I’m happy to present my interview with Serge de Moliere. His book is Hurts so Good.
(blurb and excerpt below)
* * *
Hi Serge., Thanks for stopping by to talk a little about your writing! Let’s jump right in.
Tell me a little about Hurts So Good.
The central character is a young, attractive African American woman. As the story opens, she is trying to recover from a serious back injury which resulted from her very first horseback riding lesson. Krista, despite being a bright and practical person, pushed herself too far, and ended up falling off. Frustrated by her injuries and reluctant to resort to medication, she decides to go for physical therapy. And that’s where things get interesting. To find out more, you’ll just have to read the book.
I might add that this is the first time I’ve written a story about a protagonist who is suffering actual physical pain, rather than just the emotional kind. It did require quite a bit of background research to ensure that it was solidly grounded in reality. However, I promise you that the story has a happy ending and is rather hot and spicy as well.
Writer’s block—real or hype?
It’s amazing how often the question of writer’s block comes up. Writing is a complex, almost magical process. One starts with a blank page and then the muse issues forth. Overthinking can frighten off the muse, who is a tenuous, vaporous presence that can be decimated by a sneeze.
The better term for writers block may be creative indecisiveness. There’s really no shortage of creativity in the universe, and this applies to anyone, writer or not. The issue, I think, is really lack of confidence which results in indecisiveness. This may be a basic uncertainty about one’s ability to write anything worth reading at all, which can strike in dark moments of the soul; or it may be less dramatic, such as being unsure whether the story line you’re beginning is interesting or the characters compelling enough. This makes one pause and delay, rather than spewing out words on a page and then deciding what to do with them.
When this happens to me, and it does (although not if I can help it), either I divert myself by writing a short poem, reading stimulating writing by others, walking along the water or listening to music. In a mystical way, the block dissolves and allows the currents of creativity to flow free and wild. And creativity needs to be untrammeled; soon enough your own or an editor’s critical faculty will take over and cut and paste.
As most writers would agree, writing is an intricate and mysterious process. I enjoy the following quotation from one of the greatest writers of all time about the process of writing:
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
– William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Who are some of the writers that have most influenced you?
Obviously Shakespeare. And, I guess I should be reading Nicholas Sparks since he’s one of the premiere male romance novelists of our time. Actually I have recently been re-reading F. Scott Fitzgerald and particularly his short stories which are fabulously engrossing. Fitzgerald’s writing is masterful and is always an inspiration that impels me to upgrade the richness of my own work. It can be intimidating to read him, though, because he is so artful in his ability to describe a scene or capture the essence of a society or a personality.
Another, more contemporary author I’ve recently discovered who is also a wonderful writer is Jadmal Laniri. Her characters are drawn from her own cultural heritage. She has a simplicity that is deceptive along with an astonishing eye for detail. It’s no surprise that she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work. I was disappointed to learn that she left the U.S.A. (New York City) to take up residence in Rome, but there are still many other wonderful writers in this country who one can read and learn from.
An additional source of influence is poetry, particularly Japanese haiku, because of the poet’s ability to convey deep feeling in three short lines. Many of these are quite astounding in their vividness. Of course American poets such as Whitman or South American poets such as Neruda also have short, particularly trenchant lines even in their lengthy pieces that are equally descriptive.
Incidentally, interested readers may find a few choice lines of poetry or hiaku posted on my Twitter site along with colorful images that I hope enhance their impact.
Do you prefer to extensively plot your stories, or do you write them as they come to you?
This is a difficult question. It varies depending on the story. Some stories practically write themselves—the characters are mysteriously imbued with some internal motivation or drive that propels the events with little or no input on the part of the writer, as if an external muse or unseen hand was actually drafting the piece. When this happens, often the problem is not writing, but taking a break to rest before your fingers literally fall off from fatigue.
Other stories require more plotting, especially if events are not presented in a straight line narrative. A simple railroad track approach to a story doesn’t’ always work, at least for me. My recent novellas have increased in length and that also means I have to make sure I don’t get carried away by incoherence or by wordiness, losing the train of thought in a chaotic burst of false creativity. This kind of clumsy, impulsive writing only frustrates the reader; and it is essential to review where the narrative is going and whether it makes sense or has devolved into gibberish.
Finally, whether the story is plotted or not, whether written in a single marathon session or many short ones, the final first draft invariably has to be altered, edited, reordered or even reconstructed entirely. But that’s simply part of the craft of good writing.
Thanks again for stopping by, Serge! Stay tuned for many more books from Serge! Readers can discover more about Serge de Moliere here:
Hurts So Good
Serge de Moliere
Genre: Erotic Romance/Interracial Romance
Word Count: 9,666
Page Count: 22
Release Date: 7/17/2015
Sometimes, pain can lead to pleasure and delight.
Krista, an attractive, single African-American woman, is disgusted with herself when a fall from a horse, at her very first lesson, leaves her with disabling back pain. Afraid to overdo medication and determined to avoid surgery, she reluctantly decides to go for physical therapy. But when she meets the gorgeous, muscular physical therapist, she thinks maybe she’s made the right decision. Concealing her attraction proves difficult indeed, especially when the therapy involves his sensuous, powerful hands all over her body. And it becomes even more difficult when she realizes he’s as hot for her as she is for him…
Buy Hurts So Good here:
An Excerpt from Hurts So Bad
Even now, months later, it still hurt.
It was her own stupid fault. Riding horses was not a pastime for an African-American city girl, even one who was an erratic gym rat; especially when that girl made her living sitting at a desk and creating advertising copy for eight hours a day. It was her dream job, but she also needed physical stimulation.
Wincing, she rubbed her lower back, then inhaled deeply and let it out with a sigh. Too late, she regretted her decision to take the riding lesson. Like all regrets, this one lingered, painful, inflammatory, and as hard to get rid of as fleas on a wheaten terrier. Occasionally the agony subsided, but it always flared up again. Cringing, she adjusted her posture to ease the ache in her back that was an ongoing reminder of her stupidity.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda, she mused. She thought briefly of the torrid, aborted love affair from several years ago that was also a regret; that had also left her with a deep seated ache, although a metaphorical one. Running her hand through her hair, she sifted through memories as if they were an Instagram record of her romance. Thinking back now, she could not understand her ambivalence, the mixed messages and abrupt withdrawal that had hurt Tony, sent him wounded and limping right into the arms of another. With a touch of sadness, she wondered what he was doing these days. He had been in a career transition when she last saw him years ago. Remembrance of things past; she smiled at the allusion. It brought back all the old heartache.
Biting her lip, she shook her head. The one man who had adored her, who had presented a real possibility for true love, and she had let him slip through her fingers as carelessly as she had dropped the reins of the horse. The sudden, agonizing pinch in her back startled her out of her reverie. Uggh, horses.
A few months ago, she had decided to take an English-style riding lesson rather than western style. She simply liked the idea of emulating British royalty. It was pure fantasy, her writer’s imagination thrilling her; she would be Krista, Princess of Monaco, astride a pure white stallion. The instructor had strongly advised her against it, explaining that the western saddle was larger and heavier than the English saddle, although not as elegant. The western was designed to spread the weight of the rider over a larger area of the horse’s back. She explained to Krista, “It’s much easier for a novice to keep their seat.” Frowning, the instructor went on to describe how English riders must “post” when the animal trots, meaning they must bounce up and down in time to the horse’s gait. “If you don’t do it correctly, your behind is going to hurt, or you may even drop the reins or fall off,” the instructor warned her. Of course, Krista took this as a challenge, which only made her more insistent on riding English style.
The horse was a big, gentle bay mare that nuzzled Krista as if they were old friends. After a jolting start, the lesson had gone better than she expected. Despite the ache in her thighs and the chafing of her butt against the stiff saddle, she began to daydream of being on a royal foxhunt. Reluctantly, the instructor caved in to her repeated pleas and allowed her to try to trot, a faster gait. In fact, Krista began feeling confident and relaxed, almost as if she was an experienced horsewoman. It’s no biggie, she remembered thinking. And of course, that’s when she suddenly lost the rhythm, the horse stumbled, and she dropped the reins. With her mind drifting, her body out of synch, and her legs weary, there was no way she could stay in the saddle. And of course, there was little her instructor could do but watch in horror as Krista sailed into the air. Two herniated discs and a variety of strains and bruises were the result.
Months later, she was still in pain.
Krista pointed her toes inside her loafers to stretch legs that missed the regular jogging she used to do before the riding accident. Even that somehow caused a twinge of pain in her back, sharp enough that her eyes dampened and her stomach lurched. She should have stayed safe and cozy at her computer console and it would never have happened.
But she’d needed a thrill in her life, and there was no romance on the horizon to provide her with it. Yes, her job was sedentary and routine, but there was another side to her; she also yearned for passion and adventure. Her conflict between her need for safety and her urge for excitement had plagued her throughout her life.
With a sudden flash of insight, she realized that her ambivalence toward love was similar; she wanted a lover, but she feared rejection. That was why she had let Tony go; she had rejected him before he had a chance to reject her. Well, hindsight was useless; nothing she could do about it now. She imagined he was now married and probably had several kids.
She tried pointing her toes again. The twinge was even worse this time, setting off spasms in her lower back. So much for her athleticism.
She had not known her mother well, but she knew that Mom had been an athlete, a sprinter who once almost made it into the Olympics. Perhaps a part of her mother’s athleticism and adventurous spirit was in her genes. Krista’s body had always been lithe and strong. Now, especially with this injury, she was restless and frustrated, like a rambunctious young filly that wanted to gallop, but was trapped in its stall. She laughed at the trite metaphor.
Just thinking about her injury, she groaned. All those tests they had subjected her to—CT scans and MRIs and blood work—it made her feel as if she was a total wreck, an invalid. But the doctors had assured her that she would heal, with time.
Still, it was not easy sitting at the computer, much less taking care of her apartment—small though it was—and doing her usual chores and grocery shopping. She found herself envying her married friends with their loving and dependable husbands, or those lucky women with loyal fiancés or steady boyfriends who could help out in times of trouble. She was alone at the moment, with her usual bad timing. Thinking again about the one who might have been, she involuntarily tensed her muscles, and this time the pain shot down her leg.
She shook her head; her short, reddish-brown curls jangled like soft rubber springs. Damn it. She wanted more; a real relationship, and preferably one with true love. Now, if she had realized that she was going to have an accident, she might have… She grinned. Well, sometimes good things come out of bad ones. But, maybe not this time. She should have ridden a man, not a horse; it was a shorter distance to the ground if you fell.
Her sudden laugh caused an agonizing burst of pain, as if a pointed screw had pierced her lower back, and then been twisted hard. Krista took a long, deep breath and frowned. Lines formed, harsh and jagged in the smooth brow of her dark forehead. Short of cortisone injections or possibly addictive painkillers, the only alternative to surgery for her back problems was physical therapy.
At first, she had been dubious about even trying PT. Wasn’t that for old folks who needed a cane or a walker? But now, with this intolerable ongoing pain, she was willing to do whatever it took to be pain-free. At least her medical insurance would cover it; the neurologist had already applied on her behalf and it had been approved. Still, she wondered how effective it could possibly be. There was serious damage to those discs of hers.
What good could mere exercise do?