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Underneath the Covers

Five questions with Alice Gaines.


Ryan Snook

Oakland’s Alice Gaines spends her days off like most of us: doing laundry, cleaning the house, and ... sitting down at her desk to churn out prose on subjects ranging from women sleeping their way through Europe to sex workers in an erotic club. Gaines, who has published seven books and more than 30 novellas under this pen name, specializes in writing romance and erotic romance novels.

1. How realistic do you strive to be?

Realistically, men are not going to be thinking about someone’s creamy thighs or long tresses. You have to strike a balance between something that makes sense and the very raw physical and emotional reaction.


2. What’s one of the weirdest places your characters have consummated their passions?

[One couple] did have a little scene out in the garden behind somebody’s house.


3. What’s the hardest part of writing for the genre?

There really are only so many things you can do with so many body parts. You also want to make sure you’re doing things that are physically possible. You don’t want your reader sitting there trying to diagram it out.


4. Are there certain words or phrases you avoid?

Anything that’s insulting. I also tend to not like the medical terms, but that’s just me. Now, my agent tells me I’m not allowed to use member anymore; she says that makes me sound old. We’re aiming at younger readers these days.


5. What’s the biggest misconception about your work?

Well, there’s a bias against romance due to the fact that women write it and women read it. But I think if we ripped the covers off the books and gave them to men, they might feel quite differently about them.

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