Trust Only - Claudia series

The author of "The Claudia Series, - discusses how he created his erotic series. It is a journey into sex, and sensuality matched with the business adventures of the highly successful entrepreneurs. Martin Morton shares what is behind the author and his characters.

  1. Martin, would you give a quick overview of the Claudia Series?
    The series started with Claudia’s story, about a woman growing professionally and romantically, and dealing with what rapidly becomes a long-distance and adventurous love affair. The characters in book one seemed to want to tell their own stories, so the series evolved, and events unfold across all the globe. Each book has a different theme and tells a distinctive story. Claudia remains the constant spine of the narrative, although not always the central character.

  1. Do you feel your series is as racy as E. L. James' erotic series?
    I like to think so. I have also given myself more scope, by having more characters, to travel more widely, and to vary the experiences.

  2.  I want to compliment you on your great taste in your cover art. Did you create your own covers or did the idea of what they were supposed to look like come from a graphic designer?  The covers are very attractive and well designed.
    Thank you very much. The first two book covers didn’t sit happily with me, although I had proposed the original (unimaginative) ideas. Their covers have now been revised to match the overall theme for the complete series.
    Now you’ve forced me into a confession: I adore the work of Georgia O’Keeffe and prints of three of her ‘flower’ paintings adorn my bedroom wall. She always denied an erotic intent in painting them, but I am not alone in seeing something very arousing in them, so I asked the designer to look for flower prints that could be viewed in the same way. I’ve been thrilled with what they’ve come up with – and am therefore delighted by your comments.

  1. What are your hardest scenes to write? And why?
    That’s a very good question. The sex scenes are both the easiest and hardest. I tend to write them in a blur, using memory, observation, and imagination — but editing is hard, trying to tune in to how they will be read: do they flow well? are they credible and imaginable? will they be pleasurably stimulating? do they fit with the characters? The feedback, fortunately, has been positive.

  2. How do you select the names of your characters? Are they names of real people you have known in your lifetime?
    Embarrassing! First, absolutely not real people, just in case. Then I’ve used old sports players’ names — people I’ve liked or admired; but they have to feel right, of course. Claudia herself (she knows who she is) arose out of an old private joke.

  1. What occupations have you been involved in prior to becoming an author?
    Astronomy research (a well-worn track into the arts also taken by Brian May of Queen through the same university), then into multinational management, running global businesses. That allowed me to see plenty of the world, with stints in the US, Germany and Japan as well as my home in the UK.

  1. What is your work schedule like as a writer?
    I get up early (ridiculously early) and write for two or three hours. I feel clear-headed and more imaginative at that time. I like editing and redrafting later in the day.

  1. How long does it take you to write each book in the series?
    Three to six months. The production cycle after that is quite long, and we go through the proof-reading loop more than once each time. Finding an errant comma in a finished book is worse than a paper cut.

  1. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
    The most surprising thing for me has been how much the characters write the story. I start with a theme, a direction, and an event but then I listen to how the characters want to act and react. They’ve all become close to me, and I listen to them, even the villains. That helps me, I hope, create stories that feel real and compelling.

  1. Do you like to create books for adults?
    Very much so. I’ve written notes and short stories privately, often with erotic themes or actions, for a long time and I wanted to try and extend that into a full-on story as soon as I freed up enough time.

  1. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
    They’ve been very kind and all the comments, on the sex scenes, in particular, have been positive. I am trying to write very often from a female perspective, and no one has taken issue with that. That was a deliberate choice to make sure I had to take a view that would definitely not be my own – and would enable me to challenge my own attitudes on love and relationships – and erotic interactions.

  1. What your favorite book in the Claudia Series?
    Confession time again: it’s Careless Hours. I have used my Japanese experiences, both to create the plot (which follows an actual event) and to develop the characters, some of whom are closer to real people than in any other book. I hope I’ve stayed legal because one of the rogues is a lawyer. He resembles a man I had immense fun working with — he taught me a great deal about Japan, and about the twilight zones around the law.

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
    My early attempts, in my twenties, were frustrating but it was always there as an ambition.

  2. Do you read other erotic books to give you ideas of where to go with your books?
    I read other erotic books (and admire some immensely), but my plots seem to arise out of what my characters are interested in (and my own pervy preoccupations).

  1. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
    Boating. The twin motivations for early retirement were writing and sailing. Domestic pressures have moved me from yachting into motorboating, but I still miss turning the engine off and feeling the wind drive me along.

  2. What does your family think of your writing?
    My partner is very supportive. My son raises his eyebrows (tolerantly, I think).

  3. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
    I had no idea, and I wasn’t much clearer when I became an adult, but I did enjoy the mix of business, travel and cultures that I engaged with.

  1. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
    I don’t deliberately hide anything, but there are events that will stimulate (have stimulated) a few specific memories for some people.

  1. How do you feel about the forced use of new pronouns or plural pronouns when writing about gender undefined?
    I’m positive about it. I’ve found it solves many more problems than it creates. I’d often get caught by the ‘he or she’ question, particularly since the stories are gender-balanced (that’s not deliberate, it’s just how I’ve experienced life). ‘They, them, their’ is often helpful when gender would be confusing or irrelevant.

  1. Do you use your position as a writer to address social issues and if so, how?
    It’s not my intention to address issues directly, but the stories mostly center on capable, powerful women being successful in their professional and private lives, so there’s a ‘modern woman’ agenda showing, I hope, what’s possible.

  1. Do you read other books in your genre, and if so which ones do you like the best?
    A lot, and mostly by women. Two authors for special mention are L S Hilton (the Maestra trilogy) and J A Huss. The former for superb, intricate plotting; the latter for writing sex scenes so credibly from every perspective. They are both an inspiration.

  1. What is coming up for your next book?
    I start a new series this year (two are in the pipeline). The lead character is male, and the business world is darker (criminal) — and still global. The stories nevertheless touch Claudia’s world and some of the characters have migrated with me.

  1. Are you going to continue in this genre or write other types of books?
    I am working on two other distinctly different projects. One is sci-fi (and a little dystopian); the other is more fantastical — I’m letting imagination run riot.
    Having said that, Claudia and her friends won’t abandon me; there are several ideas worth pursuing, I think.

  1. What do you feel we should have discussed more during this interview?
    Could I say something about what I hope the readers will take away from the books?
    I don’t suppose I’ve described anyone’s actual life, but I hope I’ve touched some memories and encouraged them to think more about how life could be.

  2. What last words do you have for your readers of the Claudia Series?
    The characters are all out there still. They’ve become my friends; I hope they become yours. They’d love to tell you more stories about themselves.

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