Romantic writers get expert advice

Tasty: Author Susan Stephens with a Lips 'n' Whips Ice Cream
Tasty: Author Susan Stephens with a Lips 'n' Whips Ice Cream
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A dozen aspiring novelists got their teeth stuck into an erotic workshop with one of the country’s top romantic writers.

Susan Stephens, famed for her work with the Mills and Boon series, took the group of men and women through their paces at Silverdell Bookshop in Poulton Street, Kirkham.

Elaine Silverwood, co-owner of the shop, even created a special ‘Lips and Whips’ ice cream for the occasion.

She said: “I was approached by the representatives of Mills and Boon to host one of only four sessions in the country, which I take as a massive compliment to what we’re doing here. It’s something we’ve never done before and it’s a bit of fun that allows people who were interested in writing anyway, to really explore that passion.”

During the hour-and-a-half session the guests, aged 30 and above, heard about the history of erotica writing, the market at present, and how to create niches in writing.

As part of the evening, they were also challenged to spend five minutes writing a short piece featuring the words umbrella, hat and sun.

Elaine said: “Susan pitched it just right and the pieces the group managed to come up with were truly excellent. The ice cream went down very well and there were a lot of laughs all round. We all left on a high, and what I find really interesting is that everyone was buzzing with wanting to pursue writing.”

She added: “There has always been erotic literature, but since 50 Shades of Grey came out there has been a massive interest, and it’s seen as acceptable now to buy it and not be embarrassed. It’s been a relief to me to see people rediscovering a love of reading, and then coming back in looking for other books. A similar thing happened with Harry Potter series, when people got back into the habit of sitting down with a book and using their imaginations.

“Usually we have things in alphabetical order, but because of this interest in erotica, we’re now stocking novelists such as Sylvia Day, alongside 50 Shades.”

A spokesman for Mills and Boon said that after the success of the first four trial workshop sessions, there were now plans to roll workshops out to every city town and city in the UK.

He added: “Erotica Writing Workshops are designed to inspire a new audience of British authors to sizzle and steam their way to the top of the book charts.”