Friday, July 31, 2020

This week in The Loft: Author Adriana Kraft!

Joining me this week in The Loft is award-winning author Adriana Kraft, a husband/wife team who writes sizzling romantic suspense and erotic romance. Their stories involve traditional couples as well as menage or polyamory. Whatever the combination, they provide happy endings for all who fall in love, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, or numerical combination. Today, the female half of Adriana Kraft is in The Loft.

S:  Welcome to The Loft, Adriana! 

Did you undergo any formal preparation to become a writer?

A:  Both of us have spent our careers in academia, where any grammar problems were hammered out of us early on, so we were confident we knew how to write. We were shocked to discover how very different it is to write fiction in general, and romance in particular. Our first completed manuscript --which I’m embarrassed to say we submitted to multiple publishing houses--was peppered with sudden point of view changes, talking heads, and way too many dialogue tags, and that’s just for openers. But we immediately joined Romance Writers of America, found and joined our local chapter, and started attending workshops. The best was an all-day workshop by Jennifer Crusie, who not only taught those specifics but also walked us through the basics of dropping the heroine into a crisis right away, carefully crafting the tempo and build-up of tension and drama, creating viable black moments, and even knowing when and where to end the story. When we got home, we cut fully a third of that early draft and began again.

S:  (Chuckles.) Ah, the old "talking heads." I think most of us got nailed for that at the beginning of our fiction writing careers!  

What makes your writing team unique?

A:  We think part of our uniqueness is that being a married couple, we write for couples. In developing our characters, we take pains to be authentic to both the male and female experience. Especially in our erotic romance, we create scenes that we hope offer something for both men and women. We’ve had reviewers recommend that couples read our stories together, perhaps with a bucket of toys close at hand!

S:  What’s your definition of romance?

A:  Wow. So many threads. Falling in love, of course, sometimes Happily Ever After, sometime Happy For Now. So in a fictional romance, two--or sometimes more--characters come to deeply care for one another, eventually fall in love, and ultimately manage to hammer out some way of being together. We won’t give away the ending of "Through the Lens," except to say more than two people are happy with it, and it holds great promise for their future. Learning to love someone can take so many twists and turns. Sometimes, as in "Through the Lens," the first encounters are antagonistic, and characters must be open to surprise as they discover more about each other. Sometimes, as in our own marriage, at least one partner--you can probably guess which gender--has something like a love at first sight reaction, followed by what seems an interminably long period of hoping, waiting, reading cues, learning patience, beginning to have a relationship, becoming more honest and open together, and finally--it took 18 months--walking down the aisle. We try to pour all those nuances into our books--though not all at once!

S:  Have you ever experienced what you consider the perfect romantic evening? 

A:  Often. Oh, you want me to kiss and tell? Here’s our first one: After many months of teaching together in the same academic program, he finally asked me out to dinner, which, while pleasantly romantic, didn’t reach the perfect romantic evening stage. Then he went on a brief trip back home, where it turns out he was tying up some loose ends, though I didn’t know that at the time. I picked him up at the airport, and he had brought me a lovely opal pendant on a gold chain. I still have it, a special treasure. The next day was my birthday. That birthday celebration lasted three days—dinner out, picnics in the park, breakfast on the back porch of my condo overlooking summer blooms in the back yard, attending a Shakespeare play at a local outdoor theater, and long discussions about our new unfolding relationship, including how to manage it at work. What was romantic about it? Celebration, joy, hope, discovery, feeling treasured and cared for, and the beginnings of commitment. Neither of us knew what the outcome would be, but we made a promise to let the other know immediately if either of us decided to close the door.

S: (Smiles.) Discovering each other, as well as each other's wants and needs, is  the true joy of romance.

Why did you write "Through the Lens?" What was your inspiration? Is there anything about this book that makes it special to you? To readers? 

A:  The two main characters in this book are deeply entwined with scandals from our own family histories. My mother’s grandfather was born a bastard in an era when that status carried far more stigma than now. His mother – a logger’s daughter who served as a camp cook – was shunned and shamed for much of her life. On the other side, my husband’s grandfather was a bigamist. A threshing crew foreman in the early 1900s, he married and had children in Missouri, then married again in Kansas. My husband’s grandmother divorced him when she learned of the other family. Their son, my husband’s father, was 10 years old. Though neither of us was ever personally shamed or stigmatized for that history, our ancestors were, and those issues are not dead in contemporary culture. We’re especially sensitive about LGBTQ issues and slut shaming, both of which play a role in "Through the Lens." We believe that all who fall in love deserve happy endings, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, or numerical combination. We write our stories to offer hope to those who are so marginalized, and we hope our readers enjoy the ride.

S:  (Shakes head.) It seems every family has at least one black sheep. My grandfather remarried seven times--all bigamously--before my grandmother caught up to him. The guy couldn't spell, "divorce!"

Tell me more about "Through the Lens."

A:  Here's the blurb--

Prairie roots can be deceptive. Will Ellen Jeffers cling to the sedate past that’s familiar, or will she embrace a different version of her history—one that includes tragedy, scandal, fortitude, and freedom?

It’s 2002, and South Dakota third grade teacher Ellen Jeffers has signed up for a photography summer course and assistantship at an art academy in Minneapolis. Thirty-three, divorced for nearly a decade from her college boyfriend, she’s not seeking major change. She just hopes the course will enhance her teaching skills and her resume.

Aaron Brewster comes from privilege, and he has used that status to flaunt his family’s values and carve out a successful career as a photographer specializing in black and white erotic portraiture. Has he ever loved? His love is for beauty, sensuality, eroticism. His new uptight teaching assistant will never fit that vision. Should he send her packing? For reasons he cannot fathom, he takes her on as a challenge.

Aaron’s frontal assault shocks Ellen, but it also triggers something deep inside she’s never been willing to acknowledge. Is her beloved prairie a safe refuge, or will it become a crucible for transformation? The choice is not merely Ellen’s.

S:  That sounds intriguing! Where can your readers buy your book?

A:  It's available at all major booksellers, including--

S:  Adriana, thanks so much for joining me today! If you'd like to learn more about Adriana Kraft and their books, please visit--

Newsletter:  free download of our erotic romance novella Cherry Tune-Up for signing up.

1 comment:

  1. THanks so much for hosting me and our book today, Seelie!