Hi Cara, thank you so much for agreeing to let me interview you. Congratulations on the release of Warrior, which I can’t wait to get my teeth into.
Thank you, Tara. I’m thrilled to be on your blog—although you did ask some hard questions!
1. Can you share a little of Cara Bristol, the person?
This is the question I find the hardest. Well, I’m American. I’m married, and I have two grown stepkids. I’ve written my entire life, even as a child. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter and public relations manager, but being an erotic romance author is the best job I’ve ever had. I’ve enjoyed many different hobbies and interests over the years, but the only thing I’ve been passionate about is writing.
2. If you were to describe yourself in five words, what words would you use?
Dependable. Quiet. Responsible. Pragmatic. Arrogant.
3. What sort of thing gets you really excited / hyped up?
I have my pet peeves, to be sure, but I’m an even-keel kind of person. I’d never get accepted on a TV game show because I wouldn’t be “perky” enough. If I won a lot of money, I’d probably say, “Oh, that’s nice,” while in my head I’d be doing the math to figure out how much I’d take home after taxes. Did I say I was pragmatic? J
4. What is your favourite way to relax?
I watch TV, read, and play a couple of games on my Kindle. And I walk. Four-plus miles every day (6.5 km).
5. What is the book / series by another author, that has stayed with you most throughout life and why? Several bodice ripper & Harlequin romances immediately come to mind, but one book that I must have read eight times is Women’s Work by Anne Tolstoi Wallach, about a woman struggling to succeed in the male dominated world of advertising. She becomes involved with one of her agency’s clients. At the time I read it, I was just starting my career, and the book resonated with me.
6. What prompted you to become a writer?
Something in me needs to write, to express myself through the written word. One of my earliest memories is when I was three years old, and I bragged to the four-year-old little boy next door about all the letters of the alphabet that I knew. He wasn’t impressed, but to me, knowing letters was something great. When I started to learn to read, I would lists the words I knew how to spell. I wrote my first “novel” at age 10.
7. What is your favourite thing about your job?
Being able to do what I want to do. As a reporter, and a PR person, I did a lot of writing—but I was writing what other people wanted me to write. To sit at my computer and make stuff up and get paid for it is the best gig in the world.
8. What is your least favourite thing about your job?
There isn’t anything I dislike about it. It’s all good. Even the promo.
9. I know you are “out” as in your friends and family know you are Cara Bristol, for some time now. Do you think that was the right decision? And why/why not?
Yes, it was the right decision. At first I was a little embarrassed—not about what I wrote exactly, but more concerned what people would think of me—how I would face them. But I had to account for my time. People wondered what I did all day, why I wasn’t available. And second, it’s a lot easier to sell books if you can talk about them! (See how pragmatic I am? I should have put that first on the list!) Now that I’m out, I don’t even think about what people think of me. They will have their opinions, but people who genuinely liked me before they learned what I write will still like me. I don’t worry about the others. However…if I were a school teacher or something like that, it would be a different matter.
10. I’ve loved the Breeder series to date. Can you say what prompted or inspired it?
Thank you, Tara. Most of my ideas start out as little seeds that when planted grow into something entirely different from what I expect. It’s like planting an apple and getting a grapefruit. The original germ of an idea for Breeder was of a society in which women were sexual slaves--not BDSM slaves, but slaves under the law. It was a kinky domination fantasy. But as I developed the story, Dak and Omra fell in love, and he didn’t want to share her with other men. The Breeder series has a point to make. Society assumes that one kind of sexual behavior is normal because that’s what people have been taught. Beliefs are so engrained people don’t question them. This is true of all our essential core beliefs, not just the ones about sexuality. Consider your unshakable beliefs. Why are you so sure they’re true? Because someone you trust or someone in authority told you it was true? In the Breeder society, M/F sexual behavior is considered abnormal and is relegated to breeding. And then the ruler responsible for enforcing this law (Protocol), falls in love with his breeder and starts to question everything he was taught…
11. In Breeder you introduced us to an incredibly male dominated society, where women were worth no more than beasts and gave us a character to love, by his willingness to look beyond protocol and taboo, and to experience deep emotions; in Terran, again you challenged protocol and interracial, or should I say inter-galactical relations, by having a Terran and a Parseon fall in love, can you tell us what the main challenges the characters will face in Warrior?
Muwahaha… I put my characters through hell in Warrior. Just when you think you understood Parseon society, I turn it upside down. The series has been called “misogynistic” in some reviews, and I concede that the females have had a rough time of it on planet Parseon. In Warrior, they have rougher time, but the females get mad, and they don’t take it anymore. I think many readers will cheer; others will be shocked at what happens, at the direction I take the story. Muwahaha…
12. What would you say was the most challenging thing about creating a sci-fi series?
Trying to create everything from scratch--the landscape, the housing, the commerce, the animals, the language. You have to create an economic system, a government, a culture, a religion. You are creating an entire world.
13. What, if anything, is next for the Breeder series?
Warrior finishes the series (trilogy). However, in the epilogue of Warrior, I set the stage for a Breeder spin-off series. It would be set on planet Parseon in the future and would feature the children of the existing Breeder characters. From the epilogue, you’ll get a pretty good idea which way I’m headed. However, I only know the ultimate destination—I don’t know how I will get there—or how many books it will take.
14. What are you working on now?
I hope to publish Reasonable Doubts, a Rod and Cane Society spanking romance, in January 2015. I am actively writing a new science fiction erotic romance tentatively called, The Goddess’s Curse, which I hope to publish in April 2015. I don’t know if it will be a stand-alone or series. Plus, I have a new spanking romance series in mind. And finally, there’s the Breeder spin-off series.
15. You’ve recently gone down the road of self-publishing, what are you finding the biggest challenges there compared with having a more traditional publisher?
The biggest challenge is figuring out what I want to do and how I want to do it. There are so many options, it can be hard to know what is going to work the best. But the beauty of self-publishing, is that if you make a mistake—you have the power to fix it. Control of your work is in your hands.
16. If you were starting out on your writing career again, is there anything you would do differently?
A couple of things. One, I would “jump” sooner. I’ve made several key career moves that boosted my career. I wish I’d made those moves sooner. Second, I would have picked up the pace. I write full-time now. But I wrote my first erotic romance in 2009. I didn’t approach erotic romance writing as a full-time career until about 2011. If I had hit it harder the first two years, I’d be farther ahead now.
Warrior (Breeder 3) blurb
A female fighting for freedom. A male armed with determination. Can they save their people?
As a despotic Qalin marches through Parseon intent on conquering every province, Commander Marlix pledges his sister to another Alpha to protect her. Desperate to decide her own fate, Anika flees and finds refuge with the guerilla resistance movement against Qalin. Marlix’s aide Urazi hunts her down to bring her home to fulfill her duty. But when love blossoms between them, and provinces fall to Qalin, Anika and Urazi realize home has ceased to exist, and they are all that stand between the people of Parseon and the end of the world.
Warrior is the third and final book of the Breeder science fiction romance series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
Warrior (Breeder 3) excerpt
She stared at the bloodied body. “Is Grogan dead?”
Urazi knelt and checked for a pulse against the alpha’s neck. “Yes.” He peered up at her. “Who is he to you? Has he used you?”
“Monto, no!” she gasped, not considering the alpha’s intentions pertinent. “Grogan is the leader of the Guerilla Resistance against Qalin and Artom, which I have joined,” she explained. Urazi’s eyes narrowed, and she added, “Grogan was training me and other breeders to fight.” Breeders could approach a sentry without arousing his suspicion then immobilize him, allowing male guerillas to storm the post and secure it. She thrust back her shoulders with defiant pride. She, a female, was capable of supporting the war effort in a productive way.
Urazi rose to his feet to examine the paper target. “You are an excellent sharpshooter, but winning a battle requires more than skill with a crossbow. You would not fare well in hand-to-hand combat.”
Anika shrugged. “If I have a crossbow, I will not need to engage in hand-to-hand combat.”
“Did it help you today?” Urazi strode to Grogan’s body, and yanked up his bloodied uniform shirt. Attached to the alpha’s nipple was an insignia ring. Urazi unclipped it and carried it over to her.
Anika stared. A single star. Province one. Qalin.
“You have joined with the enemy to strike against your own people? You would betray your Alpha? Your sibling?”
Qalin’s insignia lay in Urazi’s palm, damning, but untrue. So untrue. “No! How could you say that? The Resistance plans to strike against Qalin. Against Artom.”
Urazi tucked the star into his uniform pouch.
“But maybe Grogan is an infiltrator acting alone,” she argued, fighting against the insidious memories; the ease with which she’d been accepted into the camp when her comrades learned of her familiarity with both Marlix’s and Dak’s provinces; Grogan’s constant but subtle questions about locations. He’d asked if she’d ever encountered Marlix himself. At the time, she’d feigned ignorance of the latter, fearing they would send her back to him.
Anika clutched her throat. What if Urazi’s accusation was correct?
“If he were an ordinary alpha or beta, I might concede it possible. But he is—by your account—the leader. I do not believe in coincidence. I have been observing the camp. Neither Marlix nor Dak would have sent females into combat.
“The Resistance you are so proud to be a part of is using you as expendable cannon fodder.”
Cara Bristol bio
Cara Bristol continues to evolve, adding new subgenres of erotic romance to her repertoire. She has written spanking romance, contemporary romance, paranormal, and science fiction romance. No matter what the genre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.