Author Desiree Holt, a 76-year-old grandmother from Texas, bills herself as the world's sexiest senior -- and it's easy to see why.
In 2006, Holt began writing for Ellora's Cave, one of the biggest publishers of erotica. Six years later, the one-time fishing guide has more than 130 titles under her belt. There's "Once Burned," which tells the story of how Cassie Fitzgerald gave her virginity and her heart to Griffin Hunter one hot summer. There's also "Rodeo Heat," in which Grace Delany's "safe world crumbles in a voluptuous explosion of lust" after meeting rodeo rider Ben Lovell.
And now, in the newly released "Skin Deep" anthology, Holt and two other Ellora's Cave authors explore the role negative body image plays in romantic relationships. Holt’s heroine hides a facial deformity behind tinted glasses, until a charming Navy SEAL proves he’s more interested in her personality than her appearance. In total, the book's three heroes realize that beauty really is just skin deep -- and that love and lust await anyone willing to scratch the surface.
First published in 2006, Holt jokingly describes herself as the world's most sex-crazed senior citizen. She said that -- in addition to her three children -- her husband was her biggest cheerleader before passing away three years ago. Not only did he help her name the characters in her books, but he also showed her how to write from the male point of view.
“I tell people that I really write stories about relationships,” Holt said. “For most women, truly good sex -- and good romance writing -- has to be rooted in chemistry, companionship and love.”
The Huffington Post recently chatted with Holt about her career, family and passion for erotic romance.
What do your neighbors think about your work?
My neighbors think it's a hoot. I live in the Texas Hill Country. People love it. But my kids have never read anything I've written. Mom and sex? Forget it. But they think it's great that I do this and they are my biggest fans. They always say their mother is the porn queen of the Texas Hill Country. But they will never read a word I write. They don't even read the blurbs or look at the covers.
What made you start writing erotica in the first place?
I'd done different types of writing. I used to be a stringer for a group of weekly papers, and I wrote magazine articles and did some PR writing. Then my husband retired and I did the same. But I got bored. I tried to write mysteries but couldn't get into them. I had read a few erotica books and someone sent me the link to the Ellora's Cave website. I had already gotten 167 rejections to proposals for mystery books so I thought "Why not? What's one more rejection?" But I submitted a story and they wanted it and it's been a very happy marriage ever since.
So what did you think of the hoopla surrounding "Fifty Shades"?
Anything that gets more people to open the door to erotica is good for me. I appreciate anything that brings erotica into the mainstream and before the general public. I have not written anything as intense as those books by E.L. James -- until now. "Beyond Addiction" is a new story of mine that will be out in early summer and it is written in the same vein as "Fifty Shades." It's the most intense thing I've written and I'm very excited about it.
Tell us about your daily routine.
I write about 5,000 words a day. I get up every morning and the first thing I do is go feed the cats at 7 a.m. I have my coffee and answer email and do promo work. I spend an hour on the treadmill and take a shower. And then I write until 4 p.m. Finally, after that, I sit with a notebook at night while watching TV and I make notes for the next day.
Where do you get the inspiration for your erotic stories?
My inspiration comes from everywhere and anything. I read a letter to the editor in the local paper and it becomes the essence of a plot. I once went to a picnic and I had a crick in my neck ... My chair was at an awkward angle and a guy came over to help me. I built a story out of that. I have a wild and crazy mind and can take almost anything and spin a tale from it. I'm one of those people who has to be doing a lot of different things at once. I watch TV and read and play with my iPad all at the same time. I never do just one thing. If I was forced to do just one thing, you'd have to put me away. Oh, I also play the "What if?" game and like to come up with stories about people. On my computer I keep a folder for my ideas ... I have outlines for at least 40 different stories right now.
What do you enjoy besides writing erotica?
I am an obsessive football nut -- both pro and college -- but college a bit more because I still have such enthusiasm for the University of Michigan, where I graduated from. I never miss a game. I also love to read. I'm an avid reader. I try to change up my reading. I read books by Sherryl Woods and Robyn Carr.
Do you write about younger people or older people in your books?
Most of my heroines are in their 40s. I'd like to make them even older. I want people to know that your desire to do things [sexually] doesn't change. I hope people can spice up their own lives. I want people to know that sex will always be good no matter how you do it and whatever your age.