For all press and media enquiries contact Heidi Blakey:
Tel: (0044)1522 668815


Links to Media Coverage  

Newspapers and Magazines
Reader, I Ravished Him (The Daily Mail)

Classics Fiction Goes Carnal (Stylist Magazine)

Sherlock Holmes has Gay affair with Watson (Gay Star News)

Erotic Makeovers for Classics (The Huffington Post)

Mr Darcy gets erotic makeover (Marie Claire)

Sierra Cartwright interviewed by USA Today

Television Coverage

Fox Orlando

Swedish TV


Channel 4 News Debate

News Release - 17th July 2012


- Leading erotic romance publisher Total-E-Bound to launch Clandestine Classics collection on 30 July -

- Original plots and prose reinvigorated with the addition of adult scenes that tell the 'full' untold story -

- Classic novels getting an adult reworking include Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice,Wuthering Heights and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea -

Classic novels including Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey are to get a steamy 18-certificate make-over from some of the world's leading erotic fiction writers it was announced today.

The much-loved works of literature  by famed authors including Charlotte and Emily Brontë, — have been re-imagined for the very first time as works of adult fiction by the UK's leading specialist publisher Total-E-Bound, complete with graphic sex and fetish scenes.

In the 'scorching hot' new versions — available as eBooks from the 30th July - eponymous heroine Jane Eyre has explosive sex with Mr Rochester, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy smoulder with unbridled passion in their erotic romance. 

Other books being re-worked by erotic romance specialist publisher Total-E-Bound for the launch of the new Clandestine Classics collection are Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea by early science-fiction writer Jules Verne.

The re-worked versions of the classics include the full text of the original books spiced with a series of specially written new scenes featuring adult content to provide a seamless reading experience.  While 19th century society demanded that novels only went so far when it came to depicting the true passionate nature of love and romance, the new series, released under the banner 'Clandestine Classics' invites readers to put the old-fashioned pleasantries to one side and enjoy the sensual scenes that were only ever alluded to in the original versions. 

Total-E-Bound, the UK's largest e-Book publisher of erotic romance fiction believes the bold new collection is a major step forward for the genre. Claire Siemaszkiewicz, founder of Total-E-Bound Publishing, comments;  

"Whenever I read classics from authors like Jane Austen, I often think about the potential 'uncensored versions' that the original authors were unable — or unwilling — to include.  After all, a lot of these stories are, at the heart, romances.  With the launch of Clandestine Classics, readers will finally be able to read what the books could have been like if erotic romance had been acceptable in that day and age, redefining the boundaries and bringing the classics to a new generation of readers.

"As the first erotic romance publisher to bring out a line of re-imagined classics, we recognise it's a bold move that may have a polarising effect on readers.  We're keeping the works as close to the original classics as possible. It's not our intention to rewrite or distort them but to create a whole new experience, enhancing the novels by adding deeper relationships, character development, and the 'missing' scenes for readers to enjoy."

The erotic romance genre has experienced a dramatic revival in recent months, thanks to the rising popularity of e-readers and record-breaking success of "mummy porn" novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

According to experts, people are increasingly buying erotic romance eBooks because the e-reader allows people to read erotic books without embarrassment of being "caught out".

This view is backed up by sales figures. The market for erotic romance fiction has increased by around a third in the last 12 months, with 50 per cent of sales through e-books.

Total-E-Bound, which sell its books worldwide, has drafted in some of its most popular authors to co-author the new eBook adaptations, with writers Sierra Cartwright, Sarah Masters, Amy Armstrong, Marie Sexton and Desiree Holt — at 76, the world's oldest erotic romance writer — launching the series at the end of July.

Award-winning British born author Sierra Cartwright, who is penning the new version of Jane Eyre, said: 

"Jane Eyre is a breathtakingly beautiful story which has withstood the test of time. Jane is multi-dimensional, brave, committed to her course of action, and Rochester . . . sigh . . . he's such an engaging enigma. The love story is captivating, real, rich, complex, and fraught with real conflict.

"There are so many joys of working on Jane Eyre to add erotic content. The biggest challenge it to be sure it's in fitting with Jane's character and that the additions don't change the beautiful flow of the story.

"I'm very excited by Total-E-Bound's vision for retelling the classics. The Clandestine Classics imprint is intriguing, giving a modern audience access to amazing stories they may have missed."

Further classics will follow with Dracula, Treasure Island, Wuthering Heights, The Three Musketeers and the Phantom of the Opera set to follow. Each novel will retain the original author's plots and prose but be expanded with the insertion of 'missing' scenes featuring adult content such as straight, gay, ménage and BDSM relationships. /

Notes to Editors:

Total-E-Bound Publishing, the UK's largest eBook publisher of erotic romance fiction, celebrates the company's fifth anniversary with the launch of Clandestine Classics.  The team read hundreds of submissions of manuscripts every year.

Five Clandestine Classics will be available from 30 July, with a new title added bi-weekly until the end of the year.

The books are available in all eBook formats including download straight to a Kindle device or any other eReader, and are priced between £1.69–£3.49.

A wide variety of genres suitable for over 18's can be found at

Author Interviews

Tanith Davenport

Why did you want to re-visit The Tenant of Wildfell Hall for the Clandestine Classics?
'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' has always been one of my favourite novels. Anne Bronte, to me, is a very underestimated writer and it was a privilege to feel as though I was writing alongside her.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?
Staying true to the heroine’s character throughout. She had a very strong moral centre which slowly degrades due to events in the story; I had to ensure that her sexual awakening worked alongside that plot thread, introducing new elements slowly.

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?
Absolutely! It was a great opportunity for me to build on a classic and develop the heroine’s relationships with men further.

How did you relate to the author voice of Anne Bronte?
I love the Brontes, but am one of the minority who prefer Anne and Emily to Charlotte; I find Charlotte too grandiose and verbose while Anne’s voice is concise and naturalistic. It was a style I could relate to very easily.

Was it difficult to ensure her voice continued throughout?
Not as difficult as I had expected. In fact, I enjoyed the challenge very much. I think as a writer it’s always good to work with different styles from time to time.

How did you identify with the character’s settings?
As there are two POV characters, I had to write both a heroine moving in very wealthy circles and a hero from a rural village. It was comparatively easy to identify with Helen and the social rules she lived by, but Gilbert was more difficult – men got away with a lot more then, and the attitudes he had to those around him took a while to get into.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Anne Bronte?
Not especially – her style of writing appealed to me as it was vivid and descriptive without excessive verbiage. She was capable of writing passionate love scenes and it was surprisingly simple to extend these without losing her voice.

What was your favourite scene to write?
Probably the first wedding night scene – it was interesting to write from the point of view of a character who had no sexual experience whatsoever.

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance?
It did. A lot of classics present the difficulty that young women of that era simply would not have allowed sexual contact outside marriage either for religious reasons or for fear of destroying their reputation – since the heroine, who is deeply religious, is married for a large portion of the book, this allowed me to indulge without breaking her character.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?
Not in the least – if we can have 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies', why not this?

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?
I was thrilled. I always thought the Clandestine Classics were a great idea – I’ve read all the ones released so far, which has introduced me to classics I probably would otherwise never have read, and I’m very happy to be adding to the line.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?
I think 'Mansfield Park' would lend itself well to erotic romance, as would 'The Woman in White'.


Katie Blu

Why did you want to re-visit Emma for the Clandestine Classics?
I love Emma. I love it in all its forms from the original, to the movie, to the modern day versions (Clueless). When the opportunity came up to "play" with Ms. Austen's version, I couldn't resist!

What was your biggest challenge in this project?
Word count! Okay, that and the narrative Ms. Austen uses. It's very hard to match her style with mine. She's a "teller" of stories and I like to "show". I also, apparently, enjoy dialogue a lot more than she did. LOL

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?
I did! It was quite a challenge but I committed before I thought too hard about it. I knew I'd feel like I'd accomplished something if I could do it well.

How did you relate to the author voice of Jane Austen?
It's very different than mine. I use a lot of dialogue and have been accused of "flowery" language in the past. Ms. Austen, mostly because she's writing for the tastes of her time, seem emotionally dry at points. Since my work requires regular touch-bases with the emotional element, it was a struggle to match her without looking like my additions weren't mine or hers. If that makes sense.

Was it difficult to ensure her voice continued throughout?
Sort of. This is a hard question for me to answer. I get wordy in real life. I interrupt myself sometimes and I have some run-on dialogue. If you've met me, you know this. Ms. Austen writes a bit like I talk, so it worked out okay. The actual writing though is a different story. We're very different. I used to write short stories in the voice of other well-known authors, for fun. It was in middle school and I'd pick up Louis L'Amour or someone because they were very distinct and fun to recreate. Ms. Austen was a little like that. Harder, but not something I was unfamiliar with trying.

How did you identify with the character's settings?
I've been to England several times. That's about as familiar as I can be with her settings. It's not like I could go back in time or something—although wouldn't that be fun? I know enough to know that it's very different terrain than my mid-west United States background. Basically, if I screwed up, it's all on me. Feel free to send me email where I went wrong. I'm happy to learn.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Jan Austen?
Not once I got the hang of it. It was harder to keep the integrity of her characters while getting them to be sexual explicit. Sex changes everything! Anyone who says otherwise hasn't been doing it right.

What was your favourite scene to write?

Emma bent over the couch getting her ass spanked by Knightley. Man, that was serious fun to write.

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance?
Well, if you're a little twisty in the head, then yes. LOL. I think the chemistry was there with Knightley and the potential for Emma to be a complete slut, but then you risk the dynamics of the storyline. I hope I did the story justice while taking liberty with the sexual content.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?
I think the PC thing is to say yes. However, no, I don't think so. As authors we write for ourselves, but we also write for our audience. Her audience was attended to during her lifetime. In our day and age, things are faster moving, quicker reads, plots are sexier, and clothes are smaller. There's always room for the classics, but that doesn't mean we can't modernise them a little for fun. It's another creative outlet that will annoy some and please others. In the end, reading is entertainment. If I accomplish that, then I've done my job.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?
Ha!! I begged. BEGGED the publisher to let me join in with Emma. She was gracious and said yes. That's how that went down. I think I sent two or three emails.... something like that.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

Probably. I haven't thought about it. Mostly because Emma took a lot out of me and I loved every minute of it. I'd probably want to play with some others but first I shall recuperate. Maybe what I should ask is, is there a classic you'd like to see me revisit?

Isabelle Drake

Why did you want to re-visit The Fox for the Clandestine Classics?

I selected The Fox because it's classic D.H. Lawrence. The character emotions and motivations are complex, even though the storyline is fairly simple. I was also drawn to the setting—an isolated, run-down farm. I love country settings and I live in an old farm house, so I could relate to some of the struggles the characters faced.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

When I'm working on my own stories,  the erotic scenes evolve naturally, so sometimes the characters take the story in a new direction. When that happens, I go with it and then rewrite the storyline to support that change. Writing the Clandestine Classic was different because my task was to enhance the already existing story. 

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

Absolutely. The Fox is a modern story, written before its time,  and I'm excited to bring it to new readers. As a gothic, it gave gave me the opportunity explore the darker side of human nature. 

How did you relate to the author voice of D.H. Lawrence?

I read classic literature regularly, so even though reading it and writing it are quite different, adjusting my voice to match his felt pretty natural.

Was it difficult to ensure his voice continued throughout?

It was a challenge. I read the entire story several times to capture the rhythm of the writing. Then, I began tucking in small details and short sections of dialogue. I worked through the entire story in this way, slightly enhancing what was already there. Then I went through again, pushing the limits of the sensuality and then again. And again. By doing it this way, I was able to maintain the tone, style, and integrity of the original work.

How did you identify with the character’s settings?

I live in farm country so writing about chickens and chopping wood was easy to identify with. The title comes partly from a fox that has been stealing chickens out of the chicken coop. This is something I've dealt with myself, it's both sad and frustrating.
Was it difficult to keep to the style of D.H. Lawrence?

As I mentioned, I read classic literature for fun, so I'm used to the more dense language. Even though D.H. Lawrence was writing about a century ago, many of his stories have the fast-pace we usually associate with modern fiction. This quick pace made it easy to adapt to his style in that even though the sentences and description may be full, the story moves along quickly.

What was your favourite scene to write?

Is it okay to say my favorite scene was the one I added? My new scene is in the last quarter of the book. I felt that the heightened sexual tension called for an intensified black moment and so I added a scene that captured that intensity. My scene takes place in a cemetary. This setting reinforces one of the themes of the story.

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance?
The emotional triangle that connects the three characters is complex and intensely sexual, so all I had to do was make the story sizzle.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

D.H. Lawrence's work, even after his death, caused controversy because it was considered 'indecent.'  I imagine if he hadn't been limited by the boundaries of the time, he would have written some of today's best erotic fiction.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?
Yes! The Clandestine Classics are fun for readers and exciting for writers.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

Another D.H. Lawrence. Having studied his writing as an undergraduate, I know how often his stories are 'type-cast.' By this I mean his work is seen through a narrow lens, one that focuses only on the issues of oppression and male dominance.  This approach sells the work short.  I'm intrigued by the possibility of introducing new readers to Lawrence's stories in the hope that the new readers will appreciate all they have to offer. 

Morticia Knight

Why did you want to re-visit The Legend of Sleepy Hollow for the Clandestine Classics?

This story has always been a favourite of mine, and I’ve enjoyed the varying takes on it over the years – including the Tim Burton film. As a reader, I’ve always wondered what really happened to Ichabod at the end, and now I’ve had the chance to tell my version!

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

Staying true to the phrasings and etymology of the time period. Especially in keeping with Irving’s voice; he was criticised in his time for being very superfluous in his language. But to stay true to his voice, I sometimes had to use flowery utterings that I would normally avoid. But really, that’s part of the story’s charm; it is very much a tongue-in-cheek telling.

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

I had a blast! It was an incredible challenge, but that also made it exciting. Every time I thought of a new twist that fit with the original, I was thrilled.

How did you relate to the author voice of Washington Irving?

I love his humour. Everything seemed a bit of a joke to him, and I’m a lot like that. But I also read a lot about him before I tackled this project, and he had an interesting life. He struggled as an artist, lived in America and in Britain, and also mentored other writers of his time, including Edgar Allen Poe. I just found him to be more interesting than one would initially assume.

Was it difficult to ensure his voice continued throughout?

Oh yeah. There were several passages I had to go back and rewrite. Sometimes I would go back and read the original again, get back in the flow, and then go right back to writing.

How did you identify with the character’s settings?

I’m all about spooky stories. Plus, I’ve also spent a lot of time in New England; that’s where my family’s from. I could completely identify with the woods and valleys of that area.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Washington Irving?

When I first started, yes. That was when I was thinking, "Uh-oh, what did I agree to!" But once I got into the zone, it was awesome.

What was your favourite scene to write?

When Katrina was messing with Brom Bones. I really enjoy writing dialogue with lots of back and forth. But of course, the final sex scene was pretty fun too!

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance?

Absolutely. Irving gives hints that there was much more hanky-panky going on than he was telling. The references to Katrina being a coquette, and her parents being too involved in their own concerns to worry about her, because "as everyone knows, girls can take care of themselves" — and take care of herself she did!

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

No, not at all. I think it’s great to keep these stories alive. Many people (myself included) might not read certain stories because they seem out-dated and boring. Not only that, but how many liberties has Hollywood taken with writer’s works over the years? All of those "based on" references which really mean "we totally made this up, and hardly any of it is in the original". What I appreciate about how Total-E-Bound is handling this, is that every word of the original is still there — we’re only adding in the bits that couldn’t be told back in the day.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

Thrilled! I think this is the most awesome idea I’ve heard of in a long time, seriously.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

Oh yeah, several. A couple are completely different in tone from Sleepy Hollow, and others are quite similar. That’s all I’ll say for now!

Lynne Connolly

Why did you want to re-visit The History of Tom Jones for the Clandestine Classics?

Because it’s one of the most fun books ever written. It’s bawdy, it’s adventurous and it makes you smile. It’s also incredibly sexy.
I’m also in love with the eighteenth century and have been for a long time. The Fielding brothers were enormously important to the era, and to the era today. When Henry was magistrate at Bow Street, he founded the Bow Street Runners, the precursors of the modern police force. At that time, the public feared that a non-military police force would be too dangerous, but Fielding showed it was possible. He advocated punishing the customers of prostitutes as well as the ladies of the night, too. And yet he had a great sense of fun and just living life to the full, which is why his novels are bursting with laughter and enjoyment.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

Writing in the style of one of the best writers in the English language. Henry Fielding was a larger than life character, and to get into his mindset was sometimes difficult. 

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

I had a wonderful time. But I didn’t turn it into an erotic romance – it was that to begin with! I just opened the bedroom door. I do think that if Fielding had thought he could make more money doing it, he might have opened the door himself. The eighteenth century didn’t have that crippling sense of guilt about sex that came in later with the Victorians.

How did you relate to the author voice of Henry Fielding?

I love it. It’s very different to the way we write now. He stops from time to time, and gives little homilies, and he’s never shy of voicing his opinion about the characters. He doesn’t tell us how to think, he just tells us how he thinks, about characters that live independently of him.

Was it difficult to ensure his voice continued throughout?

Once I’d got into the books, no. I spent a long time immersing myself in the style before I started to write. And since I’ve been a lifelong fan of the era, I understood some of the ideas in advance, which helped enormously.

How did you identify with the character’s settings?

Fielding takes us for a ride through the English countryside, before ending for the climax of the book in London. We see everything, from a prosperous country estate to the condemned cell at Newgate, and everywhere in between. We get to know the intimate lives of the people of the time. If I could borrow the Tardis from Dr. Who, this is where I would go! Since I’ve done a ton of research for my other historicals, and I try to keep historical details as accurate as I can, I found it easier than someone coming to the era fresh.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Henry Fielding?

Fielding’s a genius. Now I’ve had a chance to work more closely with his book, I’m even more convinced of that. So yes, it was difficult. But I really wanted to do him justice so I did the best I could. I had to isolate myself from my own writing and do nothing else while I was working on Tom Jones.

What was your favourite scene to write?

Oh no, you don’t get me there! The one I’m currently working on. When I work, I work on that scene, on that book, to the exclusion of everything else. So much that previous books and scenes blur a bit. So that’s the truth. The current one.

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance?

And how! A romance, for me, has to have a happy ending, and Tom Jones does, but not before a lot of other things happened! If you look at the erotic history of the time, they knew it all and did it all, and did it with a lot of enjoyment. There are some scenes, such as when Tom finds a man hiding behind the curtain in his mistress’s bedroom, and instead of being furious, he dissolves into gales of laughter because his mistress has just been declaring how much she loves him, and there’s nobody else for her!

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

Yes and no. There, that’s confusing! I think that some books shouldn’t be touched. The author meant them to be exactly as they are. Some books were revised by the author. Take “Fanny Hill,” for example, which was published at around the same time as “Tom Jones.” Cleland published a full-on dirty version, and a cleaner, (much shorter!) version in the same year. Since I studied Fielding the man as well as Fielding the author, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have minded what I’ve done. I’ve done my best to keep in the spirit of the book, and tried to enhance his writing. Fielding wrote for money. He needed it. Before his magistrate gig, he had a number of failed enterprises behind him. One of them, the Universal Register, was a registry for domestic servants and was the direct inspiration for Thompson’s, in the Richard and Rose series. So I was careful when I chose the book I wanted to work with. It had to be a book I loved, I wanted to write a happy ending romance, not one where they all die in the end, and I didn’t want to upset the shade of the author. Everything else was a lesser concern, because the most important relationship is that between the author and the reader.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

Thrilled to be asked, it’s an honour to be thought of for it. But terror, as well. I drew up a shortlist of books I’d like to work on, and they all filled me with fear, at the thought of approaching them.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

Goodness, yes! Wilkie Collins, for instance, had a twisted erotic imagination, and some of his situations are begging for a brighter light to be shone on them! Although Dickens wouldn’t have objected, as long as he got a share of the profits, I couldn’t approach his genius. He is the novelist for me. And I wanted to do something by Defoe, maybe Moll Flanders or Roxana (one of the first sheikh books!) but Tom Jones kept calling to me.

Em Woods

Why did you want to re-visit A Christmas Carol for the Clandestine Classics?

A Christmas Carol is a truly inspiring story and I try to read it every year. My bookshelf pride and joy is a 1908 copy I stumbled onto at a garage sale a few years ago. However, each time I join Dickens on his journey, I wonder at the reasons behind Scrooge's behaviour. What would drive someone who obviously had family to act so awful as to drive everyone away, and keep them away? To me, those reasons could be just as fascinating as the delightful story Mr. Dickens told.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

My biggest challenge was overcoming the scene with his fiancé during his travels with the Ghost of Christmas Past. It clearly gives indication that Scrooge, for all outward appearances, was not homosexual, but that is truly what inspired the resulting scene and gave Scrooge a more human aspect to his character in his early years. Men, in that day, could not risk exposure to the community and I used this scene to give light to Scrooge's mindset.

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

I did! It thrills me to see what new inspiration can do for classics that have been around since the time when polite society didn't speak of these things. I don't know if Dickens would have written it this way, but I know he pushed boundaries where he could, so I feel good about what I've written.

How did you relate to the author voice of Charles Dickens?

One of the most amazing abilities of Charles Dickens is that once you begin reading, you can completely immerse yourself in his world. It was easy enough to relate to...but getting that down on paper was the part that took more effort.

Was it difficult to ensure his voice continued throughout?

Oh my, yes. Mr. Dickens has such a distinct style of writing that, while fun, was an enormous challenge to emulate.

How did you identify with the character’s settings?

Everyone can identify with the holidays. Everyone has felt loss. Christmas, being a time of togetherness and happy memories for most, can amplify that loss to untold magnitudes. Pulling that emotional baggage out and using it to bring Scrooge's most personal memories to light was amazingly depressing and yet wonderful to see unfold.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Charles Dickens?

Modern writing tends to be tighter with less imaginative prose. My own style of writing is very compact and literal, so keeping with Dickens's style was a challenge that I hopefully achieved.

What was your favourite scene to write?

This is a toughy. I think it was the final scene with Scrooge and Marley, because that is where we have some closure with the two. It's where Marley redeems himself with Scrooge.

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance?

Not before I got started. But in every story there is a potential for romance, you only have to see it and give it a chance to shine. Carol  is no exception. Why did Scrooge end up in this predicament? Why was Marley the only person he would associate with? Answering those questions led me to the storyline you'll see in this latest version of Dickens's tale.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

Absolutely not. I enjoy reading all kinds of takes on any of the fairy tales or classics. I am in the camp of opinions that if you don't enjoy adaptations, then just don't read them. Not every story is going to appeal to every reader.  But, I think, if you give them a chance you'll be pleasantly surprised.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

When TEB announced this line, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I knew it would be challenging and fun and worth the effort. That Claire and Nicki would take a chance on a story that originally didn't call out for romance thrilled me.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

I would love to give Frankenstein a whirl.

Scarlett Parrish

Why did you want to re-visit Dracula for the Clandestine Classics?

I first read it when I was seven years old. It kicked off a lifelong love of vampires; got me interested in Hammer House of Horror films, later novels such as Interview with the Vampire and my personal favourite, Freda Warrington's A Taste of Blood Wine (now sadly out of print). So I owe Bram Stoker a lot. Without him, I may not have turned into such a voracious reader. Or bloodsucker.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

Deciding exactly where sex scenes needed to go rather than just throwing them in anywhere. I like to think I've enhanced relationships that existed in the original novel rather than just randomly having Character X getting busy with Character Y for no good reason. There was that, and trying to keep the language I used as appropriate to the setting.

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

It tickled me, because I first read the book nearly thirty years ago, and look at me now. Filthifying the very novel that got me interested in vampires in the first place. There's got to be some humour in that.

How did you relate to the author voice of Bram Stoker?

It was definitely a challenge, reminding myself to write as close to Stoker's style as I could. I was always conscious of that restraint, that I had to write as someone else. But I got used to it in the end. At least, I hope I did. That's for the reader to decide.

Was it difficult to ensure his voice continued throughout?

The book is set well over a hundred years ago, so I had to adjust my vocabulary. I was proud of myself for inserting scenes and picking up the dialogue exactly where the characters left off before I, er, 'interfered' with them. I like to think the transitions from Stoker to Parrish and back again are smooth.

How did you identify with the character's settings?

The book's been so influential that if you say 'Dracula' to someone their mind conjures up images of swishing crinolines and heaving bosoms. Gaslight, dark alleys, gleaming fangs and so on. So the settings were familiar, but you can't allow that as an excuse for laziness. I had to try to bring something fresh without betraying the original feel of the book. I fell back on the fact I've watched so many vampire films in my time and hoped my love of the undead and my familiarity with the genre would show through.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Bram Stoker?

I always swore I'd never write a collaboration because I'm too much of a control freak to share credit with anyone else, but this was one, in a way, even if the author is dead and his main character undead. It wasn't too difficult given my love for the book and vampires in general, but I was extra-conscious of my own style and voice while working on the project. I had to keep saying to myself, "Less Parrish, more Stoker."

What was your favourite scene to write?

I think the Brides of Dracula orgy scene. Come on; three women, Jonathan lying there half-asleep...Who can read that chapter and not think, "Yeah, Stoker...we all know what you're saying here!" Scenes like that practically wrote themselves.

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance?

Definitely. I once heard that Dracula was a 400-page metaphor for sex (or to be more precise, syphilis) and the evils thereof. Just think; the penetration of fangs, the exchange of bodily fluids in the form of blood...Stoker couldn't write explicit sex in those days without risk of the book being banned, so I feel like I'm just putting back in what society might have forced him to take out.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

I don't think the classics are better than modern-day books simply by virtue of their age. I venture to say that some folks think they're inviolable without even having read them. They just think, "Old books – leave 'em alone!" But in my case, I've read Dracula three times, Jane Eyre twice, Wuthering Heights three times, Pride and Prejudice twice. So no-one can say the Clandestine Classics authors don't know their stuff.
I've heard fewer complaints about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the like. I think sex freaks people out when they're okay with violence, which seems...well, weird to me. Twisted priorities. Make love, not war, people!
In short, the authors are long-dead and the books are fair game, so neener neener!

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

I was incredibly flattered that Total-e-Bound approached me, then I thought, "Hmm...I don't know if I can pull this off. Plus, people might hate me for daring to put sex in a pre-existing classic." But I saw that Dracula was still available for sexification and it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

There are some I'd be interested to see how other authors dealt with them – Tess of the D'Urbervilles for one. It's so violent and dark. Rape, murder, betrayal...definitely a challenge. Mansfield Park could be good fun, and I'm not just saying that because James Purefoy was in the film adaptation.
Okay, I am. What of it?

Ranae Rose

Why did you want to re-visit Wuthering Heights for the Clandestine Classics?

Wuthering Heights is one of my all-time favourite books. I've always been drawn to Catherine and Heathcliff and their tumultuous relationship. Despite all their faults, one can't help wanting them to be together, and when Claire (CEO of Total-E-Bound) approached me with the Classics project, I realized something else: Cathy and Heathcliff were practically begging to be written into a BDSM relationship. Or at least, that was how it seemed to me - I could imagine it perfectly, and thought I could write it while staying true to the characters.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

I wanted to make sure that my enhancements to the story fit – that they blended in and read smoothly, and that the things I made Heathcliff and Cathy do weren’t out of character. I mean, yes, I wanted to bring a whole new side of the story to light, but I wanted it to seem as if it had been there all along … like there were hidden pages that had just now been discovered. Meeting the challenge encompassed a lot of things – meticulous reading and re-reading, and careful thought about the characters’ motivations and personalities.

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

Yes, very much, especially since it was Wuthering Heights. It was a delight to write about some of my all-time favourite fictional characters, and to give them the erotic, romantic relationship I feel they deserve.

How did you relate to the author voice of Emily Brontë?

I like Emily’s voice. Though it’s definitely the voice of a woman who lived in a different era, I like that. I often think that, in a way, writers from past times often wrote with a unique combination of passion and insight that isn’t quite seen in modern novels.

Was it difficult to ensure her voice continued throughout?

Yes and no. When I read Wuthering Heights, I get really into the story and the world – everything about it, including the storyteller’s voice. So it was always there in my mind as I worked on Wuthering Heights, and it was different, in that way, from writing a novel that’s purely my own – I was looking at the world and my work through the tint that Emily’s voice had coloured my imagination with. The challenging part was making sure that my own voice didn’t sneak up to the surface and overpower Emily’s. I’m not saying that my writing is completely identical to Emily’s throughout, because erotic scenes require certain aspects and touches that just aren’t present in the rest of the novel. But I definitely wrote my enhancements with Emily’s voice resonating in my mind and like to think that if she’d written those scenes, she would have written them in the same way. So basically, I had to imagine how Emily’s voice would sound during an erotic scene.

How did you identify with the character’s settings?

I love wild places. Though I have never been to Northern England, where Wuthering Heights is set, it’s described in the novel as a sort of natural, untamed location I enjoy imagining. I can relate to the setting and Cathy and Heathcliff’s childhood / life there because when I was young, I also spent a great deal of my time outdoors in the wilderness.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Emily Brontë?

I enjoy Emily’s style, so it was a pleasure to add to the story while endeavouring to remain true to it. Of course, I had to keep a rein on my naturally more modern style to keep it from spoiling the flavour of the book.

What was your favourite scene to write?

That’s difficult for me to answer, since I only added scenes that I truly enjoyed and thought enhanced the story. However, I think it may be the ending. Wuthering Heights is a tragic story, and of course I haven’t altered the events as Emily wrote them, but without giving too much away, let’s just say that Cathy and Heathcliff’s love lives on. I enjoyed portraying that because I enjoy imagining that after a lifetime of heartbreak, one might find peace and happiness in the next world.

Did the book lend itself to BDSM and how?

Absolutely.  Actually, minutes after I heard Claire’s idea for the Clandestine Classics imprint, it was like a light bulb went off over my head – I thought Wuthering Heights would be perfect as an erotic BDSM romance. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that if Heathcliff and Cathy existed in some alternate dimension, and it was possible to peek inside their bedroom, there’d be a riding crop lying on their bedside table.

Cathy is so wild and Heathcliff is so outwardly reserved, yet emotionally passionate about Cathy … one thinks while reading the original, there must be more to their love story – a hidden dynamic that can be sensed simmering just beneath the surface, but is shrouded by ‘old fashioned pleasantries and timidity’, as TEB puts it. I’ve stripped all that away, and I believe that what lies beneath, at the true heart of their relationship, is BDSM.

Cathy is often ‘saucy’ and even cruel to Heathcliff – but then, in the original novel, the story is narrated by a servant, which means that we only hear about what happened when a third party was present. I’ve written about what occurred when Heathcliff and Cathy were alone and revealed it through her diary entries. There’s a lot of passion in Wuthering Heights – unrestrained passion, all-consuming passion. Even violence. Neither Cathy nor Heathcliff fear extremes of any sort. I don’t think they would shy away from unconventional means of expressing love – in fact, I think their unusual love demands unusual expression.

Did you find it interesting or challenging to write BDSM into a historical novel?

Actually, I found it incredibly freeing. I enjoy reading modern BDSM novels, but they often contain a good deal of stuff that I feel sometimes detracts from the heart of what I really love about reading and writing BDSM romance: domination and submission, eroticism and love.  With modern books there are often strictures, and pressure to write BDSM the ‘right way’. Using all the right words and giving your characters all the right moves and motivations, etc… With Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff and Cathy already existed and had their own motivations. I simply wrote their story. The BDSM in the novel is character-driven and is what it is – their love and their relationship, expressed their way. As strange as it may sound, I would even say that the BDSM scenes are the softer side of their relationship, a time when they can really connect and surrender to their passion for each other.

Plus, I’m used to writing unconventional erotic historical romance. For example, I have a novel out that’s a historical ménage a trois between two bi-sexual men and a woman. And it was even inspired by and loosely-based on a classic American novel (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), so this Clandestine Classics project was very much my cup of tea.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

No. I honestly believe that I remained true to the characters and the spirit of the story. I’m sure there will be people who will disagree, but that’s irrelevant to me, because I’m sure there will be others who enjoy it, too. This story is for those people – the readers who always dreamed of more for Heathcliff and Cathy and aren’t too shy to see their relationship explored in vivid, erotic detail.

In fact, when the original Wuthering Heights debuted it was often condemned. Sadly, it was not always considered a classic or recognized for its brilliance because many people found its content shocking and immoral, and their voices drowned out those who dared to praise it. Today, long after Emily’s death, Wuthering Heights is finally acknowledged for what it is – a timeless work of art. I’m happy to be bringing more attention to one of my favorite books of all time – perhaps some readers will pick up WH and discover Cathy and Heathcliff’s story for the first time. And if others are shocked or offended, that sort of reaction won’t be a first when it comes to Wuthering Heights.
WH is not the prim-and-proper, witty fiction of Emily’s contemporaries, such as Jane Austen. It’s raw, passionate, full of moral depravity (Heathcliff devotes his life to ruining those of several innocent people) and truly wonderful despite it all. My edition of WH is not for everyone, but then, neither was the original when it debuted. The content was so shocking at the time that personally, I feel that if it had been written in modern times, Emily probably would have included descriptive sexual content – after all, she was not one to shy away from the unusual, the boldly passionate or the downright shocking.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

I was immediately excited. I enjoy writing historical romances above all others, and the idea of revisiting one of my very favourite classic novels was very appealing to me.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

Yes, definitely. I enjoyed revisiting Wuthering Heights immensely and would love to do so again with another classic.

Wendi Zwaduk
Why did you want to re-visit The Phantom of the Opera for the Clandestine Classics? 

The lure of the Phantom!! In my mind he looked just like Gerard Butler, too.

Ever since I was a kid, I’d liked the music from the Phantom. It’s timeless and so exotic. I’d seen the movie and read the play, but never the actual book. When I was asked to be a part of the Clandestine Classics and I saw Phantom on the list, I jumped at it. What would happen if Raoul and Christine got to play out those private moments? What exactly happened when Phantom and Christine got together and what if she didn’t want to choose at all? Those questions popped into my head and I had to write it. What if Gaston Leroux wanted to take the characters in a darker, more sexual path, but the limits of the time period kept him at a more PG theme? I wanted to try my hand at making the story hotter. Hopefully I achieved that goal.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

Historicals aren’t my forte. I don’t know much about the time period the story was set. I tried to keep with the turn of the century, but found there were so many little details, such as clothing and who wore what in what ways, that got confusing quickly. I had to do a lot of research as well. Certain phrases weren’t used while others were. Plus I had to learn more about Paris—not that that was a challenge, grin—to ensure I understood why the Opera house had the catacombs and such. But the journey was fun and now I want to head to Paris to see it in person.

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

Absolutely. I’m the kind of person who wonders exactly what happens after the door gets shut in a movie. Did the characters do it? More than likely, but how? I want to see the passion. By taking Phantom and giving it a sexy upgrade, I got to throw the door open and let the characters play. I let them dictate where the play went to, and man, did it get hot. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

How did you relate to the author voice of Gaston Leroux?

Leroux writes in a very omniscient point of view. I tend to write third person and get deep into their point of view. Shifting my way of thinking was a tad hard at first. I had to read the entire story a couple of times and really immerse myself in the way he wrote to grasp how I wanted to weave the erotic side into the story. Once I did that, I was better able to relate to the story.

Was it difficult to ensure their voice continued throughout?

Yes, I wanted the book to flow seamlessly between my additions and what was already there. Getting my mind wrapped around how Leroux wrote took some time, but it was worth it.

How did you identify with the character’s settings?

I did a lot of musical theatre as a kid and in high school. A lot of stuff goes on during the down hours. There are lots of little places to hide and sneak around in the scenery and the scrims. I helped create the scenery for a couple of the productions. I liked placing the characters in nooks and crannies to live out their love and sexual fantasies with each other.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Gaston Leroux?

Yes and no. There were times when little snippets had to be added and that went rather seamlessly. When I got into a character’s point of view during a heated scene, then that’s when things got tough. Leroux didn’t get much into the heads of the characters, so some of the motivation was unclear. But, I took what he started and delved into the characters more to bring out the motivations and tensions. I think it turned out well.

What was your favourite scene to write?

The initial love scene. Everything was tender and new for the characters. They are showing for the first time how they truly feel and embracing all the joys of sex and sexual attraction. I love letting the characters run with something new and first time sex is certainly something new. I wanted to mix the sweetness of sex with the passion of being with the one you love.

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance and how?

Yes. By nature, the theatre is very sexually charged. Phantom and his domineering attitude are very sexually charged as well. So there is a lot of kink to go around. But I loved being able to explore what might have happened when he kidnapped her. Or how Christine and Raoul got to fall so madly in love with each other to start with—there’s a lot of passion in play and I loved being able to run with it.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

Yes and no. I say yes because there are the purists who say the book should be what it is. But I think really, it’s not a bad thing to let the imagination run wild with these books. Like I said, I’m the person who wants to know what happens when the door gets closed and it’s assumed the characters have sex.  Being able to throw that door open and let the characters do what they wanted was liberating. I also still believe that we can never be sure that the author didn’t want to take the characters in a more sexually charged direction because the authors aren’t here to ask. How do we know society didn’t constrain them to keep the book PG? The what-if’s are what propelled me to run with the Clandestine Classics.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

I jumped at the chance. Throwing open doors, letting characters behave badly and have fun...what’s not to love? Plus, I’m in the company of awesome authors. Who doesn’t want to be there?

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

Dracula. I’ve always loved the old boy and would be interested in letting him get hinky. It’s probably taken, but that’s the one.

Sierra Cartwright

Why did you want to re-visit Jane Eyre for the Clandestine Classics?

I love how feisty our Jane is—even now, two hundred years later, she inspires me with her guts, her grace, her uncompromising commitment to what she believes is right. And, oh, my... Mr. Rochester. Sigh. What's not to love? He falls in love with Jane and has to have her, despite the tragic reasons he shouldn't and can't. This is truly a mesmerising story as they both fight through their real issues to find love.

What was your biggest challenge in this project? 

I was honestly overwhelmed when I took on this project. This story has stood the test of time—it's still widely read. Modern audiences are captivated so much so that there have been movies made of the book. I desperately wanted to do it justice!

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

I have so loved working on this project, truly, deeply. I've now read the story a dozen times, and I'm as enthralled by the writing and the story as I was the first time!

How did you relate to the author voice of Charlotte Brontë? Was it difficult to ensure her voice continued throughout?

Relating to Ms. Brontë's voice was an amazing challenge. I was continually swept up in her gorgeous, lush writing that I had a difficult time studying it. I was reading for the sheer pleasure of the way she used style and syntax that I forgot I was supposed to be writing!

How did you identify with the character's settings?

The setting was so much fun! I was born in Lancashire, although I move to the States when I was young. So re-visiting Northern England was a huge treat for me. Cactus and cottonwoods are very different from Mr. Rochester's English garden!

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Charlotte Brontë?

Once I found the rhythm of the language, I really loved it. Now it will be difficult to return to the twenty-first century!

What was your favourite scene to write?

The whole thing was a total kick...but using articles of clothing for bondage...maybe the men of that era were onto something!

Did the book lend itself to BDSM and how?

Adding a BDSM element to this story was believable to me. This tiny excerpt is from Brontë's writing, not mine:
"I like to serve you, sir, and to obey you in all that is right."
"Precisely: I see you do.  I see genuine contentment in your gait and mien, your eye and face, when you are helping me and pleasing me—working for me, and with me."

And this:
I knew the pleasure of vexing and soothing him by turns; it was one I chiefly delighted in, and a sure instinct always prevented me from going too far; beyond the verge of provocation I never ventured; on the extreme brink I liked well to try my skill.
With lines like that as a perfect setup, how could I resist?

Did you find it interesting or challenging to write BDSM?

I found it both interesting and challenging! I was writing a scene where I wished Mr. Rochester had brought a length of rope, or something to tie Jane with! And then, I realised, a proper gentleman of this era would surely be wearing a cravat...

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

Is it? It's my understanding there is another new line being launched— classics with zombie elements! If we're exposing the classics to new people, igniting a love for them, adding elements that might have been scandalous in the day, but maybe, perhaps, if the writer lived now, she might have penned them that way...

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

I was thrilled, overwhelmed, and honestly, between us, intrigued by the possibility of knowing what went on behind those closed doors....

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

There are a few! This was an amazing journey, one I'm grateful to have undertaken.

Desiree Holt

Why did you want to re-visit Northanger Abbey for the Clandestine Classics?

I read it many years ago when I was in my Jane Austen phase, and then revisited when my older daughter got hooked on Jane Austen. I love the story between Catherine and Henry and saw many great possibilities to expand on it.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

First and foremost finding the appropriate places to insert the erotic scenes without disturbing the flow of the story. And of courses finding laces to insert text leading up to them. You can't exactly find a place and just Insert Sex Scene Here! LOL!

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

I loved it! Ever since I began writing erotic romance I have discovered that the eroticism, rather than being pure titillation as some people think, actually shows the deeper relationship between the two characters. There's more of an opportunity to express emotion and to unravel their feelings for each other. It's kind of like adding more layers to a cake.

How did you relate to the author voice of Jane Austen?

I have always loved Jane Austen and feel she has a flair for storytelling. She has a very strong voice that pulls you into the story and makes her characters come alive.

Was it difficult to ensure her voice continued throughout?

Oh, yes. I read the book twice again before I was ready to start. It was very important to me that whatever I added fit smoothly and seamlessly with her voice. The language has to be the same and you have to add to the characters' depth rather than detracting. I worked very hard at it and I hope  I succeeded.

How did you identify with the character's settings?

I did a lot of research about and on homes like Northanger Abbey before I began writing. What I like to do is get the setting in my brain and let it settle so I can close my eyes and imagine what's happening. I found a picture of a bedchamber of that era online and used it for the setting of most of Henry and Catherine's activities.

Was is difficult to keep to the style of Jane Austen?

It was definitely work. I had to partially submerge my own voice to maintain her style yet write in a way that my readers have come to expect. But you know what they say, if a thing is worth dong it's worth doing well.

What was your favourite scene to write?

The very first scene where Henry and Catherine make love. She is of course a virgin while Henry is of course is not. But he loves her and tells her he intends to school her in the pleasures of the body so they can enjoy each other more deeply. I had to make sure it was erotic enough without the reader thinking, Holy cow! She's a virgin and she just jumps right into this with both feet? Of course, there are passages I inserted leading up to it that set the stage for this, but you'll have to read the book to find out what they are!

Did the book lend itself to BDSM and how?

Absolutely. As Henry escalates the level of his "lessons" to Catherine he introduces spanking and works his way up to bondage. In the privacy of her bedchamber, which is in a different wing from that of the family, they are able to experiment and "anything" goes.

Did you find it interesting or challenging to write BDSM into a historical novel?

Only partially so. I have read erotic historicals that were written even in a different century, such as Pearl so it was easy to blend the two genres together. Besides, I think the Victorians were a lot naughtier than we give them credit for.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

No, not at all. I'm sure there are some people who will, and they of course don't have to read them. But the unvarnished fact is, people in all centuries had sex and there are people who like to read about it as long as it's written in a tasteful way. I hope that's what I do.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

I was extremely flattered and excited. I think this line will break new barriers in the world of romance and hopefully draw a whole new group of readers to erotic romance. I am so pleased to be part of the launch group.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

I'd love to revisit Austen's Persuasion, Ann Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Amy Armstrong

Why did you want to re-visit Pride and Prejudice for the Clandestine Classics?

Pride and Prejudice is probably my favourite of all the Classics. I studied the novel for my University Literature Course and so was particularly familiar with it. I love the characters in the novel and thought it would be interesting to see Miss. Elizabeth Bennett in particular, fight against the conventions placed on young woman of her time and embrace her sexuality.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

I'd have to say reconciling myself to the fact that Elizabeth Bennett could have the same wants and needs as a modern woman. That just because she came from a certain time period in which women were expected to be chaste and pure until marriage, that wouldn't have stopped her from having desires and fantasies and under the correct circumstances, act upon them.

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

I did, very much although I must admit I made myself blush a couple of times! Let's face it, we are talking about the very proper Elizabeth Bennett here. Though it was nice to give an extra facet to both her and Darcy's personalities. 

How did you relate to the author voice of Jane Austen?

It was difficult to relate to initially, but I found it grew easier as I progressed through the book. It definitely helped having read the novel and having studied it before I began.

Was it difficult to ensure her voice continued throughout?

Absolutely. Jane Austen uses a lot of irony in her writing and in this novel; this particularly comes across in the conversations between Elizabeth, her father and Mr. Darcy. However, as my job was essentially to build on the romance and include an erotic romance element to the story I felt I didn't have to worry too much about that aspect of her voice.

How did you identify with the character's settings?

I've visited many country houses in England over the years and so it was easy to imagine Elizabeth and Darcy in a grand ballroom or walking through the grounds of their estates. And of course I've watched just about every TV and Film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that has been made so that certainly helped with visualising the settings.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Jane Austen?

Although I had read Pride and Prejudice before, along with many other classics, this was my first time writing an historical and using the older form of the English Language so it was definitely a challenge, but I did find the style got easier to write as I went on and I wouldn't be opposed to writing more historical novels in the future.  I enjoyed the older style much more than I expected to which was a pleasant surprise.

What was your favourite scene to write?

I'd have to say Elizabeth and Darcy's first kiss, an event which was a surprise to both of them, but it set the tone for their continuing attraction and burgeoning relationship.

Did the book lend itself to erotic romance and how?

I think so, yes. As soon as I began to re-read the novel, I could see the story between the lines. The attraction between Elizabeth and Darcy is evident in every conversation and argument throughout the book and there were certain scenes that begged for the 'what happens next?' question to be answered.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

No, I think it's a testament to how wonderful an author Jane Austen was that her books are still so popular today and that people like the characters so much they are interested in reading about what goes on behind closed doors as it were. I did struggle using certain language (of a sexual nature). There were a few words that I included in the book, but then took out later. I wouldn't hesitate to use them in a modern romance, but I wanted to keep the writing and word choice as close to the original novel as possible. Also I think if this new erotic line introduces people to classics that have never read them before, then that can only be a good thing. What Jane Austen would think of the erotic element crossed my mind several times while writing the book, but I had to keep remembering that she lived in a completely different era. If she were alive today, she might very well be writing erotic romance herself.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

I thought it was a wonderful idea and jumped at the chance of participating. Although I recognised from the beginning that the project would likely have supporters and opposition due to its very nature.  I'm hoping most people will enjoy having such heat and passion added to these popular stories.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

I'm undecided about whether or not I'd like to repeat the experience. Whilst I enjoyed working on Pride and Prejudice immensely, I do love creating my own characters and worlds very much. But I've learned to never say never. Who knows what the future holds?

Marie Sexton

Why did you want to re-visit 20,000 Leagues for the Clandestine Classics?

I minored in literature in college, so when I heard about the Clandestine Classics, the first authors that came to mind were my favourites, Edith Wharton and Henry James. But as I started to review their books, I couldn't see how they would work with two men, and not all of their books have happy endings, so I started looking at classics that weren't necessarily romances. Jules Verne gave me something I could appreciate: a bunch of men stuck in a submarine.

What was your biggest challenge in this project?

Jules Verne is unbelievably long-winded. He was never made to kill his darlings. There are pages and pages of backstory and whole sections that are nothing but descriptions of fish. By today's standards, he's desperately in need of an editor.

Did you enjoy turning a classic into an erotic romance?

Definitely. There were so many characters to work with — Pierre, Ned Land, Conseil, Captain Nemo -- it was tough to decide how far to go. A love triangle? A threesome? Maybe a 4-way? But in the end, I decided to go less for shock value and more for the love story. (Albeit with a bit of spanking.)

How did you relate to the author voice of Jules Verne? Was it difficult to ensure his voice continued throughout?

I don't think so. I guess readers might feel otherwise, but I felt like it was pretty easy to work with his voice.

How did you identify with the character's settings?

That part is tough. They're in a submarine, and believe me; you will never, EVER get me into a submarine. Not one that's actually in the water, at any rate. I'm a bit claustrophobic and I really don't like deep water or open water. Just the idea of scuba diving gives me heart palpitations. If I'd been in Ned and Pierre's place, I probably would have gone fetal. Heavy medication would have been required.

The other thing that was really strange to me was the attitude of that time period with regard to animals and nature. Pierre is a Naturalist. His passion is to study animals and fish, but by today's standards, these men were rather cruel. I lost track of how many times they said, "Look! A rare and amazing animal that nobody's ever seen before. Let's kill it and eat it!!" Even in the places where they say, "It's unfortunate that this animal will be extinct in the next hundred years because of over-hunting," the very next paragraphs is still, "Let's kill it and eat it!!" (Okay, I'm paraphrasing. But not by much.)

I had to keep reminding myself that Greenpeace and PETA didn't exist back then.

Was it difficult to keep to the style of Verne?
Not really. I mean, I guess I'm not sure how Jules Verne felt about the word "cock" versus "manhood". Would he have said, "his erection" or "his fleshy harpoon of love"? Hard to say, although it's certainly true that Jules wasn't afraid of a bit of purple prose.

(Note: there are no "fleshy harpoons of love", I promise.)

What was your favourite scene to write?

Oh, that's hard to answer. There's one bit where I actually took one of Jules' long lists of fish species and worked it in with a hand job. I liked doing that.

How easy did you find it turning it into a Gay romance?

Unbelievably easy. So darn easy that I really started to think that's what Jules Verne had in mind all along.

Was it difficult to imagine the characters in a MM relationship?

Not at all. Again, Jules made it way, way too easy. As soon as Pierre introduces Ned, he begins to gush about how strong and capable and handsome and passionate the harpooner is. He obviously had a thing for him from day one. I just let him explore that a bit.

Do you think it is sacrilege to turn these classics into erotic romance novels?

Sacrilege? Absolutely not. A bit irreverent? Hell yes. But that's what makes it fun.

Due to the era of this book and this being an MM book, did you find that difficult to take into consideration?

No. Men have been falling in love with men since the dawn of time. Obviously in Jules Verne's time, it wouldn't have been accepted in "society", but that's what made Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea so perfect. These men weren't in society. They were stuck in the middle of the ocean on a boat. It's long been known what happens when you consign groups of men to close quarters for long periods of time with absolutely no access to women. The well-known quote is that the traditions of the Royal Navy have always been rum, sodomy and the lash. I can't imagine things on the Nautilus were any different.

When asked to participate in this line of books, what was your reaction?

Honestly, I've been in a bit of a dry spell lately, feeling like I didn't know which way to go. For me, it was a nice way to kick myself back into gear. Kind of like writing with training wheels.

Are there anymore classics that you would like to revisit?

I have been wondering about some of Jules Verne's other books. Maybe Journey to the Center of the Earth. But this time, I might ask to work with the abridged version.

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