Friday, January 14, 2022

This week in The Loft: Adriana Kraft!

Joining me today in The Loft is the husband-wife writing team that goes by the name of Adriana Kraft. Breaking the mold of staid, fusty academics, the retired professors write erotic romance. After living in the Midwest, they moved to southern Arizona, where they enjoy hiking, golf, and travel to Arizona Native American historical sites. Adriana Kraft has published more than 50 erotic romance novels and novellas.

The avatar for Adriana Kraft

S:  Good morning from the very chilly Midwest. You must really be enjoying the weather in sunny Arizona!

Let's start at the beginning. Why write romance?

A:  There is more than enough tragedy, drama, and despair in real life to go around. All of us need hope, happiness, and escape at least some of the time. Romance--at least the way Mr. Kraft and I choose to write it--offers so many gateways, not just to happy feelings, but to self-exploration, personal growth, facing tough issues, discovering what we hope for, expanding our dreams. We could all benefit from a little more romance in our lives.

S:  We certainly could! Especially in these troubled times. Do you write in other genres?

A:  Romance is the only genre we write. It’s our first love—we need happy endings as much as anyone else. We love living in a fictional world where real-life problems we all face can be overcome. I suppose that’s our way of tilting at windmills. We do write in two main sub-genres. Our romantic suspense is for readers who want danger, suspense, and a traditional romance between one man and one woman. Our erotic romance nearly always expands to include three or more persons, sometimes in a committed polyamory relationship, sometimes in what’s come to be called consensual non-monogamy, such as the swing lifestyle. Sometimes, we blur the boundaries between erotic romance and erotica, but we always have a loving relationship at the center of our stories, no matter how intense the eroticism.

S:  I think you know I am a big fan of your writing. Your books are a pleasure to read.

When it comes to writing romance, do you consider yourself a dreamer or a realist?

A:  We pour so much of ourselves and our personal experience into our stories that we’d have to be classified as realists. That being said, if anyone wrote the story of our lives, it would never be published, because it’s too filled with coincidence, luck, crazy left turns, and yes, big dreams, more than one of which came to fruition. In "Willow Smoke," one of our favorite heroes--a wealthy man from success with stock options--tells the heroine “…if you hang around me much, you’ll have to get used to expanding your dreams. I don’t dream small. It doesn’t take any more time to dream big than small.”

S:  Are there any characteristics your lead characters share?

A:  Not surprisingly, they share our major values or if they don’t, they’re troubled about it and learn some hard lessons--Honesty, integrity, kindness, generosity, acceptance, equality, staying healthy, dreaming big. For example, the entire plot of our erotic romance, "The Diary," hinges on a major deception--Kate sets out to entrap a professor she believes has seduced her younger sister. Eventually her lie becomes an albatross and its discovery is an earthquake in her life, with a steep learning curve.

S:  Do you adhere to tropes when writing romance? Which ones do you enjoy writing? Are there any tropes that make you squirm?

A:  Mr. Kraft and I were raw amateurs when we first began writing romance, so in the beginning we didn’t even recognize tropes. If we followed them it was accidental and probably a tad off the beaten path. One trope neither of us particularly likes is the hidden pregnancy--you know, when the hero comes back to town and discovers the heroine/ex-girlfriend has had his baby. When we wrote it, we changed it up--we won’t tell you who the father actually is, but it’s not, as people assume, the recently returned war hero of "The Painter is a Lady."

S:  I have to admit, I always find that trope somewhat offensive. While concealing a pregnancy may make sense in life-threatening circumstances, most of the time it does not. This trope also tends to make the women appear weak, rather than strong. I am not a fan of that.

How did you meet your current partner? When did you know he was “the one?"

A:  I was a graduate student and entry-level faculty member when he was hired onto the faculty of the program I worked in. I remember going, “Wow,” when I first saw him at the fall university gathering where new faculty were introduced. Evidently several other women did, too. In any case, the more we worked together, the more I liked him, and by the end of the academic year--with a push from one of our co-workers--he asked me out. We were married a year later, on the summer solstice. We’re still in love. Writing romance together both grows from and feeds into that love.

S:  That's such a wonderful story. What would you like people to know about you?

A:  A social work educator and a sociologist, Mr. Kraft and I are now retired from our day jobs and live in southern Arizona. Both of us had been avid romance readers, and there came a point in our careers where we thought it might be more fun to write romance than the sometimes dry academic writing we’d occasionally collaborated on. In a way, the jury’s still out on the fun element--turns out it’s a lot of hard work and we had a lot to learn. But we were also full of stories. Writing was definitely a part-time endeavor while we were still in our day jobs, but these days it can easily fill up a week if we let it. We do love it and I’m guessing that qualifies as fun.

S:  What’s the best advice you have ever been given?

A:  Never give up. I always cop to two favorite authors when I answer this question. I was fortunate to hear Judith Viorst in person in the early 90s--starting in her teens, she never stopped writing through nearly two decades of rejections before her first acceptance. The same message rings true in the German Poet Reiner Maria Rilke’s "Letters to a Young Poet." Many years ago, I typed out the following passage--in the era before personal computers--and pinned it to my bulletin board: “This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple I must, then build your life in accordance with this necessity.”

S:  What inspired your most recent release, "I Am Not for Sale?"

A:  So many things. Not long after Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004, I travelled there for a work-related project and was struck with the deep strength and resilience of the people I met. Mr. Kraft and I wanted to capture that spirit in a character, so recent U.S. Immigrant Nadja Petrov was born out of that first spark. We took advantage of some local real estate shenanigans for part of our plot, and we blessed Nadja with proprietorship of our favorite espresso cafĂ©, a hangout for artists and musicians where we’d also done readings. I will add that Mr. Kraft is trained as a criminologist, so we had no shortage of resources for throwing our characters into the path of danger.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "I Am Not for Sale?"

A:  Perhaps most of all, I was struck by the ingenuity and determination of the Ukrainian people to maintain their orthodox faith during all those decades of communist rule. Religious practices were banned across Ukraine--yet many of the local staff I worked with had been smuggled as infants by their families to orthodox priests, to be baptized in secret. All those decades of suppression could not snuff out the flame. We play both sides of this phenomenon in our story. Nadja herself is not a believer. Too much has happened in her life for her to trust. But her Aunt Ivett, who immigrated to America earlier than Nadja, gives us a vehicle for some of these older Ukrainian memories. Ivett helped make sure the faith did not die and she brought it with her to America. She is still faithful, frequently lighting a candle for herself or her niece. Unable to have children herself, Ivett is committed to family and deeply wants Nadja to marry and carry on the family line. Perhaps it’s not so surprising then, that there’s an entirely different side to Ivett’s character. She supplies Nadja with toys and explicit videos to enhance her, um, skills.

S:  As the granddaughter of immigrants from Eastern Europe, there  is a lot in that story I identify with. 

Adriana, thanks so much for joining me today. If you'd like to learn more about the Krafts and their books, please visit--

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

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting us today, Seelie - yes, we're enjoying much warmer weather! I didn't know about your ancestry, I'm so glad this story resonates with you. You know I love your feisty lawyers - and your vampires!