Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Lucie Babikian, author of Belonging to Him.
Lucie grew up in the Middle East and her access to English-language literature was limited, until the advent of e-book availability worldwide. With this new avenue, Lucie discovered erotic romance, which changed her writing style and inspired her to pen her first erotic romance, Belonging To Him.
She became a PRO member of Romance Writers of America, a resource that has helped with her writing. She currently resides in Jakarta with her husband and three children and is working on her second novel.
Norm: Good day Lucie and thanks for participating in our interview.
Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background and how did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?
Lucie: Thanks so much, Norm, for inviting me for this interview. I’m excited to be here talking with you. As you mentioned in your introduction, I grew up in the Middle East, where romance novels were available, but most of them were difficult to find.
It was and still is unheard of for a woman to consider reading or writing erotic romance, so, as you can imagine, e-book availability blew open my literary world. I devoured romance novels written in English. At one point, I was looking for a romance novel with a certain plot, a specific story and could not find it, so I decided I’d better write it. That was how my first book was born.
To quote author Toni Morrison, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
What keeps me going is my love for the written word. My passion is writing, and working on my books makes me feel alive.
Norm: How has your education informed your writing and how has your international background impacted you as an author, as well as your approach to writing fiction and romance?
Lucie: I earned an English literature degree. I have loved the written word all of my life, and although I speak two native languages, I’m magnetized to literature written in English.
As for my international background, I am Armenian, grew up in Jordan, lived in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and now reside in Indonesia.
I’ve traveled to many different countries, and I recently made my first visit to the States. The excitement of meeting people of vastly different cultures feeds my creativity and effects how I develop and create characters. And of course, I love exotic settings.
Belonging to Him, and the second novel I’m working on now, are both based in Italy, a country I love. To me, romance is even more sexy when it happens in exotic locations. I think travel is sexy. I think some locations in the world, such as Italy, are particularly romantic. I want to create sexual tension between people and settings in my books.
Norm: Why did you choose to write erotic romance as your first novel?
Lucie: Erotic romance is the type of literature I love, so of course it’s the type of literature I want to write.
Norm: What does your family and friends think of your writing erotica?
Lucie: First, let me express how deeply grateful I am that my family and friends are so supportive. My husband believes in me as a writer. My mother, who lives near us in Jakarta, always tells me how much she believes in me, although she doesn’t read my books as they’re a bit too racy for her.
Friends are always saying that they cannot wait to read my next book. I’m so grateful to have this level of support. I know my husband thinks it’s sexy and powerful that I write erotic fiction. I think most of my friends think that too.
Norm: In your own personal opinion, what do you think makes a good erotic romance novel?
Lucie: I write erotic romance. So for the erotic side of my books, I think the passion between two people can be electric, undeniable, and can go from a spark to a fire in seconds. I want my characters to physically ache for each other, but I also want them to love each others souls. It’s not just about sex, but connection.
I also love when a story is suspenseful and unpredictable. In Belonging to Him, my main character Bella is trying to out-run a dark past, but it catches up with her and threatens her relationship, and even her life. I think adding sex with a suspenseful plot makes for a page-turner. And there’s nothing better than getting your hands on a page-turner that excites you, turns you on, and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Norm: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
Lucie: I’m a part-time writer. I have three small children and an active social life, so I am often very busy. After everyone goes to bed, around midnight, it is my time to do my writing. Usually I write from midnight to 2 a.m. everything is quiet. There is nothing to distract me. This creative time in the middle of the night is the best time for me.
Norm: How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
Lucie: First, the advent of e-books changed my life. I am forever grateful to e-books. I love print books too, but I’m a big fan of e-books, and how they’ve changed the landscape of literature and made the written word available to more people all over the globe.
I am also a fan of alternative publishing. Now more people can get their books published. More voices are getting out there. Even five years ago, it was somewhat uncool to self-publish. Now it’s a perfectly respectable alternative to conventional publishing. A self-published author can use all of the online marketing tools available and make a real impact in the world of literature.
Norm: Could you tell our readers something about the attitude towards erotica in the Middle East and how has it changed over the past few years?
Lucie: I don’t think it’s acceptable to tell people you read erotica let alone write it. I’ve found Fifty Shades Of Grey in the bookstores when I was there, and honestly I was surprised, but that’s the only book in this genre that I could find. So I believe it’s because of its popularity that it reached the Middle East and not because erotica is acceptable now.
Norm: Do you have a specific writing style?
Lucie: I can say for now that it’s contemporary erotic romance.
Norm: What were your goals and intentions in Belonging to Him, and how well do you feel you achieved them. Could you tell us a little about the novel.
Lucie: My goal was to show that a woman can be hurt by a past relationship and she can still recover from it, get her life back together. And it’s not just to have a second chance at love, but a second chance at opening herself sexually to another.
That takes trust, to bare your body and your soul to another. I wanted to show that a woman could heal from an abusive past and open herself to a man again. A man who proves that he deserves her love. And I do hope I succeeded at that.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing this book and what did you enjoy most about writing this novel?
Lucie: I began without knowing a thing about writing fiction! That was the most difficult part of this process. I took a creative writing course online from the London School Of Journalism and that helped me begin the process.
Still, there is so much to learn when writing a novel, and so I worked with people to help me and teach me, coaches and editors and such. I recommend this to other new writers. There are people out there willing to help you become a better writer.
Norm: Could you summarize your writing process in creating Belonging to Him?
Lucie: At first, I started and stopped, started and stopped. I didn’t really know how to write a novel. As I mentioned, I took a creative writing course. After this, I wrote furiously over several months and got the book out of me in rough draft form.
Then it sat for a while, until I decided to seek some help to bring the book to the next level. At each phase, after working with a coach briefly, or with an editor, I learned how to deepen the story. I’m excited to be on my path as a writer and hopefully will continue to grow and learn.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and Belonging to Him?
Lucie: I’m developing my social media presence now.
You can find my book on Amazon
Norm: What is next for Lucie Babikian?
Lucie: I am working on a series. Belonging to Him was at first not going to be part of a series, but then I started writing the second book and realized it all fit together. Book two will not have the same protagonists as my first novel.
I’m taking a minor character from Belonging to Him and making him the lead character in book two. But Bella and Lorenzo, the protagonists in Belonging to Him, will make a cameo appearance in the second novel. The ideas are flying around my head, and now it’s just a matter of consistently getting those ideas down on paper until the second novel is finished.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Lucie: I guess one question would be: How important do you think it is for a woman to pursue her creative passions?
My answer would be that I come from a conservative culture, and I’ve traveled to many countries. I’ve seen women in many different places. If we are to raise girls who become powerful women, we must ourselves be powerful. I don’t mean you have to be a loud woman or a hard woman, just a woman who isn’t scared to be passionate and show that passion to the world.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.