Sunday 20 July 2014

Five challenges I faced writing ‘Release’ by Elizabeth Dunk - Guest Post

Today we have Elizabeth Dunk (the erotic-romance-writing alter ego of Nicole Murphy) on the blog to tell us about some of the challenges she faced writing her latest book, Release. This is a fantastic collection of interconnected erotic novellas, so I for one am glad she pushed through these challenges to write on!

You can find my review of Release here, as well as an excerpt from the first novella, Luisa's story, here.

Five challenges I faced writing ‘Release’ by Elizabeth Dunk

I like a good challenge. I think challenging yourself is an important thing to do, both as a person (although the preference is the challenges I set myself, not the challenges life sets, cause life tends to be a bit of a bitch) and as a writer. As a writer, it’s really easy to find the things you’re good at and stick to that, churning out similar stuff over and over again. But you never grow, develop, get better when you do that.

So yes, I’m all about the challenge. And ‘Release’ turned out to be one of the most challenging things I’d written. For starters, while I’ve written explicit sex in pretty much all of my books, and most of my writing is romance, this was the first time that sexual relationship would be the focus of the story. That, by the way for those who have been complaining the stories are so short, is why they are short – I wasn’t sure I could make that focus last any longer than 11-12k words per story. So that was a major challenge. But there was other challenges inherit within the collection and here’s the five big ones:

1)    Making all the sex different. When you’re writing so much sex, it can’t just be a repeat of the last action. One way I got around that was having different acts in each one – from some light bondage in one to lesbian sex in another. Another was to be sure of the understandings and desires of each of my characters. The heroines in particular – each has a different sexuality and a different comfort with that sexuality. Making sure I stayed true to that enabled the sex to be different not just in action, but in tone too.

2)    Location – of where I wrote, that is. While the first and last stories were written in the comfort and privacy of my office at home, with the door closed, the other two were not. Story two was written while I was on a writing weekend with friends. Picture me, sitting at one end of the table, writing some full on sex while my friends, who would probably never read and I’d say definitely never write anything like this, are around me, unknowing what I’m writing. There were definitely some chair squirming moments, particularly when they found out. Story three was written on two plane flights for work. The second flight, I was on the aisle seat, so people could theoretically look over my shoulder as they walked past and see what I was writing. I was dealing all right with that, until the toddlers started to run up and down the aisle, their parents chasing them… Yep, I learnt to be able to write hot sex no matter where I am, but I would prefer to do it at home.

3)    My first lesbian sex scene. Now, even when I’m writing things I would never do myself, writing woman on man sex is easy because I know what it feels like, and it’s what turns me on. But I’m not a lesbian, and I had to work out how to make it feel sexy, when I knew there wouldn’t be a penis involved. As it happens, I kinda cheated because it ended up being a ménage and so that penis got its moment, but I’m hoping that up until then, I did a good job of capturing what it’s like when two women love each other.

4)    Making all the stories work together. There was a huge gap between writing story one (Luisa’s story) and the rest – eighteen months or more. In that time, my writing had evolved and my style tweaked and tightened and what I wanted to achieve changed. And then I realised I was going to link all four stories together with an overarching storyline and there was even more pressure to make sure all four of them worked together. I hope they did!

5)    Actually letting the collection be published. It will sound weird, but I didn’t realise what I had in ‘Release’ until I received the copy-edited version. I’d read the book, both in its individual parts and as a whole, several times before I’d submitted it, and again when I had to re-write some aspects before it was accepted for publication. But when I read the version that was all type-set, on the page, almost ready to go, I realised what it was I’d done. This book contains more of my heart and soul than anything else I’ve previously written. Only my next release, Loving the Prince, does anything like what Release does. And it scared the shit out of me. Could I let myself be put out there like this, so open? In the end I decided yes – putting myself out there, putting my heart and soul on the page, is what I believe takes a book from being ordinary to special. And that is what Release now is for me – one of the most special things I’ve ever done.

So there you have it – the five challenges of Release. I hope when you read it, you’ll agree that I fulfilled those challenges (or at least gave them a read hot go!).

About the Author:

Photo by Cat Sparks
Elizabeth Dunk is the contemporary romance and erotica-writing alter ego of Nicole Murphy, who cut her teeth writing science fiction and fantasy. This is the third Elizabeth Dunk book — Arranged to Love and The Lies We Tell were published by Escape Publishing in 2013. As Nicole, she has dozens of short stories in print and has published an urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream of Asarlai. Her science fiction romance trilogy The Jorda Series will be published by Escape, with the first book Loving the Prince out in August. Find out more about Elizabeth/Nicole at


From the Blurb:

Four stories of eroticism, strength, experimentation, and ultimate salvation.

Cursed after death to live in grey nothingness until they atone for their sins, four spirits have spent centuries doing good for others. Finally they stumble upon the true key to their salvation — because they hurt women in their lives, they’ll only find release by now helping women to become all they should be.

One by one, the spirits meet a woman and as each sexual delight unfurls, the grey nothingness disappears a little more. As the women find their happily ever after, they grant the spirits a chance at peace for eternity.

Follow the journey of four remarkable women — Luisa, Anna, Cara, and Jan — and the four spirits that set them on a new path to sexual freedom and boundless pleasure.

Release by Elizabeth Dunk was released by Escape Publishing on July 1 2014, and is available from Amazon and Amazon AUS.