Author of Popular Erotic Romances Adds New Series
Fort Worth, Texas — Lora Leigh dedicated her latest novel, Nauti Temptress, to her son, Bret, but this extension of her Nauti Boys series is written with Leigh’s fans in mind.
Speaking from her Pennsylvania home recently, Leigh said she conjured up more characters in the series in direct response to readers who couldn’t get enough of the MacKay cousins.
The erotic romance series that could make Fifty Shades of Grey blush revolves around three cousins. The latest book tells the stories of one of the cousins’ four half-sisters. It’s set in rural Kentucky and the continuing plot involves homegrown, militia-style terrorists who are plotting to overthrow the federal government.
“The readers were sending so many emails when I ended the series. They were wanting more. That’s how it evolved,” she said.
Eager fans also helped to launch Leigh’s career more than a decade ago.
Leigh was working as a book reviewer for a website when she was asked to review a book published by Ellora’s Cave. Leigh said she knew the publisher of erotic romances was where she needed to submit her stories, which contain scorching sex scenes and graphic sexual language.
She had already submitted Marley’s Choice to Ellora’s Cave and was working on the sequel, Sarah’s Choice, when she asked a fan to read a sex scene. She laughs now, saying she meant to send the email with the scene attached to just the one fan, but instead sent it as a group email.
“It was a very erotic scene,” she said. “It went over very well.”
She said readers wanted to know where she had submitted the first story, and within days Ellora’s Cave had accepted the Men of August series.
The raw sex scenes and topics of Leigh’s contemporary books place them in the erotic romance genre, which isn’t for everyone. Leigh said her mother “devours” the books, but Leigh’s daughter won’t read them. And as for her son, he jokes that people often say, “Omigod, your mother wrote that.”
The Men of August series was about brothers who shared a woman, and her Bound Hearts series is about menage relationships. The Nauti Boys series and the Elite Ops series are about monogamous relationships, though they have hard-core sex. The Elite Ops series centers on a covert paramilitary group that goes on dangerous missions.
Leigh said she began the Bound Hearts series in an effort to understand a lifestyle that she found somewhat objectionable.
“I had a friend that I loved who was part of that lifestyle; at one point, upon reflection, I found myself judging her for it,” said Leigh, who describes herself as “deeply religious.”
Leigh said that writing was all she ever wanted to do, even though she wasn’t a good English student in high school. She still remembers wanting to take creative writing in high school, but not being allowed to because the prerequisite was an A in English.
“I’m just a good ol’ girl from the mountains,” she said.
Leigh said she writes about three books a year and she tries to follow her instincts on the stories, rather than get wedded to plotting. “I can give you a good idea a year in advance, but when I sit down to write that book, that’s not the story you’re going to get,” she said. Instead, her characters take control and tell the story. She had planned to write about four more male MacKays, cousins who got involved with female Homeland Security agents. Instead, she ended up creating the Nauti Girls series, about the four half-sisters of James “Dawg” MacKay, a character featured in Nauti Nights. In explaining the change, Leigh said simply, “Dawg just wasn’t cooperating.”
In addition to her contemporary romances, Leigh also writes fantasy books. Her Breeds series, about a world filled with humans and genetically altered breeds, is still going strong. But she said she knows that juggling several books at a time can sometimes hurt the quality of her work. Her Sins series has been widely criticized by readers for problems with continuity and typos. Rather than shying away from the problems, Leigh rattled off a litany of glitches that dogged the series — everything from busted deadlines to copyediting fixes not getting made. “There were 1,000 different problems with each of those books. … I tried to follow the synopsis instead of writing by the seat of my pants,” she said.
Leigh said the constant publishing deadlines can also mean that she writes a book before a character is ready to tell her story. Leigh said the last two books in the Bound Hearts series, Guilty Pleasure and Dangerous Pleasure, suffered from this.
“Khalil wanted to wait,” she said of the lead character in Guilty Pleasure.