An Exclusive Interview with

Alexandria Kendall


Carol Givner

From Mae West's eyebrow-raising innuendoes to Lady Chatterley's temperature-raising gamekeeper, and on to Fanny Hill's initiation, Bryan Adams lusty, lyrical angst, Rhett's barely tethered kiss on Scarlett's parted lips, the Woodstock-painted Blouse Man crawling onto the lonely housewife in a "Walk on the Moon," and Keanu Reeves' helpless passion conveyed in a sex-drenched kiss in a "Walk in the Clouds," erotica has flavored our books, songs, and movies with scintillating pleasures.

Romance publishers had kept sex alive through the time-tested spectrum of sweet to sensual passion.

Until Red Sage Publishing walked through tantalizing walls to bring both authors and readers alike a new standard.

Ms. Kendall, what prompted the creation of Secrets? What makes Secrets unique in the market? What contributed to the success and respect that Red Sage enjoys?

Red Sage was created because I kept hearing women authors complaining that the love scenes they wanted to write were too spicy for their publishing houses. Red Sage means revolutionary intelligence or wise. I thought women romance authors should have an opportunity to write as sexy as they wanted to and still keep their stories romances. Giving other women their wisdom (or fantasy) woman to woman. Letting other women know they weren't alone in their feelings. We believe Secret stories told to women by women have forever been at the heart of civilization and we offer a venue for women authors to tell their Secret stories.

What makes the Secrets Collection unique is we are placed between erotica and romance. I feel Secrets are Ultra Spicy Romance. Secrets deals with romance and not other elements that can be found in erotica. I originally called Secrets erotica, but found it really doesn't fit in the general concept of what erotica is. It would be unfair to the readers of pure erotica.
Red Sage has been blessed with the most wonderful authors, excellent reviews and The National Fallot Literary Award for Fiction.

What is the difference between erotica and herotica?
I really don't know. I could make a guess, but I would probably really sound silly.

Can men understand erotica? Do they, as a rule, know how to write it?

We are trying to keep an open mind on this issue.

What is the most difficult aspect of writing effective erotica?

Red Sage authors are some of the best writers in romance because they know how to balance the characters, the sexuality of the story and the plot.

What is the single most important quality that will beckon you to buy a book with no hesitation?

Similar to other stories in balance of character, sexuality, plot and great writing.

What would signal instant rejection?

Bad writing and not having the above.

What is the best "hook" you've ever read? Who is the perfect hero, real or fictional? What is the sexiest plot?

Great stories depend on how the characters react to a hook, not the hook in and of itself.

Women like different kinds of men and that is why Secrets offers a wide variety of wonderful men, but somewhere in the alpha male range. That is where most heroes are. But there are always exceptions to every rule.

The sexiest plot depends on the characters. Secrets' authors are so talented and creative I could never say there was an absolute in any of these areas.

Why, in romance novels, does the hero have to be perfection in bed and out, when in real life a woman will excuse a man's shortcomings in every way but the bedroom?

Unfortunately we live in the real world, but between the covers of Secrets men can be what we need for them to be in all ways in and out of bed. Especially the bed is where they are the best in Secrets. They meet all our needs sexually in bed. Give our fantasies new fantasies because they are even more creative than we are in bed and know right where to touch and when, because this is fantasy and not the real world.

Do you think that by leading the reader away from the play-by-play, we are contributing to or causing a repressed society?

No, women should read what they feel comfortable with.

Does a story have to be graphic to be sexual?

Absolutely not. I would never restrict a writer in that way, but if it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

Many authors feel quite comfortable with the vivid descriptions and emotions of sex, while others stop at the first kiss. What advice would you give to writers who want to write more emotionally, but worry about the consequences?

Authors should write what they feel comfortable with.

Have you already published the story of your editorial dreams? What were/are you looking for?

As Red Sage became more established, did you see an emerging "new sexuality" for characters? For authors? If so, in what ways?

I don't know what you mean by "new sexuality." The Karma Sutra has been around for hundreds of years and I don't think anyone has come up with something different. But I am always looking for great writing.

What trends do you see in publishing for the millennium?

More caution in publishers accepting authors whose writing isn't excellent.

Any new directions for Red Sage?

No changes at this time.

Will you do any online publishing?

Not at this time. Not until it is proven beneficial for authors and publishers.

What advice would you give to editors? Authors?

Know your market and know your publishing house.

In twenty words or less, what is the sexiest line of dialogue you could write within the boundaries of fine erotica?

It depends on the context of the story and the author. It can be as simple as the hero saying "I love you."