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What is Steam Scenes?
Contemporary romance author Elle Greco is joined by her fellow romance authors to talk about writing all the naughty bits.
Julie Hamilton has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. She fell in love with romance novels during the summer between quitting her newspaper job and starting grad school. When she realized she was looking for a love story in every book she read, she writes contemporary romance with heat and humor that features characters chasing after their dreams, and finding happily ever after along the way. Originally from Pittsburgh, she now lives near Chicago. Welcome to steam scenes. Julie, it's so great to have you here.
Hi. Oh, thank you for having me on.
This is so okay. So I have a really funny like story to tell you. First got your email about coming on the podcast. And I was reading it. And I was like, Oh, this sounds really cool. And for some reason, in my head, I had it that you wrote sweet romance.
Oh, yeah. Interesting.
reading your book, right, just for show. And I'm like, this is a little naughty for sweet like you were using some language. You know, that was that was like you don't normally use, I would say you don't normally see in sweet romance. So I was like, Oh, this is a little daring. Look at her. And for some reason i Okay. So just to catch everybody up. We're talking about just for show, which is Julie's debut novel that just came out? Well, just as at the time of recording from Carina press. And in my head, I thought it was tool tool tool, the press, which only publishes sweet. I don't know how I got all of this confused. So I've gotten her book, I'm reading it, and I'm like, Oh, my God, she said the D word and asleep. And then I came across COC and I was like, what? I'm like, I don't know, let's get past her monitors. As I go, you seeing like, Oh, my God. I had to like, go back and like, look at what you sent me. And I was like, Oh my god. So in my head, I am reading your book the whole time, basically, like the whole time thinking it was a sweet romance.
That is really funny. You know, I've actually seen some reviews on Goodreads. And I know I'm not supposed to check Goodreads. But as a debut author, especially when the book is an arc, in case your readers don't have your listeners, not your readers don't know what that means. That's just an advanced copy. So your advanced readers you kind of want to see like, what are people saying? And there are actually some reviews on Goodreads that say, I was surprised by how steamy this book is because the cover makes it look so sweet and cute. And I love my cover, but I can see how people might interpret it that way.
You know, honestly, I think that I mean, props to Goodreads. I, you know, say not through gritted teeth. Yeah, I think I think that might be right. I like the cover. Like I think I just like read, like read your information, like so quickly, and then looked at the cover. And in my head went. That's a sweet romance. Right? Yeah. It's not, don't be fooled guys, there's so much steam in this book. It's not even funny. Which is
why like, in all my promotions on Twitter and Instagram, a lot of my tweets will say plenty of steam, because I want people to know, you know, don't be misled by the cover. Like this is a pretty hot book.
It's a very hot book. So I mean, it was definitely a pleasant surprise. But for a while there. I was like, oh my god, Julie Hamilton up ending the sweet category. I was like, this is bold. This is bold. I can't wait to talk about. So in your bio, you said you were a journalist. So tell me a little bit about that.
Yeah, so I've always wanted to be a writer. And so when it came time to think about what I wanted to major in college, I was thinking, Well, what majors would involve writing, and I've always been into news. As a child, I used to read the newspaper. I'm talking like I was eight years old. And I was the kid who was like, Oh, Dad, can you buy me a newspaper and I would read it like cover to cover. So I was always like a news junkie. And I love to write. So that's why I went into journalism. Unfortunately, I did not last very long in journalism. It's a really, really hard job. So I still love news. I still love news writing. And I work in PR now and I do a little bit of brand journalism. I don't think I want to talk too much about my day job because I want to keep my author persona separate from like my day job persona, but I still get to do some writing as part of my work. As a journalist, I worked in a small town it was kind of an interesting experience and coming from Pittsburgh, which is a fairly big city. That was a little bit of culture shock for me
Uh oh, well, you got we have very similar I actually, I Well, I still do lifestyle journalism. And I was doing PR for a long time for my day job. I started out in journalism, I've now pivoted back to journalism because of COVID. So it's sort of like interesting that we have like that sort of same, those same experiences and that same background. Yeah. That's pretty cool. So you have this journalism, background transition to PR, which is still pretty writing heavy. When did you decide you know, I think I want to write a novel. When did that come to you?
Well, I've always wanted to write a novel. I think my bio says that I've been writing stories for as long as I can remember, I loved books. As a kid, my mom was always reading to me. And there came a point, I think I was about five years older. So I just got this urge to write my own stories. So I get these pieces of printer paper, my parents would staple them together for me. So they looked like a book and I draw pictures and I write my own stories. And then growing older as a teenager, I got into fanfiction. So I've always been writing stories. I never wrote a novel until about five or six years ago, I wrote my first manuscripts, it will probably never see the light of day, it was a hockey romance. I just think the market was tough at the time for hockey romance, so I queried it, but it didn't really go anywhere. So just for show, it's actually the second novel that I've written.
Oh, cool. So wait, now, why are you saying you're never gonna? It's never gonna see the light of day? Are you just not happy with it now that
you can tell? It's a first attempt at a novel, like comparing that book to just for show, I worked really hard on my craft between writing those two books, and I can see a big difference in the quality. I think that hockey romance would just require a ton of editing to make it. I don't know, something that I would feel comfortable publishing. Fair enough.
What were you when you say you were working on craft in between the two books, what were you doing?
So I decided to get some craft books because my very first manuscript, the hockey romance, I struggled writing it because I pants my way through it. And it was extremely frustrating experience. And I just knew that something about my process needed to change. So I got two books that really helped me a lot. One is romancing the beat by Gwen Hayes, which I'm sure a lot of people have heard of. It's like a Bible homos for Romance Writers at this point in story genius by Lisa Cron, which really love her delve into like your characters backstories their goals, motivations, conflicts, and those two books really helped me make a huge change in how I wrote the way I think about characters way think about story.
I love Lisa Crone, I love her I've been taking I've actually she has a couple of classes that exist, I don't really think on Create live, that I have that I watch over and over and over again. Because I find I'm terrible at plotting, and I'm terrible at plotting out my books. And, and I plants a lot like I have an idea, but I'm just like, I'm just gonna wing it. And so and yeah, in terms of like being a pantser, I think that she's really helped me a lot. And I have like, so much backstory about characters. It's kind of insane. Like I've written like, their whole life story before I even really start on the book itself. Which is cool. I'd love to know, like, in terms of like, how, what, you know, what changed now? are you plotting in more intricately? Or how did that sort of change your approach?
I don't think I'm ever going to be an intricate plotter, just my brain does not work that way. But I think what changed for me is, I was figuring out my characters before I started writing my first manuscript. I mean, I truly did pants, this, I did not really think anything about my characters beyond. Okay, he is a hockey player, and she's a figure skater, I really wasn't thinking a whole lot about backstory, or their motivations or goals or anything like that. So I think, thinking more critically about character, and also thinking more critically about the beats of a romance, and you kind of have those beats and Trinsic ly in you if you're a longtime romance reader, but trying to put them into practice when you're actually writing a story, I think can be difficult sometimes. So that's where I think Romancing The Beat comes in. And it's really helpful because as I'm writing, I can kind of check my story against that, like, Okay, I'm doing what I need to do. I'm hitting all of the beats that I need to be
hitting. Okay, I'm absolutely gonna get a copy of this book, because I've heard I've heard about it before, but nobody's ever like, really sold it to me, right? Like, like Ken said, okay, like, you gotta go You gotta read this, you know, this is the book, this is the right book. Where you are, I mean, you were according to your bio, your bio, you read romance, but like, were you always a romance reader when you were a kid or did this come later,
um, it came later I was in my early 20s, when I really became a romance reader. I grew up knowing about romance because of my mom. She was a teacher. And every summer one of her co workers would give her these huge bags of romance novels. And I kept sneaking peeks at them, you know, I was probably like eight or 910 years old. And I kept looking at these romance novels. And I was very intrigued by some of the things that I saw in the pages. But I didn't get into romance, like I said, until I was in my early 20s. I was reading a lot of literary and I guess we could call up market fiction. And I was kind of a snob, I'll just admit. Anytime there was a love story, and one of those books and they usually ended tragically, I would just like glom on to that love story. And, like my author bio says, I started reading romance when I realized I was looking for a love story. And every book I read, and I just reached this point, like reading all of these sad books, where I just wanted fun love stories, where people got to happily ever after. And romance is fun. It's hopeful, it's joyful. And at that time in my life, that is what I really, really need it. So that's kind of what drew me to Romans.
So what was the first book? What was the gateway book?
The Gateway book was bet me by Jennifer Cruzi.
Okay, tell me about it. Have you ever read it? I have not.
Oh, hell, you have to read this book. So I will add the caveat that it was published, I think in 2004. So there may be elements of it now that are kind of problematic. But it's just a really fun story. It has a curvy heroine, and she's at a bar with her friends. And she overhears this guy named Cal Mae make a bet that I'm going to probably screw up the plot because I haven't read the book and all the time. But he she overhears him making some kind of bet that he can't get her into bed. And they kind of have some mutual friends. And gradually, they start seeing each other and hanging out and falling in love. And they eat a lot of really delicious food. And there's a lot of stuff about body positivity, although it is dated. Now. I think Jennifer Cruzi was going for something about body positivity with men who's the Kirby heroine. And it's just a really delightful, fun book. And I love it. And it was definitely the gateway where I was like, I need more books like this.
Oh, that's so cool. Yeah, I've never heard of that. I'm gonna go look that up. And we're done. Because that sounds like That sounds pretty cool. It's so funny. Reading older books. It's so hard it is to say 2000 for an older book, I'm like, Oh my God. Yeah.
That's like, that's like ancient for romance. I will say Jennifer Cruzi was a really big inspiration to me. I love her banter. I love her dialogue. If you want to study how a romance writer really hits all of those beats from Romancing the beat. That's the book read bet me? Yeah.
Okay, that's really, really good to know. I mean, do you Okay, so here's a crazy question. And I don't know if I'm gonna, like get this right. So forgive me. Do you have a favorite beat? When we're talking about, like a favorite? I'm sorry. I'm so putting you on this. I don't even really know what I'm asking.
I do have a copy of Romancing the beat on the bookshelf that is near my desk. And I think what my favorite one is, is the falling in love beats. Really seeing those characters grow and come together and start to really like each other. And you see, okay, these people are really truly falling in love. And also, I don't think this fee is in Romancing the beat that kinda like the fun and games. I think the funny game speed is from save the cat. But just Yeah, watching the characters have fun, enjoy each other. That's always really fun for me to write and to read.
Okay, I want to talk about that for a second. I actually find I get stymied at the fun and games. So really, yeah, that feels to me like my messy middle. And that's always kind of where like, everything goes awry, because all of a sudden I start adding plot point after plot point after plot point that I then erase from the final, you know, like it just sort of seems like I just, I just take I don't know if I take the fun and games a little too seriously, or not seriously enough. So it's really kind of interesting that that that's kind of your favorite to write Oh, yeah, but
I can also see how it might be difficult to write to, to kind of come up with fun and games kind of stuff for your characters to do. But I think what it all comes back to is that it's really the part of the book where you're watching the characters grow closer, and really fall in love with each other as they are just enjoying each other's company.
Yeah. Along the same lines, and again, this this might throw you I was kind of curious about this. Do you have a favorite trope?
fake dating? So yeah, I mean, just just her show is a fake dating romance. Yeah. That's my favorite trope to read and to write. I just love it. I love the craziness of it. Like, we're just gonna fake date. Like, that is not a thing that happens in real life. If it has happened in real life, I want to hear about it because that would be amazing. But you know, just this over the top plot of like, we're gonna fake date like and just for show they're fake dating to advance their careers. And it's just so much fun to see these people go from trying to keep the relationship fake to gradually developing feelings for each other, their attraction growing, I just love everything about it.
It what was really fun for me to read this book is that I actually have like, a half written small town romance because this is not small town to I should point out this takes place in Chicago. Correct? It is it isn't Cago. Right? Yeah. Okay, I just wanted to double check that I have that, right. Because God knows I had the sweet part, all sorts of wrong. So I have a small town that that revolves around like the sort of fake dating trope, but it also features reality TV, and that sort of home and garden, you know, like the home TV renovation shows. So I was like, this was like, super fun, because this is like completely different from the one that I'm writing. But it was super fun for me to read. And to sort of see your take on it, and how you were and how you were positioning the characters and and why they were faking it and how they were faking it. And you know what they did to fake it, which I thought was really pretty neat.
Yeah, and just for me, as a reader and writer, there needs to be some kind of compelling reason why these people are willing to fake a relationship. And then just for show, so Luke, and Audrey, the main characters, their airplane meet cute goes viral, which they really are not expecting, and who does expect to go viral. But Luke has a home renovation TV show, and his producers see the numbers this tweet is doing. And they're like, the ratings for your show are higher than they ever are. You have to keep posting about this woman. And he's like, I'm not dating her. So that when they run into each other again, that's kind of what prompts him to be like, you know, my producers basically gave me an ultimatum. They want me to keep posting about you. And in exchange, they're going to pick up the show that I'm in Chicago right now to film because he's in town to film the pilot of a new renovation show. And Audrey is in a really toxic day job. And she is desperate to get out of it. She's always wanted to be a photographer and start her own photography business. And she sees this fake dating as an opportunity for herself. So you know, this tweet is getting a whole bunch of attention. I can leverage this to try to get my photography business off the ground.
Yeah. And then and then off they go, which was really, really great. I'm curious, where did you get the idea for this?
So I got the idea from a tweet that I saw a couple years ago now. And it was from an athlete and he had met a woman on a plane, they really hit it off, and he lost track of her in the airport. And the reason Oh, yeah, and the reason I didn't choose to write an athlete hero for this book for just for show, is because that hockey romance I was talking about that took me several years to write had to athlete main characters, and I was just burned out writing athletes and like, I can't do it anymore. So I was brainstorming with a friend and I knew that I didn't want to do an actor or musician and my friend said, You love HGTV. What about an HGTV guy? And it's just like, that was like lightning in a bottle for me. And that's how this book kind of came about.
It's so funny, because it's kind of like hiding in plain sight. Like, right? Yeah, like sometimes your ideas because it's like, okay, you know, you watch HGTV you watch a ton of it, I guess, according to your friend and it's sort of and you're like, oh, I don't know who what character like what this characters job should be at. It's like whoa.
And immediately I could see like a fake dating scenario coming out of an airplane meet cute like, what if it goes viral? Like one thing that leads so Chrome talks about in story genius is playing that. What if game? Like what if this happens? Or what if these two people who were on an airplane have their meet cute go viral? What if they decide to fake date? So that's kind of where story genius came in with us too, and helping me think of ideas.
And then you kept going through the what ifs, which is so fantastic. And it just kind of you can see it sort of spiraling as you're reading the book, which is really, really cool. So okay, I'm curious with with the hockey, the hockey one, jump back there for a second was that steamier, sweet,
steamy, I don't think that I can ever write sweet. I mean, I have a lot of respect for anybody who writes whatever heat level they want. You know, I don't think anybody has to write steamy if they don't want to. But for me, personally, I like writing steamy. It's so I don't think I'd ever use sweet romance.
Can I ask you what you like about it?
Oh, what I like about it. I mean, I just like the physical intimacy between characters. And I like seeing how that physical intimacy can tie into their emotions, too.
Right, right. I mean, I think I think the sweet thing is just a whole different thing really like and being able to build that without the physical part. But I do know for me, too. I don't know that the physical part of things is just so often part of an adult relationship. Yes. That you have to kind of push that forward. So what was it like writing your very first one?
Well, I've actually been writing steamy scenes for a long time because I started out writing fanfic, and
yeah, that's, that's, that's a little naughty.
Yeah. So I mean, I was like, what, like, 1617 years old? No, with life experience, I was kind of hesitant. I was writing the scenes, like in secret on my laptop in my bedroom. Yeah, I really didn't know what I was doing. I was kind of using. And I wasn't plagiarizing. I mean, God, no. But like, I was kind of using like how other fanfic writers were pacing these scenes and writing those scenes. To give me some inspiration, just like I said, I did not know what I was doing at that point. It
was it was it sort of, did you have any? Like? I don't know any, any did did? Did you feel a certain like, when you were writing? Were you like, oh, I don't know if I can write this? Or did it just come completely natural to do?
You know, at first I kind of felt like, I don't think that I can do this. But as I continued to write it just came naturally to me.
Okay, so by the time you got to actually writing a novel, was it just like, Yeah, fine. Yes, exactly. Oh, my God, that's really amazing. Because I mean, do you just as you're ready, because you know, you get into a rhythm when you're writing, right? Like, you can pretty much pretty much go and I can pretty much go at a clip. And then when I get to that intimate moment, I don't know what happens. But oh, slow way down. Are you able to continue? Like, just just like a reg? Like it's any other scene? Or? Or do you find that you're either speeding up? Maybe you're speeding up? Maybe you're slowing down? Like we're in terms of like your writing? Where does that land?
For me? I think it's just like any other scene, I enjoy writing them. I think of steamy scenes, intimate scenes as free words, almost because they come really easily to me. A lot of the time, I'll have thought about them well in advance, because I look forward to writing them.
Oh, yeah, more.
So like, first, when I know that a steamy scene is coming up first I think about, okay, like, how am I going to get them to the bedroom or wherever they're going to have sex? Like, what is the build up to the scene, what happens to get them to this point, and then I start thinking about the physical things like blocking the scene, how it's going to progress and what's going to happen. And then usually, I'll go back in and I'll layer the emotional stuff and internal thoughts after I write the physical part. But when I sit down to write one of these scenes, I just kind of go into this state where, like, the words are just flowing. I'm not really thinking about like, somebody's going to read this someday. It's just, I'm just gonna make this really hot. And I'm not going to worry about the emotional stuff because I can go back and add that in later.
Okay, yeah, I definitely do. It's sort of like a whole layering process that is definitely like part of mine but for whatever reason, it just like I just slow way down. You know, and so you actually do do the blocking bits, which is yeah, really kind of cool to hear.
So What do you think makes an intimate scene? Good? What do you want to read? What do I let's let's purchase versus a reader? Like, what do you want to read when you're reading an entity? So,
as a reader, I want to see both the emotional and physical connection between the characters. I don't want something that's just like, Insert Tab A into slot B. I mean, there's a place for that. But like, that's just not my preference. I think as a reader, or a writer, I want descriptions of what's going on and how it makes them feel physically and emotionally. I want to see how even the smallest touch or the smallest look or something somebody could whisper can heighten things in that moment.
Okay, and but and and what about with readers? What what do you want your readers to sort of take away from when they read yours?
I think what I want my readers to take away is seeing that connection between the character like I was saying, as a reader, I like seeing that emotional and physical connection between the characters. And I think that's what I want my readers to take away too. Like, yeah, this is really hot. But I can also see these characters growing closer over the course of this scene, that these characters are different at the end of the scene than they were at the beginning of it,
right. I'm curious, do you have like, do you have like a, an idea? Like, you're like, okay, in each book, I will have three intimate scenes or four for intimate scenes are too intimate. Like, do you have a number? Do you put a number on it, or it's just wherever the story takes you.
It's just wherever the story takes me, like the hockey romance that I wrote, had two intimate scenes, and maybe one was alluded to, there wasn't really any description. But for this book for just for show, I let the characteristic taste it. I mean, these two, Audrey and Luke, they have a ton of chemistry. And for me, I just thought they're going to be having sex as much as they possibly can. Yeah, so I just ended up being three scenes.
Okay. All right. Yeah. And the other thing that I think is so, so fascinating, that I don't know, that I've ever really talked about with any of the other writers on the show is writing in the third person versus writing in the first person. And you do it, you do third person, and you really get into their heads.
Oh, I'm really glad to hear you say that. Because when I first started writing romance, that was something I actually really struggled with. And I don't just mean in the context of steamy scenes, just in general, like deep POV was something I struggled with. And that was something that I really tried to work on between that first manuscript and writing just for show so it means a lot to hear you say that I did a good job. Oh, didn't inside their heads.
So was your first one done in that third person as well? Okay, so it was Would you ever write first person?
I'm open to it. I think that my voice naturally is a third person past tense kind of voice, but I would not rule out writing first person Okay.
All right, because I struggle with the third like, I've done some stuff like I've started stuff in third person and then I'm like, No, this isn't working. Oh my god, try and changing. Changing your that's hard. Changing is hard. Don't get on like, Oh, I gotta change it all the first person and then I'm like, oh, you know, but I'm always kind of curious with people that do write in third person. I know reader, some readers love third person won't read first person. Some readers love first person won't read third person. It's like it's such a it's such a personal preference. You know that I always think it's really interesting. And I'm starting to pay like more attention to who's writing in third, who's writing in first, I can read either one. I honestly don't have a preference, but to actually write it. I really need to be in first.
Yeah, I will read first or third person. It doesn't matter if it's present tense or past tense. But yeah, I don't know. Just I kind of gravitate toward that third person just because that's most of what I read is in third person,
right? So I'm curious, what are you reading right now? Or what are you reading right now?
So what I'm reading right now is a woman's that just came out. As of the time of this recording. It came out on January 1, and it's called digging up love. It's by Shandra. Bloomberg. She's also a debut author. And it's about a baker and a paleontologist. And this baker lives in a small town in Illinois, and she lives with her grandparents in a dinosaur bone is found in her grandparents backyard. And so in comes this sexy paleontologist from Chicago and they kind of developed this really cool like texting friendship when he first comes to see the dinosaur bone in the backyard. And then when he comes back a few months later for the actual digging up of the bones, that's when their romance really starts. And I haven't gotten super far into the book. I think I'm about halfway through. So I don't think it's steamy. It seems like there's there's a lot of chemistry between the characters. But it seems to me like it's a little bit on the sweeter side.
Okay, but what a fun setup. Yeah.
Really well, it's really well written. It's really unique setup. I'm enjoying it a lot. She's a great writer.
That sounds really cool. Oh, after take a look at that digging up love. That sounds like a super fun one. I had another question for you. And then it just kind of like flew right out of my head. Oh, my God, I love it when that happens. Um, all right. So while I think about it, why don't we dig into your intimate scene? Okay. So can you set this up for us? Where are we in the book.
Um, so this scene happens about halfway through a little after the halfway point. It's right after Luke and Audrey have what's their first real date, they've had a whole bunch of fake dates up to this point that this one he invites her out. It's just the two of them nothing to do with the fake relationship or taking pictures for Instagram. And he invites her to this photography themed bar. And that is an actual place in Chicago. Because she's a photographer, he knows that she's going to love it. And he was kind of picturing like, oh, there's going to be photo booths and old cameras and stuff. But it's actually this really intimate place with mood lighting and candles on the table. And the photography theme is more in the names of the drinks and some of the art on the wall. So it's really a lot more different than he's expecting. And like she shows up looking amazing. And she's obviously touched that he brought her here. And like during their time there there's a lot of tension between them like a lot of little touches and long stairs. And they both kind of come to the realization over the course of this evening that they want to give into this attraction that's been brewing between them for weeks and suddenly things don't feel so fake anymore.
Okay. Okay, cool. I just remembered what I was going to ask you, but we will ask that. Okay. Okay, I'm just gonna jump right in. I've been dying to kiss you all night. You sad or heartbeat stumbled over itself. So kiss me. He lowered his mouth to her is giving her a kiss. So sweet and slow. It made her leg shake. When she opened her lips to him. She tasted cinnamon and chocolate anticipation and desire. She shivered, pressing herself against him and clutched at his shirt. Okay. So I was like this like such a little bit. But I and I really don't know why. But I loved it so much. Like just that little, little tiny bit felt super intimate to me just a little bit. And I'm kind of wondering, because I haven't gotten to this point yet in the book. I'm a very slow reader. And I'm curious, leading up to this, I mean, obviously, they they feel their attraction like, like she's attracted to him, even though she's denying it. He's attracted to her, even though he's kind of like denying it or saying, you know, or he's not, they're not really denying it, but they're just like, I don't have time for this shit. But that's kind of their feeling is the arm's length. This is their first real date. So clearly, they're kind of giving in at this point, or have they given Have they given in before and now they're trying?
Well, they've kissed before that this is the first time they're really giving into taking it beyond kisses to taking it to another level.
And they're, they've they've had the real kiss as well, because they've been kissing, but it's not a real kiss.
Yeah, it's not real kissing. It's kind of well, I'm trying to think because, you know, I haven't read my book. But I think at this point, they have had one real kiss, they've had an only one bed moment by this point. But I want to say that this scene that you just read, is one of their their first real kiss, like, beyond like, like the kind of fake kiss and then they did have a real kiss after their fake kiss. But, you know, they kind of had a fight after that. So this is the first time that they are actually like giving in and like they're kissing and they are really enjoying it and not thinking about this has to stay fake.
Because even though like when you have that attraction between characters, and even though It is a they're doing the fake cast as someone who did write, you know, a fake dating romance. They have the fake kisses. But there's always an undercurrent of this is real. Yeah. So it's like, you know, so that so that there is there is that okay? We're just doing it for the cameras, but then it's like, really? We're not always I kind of love that, you know that sort of Yeah. Okay, I'm gonna keep going. Now we've already had that we've had the cast. We're in the bedroom now we're just jumping. Let me just make sure I didn't miss anything. Yeah, we're jumping into the bedroom. Now they've had a really cute moment where there's like, you know, parking in a city is very difficult.
Parking in a city, they need to go buy condoms.
Which I thought was great, because I was like, oh, yeah, parking in the city is not that easy. They're gonna have to like, you know, they have this. This hot, like, we're going back to your place and then it's like, we can't find parking. And we need condoms. And you know, and so you kind of wonder like, okay, is this gonna Is this the water that's going to be doused on the flames, but now it's not. Spoiler alert. Yeah. Okay, so now we're into the apartment. He moved her skirt up a little more, his hands sliding along her skin. Her breath caught in her throat. I like that. She whispered. Yeah, he moved his hand higher his fingers dancing upward, closer to the juncture of her thighs. What about this? If you slid his fingers inside her? Her brain short circuited a thought. His thumb swept along her inner thigh dangerously close to where she wanted him. Sparks flew across her skin. I like that, too. How do you want me to touch you, Audrey. He pressed a kiss to the side of her neck. How can I make you feel good. She shifted in his lap through his jeans. She could feel how hard he was want scorch threw her out of control and in need of release. Has she ever wanted someone this much? When she rocked her hips forward seeking some relief for herself? He groaned. Tell me, he said his voice strained. I want you to keep moving your hand until it's between my legs. And then I want you to use your fingers to make me come. Warmth spread from her cheeks down to her chest. She had never talked like this with anyone but she could with him. She took a deep breath before she said the next thing. And get me ready for your cock FOC. Alright, this was some energy right here. Yeah, yeah. I want to talk about writing this, like, why was it important to you as the writer and relay to him as the hero? And it could be the same reason for her to vocalize what she wanted?
That is a really good question. Um, I think, for me when I'm writing, and also when I'm reading, if there's a woman in the scene, I want to see her getting pleasure. And especially if it's a scene with a guy, I want him to be invested in giving her that pleasure making her feel good. So that's why it was really important for me, for him to be like, tell me what you want. And for her to tell him and vocalize and also, like take an active role and not just like, take whatever he's giving her like, say like, this is what I need right now in this moment.
Right. Do you, are you because I mean, obviously we're looking we're looking at this kind of like, through Audrey's point of view. Do you reverse that? And right, here's Yeah, it seems through the male point of view as well.
Yes. So this particular scene, so he makes her calm, spoiler alert. And after that, it shifts to his point of view. Okay. When the sex scene progresses further, it shifts to him,
does that change in terms in terms of your writing? Like? Do you struggle more with one than the other? Or again, is it all just the same?
Um, I don't know that it's the same and I don't particularly struggle with it. But shifting to the male point of view, I think that I don't know, I don't want to, like, generalize anything to gender, because I don't think that's cool. But like, a lot of the time, from a male perspective, I think he's going to notice more physical things. Whereas in her perspective, yeah, there is a focus on the physical thing, but there's also the emotional part and kind of more internal thought, like she has that thought like, she's never spoken like that to anybody before. Whereas in his point of view, yeah, he is kind of thinking about how he feels but it's focused a little bit more on the physical aspect,
right? Like maybe the feelings are a little bit more. I don't know if this is the I don't know if this is even possible, but the feelings are more physical. Yeah, you get your feelings out through the physicality I get, I don't know but I get I totally get what you're saying. I absolutely get what you're saying. Or this is just like the shortest little bit, but I was like, oh my god, this is so cute. Okay, could she spend the rest of the night touching his muscles? Probably. There were a lot of them. I nearly fell over. I was like, that was so goddamn cute. Like, I absolutely loved the way like You're like that is describing what he looks like without describing what he looks like, you know, which I thought was like, Oh, that's such a great way to sort of say he's muscular. But of course, he's muscular. He's, you know, he's a contractor, like he lifts things all day for his job. But I thought that was so cute. I really love that.
I, that was just one of those things that came out as I was writing. And I'm like, yeah, she would have that thought I'm keeping.
Yeah, you know, it's so funny, because these are the things right where, like you, there's a little I don't know, from, like, when I write stuff like that, when something like that comes out for a minute. Like, it really is hard to know whether or not you should keep that in. Right? Like just those little almost like little asides. And, you know, I know sometimes like I throw them into like my journalism work and my editor, I'll just be like, read line through it. And I'm like, because we're not allowed to show a lot of personality. Or as you can't, so it's like, you know, it's weird to sort of like throw these little asides in there and and be okay with not redlining. I'm because I love them. But I know that sometimes it's like, it's like, it's a bit of a gamble to put it in, you know? Yeah.
I love them too. So I'm glad that I got to keep that in there.
All right, moving on. Once they've gotten the dress over her head, she tossed it aside. Her bra came next and joined the other clothes on the floor. Luke had the same problem with her breasts that she had with his cock, staring slack jawed like they were the best things he'd ever seen. She couldn't blame them. They were pretty great.
Just another little humorous aside, but like she, she likes her body. She's a curvier heroine, you know, she has bigger boobs, and she really likes them. And she likes a he appreciates it. It
was really fun. I actually just not just it's been a while now. But I wrote a novella for an anthology. And I was given feedback about making the main character proud of her boobs. And it was like the actual the notes that I got was like, Well, why don't you have her because she was like, rejected by this boyfriend who turns into a demon. It's a whole it's a whole urban fantasy paranormal thing. So. So bear with me. So her boyfriend that was like, taken over by a demon. And so she she rejects her sexually and she's like, pretty miffed about it. And he's, and I got this no, that was like, have her walk out with her boobs powered, like boobs powered because she's, like, really proud of her boobs. She's got great boobs. And I was like, Alright, and so I was like, Okay. And it was surprisingly hard to do. And I really resisted it. But I think ultimately, it worked really well. And I was actually really glad for that note. Yeah, that's
awesome. That, you know, your editor kind of pushed you in that direction.
Yeah. Cuz I'm like, so seeing you wrote that. And I was like, Oh, okay. Yeah. And I really did like it. And I really did like that. It was like, I think I think and I think this is, I don't know, if this is a I do feel like this is a gendered thing, where women are sort of raised with so much shame around their body. Yeah. And so much to hate. Like, there's always so much to hate, or, you know, like, we love big, like, we love big boobs when we're older. But if you develop too young, those big boobs are also like, you're carrying shame along with, you know, so So I think that, I think that it's not surprising that I had this resistance to it, because culturally, that's what I had been brought up to have all of this like discomfort around bodies and not be proud of the body of it. You know, do you notice, you know,
yeah, and I am kind of in the same boat. Yeah. I have a bigger chest, you know, like developing early, you do feel a lot of shame about it. And I think it's just as you get older, and you kind of undo that sort of thinking that's been ingrained into you culturally. Only then can you maybe start to appreciate your body more.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, I mean, romance novels will save the world right. I think having a place where we do celebrate these, let's just not even celebrate our flaws, right? Because I think that that's an awful thing, like, not in theory is great, but I think that when you just calling it flaws and of itself is not a celebratory thing, right. But just celebrating our bodies and sort of saying, hey, my boobs, they're awesome. Yeah, you know, I think there's something really empowering and really important about saying that in a book.
Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think one of the reasons why that made by Jennifer Cruzi, just to go back to your earlier question, why that book resonated with me a lot. Besides it being funny and cute. And just really fun to read was it did have a curvy heroine. And as somebody who's always been on the curvier side, it meant a lot to me to see a woman who was kind of shaped like me, I guess, see her in a book and see her be worthy of love and have this guy be super attracted to her just the way that she was. Because storing bet me, men, the female main character, her mom is constantly trying to get her to go on a diet. And she really doesn't want to I mean, she does have some hang ups about her body. But she's trying she's on this journey to really I don't want to use to say come to terms, but to really love her body the way that it is.
Right? I think at every turn, and I think that this has, in a way, really nothing to do with with the size, right? Like, I think like, because I think that you can be like super skinny and have all of these hang ups because called Yeah, exactly. Everybody is commenting on our physical appearance. Whether you're you know, and this is from a very young age, you know, I you know, girls are always a year so pretty, or that's not pretty, like if you do something like ridiculous when you're, you know, a young girl, and you get that sort of well, that's not pretty behavior. And it's like, Oh, yeah. And I tried so hard when I was raising my daughter, never to use that word pretty with her. Because, like, I feel like that is so
loaded. Yeah, I agree with that.
Yeah. So I mean, you know, so once again, everybody who's probably listening to this podcast, they already know this romances feminist.
I think what we're seeing more of now is we are seeing all types of bodies celebrated and romance and seeing a lot of body positivity. And I just think that is so important, because, you know, like, sent me with the curvy hair, when if I had read some of these books that are coming out right now, when I was younger, I can't even imagine, like, how that would touch me and like what a big difference that would make in my life. Like when I was in my teens and early 20s? Absolutely,
absolutely. I mean, you know, and I think, I think at any point to sort of be able to look at, you know, whether your boobs are or big or flat chested, or like, you know, or hips or whatever, like you have hips, or you don't have hips, or whatever it is to just sort of have that, you know, be content or feels safe, it feels safe in the body that you exist in. Right, I think that that's kind of like what we all what we all want is that we want to feel safe in the body that we exist in. And, and I think that that's where, you know, what we're, what a lot of romance novels, especially now are definitely doing, you know, and that goes from not only you know, whether you're curvy or not curvy, but I also think it has to do with, you know, how you see your gender, how you see, you know, like all of these things, like, you know, and sort of being able to see yourself reflected in these characters is super important and not only reflected but accepted. Yeah, you know,
I also think we want to see ourselves like, like, whatever your body is like, or whatever kind of romance you're reading or whatever kind of body type the characters have in the book. You want to see that person being loved and accepted and even desired for the body that they have and not being ashamed of it and not feeling like they have to change it.
Yeah, absolutely. Like, oh, you're gonna save the world one more bit. And I promise you, I have been like pulling like, the team has things because I'm just like, this is we're getting dirty. Hang on. The ones that listen that are only listening for the naughty boats. Here we go. Okay, yeah, we have the word pussy in here, which like I was like, Wait, you can't see that. This is a sweet romance. sweet romance. Okay. He licked her pussy has Tongue working some kind of magic that had her trembling. When he took her clit into his mouth. She gasped her back arching off the bed. Too good. So good. It was on the edge of painful she couldn't take it. Sliding her fingers into his hair she tugged on the strands and forced him to look up. Wait, she said, I can't. He immediately stopped moving up her body until they were face to face. Everything okay? Yeah, that was just she trailed off her fingers sliding through his hair again. That was a little too much. We can stop. She shook her head. I don't want to stop. She had waited way too long for this wanted him way too much. And there were other things they could do. She lowered her voice to a whisper and spoke into his ear. If you want to go down on me, you have to start with that. He shivered at the press of her lips to his skin. When he pulled back to meet her eyes. The desire and his gaze sent a new rush of heat through her. Yeah. I'll have to keep that in mind for next time. She grinned. Next time, she moved her hands over his shoulders and down his back over Smooth Skin and Muscles relishing the feel of him. He kissed her neck and across her collarbone. What's going to make you feel good right now? She arrived underneath him pressing against the hard length of him. Right now? I'd really like it if you fuck to me. Oh, god. Okay, I absolutely loved that you stopped them. Like they were going for that oral and you were like, boom, no, she's saying no, this isn't working for me right now. Why was this important for you to do this, especially during your first intimate connection? Right?
I think it kind of goes back to what I was talking about before with him really caring about what feels good for her and how he can bring her pleasure. And yeah, this feels good for her. But it's also a little bit too much. And I wanted her to vocalize that. And I wanted him to listen to her. It was really important to me in that moment. Just like before, when he was asking her what she wanted, that he listened to her and understand like, Okay, this isn't working for her right now. If it can work for her in another context, but she needs something else right now to feel good.
All right. He's such a great hero.
I'm so glad a lot of people have said that to me that he's just a really good guy. And yeah, he is. I loved writing Luke law. He's just a good man. He really is.
So I'm curious. This was the question I lost in my head before. Are you sort of like, do you? Do you tend towards more the cinnamon rolls? Or are you the Alpha? Like, where do you fall with that alpha hero cinnamon roll? Like where do you guy?
I do not like alpha heroes. I don't know that. I would call Luke a cinnamon roll. I mean, to me, he's just, he's just kind of a good dude. You know? I mean, I guess he does have a little kind of cinnamon roll. Like he's, yeah. Like, I
was like, I just want to cuddle up with him. Yeah, you know, like, he's like, he's a great hero.
Oh, thank you. Yeah, but he's I don't think I can do an alpha just guys like that are a complete turnoff for me. Like I want to write about good dudes, you know who are not assholes.
Do you read any with alphas? Or are you just like, when you read it? You're like, Nah, not for me.
It is a complete and total turnoff for me. Okay, yeah, I can't really read it.
I love to read it. I actually really love to read Alpha heroes, even though I'm like, fuck you. Like reading it? I'll be like, Yeah, fuck you. Let me keep going. But at this, but I do struggle with writing them. I mean, like, I have some alpha e guys and um, but I never like, they're not Alpha alphas like, you know, because I don't know that I can't quite get myself there to kind of like write a true alpha. Right? Yeah.
And I understand that. It's kind of hard to just go for it. And I guess right, a guy who's a dick.
Yeah. And, you know, even though I kind of know, I think I think it's like, and this is a me thing. And this isn't like a thing that I'm like, you gotta get over because you are not your your heroines, right? Like, I'm just like, I would never put up with that shit. You
know, I wouldn't either. I'd be like, the door is right there. Good ball.
There's the door. Yeah, but you know, but like, my character, this character, this particular character. You know, and it's I like I think that's the thing that I'm like, I'm actively trying to get over because I'm like, Yeah, I don't know. I don't know if I can write that. Because honestly, I love reading them. And I actually really would like to, you know, and in fact, I'm actually really hoping and so just putting it out there. If you write dub con, please get in touch. because this is something that I would love to talk about more, because it's not something that I really read again, because it's just my comfort level. But I think that there's a lot to talk about with it. So it's something that I would love to talk about. But you don't write up. Can you write sweet romance? It's a little spicy. A lot to wait, no, she doesn't write sweet romance. That sweet.
Yeah, it's contemporary with I would say, I don't know, I've had this conversation with some friends. Like, do I agree high heat? I would say it's more like medium high heat. Like, as you can tell from those passages? Like, yeah, I'm using different words and describing different acts and stuff like that. So yeah, I would say like, medium high.
Yeah, I think so. I mean, I don't know heat level is so weird. To me. It is. Yeah, I think I'm like I write spicy. And on my, my book that's coming out, like, you know, some, an art creator has like, you know, three out of five chili peppers and a Goodreads review. And I was like, canopy of five I thought. Like, I guess, I guess you're not. That's funny. See? And I'm like, okay, so what do I have to do to get a five for the spice? No idea.
It's so subjective. Like, what is three chili peppers to one person is five to another or vice versa? Exactly. Because
this whole time I'm like, You're writing five, maybe four? It's like, No, you're writing three? And I'm like, oh, was a bit of a disappointment. I have a question. Do you have any idea what happened to that the sports guy on Twitter that had that sort of airport? misconnection?
I do not.
I'm curious. I feel like that story loop has been left open. And I'm very curious about his, his mate there.
Yeah, you know, over the past couple of years, because it has been a while since that tweet happened. I've Googled him. I think he was a player for the Baltimore Ravens. And didn't find anything besides like a whole bunch of articles about the original tweet, but it would be awesome. If he did end up reconnecting with her and they fell in love. I kind
of love those sort of like misconnections it was a thing in New York for what there was. I can't remember now where misconnection showed up. It was on Craigslist. It was on Craigslist. Yeah. And the misconnections in New York, were always so great. I mean, obviously, I live there. So I was like reading it. But they were always so great. And it was always like you on the subway. whizzing past 14th street i On the opposite train. And I'm like, Isn't that wild that you can like pass on a subway? And like so quick? And you just are like, I think I just saw my soulmate? Yeah. That's kind of amazing. When that happens, you know, I love that sort of first blush of love. I think that's why I write romance. Yeah,
I love that, too. I remember reading those misconnections because I think they were in every city in New York was probably the biggest one. I remember reading those and just thinking, Oh, well, I hope these people mean it sounds, you know. Sounds like they had this real connection. Yeah,
yeah. And I loved I loved how fleeting so many of them were. Yeah, you know, seeing each other. Yeah, like you had that some of it was like our, you know, our train was stopped underground. And we talked for 30 minutes, and it felt like five, you know, or whatever. But then there were some that were just literally so fleeting. You dropped your glove, and I picked it up. And it was just so cool. Like, there was something really cool about that. And I might have to go back to misconnections for another book on think
there are a whole lot of plot bunnies and misconnections
Absolutely, absolutely. But which is not good for me. Because, you know, I love to throw extra plots on.
And I think in many ways, the viral meet cute and just for show is a missed connection because Luke and Audrey hit it off on the plane. And he tweets about their connection on the plane, how they shared a cheese plate. And it was very cute. He's trying to find her through Twitter, and no,
medium misconnection thing that's like the current the modern day misconnection. Right? Yeah.
Because in his mind, it's just like, how else am I going to track this woman down? And he does it in this very low stakes way. And he also has this thought like, if she sees this and replies, great, but I'm not gonna be a creep and try to track her down or anything like that. And they do end up running into each other naturally, a little bit later, probably a couple chapters like yeah,
which I thought was really great, because my expectation was, somebody was going to see up and say, Hey, did you see this or you know, like, there was gonna be something like, like Twitter was going to do it. And I absolutely loved that. It was like, they ended up at the same at the same place, which was a dog shelter, which was like, oh,
yeah, It's perfect. Because that's where Audrey volunteers. So she has this terrible day job as an event planner, she works at a nonprofit, but to kind of, you know, we use her photography skills, she volunteers at a dog shelter, taking pictures of the puppies. And Luke is back in town to film this TV show. And he is doing a volunteer project to help the shelter, build some new Meet and Greet rooms. And that's how they run into each other again, I probably a spoiled part of the book. It happened
so early on, though, it's probably it's probably like in the look inside on Amazon. So like, not a total spoiler. So Julie, congratulations on your first book. Do you have anything else in the hopper like what's happening?
Um, so my book was a one book deal. And I'm not sure what's going to happen next. I did submit a proposal for Book Two in the series. And that stars two of the characters that you'll meet in just her show, which is Audrey's friend Natalie and Luke's cousin Aiden. And Natalie is she's a little prickly. My mom calls her a real piece of work. Aiden loops cousin is he is a total sweetheart. He's kind of a himbo. So their romance is very much a grumpy sunshine romance where she's the Grump. And he's the sunshine. And there's also a force proximity element in there because I love I
love for proximity. Oh,
yeah. They kind of have to work on a project together. She's getting her MBA, he's looking to branch out and launch a woodworking business, and she needs to help like somebody who's starting a business as part of a project for her MBA. And she has also recently purchased a fixer upper that is falling apart. And so he kind of volunteers to remodel her kitchen in exchange for her helping to launch this business.
Oh, super cool. Okay, I have Okay, do you? Because I so one of the well right now, the only romances I have out are rock star romance, trophy things. So I'm wondering, gee, do you and I don't read so because of that I try not to read rock star romances for some reason. I'm like, I if I'm writing it, I don't want to read it. But um, Sarah Whitney has a great book, and I can't think of the name of it that has that sort of like this, this kind of like, okay, fix up my house in exchange for this other thing. And I if I remember correctly, it was a fake relationship. I gotta remember the title. If you're interested, I can email you the title. But I totally understand if you're like, No, I can't read that. It's too close.
No, I would definitely be interested. I love home renovation romances, but like you with the rock star romances, when I'm drafting something. I don't want to read like a home renovation romance. I'm just worried that, you know, part of it would like creep in you know, stuff like that.
Yeah. You don't want that to leak in? Absolutely. Oh, what's your favorite home renovation show? Since you're your fan? What?
So I would say I'm more of an HGTV fan in general than like a specifically like home renovation show person because my favorite show on that channel is House Hunters. And that is mostly because I like to yell at the people on TV because they have a lot of weird wants and needs like there was this one, I don't know. They needed a special place for like their lizard in the house like the lizard needed its own bedroom. And of course, there's always the standby of people who walk into your room and are like, I don't like this paint color. Like paint color isn't a thing that can be changed. But yeah, House Hunters is my favorite. I also enjoy House Hunters International too.
Oh, very cool. I used to watch a lot when I had cable. What a lot of House Hunters International because I was always like, where are we jetting off to?
Yeah, that's fun. It's also interesting to see these Americans walk into an apartment in Paris, and be somehow like blown away that they're not getting an American style kitchen. I mean, this is Paris. The apartments are small. You're not going to get the American kitchen of your dreams.
Yeah, yeah. And also what's amazing to me, I actually really dig watching the ones in Italy, like those were always like, I love for somebody, I don't even want to move to Italy.
Unknown Speaker 1:04:27
My husband's like, let's move to Italy. And I'm like our forefathers left that country for a reason.
I moved to Italy, and I look at the kitchens because let's face it, Italians can really cook and I you know, I feel like in order for me to cook I have to have the viking pro stove. Like I need all of this stuff. You know, and they just have like this little shitty stove. That looks like it's been in there since World War Two, you know, and I'm probably probably and they're cooking these like amazing meals and I'm like And I'm always like, yeah, you No, it's not the stove. So it's very interesting to see like what the other homes look like and other place other countries. That's
what I like to and I like the Italian ones because I am sounds like you're also Italian. I'm Italian American. Yeah. So I like seeing that. I also like I mentioned Paris, I love the Paris ones. I love the London ones because there's this real estate agent named Richard. And he is fantastic. And he's also great at very politely kind of putting people in their place. And you know, telling them their expectations are kind of unrealistic.
There's, there's a lot of home oh my god, we're totally getting off on a tangent. I know there's a there's, there's so many there real estate people now that put up their listings on like YouTube. And there's a guy named NS who does it in Los Angeles, and he always tours like these mega mansions. And that is like my porn. Especially because I write less I write in Los Angeles, I'm writing about celebrities. So like, it's great to sort of look at these houses, but that is like literally my porn. I'm like, I need to I'm sorry. I need to watch this. I need to look at this house.
Okay, so you definitely need to email me the link to anuses videos.
You're the same you're like, Yeah, okay. Okay. He went. He went to the Sierra Nevadas. And I think he also went to Aspen I died. I'm like, I'm like when he goes to those places. I'm like, I'm, I'm here for this under percent. Like I want to see how the other half lives.
Yeah, I think part of what drew me to writing a home renovation romance. Besides the fact that I like to watch HGTV is I am just so interested in real estate and what other people's houses look like that like writing this book, Lucas renovating a house, I went on Zillow and I actually found a house that I had in mind for him to renovate. And part of that is just because I'm such a visual person I needed to have like something in mind. But it was just really fun looking at Zillow, because that's my idea of a good time is looking at real estate listing. I
know Zillow is like my favorite or truly like I'm like, and I constantly get emails from them about houses and places, but I don't live like like, there's like new listing and I'm like, Yeah, I don't live there. But I have to leave. But it's great. It's really really great for like figuring out okay, where, what is the house? What's the apartment look like? What is the house look like? What you know, that I'm writing? It's really it's actually such a great research tool.
Yeah, I love it for that. Because, like I said, I'm a visual person, I need to know what the inside of that house or apartment looks like. Like that helps me at the way that I'm envisioning the scene how I'm blocking the characters, all that kind of stuff.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:42
Yeah. So that's our that's our that's what we always have in our back pockets, Zillow.
Julie, thank you so much for for coming. And being here. Where can readers find you on the internet? What's the best place? Where do you hang out?
So I'm at J. Hamilton, author on Twitter, at Julie Hamilton author on Instagram, and my website is Julie Hamilton. author.com Easy enough.
And these will also be in the show notes. So Julie, thank you so much for taking the time. It was so great to meet you. And congratulations on
Unknown Speaker 1:08:15
Oh, thank you so much. And thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai