Tara Lain never met a beautiful boy she didn’t love – at least on paper. A writer of erotic romance, mostly ménage and male/male, Tara loves all her characters, but especially her handsome heroes. A lifelong writer of serious non-fiction, Tara only fell in love with EROM in 2009 and, through perseverance and lots of workshops, had the first novel she ever wrote published in January of 2011. After an exotic life of travel all over the world and work in television, education and advertising, Tara settled in Southern California with her soul-mate husband and opened her own small marketing business. She paints, collages, and started practicing yoga “way before it was fashionable”. Passionate about diversity, justice, inclusion and new ideas, she says on her tombstone it will read, “Yes”.
Welcome author, Tara Lain, here with us today.
1. Why did you choose to write ménage? What intrigues you about this particular genre?
I became a ménage writer by accident! When I first decided to write erotic romance, I had an idea for an older woman/younger man story. A famous female scientist who falls in love with her younger research partner. Then I read my first M/M novel and I was hooked! I just had to add another man to the story. The idea was that the woman thinks her research assistant lives with his girlfriend but it’s actually his boyfriend. I was an instant menage writer. Fortunately, I didn’t know it’s hard to write a ménage so I plunged in. Genetic Attraction, my first novel, was born.
2. Tell us about your latest ménage release: what’s it all about? Where did you find the inspiration?
Deceptive Attraction is my most recent release. It is actually the third book in the Genetic Attraction series. After I wrote that first book, the two heroes started yelling for me to tell their story so I wrote a prequel called The Scientist and the Supermodel. It’s not a ménage but there is a ménage scene in it to set up the transition to Genetic Attraction which turns out to be the second book in the series. In Scientist we meet this irresistible character, Caleb, Jake’s younger brother. Cal was so captivating he just had to have his own book so Deceptive Attraction sprang forth. In The Scientist and the Supermodel, Cal is established as gay, but in Deceptive Attraction he meets a man who is as beautiful as a girl and a woman who looks like a pretty boy and they turn his world and his orientation upside down. Cal is a rising soccer star who must decide whether to sign a big contract that will make him hide who he is for five years–maybe for life. Nothing is quite who or what it seems in this book. Hence, the title.
3. Who is your favorite ménage character(s) and why?
Like many of my readers, I have a special place in my heart for Roan Black, my supermodel in the Genetic Attraction series. He is to-die-for. But from a ménage point of view, I think the three characters in Golden Dancer are the most amazing. An investigative reporter, a billionaire art collector and a male ballet dancer — they are very different from each other. The reporter is investigating the billionaire for theft. Both of the men are rivals for the ballet dancer. And yet they are so drawn to each other they end up in a ménage — one that the reviews and readers tell me is both believable and hot!
4. In your opinion, what makes a good ménage novel?
Several things. All of the characters must be well developed and each must have a good reason for loving both of the other people. No one can be left out. That is the problem most people have with ménages. The love must be real and palpable so that the reader can believe that, once the relationship is established, no one is jealous. The emotions must be deep and real or it’s all just arms and legs and cocks. The fun is that when you have three people you have so many different story and plot possibilities, lots of complications. The pronouns, however, can be killer!
5. What do you think of ménage romance in general? Do you think numbers are important in ménage stories? The more the better or maybe not?
I have never written more than three people in a love story. I think that in real life, poly relationships are probably challenging and that pushing beyond three would be very difficult. Four could seem more like two couples, five… whew. I have read ménages of more than three that worked and others that seem more like a primary relationship with a couple extras, or even just exercises in sex. Nothing wrong with that, but my books, while VERY sexy, are about the emotions more than the sex. My characters tend to be a little larger than life, but I strive to make the emotions very real. I seem to be able to do that with three people. I’m not sure about more. Maybe I’ll try. LOL.
6. What sparks your ménage imagination to the point of writing one? Is there a particular source of inspiration for your ménage stories?
My stories start with a basic premise or character and then they tell me what has to happen. I started Deceptive Attraction with Cal, a gay soccer star. He is having a crisis at 22 because he wants to live a life helping people like the rest of his family but all he seems good at is soccer. And there are very powerful forces trying to keep him playing the game. So who does he need to balance him? Well, what if he meets this mysterious guy? Okay and (because I love androgyny) what if the guy is as pretty as a girl? But Cal has a brother who lives in a happy ménage so what if his sister-in-law has a cousin who is female but looks like a pretty boy and Cal is attracted to her…bingo, the ménage happens. In other stories, like the one I’m finishing now, the two characters just want to be together. No ménage.
7. What is your favorite gender combination in ménage? More men than women? No women all men? Why?
All of my ménages are based on men. All of my books are based on men. I either write M/M, M/M/M or M/M/F. I love writing gay relationships and think that the M/M dynamic adds a lot to a M/M/F ménage.
8. Do you prefer to use straight, gay or bisexual male character? Why? What influences your choice?
I write mostly gay or bisexual men as heroes. In my upcoming holiday story, Mistletowed, I have a straight man as an important character but he is not in the main relationship which is M/M. I also have a straight man in an important role in my paranormal, Spell Cat, that comes out in the spring. But again, he is secondary to the main characters who are gay. I love the shifting dynamics and fluid gender roles in M/M relationships. My guys always make love to each other as well as their female partner if they have one.
I can’t imagine writing a ménage in which the two men never touch each other. I know lots of successful ménages are written that way, but for me the equality and connection would not be the same.
9. In your opinion, inside a ménage with more than one man, is the woman character condemned to a passive role? Or can she be portrayed as dominant? Is she just a toy, a doll in the men’s hands, or can she assert herself as a woman and an individual?
My females are either very independent or full-on dominant. (I also tend to make my effeminate men dominant).In Deceptive Attraction, Angel, “the critter”, is a boyish woman of great capability, talent, intelligence and commitment. Cal is attracted to her because of her tomboy appearance and dominant nature though she is also very sexy and girly in her way.
10. In your opinion, can a true ménage work in real life? Why or why not?
I have it on best authority that there are many poly relationships that work well.
11 Do you think there is a difference between ménage sex and ménage relationship? Are the two one and the same? Or can one be without the other?
I mostly write ménage relationships because that is what interests me. I did write a ménage sex scene in The Scientist and the Supermodel. It was fun to write but one feels the dissatisfaction of both men who actually love each other and the woman is extra.
12. What do you think of reviews on ménage books? Do you find they capture the essence of your work? If yes, why? If no, why not?
Most reviewers respond to the emotional content of my books and don’t dwell on the fact of the ménage. I like that because it shows that the relationship is accepted as real even though there are three people in it. Sometimes I get a reader review where someone says “why did those two nice guys let that female into the picture?” I laugh and wonder if they read the book description and knew that the book was a ménage. My publisher is so careful they even call The Scientist and the Supermodel a ménage even though it’s actually M/M. But because it precedes a ménage, they don’t want to misrepresent the book.
13. Tell us about your future projects. Do you have a new ménage romance coming out soon?
My next book is a bit of everything including ménage. It’s my holiday romance called Mistletowed and it comes out on Dec 13. It starts with two M/F couples plus their gay best friend. Then two more people, a date for the gay guy and a cousin of one of the women, show up. Under the influence of a Yule party and a piece of amazing mistletoe, the seven people start shifting until all happiness breaks loose. The book is M/M, M/F, M/M/F with light BDSM. Something for everyone.
After that in spring of 2012 I have two M/M romances with no menage in sight.
14. Where can the fans find you and find your books?My Website– http://www.taralain.com My Amazon Page– http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Lain/e/B004U1W5QC/ My Loose Id Page — http://www.loose-id.com/Our-Authors/Tara-Lain/ My B&N Page — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Tara-Lain?keyword=Tara+Lain&store=nookstore My ARe Page– http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html
15. Please tell us where readers and fans can find you on the net.E-mail: email@example.com Website: http://www.taralain.com Author blog: http://taralain.blogspot.com Book blog: http://beautifulboysbooks.blogspot.com Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain Savvy Authors: http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/member.php?2398-Tara-Lain Twitter: http://twitter.com/taralain Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Tara-Lain/100001514105686 FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Lain/205042046209804
16. Is there anything you wish to share with the readers?
It’s close to Thanksgiving as I’m writing this and I want to say how grateful I am for all the people who encourage me and read my books. They have made this an amazing year for me and I want to repay them with a giant hug and good stories. : )
Thank you very much for this interview Lara. I loved Deceptive Attraction as well as Genetic Attraction. I cannot wait to read more menage of yours!