Book Review: Good Intentions

Two years ago at Norwescon I attended a panel where one of the panelists was explaining how he felt he should put a warning in the front of his first novel. He actually read the warning out loud to the group. This was my introduction to Good Intentions by Elliott Kaygoodintentions-400x598. By the time Elliott was done reading the warning, I knew I wanted to read the book. But I can be a bit of a slacker and didn’t get around to picking the book up until after this year’s Norwescon.

Whew, what a read. I more or less read all 400 or so pages in two big blocks. The break in the middle was caused only by my trip to Hawaii – I have an actual physical copy of the book and it weighs a ton. LOL. Elliott defines this as an urban fantasy erotica. And the book is smokin hot. I mean smokin. Oddly enough it’s not the sex scenes that got my attention, clears throat, it’s the phenomenal way Elliott builds to it. The tension is very….um…yeah…

Ok, onto the plot. Love it. Imagine a world where good and evil are actually in a place of detente. Where things are balanced and the powers that be on both sides are comfortable in that balance. Now imagine a mortal with good intentions accidentally sets in motion an unbalancing of that power. Yep. And you get sex too. To share one of my favorite quotes from the book, which pretty much sums the whole thing up: “You got into this whole mess because of your conscience,” she smirked. “Thinking with your cock hasn’t gotten you into trouble once yet.” 

℘℘℘℘℘ – Five Pages. Absolutely reading the rest of this series. Write fast, El
liott, then write faster.

 

Elliott kindly agreed to be interviewed by me and even answered ALElliott-Kay-pic-218x300L of my questions, though he should have been working on the next book.

But he’s awesome and I think you’ll agree when you get done reading this.

Right off the bat I have to ask, how did you come to combine such an interesting plot arc with erotica?

Originally, I only set out to write the erotica. Since erotic stories are usually a little over the top anyway, I like using a fantastical premise to help with suspension of disbelief. But even if it was “just erotica,” characters needed personalities and goals, and I quickly found myself wanting to do much more with these characters than just bringing them from one sexy scene to the next. If writing is a split between “plotting” vs “pantsing,” Good Intentions is almost 100% pantsed.
Almost 100% pantsed. ROFL. Given most of your characters spend a significant portion of time out of their pants, who are you in the book? Or are they all you?
A lot of them are bits of me. Certainly a lot of Alex comes from me, or at least who I was when I was twenty-ish. I remember being freaked out when dating & love didn’t fit the idealized models I had learned from fiction. But there’s also a lot of me in Jason, and even Lorelei.
Rachel, Drew, Molly, and Onyx are all based to some extent on friends either past or current. Wade is written closely enough to one of my buddies that any of our mutual friends who’ve read the book immediately recognize him.
I really wanted some of the external characters to die in Good Intentions, is their basis in your friends what led you to keep them all alive? 
I kept them alive for several reasons. First, there are harmful tropes I absolutely hate, and I don’t want to play into them (fridging; killing off black characters; killing off bisexuals). Even apart from, I have strong feelings about character deaths for the sake of drama. I still have use for these characters. And ultimately, I wanted a Happily Ever After. It’s meant to be a light-hearted book. HEAs don’t work for me if I know there’s a funeral around the corner. I can’t stand it at the end of a film where everyone laughs even after they’ve lost friends along the way. “Hahaha oh hey wait up, someone ought to tell Frank’s wife he died…”
Er, I’ll pass on that assignment thanks. So, how long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About three-ish months. It happened largely because I posted each chapter online (at literotica) as soon as it was done. Instant feedback meant instant gratification, so I was pushed along quickly. (Plus I was kinda trying to hide from life at the time.) I’ve never come close tonatconsequences-201x300 writing that fast since then.
Whimpers quietly. But you’re working on Book Three right now, right? Right?
Clears throat, so… are Drew and Taylor ever going to hook up because they seem really well suited to each other? LOL
Maybe! Taylor didn’t make it into book 2, but she’s in book 3. It’s a pairing that makes sense. I’m playing with a lot of ideas for Drew right now and some for Taylor, too.
What is the best part about being an indie (or traditional) author for you?
Working at my own pace. My deadlines are all of my own choosing.

Um, well some of your readers might just complain about that. LOL. What “person” do you like to write in? First Person, Third Person, etc. – and why?

 Third, because I like to get into everyone’s head. Even the villains. I especially prefer third person when writing erotic stuff, because first person somehow feels less intimate and less believable.
Even the villains? I think I know which way this answer will go before I even ask, but do you like villains or heroes better? Which are more fun to write?
I definitely like writing heroes better, but I tend not to think of “heroes” as being all that cut and dried. I like a hero who is every bit as scary as the bad guys.
 
Well then, what story scares you?
Virtually anything I was ever assigned to read in a literature class. Practically everything from junior high on up through college was an unending funeral dirge of helplessness and misery. I think the happiest thing I ever read in a class was Beowulf. The thought of going back to books like that scares me.
 You actually read your assigned high school reading? Wow. You heard it here folks. People did actually read Tess of the D’ Urbervilles and not die of misery and boredom. You are a hero to us all. Speaking of which, have you ever been recognized by a fan in public for your writing?
Nope. 
I might beg to differ. But technically I knew who you were before I read anything you wrote, so I suppose that doesn’t count. Have you ever met any of your literary heroes, and if so, were they amazing, disappointing or just plain awkward?
Probably the most formative stuff I read as a kid was comic books, and my gateway was the GI Joe comic (which is NOTHING like the cartoon). At ECCC a couple years back, I made a point of finding the author, Larry Hama (who is amazing). I shook his hand and told him he taught me how to read.
He smiled, and he was really nice, but he had this kind of exasperated look on his face, as if he was thinking, “Good God, how many times am I gonna hear that from guys pushing forty years old?”
Bwahahahah. Hasn’t he heard the saying don’t do anything great if you can’t take the credit for it? LOL. If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?
Once I had a nice house and some investments for security’s sake, I’d probably go philanthropy-crazy. The single best thing I’ve done with my books so far was a charity drive for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). It let me make a nice hefty donation to them, and it felt really good to do. I have a lot of different causes I’d like to support.
You are just way too nice. You have some guilty secret. What is your dirty reading pleasure? You know the one you never tell anyone you read?
No guilt here at all: the original Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard. I love that stuff.

Interesting. Favourite opening line from a book?

“It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache.” –“Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
First book that made you cry?
Cheesy as it sounds: Tom Clancy’s “Clear and Present Danger.” There’s a scene where Jack Ryan is watching a mortally wounded man’s last moments, and he suddenly blurts out that he’ll take care of college tuition for the guy’s kids. It really came from out of nowhere, but it felt really genuine. I was 17. That’s the earliest I can remember getting choked up by a book.
Ah ha. I knew you had a guilty secret. Wait. Crap, that’s not even bad. Ok, give us a juicy writing secret then. 
To make a character more life-like in dialogue and such, cast the character in your head like a movie role. Imagine a specific actor, or better yet, someone you know personally. How would THEY deliver those lines? React to these events?
I like that. Especially since I already do it. LOL. I see all my books as movies in my head. If you could be any one of your favourite characters (your own or others you’ve read) for one day, who and why?
I’d be Captain America! It would probably be hard, but on the bright side, I’d be right about everything all day long.
I kinda think you already are. Kind to fan girls, check. Give of your time and money to charity, check. Cry over men taking care of other people’s children, check. I think I’m gonna have to force you to admit at least one flaw. Which word / phrase do you find yourself always over-using and having to edit out?
“For a moment,” “in a moment,” “after a moment.” I seem to use a lot of moments.
Well isn’t that lovely (my own personal bailiwick). We’ll be back after this moment with more from Elliott Kay. Kidding, just kidding. So you have two books in the Good Intentions series out right now, you’re writing the third. You have a Military Sci Fi trilogy out as well, the Poor Man’s Fight, Rich Man’s War, and Dead Man’s Debt. What’s next for you?
I’m *determined* to write a Dragon Age: Inquisition fanfic based on some cosplayers I saw at Emerald City Comic Con this year. They were just chillin’ on some stairs eating food. I immediately had a whole story in mind for it. Soon as this next book is done, I’m writing that fanfic.
Sounds…lovely. LOL. Thanks so much for stopping by and entertaining my readers. Thanks for writing fun porn with real plot. My husband thinks Good Intentions is fabulous and he hasn’t even read it yet.  
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