Question: Beltane is a Celtic, Pagan holiday, an ancient name for May Day. Do you have personal experience with dancing around the maypole? Are you a Pagan, like Zen and Allie in the novel?
Erin: I actually had a very conventional upbringing. I was educated in Roman Catholic schools all the way through college. I’ve always been attracted to the feminine side of the religious experience, though. Goddess mythology is very much a part of my spirituality.
Q: Beltane is a very sensual, erotic novel. How did you get started in the erotic romance genre?
E: I wrote my first novel, Whip (unpublished) in 2006, and in Whip I was determined to show the characters as they really are, at their finest and worst moments. That included writing honestly about their sexuality. My first published short story was an excerpt from Whip, and it happened to be a scene of intimacy between Brigid and Leander. From there, I felt I had found my niche as a writer.
Q: In your acknowledgments, you dedicate Beltane "to my foremothers," and list a number of influential women writers: Emily Dickinson, Madeleine L’Engle, Barbara G. Walker, Joan Borysenko. Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
E: I named women whose writing I just adore and return to again and again. I just finished re-reading Wuthering Heights, and now I wish I had included Emily Bronte in my acknowledgments. But actually the one woman who has influenced my writing the most is my mother, Andrea. (Thanks, Mom!)
Q: How did your mother influence your writing?
E: My romantic partner has always been my biggest supporter when it comes to writing, but my parents always encouraged me. They were the ones who read me stories as a child, and I’ve never outgrown that love of storytelling. It was my mother, specifically, who got me started on reading paranormal romances, though. She introduced me to Charlaine Harris and J.R. Ward, and reading them introduced me to Kate Douglas. It was a great honor for me when Kate Douglas wrote, about my review of one of her books,"I enjoyed your writing every bit as much as the subject matter, if that makes sense. It’s very well done."
Q: Beltane launches the "Pagan Spirits" series. What is your vision for the series?
E: "Pagan Spirits" will be a 12-part series, each with a different Pagan holiday theme. I’m finishing the first draft of the second book now, and its tentative title is Midsummer Night. It will continue to focus on the Van Zandt sisters, Zen and Allie. Starting with the third book, Zen and Allie will still be featured, but we’ll also see some unexpected facets of the supporting characters, like Zen’s assistant witch Gillian.