Today we take a small peek into the mind of James Lear, the brilliant author behind The Sun Goes Down, out today! Get a glimpse at what influences and inspires one of our favorite erotica writers.
What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?
Now, Voyager with Bette Davis, which is the ultimate romantic wish-fulfilment/self-denial movie.
Showgirls, which is an anti-romantic movie with a lot of romantic elements in it.
Brokeback Mountain, which is incredibly depressing but does feature a very persuasive love story.
Cabaret, which I found intensely romantic as a young man
If…, the Lindsay Anderson movie about a revolution in a boys’ boarding school, which includes a great love theme between two boys.
Describe your favorite scene from each one!
Now, Voyager: the scene when Charlotte descends the stairs on the boat for the first time, we see her fantastic shoes first then pan up to take in the whole transformation. It’s probably my favourite scene in any film, ever.
Showgirls: the scene in which Nomi has sex in a swimming pool. It’s berserk.
Brokeback Mountain: the scene in which the two men are reunited for the first time after their initial affair, and they can’t keep their hands off each other. They have a passionate kiss just outside the house, as I recall.
Cabaret: the dialogue goes something like ‘Fuck Max!’ ‘I do!’ ‘So do I.’ I thought that was really exciting and daring at the time.
If….: There’s a scene in which the pretty younger boy watches the older boy (played by Richard Warwick, one of the most beautiful men ever in a film) in the gymnasium. It’s really intense.
Did you have any of these scenes in mind when writing scenes from your latest release?
Interesting question. They’re so deeply ingrained on my mind that they’re probably in everything I write. There are various scenes of voyeurism and sex in the water in my new book, plus a lot of troubled bisexual men getting their rocks off, so I suppose it’s filtered in in some way.
If you could only read five books for the rest of your life, what five books would they be, and why?
Vile Bodies, by Evelyn Waugh, because I think it’s the perfect English comic novel, and I’m amazed every time I read it by how experimental and daring it is.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, by Anita Loos, because I’ve been obsessed with it for 25 years and I just have to keep reading it over and over again.
Queen Lucia, by EF Benson, another from the English comic canon, the opening novel in a great series of books about small-town rivalries. It’s the best comfort-reading I can imagine.
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens – the greatest of books by the greatest of all writers.
Le Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac – my idol, next to Dickens. It’s a boarding house novel, which is a genre I really love, and it’s one of the highlights of La Comedie Humaine.
Who are your book boyfriends? (list a maximum of five) What do you like about them? What characteristics do they share with the hero from your latest release?
Arthur Clennam in Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Jack Reacher in Lee Child’s novels
Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights
Vautrin in La Comedie Humaine
David Balfour in Kidnapped
They’re all men that I think you could have the most fantastic sex with for various different reasons. I know, I’m that shallow. I think Mitch Mitchell, the hero of The Sun Goes Down, could sexually satisfy just about any eligible man, so they have that in common.
Everyone has a favorite couple (an “OTP” in ‘shipping terms) in romance, whether in a romance book, movie, or television series. Who is your favorite couple, and why?
Lucia and Georgie in Benson’s Lucia novels. They are the funniest sexless couple of all time, and their agonizing attempts to avoid any element of physicality are hilarious.
FIRST ROMANCE (AKA My First Time):
What was the first romance novel you read?
Pride and Prejudice, I suppose. Does that count? I’ve never read much in the romance genre: I know this sounds incredibly snobbish but I’m not really inspired by that kind of writing, unless it transcends the genre.
What do you remember about it?
I thought it was very funny, and I remember desperately wanting Elizabeth to get her man, unless there was some way I could get into the book and steal him from her.
What did you like most about it?
The witty rivalry between the female characters, and the way Austen builds Darcy up to be the most desirable man in the world, even though he’s such a gloomy bugger. Ever since then I’ve been attracted to rather serious miserable men in the vain hope that I might be able to cheer them up with my sunny disposition.
What did you like least about it?
Are you kidding? It’s flawless.
Have you ever reread it? If you did, how do you feel about it now?
I’ve read it about six times I should think. I love it even more now than I did then.
Darcy or Wentworth?
Darcy, of course. He’s much more of a challenge. He reminds me of a lot of straight guys I’ve known who turn out to be absolute dynamite in bed, then go sulking back to their regular lives until the itch returns.
Bonus: who’s your favorite Darcy or Wentworth on screen?
Has to be Colin Firth. I feel disloyal to Laurence Olivier saying this, but Firth was magnificent.
Christian or Gideon?
Moving swiftly on…
Rochester or Heathcliff?
Heathcliff. Another one who would be great fun to seduce. Rochester is a great character, and he’d be in with a chance, of course. I wonder if they’d be up for a threesome?
Spock or Kirk?
Kirk, every time. I imprinted deeply on William Shatner. I’d even dress up as Yeoman Janice if it helped him.
Sunrise or sunset?
I’m horrible in the mornings, so I’d better say sunset, especially if there’s a dry martini involved.
Angst or humor?
Humour every time. It’s the essential ingredient of all great writing. Romantic or erotic writing that doesn’t have a proper sense of humour is absolutely doomed.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee. This is a bit like asking me ‘do you like breathing?’.
Wine or beer?
Neither any more. I drank my share of both, and then some. Now it’s a dry martini, or a scotch.
Cake or pie?
Cake. Among my other talents, I’m a good baker.
Scruff, beard, or clean-shaven?
I love body hair, so please leave that intact. I don’t care about facial hair either way – if a man’s sexy, he’s sexy. I don’t like them too neat, unless they’re prepared to be messed up a bit.
Blue-collar or white collar?
This is like asking me to choose between soldiers or sailors – a ridiculous question. I’m an egalitarian kind of guy, and I’m all about extending access to people from every social class. Why limit yourself?
Jeans or a suit?
I wear jeans nearly all the time, but I’m very partial to men in suits. Or out of them. The thing I like most about clothes is removing them.
Car or motorcycle?
Car. I hate motorcycles. I would cheerfully ban them all, and have them crushed before their owners’ eyes. I think they’re the most ridiculously dangerous things in the world.
James Lear is the nom de plume of prolific and acclaimed novelist, Rupert Smith. He lives in London and is the 2008 Winner of Erotic Awards “Best Writer”.