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What’s so special about The Red Light?

Good evening all (or morning, to my readers across the pond!)

I wanted to write a post about what makes my novel, The Red Light, so special, since this is a question every writer gets asked when telling people about their work. “What makes your work stand out?” “What’s different about it?” Such questions are part of the job, and so I thought for anyone either wondering or challenging me, I would write a post about it.

For me, what’s so special about my story is not that it reinvents the wheel, it’s not something no one has read before, it doesn’t have shock elements that have never been seen before, and it’s not giving birth to a new genre. But what it does do is combine lots of different elements of different genres in a way that I always felt was lacking in other erotic romance novels. I often found myself wondering why a story had to be so focused on sex in some erotic novels (I’m thinking 50 shades here…) at the expense of great characterisation, or why some romance novels had to skimp on the sexier scenes in favour of being “mainstream”, (a la Bridget Jones). Fans of erotic romance and women’s fiction are all adults, so why must we either choose to have a “naughty” book or a “nice” book. Why not have both? That’s what gave birth to The Red Light!

Sabrina and Eva are modern women who represent real stories and experiences I’ve either had or come across in my own life; they’re not trying to be anything to anyone, they’re just themselves. They like a good laugh, they have normal jobs, but they also love experimenting and exploring their sensual side. Just like we all do! That’s why there’s so many of us fans of erotic romance out there.

So in conclusion, what I have tried to offer you is a book that combines great laughs, great sex and some real emotion delivered to you by characters both you and I can identify with. I hope you enjoy getting to know them and sharing their journey as much as I enjoyed writing them!

How I write

Good morning (or evening depending on where you are)!

On the eve of the release of my debut novel, The Red Light, I wanted to write a post about my writing methods as this is a question people often ask me. What is the best time to write? What conditions do you need to write well? Do you get writer’s block, and if so, how do you deal with it?

Well, I would say that the best time for me to write is at night. I find there are too many distractions during the day, too many chores. At night, I find it calming and freeing to imagine everyone in bed, asleep or watching TV, and that is when the world seems very quiet and inspiring. My mind can wander without distraction and I find words and ideas come so much more easily; then I use the day to edit and go back over everything I’ve done.

As far as other conditions are concerned, I don’t need anything special like flickering candlelight or a sandalwood candle, just a comfortable chair, peace and quiet around me and, preferably, lots of books. I often write in my study with my books all around, and they remind me of why I do what I do – they inspire me to keep going with the ambition to see my own works alongside them.

Writer’s block is a more interesting one. I find it less a case of one day good, one day bad and more a case of a bad week or a good week. There have been times where I have sat at my desk with my head in my hands for days and days, desperately trying to move on from where I left off and, quite simply, nothing happens. Nothing makes it better; not herbal tea, not strong coffee, not chocolate, not wine, not exercise. It is just like a brick wall you can only bang your head against. In these weeks, I just drop the work entirely. I don’t fight in anymore; I simply take my manuscript around with me as I focus on other things – chores, other work, seeing friends or family. I keep reading bits without the pressure of writing, and then suddenly – and always – the inspiration comes back. And the second it does, I pounce. I go straight back to the study and start writing and keep writing until my eyes are red. I can write for hours and hours on end in this state and it is then that my books take shape. I can revise and edit them in the weeks when that brick wall returns and I can’t make any progress.

It is always fascinating to hear other writers’ experiences of writer’s block – perhaps my own can be of help to those who have not quite worked out how to combat it. In any case, I am thrilled to say I conquered that wall enough times to see my novel The Red Light see the light of day, and, as of tomorrow, I hope that all of you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Q&A #1 with the author

Welcome to this first question-and-answer session with author of The Red Light, L. H. Roberts, where we talk inspiration, starting early and a love of pushing boundaries…

L. H. Roberts, what made you start writing?

I have been writing stories since I was little. I remember one of my first memories of writing was penning a story about my grandmother’s trip to the supermarket where she encountered all sorts of evil and scary monsters along the way… of course she defeated them all! I must have been 5 or so, but I wanted to turn everyday routines and places into exciting stories and adventures even then.

What were your favourite books as a child?

When I was very young I loved Black Beauty because it was so sensitively written and made me feel that there is a lot of goodness and kindness in people even though the world can be a harsh environment sometimes. I also loved Little Women because it really showed the development and depth of the female leads in a way that I couldn’t often find in other books. I think that is what started me wanting to write women’s fiction, in fact  – I wanted to write about other inspiring women with complex personalities that readers would want to know more about and fall in love with.

What inspires you to write now you’re an adult?

I love strong female characters who reflect the kind of women I know and love in my own life. There are so many amazing women out there who do incredible things and often don’t get heard about simply because they’re women. Either that, or they get held up as one-offs who buck the trend; whereas there are, in fact, millions of amazing women out there paving the way for the next generation.

With The Red Light, I wanted to encapsulate all of those feelings in my two characters, Sabrina and Eva. They represent very different kinds of people, but there are bits of myself in both of them, as well as pieces of my friends, ex-colleagues and characters I’ve come across in my life. They both have an independent, firey streak that cannot be extinguished even by repeated setbacks (often at the hands of men!) Whenever they’re down, they pick each other up and do something even better than they were doing before. That is where their strength lies – they don’t settle. I want women to read this book and remember that it doesn’t matter where you are in life, it is never too late to experiment and explore parts of yourself that maybe you never felt you could in the past. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, you know what is right for you. Throw out your inhibitions and get exploring, just like Sabrina and Eva!

Thinking specifically about The Red Light, what is the main theme you want readers to take away?

I want readers to consider pushing their boundaries. Sabrina and Eva both do things they had never considered before during their stay in Amsterdam, and they get such energy and inspiration from it. Even while writing the scenes, I felt inspired by the things they were achieving as if they were my friends who I was watching grow and develop. Sex and the female body is something to be cherished, not ashamed of, and I want women to feel that their sexuality is something they are in control of and can use for their own pleasure, not just that of their partner.

My hope is that Sabrina and Eva show, in their very different ways, what it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and reap both spiritual and sexual rewards from it. I even feel teary-eyed now thinking about it!

The Red Light – novel

So now you have found your way to a writer’s blog, you will no doubt be wondering what it is I’ve actually written. Well, who am I to keep you guessing any longer? I hereby proudly present my debut erotic romance novel, The Red Light, available from June 7 2018 on Amazon in both e-book and paperback format. It is priced at £3.99 (e-book) and £7.99 (paperback) in the UK or $4.99 and $8.99 in the US – check your local Amazon for any other currencies.

But what is it about? Check out the back-cover blurb:

What is the best way to get over multiple failed relationships? While licking their respective wounds one evening over a bottle of wine, best friends Sabrina and Eva think they find the answer: exploring parts of themselves they had never dared explore before. With a temporary work placement in Amsterdam poised to take them away from London for four months, this is the perfect time to encourage each other to throw out their inhibitions and find out just who Sabrina Taylor and Eva Barber really are.

Intense physical encounters, daring sensual challenges and romantic fantasies all follow, though not always in the way they expect. Quirky colleagues, new lovers and some old enemies ensure their stay in this new city is never dull. However, as the two friends embark on their journey of growth together, will their different experiences and reactions to the men they meet bring them closer together or slowly cost them their friendship?

The story combines elements of comedy, romance and erotica to create a story that reflects modern women’s lives as they truly are – not how TV or the Internet may tell us they should be. I wanted to capture that reality and show how the desires and fantasies of those of us navigating this fast-paced, technology-driven modern Western world are aspects to be embraced and enjoyed rather than swept under the carpet. I also wanted it to feel as real as possible, however; that meant including all the ups and downs the women face while enjoying the freedom of a new city and new beginning, struggling with professional and social conflicts and embracing parts of their sensual sides they had never dared experience before. So join the two friends on their journey and explore your own fantasies at the same time, who knows where their experiences will take you!

Check back here (or Twitter (@lhroberts2) or Facebook) for regular updates about special deals, promotions or extra information about this hot new release!

I hope you all enjoy and please share any comments with me here or on social media.

Happy reading,

L. H. Roberts

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