Our guest today is the wonderfully talented Australian writer Denise Rossetti. Denise writes unique and intensely romantic tales that combine elements of fantasy, sci-fi, romance and erotica. She is also from my neck of the woods here in Queensland, a lovely part of the country if we do say so ourselves :). I had the pleasure of conducting a talk on writing erotica at the Romance Writers of Australia conference with Denise a few years ago. Today, she has kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions, and she’s also offering an e copy of her latest Ellora’s Cave release as a prize to one lucky commenter.

1. Hi Denise *Sami waves* On your website you mention you had an Aunt who used to tell you wonderful tales. When did you first know you not only wanted to, but that you could create them yourself? 

Like many people, I spent years telling myself, “One day I’ll write a book.” But, of course, I didn’t. Then I hit a rough patch in my life and I had a significant birthday. Suddenly, I was thinking, “Why the hell not?”

I hadn’t written any fiction since high school (back in the Dark Ages), so at the start, I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to finish an entire novel so I chose to try a category romance, because categories were the shortest books I knew. Silly me! It’s funny when I look back on it now.

That was in 2002 and once I finished that first book (it lives in the sock drawer)… ah, then it was a different story. I was hooked on the sheer power of creating a world and disappearing into it. It also placed third in the Clendon, which proved, much to my astonishment and relief, that I really could tell a story. But the biggest thrill of all was that readers—real live people not related to me in any way—said they’d enjoyed it. I was so excited!

 2. What genre do you think your books best fit into? Or would you prefer not to be labelled?

I’ve always been firmly of the opinion that everything I write is fundamentally a romance, but not everyone is so convinced. The Flame and the Shadow, the first in the Four-Sided Pentacle series, was published under the Ace imprint, Berkley’s fantasy line. The decision was made because of the strength of the world-building. However, later the Berkley editors came around to my way of thinking and shifted me to the Sensation line. On the other hand, my two novellas for them were published in anthologies under their Heat imprint.

For Ellora’s Cave, I write erotic romance. Go figure.

I don’t much care to be labelled. I get bored easily and I like to try different things, new challenges. For example, The Dark Rose, the fourth and last in the Four-Sided Pentacles series, has elements of fantasy, science fiction and steampunk, all set on a world like a skewed version of Regency Ireland. There’s loads of adventure and derring-do. Oh—and it’s erotic.

But if you put a gun at my head and forced me to choose, I’d plump for romance because it’s always the dynamic of the emotional relationship between the protagonists that comes to me first.

 3. You put your characters through a lot of inventive turmoil. Does your guilt ever keep you up at night?

Nope, she said cheerfully. I remember going to a Donald Maas workshop (might have been the Melbourne Conference in 2005) and taking his constant refrain of “Make it worse, make it worse, worse, worse!” to heart. I write sword and sorcery type fantasy. There’s no sense in going for small stakes—no one would be interested.

There’s only been one character whose pain really distressed me. In The Flame and the Shadow, my hero, Gray, has a truly traumatic childhood. I hated doing that to him, I really did, but it was necessary to explain why he is so profoundly disturbed—essentially he’s a man at war with himself. The separation between Gray and his shadow, Shad, is central to the plot so it had to be credible emotionally. But by the time I finished writing those chapters, I was shaking, believe me.

 4. I hear around the water cooler that you’re a pantser (that is she writes without an outline folks). What’s your basic writing schedule like… or do you have one?

Hmm, shows you shouldn’t believe in gossip! Yes, I am a pantser, but not entirely. These days, especially writing for Berkley, I find do need some sort of outline to keep me on track. However, it’s always pretty vague and I never, ever, manage to stick to it! But given that I’ve already had to write a synopsis for my editor (which I utterly loathe and despise doing) I might as well take advantage of it. That said, I have to leave myself loads of ‘wriggle room’. Too much detail and I’m bored because, in my mind, I’ve already told that story.

As for a writing schedule—oh, how I wish I actually had one! *sigh* Part of it is because I have a Day Job, but I often say I’m the Queen of Procrastination ruling over the Land of Clutter. I’ve given up trying to tidy my desk before I begin. I’d never get anything written.

When I do have a writing day, I fluff around until lunchtime at least, doing emails, tweeting and stuff. Heavens, I don’t even know what it is that I do, except waste time. I usually start writing after lunch. The dog lies on the floor and snores. The cat insists on sitting on my lap so I have to type over the top of him.

Funnily enough, despite the fact that I’m so careless with physical objects, I’m a very slow, very deliberate writer. I don’t often get carried away and have words simply flow out of my fingers. I have to dig for every single one, which means I need to concentrate. I have a timer on the computer and I turn it for 45 minutes. When it goes off, I stretch and then I’m allowed to check my email. (Did I say I need a 12 step program?) It’s amazing how little I can write in that time. Around 5pm I have this incredible desire to doze off, but the cat comes in and head-butts me until I fix his dinner. The dog just grumbles. So I yawn and go on. By 8pm, I’m firing on all cylinders and if I’m on a roll, sometimes I go ’til after midnight.

5. I’ve saved the important question for last: What is your all time, absolute favourite dessert?

Affogato – icecream with espresso coffee and a nice liqueur, say, um, Baileys. Ah…

 Thanks so much for stopping by today Denise, we’re honoured to have you at our blog. Before you go, please tell us a little something about your latest release Guilty as Sin.

I haven’t had a new book in the Phoenix Rising series for ages, so I’m really excited about the release of Guilty as Sin. It came out on 3 August 2011 and is available at Ellora’s Cave.

Leave a comment to go in the draw for a free copy of the ebook!


I absolutely adore the cover. Not only is the model an absolute hunk, but he’s perfect for Dax, who is that rare thing—hero who is thoroughly good. He’s decent through and through—unlike Michael who’s the ultimate bad boy. Poor Lise, having to cope with them both. *sigh*

Here’s the blurb and you can read the whole first chapter on my website

Michael’s bad, bad, bad—all the way to the bone. A single heated encounter with the master thief and level-headed Liseriel the Gray has never been so furious—so intrigued—in her life. Neither has Michael. Danger’s always been his drug of choice.

With his huge bronze wings and sweet, serious smile, Daxariel the Burnished is everything the thief is not—a generous shining spirit, an honest loving soul—and a virgin.

It’s going to take two Aetherii to catch a thief. Lise and Dax are both so godsbedamned good, Michael can’t wait to debauch and defile, to make his Aetherii beg for dark erotic pleasures. It’s the only way he knows to win—and win he must, because there’s something about wings and tails and trust freely given that has him reeling.

Exquisitely trapped between Michael’s intoxicating wickedness and Dax’s steadfast love, everything Lise believes about duty is dust on the wind. How can she crave both these men, different as night and day?

Don’t forget, if you want to win a copy of Guilty as Sin, leave a comment!

Join Denise’s monthly newsletter for sneak peeks, freebies, contests, vignettes and general mayhem – https://app.expressemailmarketing.com/Survey.aspx?SFID=79564 You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads and of course, her website – http://www.deniserossetti.com.