called. All my names have changed throughout my life for various reasons, so picking any one of them would have worked, but Lexi sounded sexy, you know?  Then came the hard part… what last name to pick.  Like I said, I had many to choose from, but I finally decided upon my biological father’s last name. I had a wonderful father growing up, but I thought it fitting to use my biological father’s last name for my erotic books.  After all, as my mom will tell anyone, it was a hot, torrid love affair that produced me!”

Lexi joined  the Valley of the Sun Romance Writers in 2007.  She had left her full-time job and decided she wanted to write full-time and only work part-time.  From that time on, whenever she met someone new, she always introduced herself as a romance writer.

“It was empowering and a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she told me. “Of course. I was armed with the wonderful statistics the Romance Writers of America always provided for when I encountered those who would put down our genre. Back then, I would boil it down to ‘If it wasn’t for romance, your bookstore couldn’t afford to remain open.’ Now I take a different tack.  ‘Why is good winning over evil and love overcoming obstacles a bad thing? We have the news reminding us the opposite can be true every night. Why is that better?'”

I asked Lexi to describe her writing space for us.

“I am very lucky. The only one I have to share my writing space with is my cat Giz. My husband bought me a warm, L-shaped oak desk for my birthday one year. On one side, it rises to six feet, all bookshelves. The shorter end of the L fits below the window, which gives me a beautiful view of the Caribbean ocean. I’m not kidding. We decided it was too cold for us in Phoenix, so we sold everything and now rent a small house on the beach here in the Virgin Islands.  And I mean ON the beach. There is only 50 feet of sand separating us from the ocean! Actually, the beach is my second writing space. I have discovered that sitting in the sun with my eyes closed lets me see scenes in my head without people thinking I’m strange. Simply sitting on the couch with the television off will garner strange looks from family and friends. Trust me, I know.”

The hardest part of writing for Lexi is The Black Moment.

“I hate torturing my characters, but I make myself do it. Take my hero in Masque. Even before the story opens, Synn has claimed the guilt for killing 73 people by bringing the Red Death into the Abbey (Pleasure Palace). Then to make matters worse, when the constable opens the gates and finds Synn alone and 73 graves, he shoots him.  But a higher power has placed Synn in stasis as long as he stays within the Abbey walls. This is where he has been for 150 years, trying to help the 73 ghosts of the people he killed cross over.

“Imagine the hope that grows inside him when Rena Mills buys the Abbey to turn it into a haunted bed-and-breakfast. He is so engrossed in moving her through the Pleasure Rooms to complete the Masque and free his friends, that when she discovers his betrayal, he is unprepared for the devastation of losing her. I hated writing that moment. He’d already been through so much and for so long. Even writing about it makes me squirm.”

When Lexi writes her first draft, she writes for two months straight every day.

“My best time of day is 10:00pm until 2:00am. That is when I am most creative. I also like it completely silent, so it’s a good thing I like that time of night. All I can hear then is the waves. After finishing that very rough draft, I leave the work alone for a month before starting revisions.  I do revisions during the day, along with incorporating feedback from critique partners, and polishing. I like to have multiple stories in different stages so that I always have something to work on depending on the time of day.”

“What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?” I asked.

“I’m not sure that I have one beyond finding inspiration in classic literature for erotic romance. That is somewhat . . . unusual.  I’ve always loved reading and was introduced to the classics long before romance came along. Okay, let’s strike the ‘long before.’ I loved literature, but what always disappointed me was the sad or ambiguous endings. I wanted the stories to end well. However, I don’t rewrite the classics in an erotic romance way, mainly because the classics are classified as such because they are amazing stories as they are. I prefer to be inspired by them. With Masque, it was the thought of how would the person (if it was a person) in Poe’s story feel to have been the one to kill everyone in the Abbey? And those seven entertainment rooms of Poe’s, well they would have to be Pleasure Rooms with a different experience in each one if it was going to be erotic. With To Bea Rappaccini, it was how would a woman, who was as poisonous as she was beautiful, survive today if she could only release her poisons by having sex with men, yet keep from killing them. Then of course, she would fall in love with one man and that would get very complicated.”

“How did you do the research for these books?” I wondered.

“First, I re-read the story I want to be inspired by. Then I research the time period and figure out how it will relate to my story. That is usually a lot of internet search. And, of course, there are the names which I generally find in my reference books (Synn came from there), though sometimes the names come from strange places. For Rena’s ex-fiancé, I couldn’t decide on a last name. Then I was grading a paper on Fredrick Douglass’ autobiography and it hit me. Since Rena’s ex lived in Maryland and was not one of the ‘good’ characters, I decided he should have the name of the family who owned Frederick Douglass, which was Lloyd. Then there is my characters’ motivation. I have a colleague who teaches psychology and I run my hero’s and heroine’s motivations by her. In fact, just this week I was chatting with her about a work I will be starting to write next month. Unfortunately, he told me I needed more to the hero’s background. So more sitting in the sun time for me. Well, someone has to do it. There are the wonderful loops and chapters I belong to as well.  When I get stuck, I throw out my question on those and there always seems to be someone who has an answer or a place I can find the answer.”

I asked Lexi to share the scariest moment of her life with us–riding out a microburst while on her houseboat in Arizona.

“You never really know how you will react when confronted with a fearful event. It was 12:30am and I was just shutting down my computer. I was in my office, which was on the lower level, where part of the room is actually under the water. The winds came out of nowhere. No forecast of this weather phenomenon.  People describe microbursts as upside down tornados. I didn’t know that was what it was, but the boat started rocking really badly because the waves, even inside the marina, grew huge. Fast. My husband woke up and came into the living room. I was still in my office, holding up this six-foot bookshelf above my desk. Having the tallest boat on the lake also meant we had the heaviest, and within minutes  a couple of the ropes holding us to the dock broke, but we had ten on her, so we were still safe . . . sort of.  My husband grabbed some life vests and threw one to me. He couldn’t reach me because some furniture had toppled over.  It was the first time I ever put a life vest on because I thought I needed it.

In no time, two more ropes broke and the waves started picking our houseboat up and slamming her down onto the dock.  Each time cabinets would open and dishes would come flying out and crash against the opposite walls. Statues toppled, plants crashed, the pocket doors slammed with each hit. I lost count after 70. We had 80mph sustained winds for 90 minutes. For an hour I stood in the doorway of my office, one hand braced against the jamb, my other braced against the bookcase, holding it against the wall. If it came down, I wouldn’t escape injury. For that hour, I was afraid. I kept saying ‘Please stop. Please stop. Please stop.’ And then I hit that breaking point. Like I said, you never know how you will react when afraid. Something inside me had reached its limit and anger burned hot. My chant became ‘Stop it. Now!’

“The microburst left as quickly as it had appeared. One houseboat had sunk, another was halfway down before the marina crew got pumps into it and saved it. Ours was considered totaled by the insurance company. When the water had calmed enough, my husband moved a piece of furniture so I could crawl out by going under the spiral staircase to the floor above. Our hull had held, having been built out of airplane aluminum, but the dock, well, let’s just say ‘mangled’ would be putting it mildly. The benefit I got out of that as a writer was what I felt will always be with me, and it is great fodder for that emotion in stories.”

 

 

About the Author: 5_2 Lexi Post photo small (2)Lexi Post spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about classical literature. From the Medieval work “The Pearl” to the 20th century American epic The Grapes of Wrath, from War and Peace to the Bhagavad Gita, she’s read, studied, and taught great classic literature.

But Lexi’s first love is romance novels. In an effort to marry her two loves, she started writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and found she loved it.  Lexi feels there is no end to the romantic inspiration she can find in great classic literature.

Lexi lives with her husband and cat in the Caribbean where gorgeous sunsets, warm weather, and driving on the left are the norm.

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5_2 masque_msr finalRena Mills plans to turn an abandoned abbey into a haunted bed-and-breakfast to prove she can be successful without her ex-fiancé. What she finds inside is Synn MacAllistair, the distinguished, self-proclaimed Ghost Keeper. Her dreams soon fill with sexual cravings for him. But are they dreams?

Synn, born in 1828, is determined to free the souls of the resident spirits, blaming himself for bringing the Red Death that killed them. When Rena steps into the old Pleasure Palace, he’s sure he can take her through the after-midnight Pleasure Rooms and stoke her passion to complete the Masque so the souls can cross over. Her innocent fire makes him crave more, but it’s far too late for him.

As Rena begins her erotic journey, her heart becomes more involved with every sensual caress until she discovers by completing the Masque she would lose her ghosts. Synn’s betrayal wars with her compassion for her ghostly friends. Torn, she must make a choice between her financial security and freeing seventy-three trapped souls. Either way, she could lose her Synn.

Masque is available at:

 Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 Ellora’s Cave

Comments

  1. Nice interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  2. Thank you bn. You are going to know me really well pretty soon 😉 Thank you so much for visiting me on my Masque Tour!

  3. Ashley Clark says:

    You have a huge fan!! Beautiful story! Thanks
    so much for writing it 😉

  4. Ashley Clark says:

    Hiya Lexi! Sorry if I post twice, but my original post was made from cell phone last night and it’s not showing up so dunno if it worked or not. 🙂

    Just letting you know that I have become a huge fan and am spreading the word to all my book worm friends! Masque was everything I look for in a book. Eroticism with a great story line. You don’t find that often in these types of books and I was completely hooked. Very well done! When I finished Masque, I immediately went to your web page to see if you had other books I could read and was so bummed that I had to wait for the next one. I can’t wait for your next release and I know it will be fantastic! 🙂

    • Hi Ashley, thank you for your kind words. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the story. I promise there will be a next one 😉 And thank you for spreading the word. You are so sweet!

  5. You are amazing………..love your work and love your attitude……….great job.

  6. Aw, thanks Rosea. I’m so glad you liked Masque 🙂

  7. kimmyl says:

    Loved the post. Your book sounds wonderful, a hot steamy romance with ghosts? Who could ask for more.

    readingdiva@ymail.com

  8. Diane S says:

    I knew I wouldn’t be the only one waiting for the next one, and the one after that, and… It’s been fun reading Masque over again. You really did a fantastic job.

  9. Hi Kimmy, so glad you liked the post. Luckily, I can think of a few more things a woman might ask for, but they will have to wait for my next book 😉

  10. Oh my, Diane, you are reading Masque again? Wow, what a compliment. Thank you so much (blushing here).

  11. And the winner is . . . .

    bn100 wins the bronze mask! Congratulations!

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