We are delighted to welcome not one, but two guest authors to Romaniac HQ, today. Meet Toni Sands and Jill Barry.
Thank you, Laura, for inviting me to hang out with the Romaniacs though I’m afraid it does mean having two of me to demolish your cakes! I’m looking forward to explaining why my work is published under more than one pseudonym, especially as someone warned me to be careful I didn’t end up with a split personality!
But isn’t that all part of being a writer? There are plenty of authors writing both erotic romance and mainstream, whether it’s historical or contemporary. I like to think of Toni Sands as the side of me that slinks around in a black satin negligee while sipping a cocktail. Jill Barry’s the one snuggling up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate. I don’t intend to make Jill sound less interesting. It’s just that a Jill Barry book doesn’t require you to keep a fire extinguisher handy while you read it.
So how did Toni arrive? My real surname is fairly uncommon and at the time, Fifty Shades hadn’t hit the headlines and there was still a ‘nudge, nudge wink, wink’ element involved in admitting to writing erotica. It didn’t matter that I wrote erotic romance, involving happy endings, because many people believed and still believe anything ‘hot’ is of the same ilk. Oh and, erm, I have a son in his thirties …
I’m here to say that erotic romance is often not that dissimilar to the romance being written by authors whose books aren’t designated erotic. Such books often contain explicit sex scenes and are definitely HOT. Nothing wrong with that: I’m referring to the crossover that exists. Most Toni Sands’ stories contain explicit scenes but there’s also much sexual tension. Anticipation plays a great part in my work and it’s great to write. We all expect the two main characters of a romantic story to drift into the sunset together. It’s what happens along the way that keeps us turning the pages.
Has Jill Barry kicked Toni Sands into touch? Not at all! I’m proud of my publication record with Xcite Books and have two more novellas currently awaiting approval.
Jill Barry arrived after I completed Sally Quilford’s brilliant online pocket novel writing course. I found creating ‘sweet romance’ equally as rewarding as writing ‘hot romance’ but had concerns about possible publication under Toni’s name. I took advice from a few friends who know about these things and all agreed I needed another name and preferably one with a surname not too far down the alphabet. So I stole my elder niece’s forename and used my hometown to complete the pseudonym.
D C Thomson accepted my WW2 pocket novel and there’s another one, set in the 1960s and which I’ve recently revised and am crossing fingers for. Endeavour Press accepted my contemporary romance, with the theme of finding love second time around plus coping with the changing needs of a young child and elderly mother. I’m thrilled with the progress of A Life Less Lonely and as I write, investigating the possibly of launching it as Print on Demand.
Whichever name I use, I love writing and striving to create both an interesting story and a set of characters to remember.
You can follow Jill on Twitter @barry_jill and follow Sandra/Toni @tonisands