Sierra Cartwright whose latest book is Jane Eyre, part of the Clandestine Classics series. Sierra will give one commenter on today's interview a copy of this book.
She told me that crafting her portion of Jane Eyre was one of the most terrifying things she had ever done and was unbelievably difficult.
"The original work is so beloved, so breathtakingly beautiful, I was awed," she told me. "I was overwhelmed. I struggled more with this project than any other, because it means so much to so many people. I loved every moment of it."
She is working on an upcoming trilogy from Total-E-Bound that she's excited about. All the books will be set in Colorado with the mountains as a back drop and she assured me that all the heroes will be delicious. Those will be followed by more releases in her Zones series.
Sierra started writing when she was about eight.
"Back then, there was no spell check and no computers! Dreadful! My elementary school librarian 'published' my books and gave me a special place in the library for my books. Turns out I was neurotic back then, too. I NEVER looked to see if anyone checked them out," she confessed. "I wrote fanfic (I didn’t know that’s what it was!) when I was in high school. I continued to write, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t find success early or easily. I wrote ten full books over the course of ten years before I finally got a fabulous agent who managed to get me a contract. And I wish I could say everything I have written since has gotten a bright, shiny contract. I’ve joked about wallpapering a bathroom with my rejection letters. Unfortunately, I only have three bathrooms!"
When Sierra went through her divorce, she stopped writing for several years—she doesn't know if it was writer's block or something else, but she eventually came back to writing. Now if she's "blocked" it's usually because she hasn't thought something all the way through—either character motivation or plot point.
"At those points, I generally go and do something physically strenuous where I stop thinking entirely," she said. "I may jump on my mountain bike or play racquetball or weight train. There’s something about getting 'away' completely that frees up my brain. If I stop grinding on the problem, I generally find a solution."
"What did you want to be when you grew up?" I asked.
"Grow up? You mean I have to?! Seriously, I always wanted to be a writer. As I became an adult, I wanted to run a company. Today, I have the best of all worlds. I serve as general manager of an environmentally friendly company and I get to spend my evenings and weekends pursuing my first love."
Sierra is very much a plotter.
"Surprisingly, the more time I spend thinking about the book before I get started, the faster I can write and the less revision I need to make to my plot points. To me it’s like going on a hiking trip. If I decide where I’m going, I know how much gear I need. Do I need my summit pack? Or will a fanny pack do? A 100 oz Camelbak? Or a couple of water bottles. If it’s a three hour easy hike, I need a certain amount of food. If I’m summiting, I need to carry enough food to sustain me at 500 calories per hour (during the ascent). I look at books to pick the 'best' trail—depending on what trip I’m looking for—shortest, most scenic, etc. I look at the weather forecast. Do I need lightweight gloves or down-filled mittens? I’ve had to bail out others on the mountain who didn’t plan as well…Some people get ill from lack of water, etc. I try to think through the possibilities before leaving the house. I approach my writing the same way."
As you can guess, when Sierra's not writing, she loves be outdoors, finding something restorative about nature.
"I love to hike," she told me. "Last week I was hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. Yesterday, I rode my bike next to Clear Creek for an hour and a half. I’m considering my next fourteener (a mountain that is over 14,000 feet high.) "
"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I asked.
"Okay, this is REALLY embarrassing, and I’ve never told anyone this before…I had a padded bra on at a very public event—I was receiving an award in front of hundreds of people—and when I got back to the table, a friend handed me one of the little pieces of fabric that made up the padding! Yep, I lost part of my boobs in public! Fortunately, I don’t think many people realized what was going on."
Sierra told me that one of the reasons she prefers romance, traditional or erotic, is the promise of a happily ever after, or at least a happy-for-now ending.
"Life doesn’t come with any guarantees, so when I get to the end of a book, I generally like it to end on a positive note. I want my stories to be emotional as well as smoking hot. I don’t want any gratuitous scenes, rather, I want my hero(es!) and heroine to have their relationship change or their emotions impacted by each scene."
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"
"I recommend that all authors, new and experienced to read. Read. Read.Definitelyread. Read the type of erotic romance you want to write. Read erotic romances that aren’t in your particular sub-genre, so that you get a feel for what others are doing. Read outside your genre so that you’re always learning new techniques and seeing what works. Write what you know. Write what you want to learn about. And if you’re interested in adding BDSM elements, Screw The Roses, Send Me The Thorns by Phillip Miller and Molly Devon is an excellent book. And craft is essential. Understanding POV, scene and sequel, showing, rather than telling, is every bit as important in erotic romance as it is in any genre. My go-to book is Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. Also, find beta readers or a fabulous critique group. Feedback, even if difficult, is essential. Always, always, always learn. One of my favorite athletes is Rafa Nadal, number three tennis player on planet earth. Rafa has said he never goes to practice. He goes to learn. If the best of the best still wants to learn, so do I."
About the Author:
Her own journey has taught her that trusting takes guts and courage, and her work is a celebration for everyone who is willing to take that risk.
Find Sierra online at
One of the world's best loved books, Jane Eyre, is retold with scorching passion…
Mystery, betrayal, scandal, and a love that transcends time…
There was only him...
From the moment Jane Eyre sets eyes on her one and true master, Mr. Rochester, her life is irrevocably changed.
The tall, dark man is an enigma, complex, deep, compelling, frightening, and tempting beyond compare.
This stern, unyielding man brooks no refusal and demands all of what Jane has to offer as he invites her on a journey of the senses that would scandalise society. He demands her abject surrender. In his strong and athletic arms, Jane submits to his darkest desires and discovers hers are every bit as searing, plunging her into a world she never suspected and never wants to escape.
The thrilling and beloved novel is perhaps more relevant today than it ever was. Jane Eyre's struggles to live a life of grand passion, compromising nothing, willing to sacrifice everything for what she believes, resonates with the modern woman's struggles to have it all, to be it all, and to love with uncompromising abandon.