The curtains are drawn, the candles lit and slow saxophone plays in the background. The cushions are plumped and the velvet cover is pulled back to reveal someone under black satin sheets. Snuggle up because today we are in bed with Margareta Osborn, author of MOUNTAIN ASH.
M: Crikey Kate, this is a bit flash! Normally the only music in my room is the wind blowing across the paddocks rattling the shutters, the bedcover is my grandmother’s ancient chenille number, the sheets are 400gm cotton (satin is so cold!) and I’m wearing flannie topped jim-jams!
K: Sounds like it’s time for a sultry change, Margareta. Welcome to the boudoir.
M: Boudoir? Where’d my homestead go?
K: (Sighs) You must be tired after your recent book tour to Queensland. I’ll go easy on you, okay?
M: Okay. Hit me. I’m right out of my comfort zone now so we may as well keep going …
What’s the hardest thing about writing a romantic sexual relationship into a story?
Can I answer exactly that? ‘Writing a romantic sexual relationship into a story,’ full stop? No? Damn. Seriously? I find writing sex hard. I want my sex scenes to be a continuation of the plot, a natural flow on from the story not because, ‘there should be/has to be a sex scene.’ I don’t want the scene to sound stilted, because, let’s face it, in real life sometimes sex is stilted. You have a new partner, and you don’t know what is going to please them nor do they know what pleases you. A hand goes here, a leg goes there, and it’s not real pretty until you get it all in sync. Then, with the right partner, it’s marvellous. As an author I feel like I have to dispense with the awkwardness and get into the in-sync stuff straight away – even though it might be the first time the characters have made love – but at the same time, not have the reader want to stick their finger down their throats and gag at the ridiculous language used to describe the sex scene.
To try and avoid the scene sounding unnatural or artificial (which is my own greatest bug-bare when I read a sex scene) I search for a piece of music that I can absorb myself in which in turn provides ‘flow’ to what’s happening on the computer screen in front of me. I visualise how the scene would play out while listening to the tune (as distinct from the lyrics) and then play the computer keyboard like a piano, going with the ebbs and flows of the music. In my latest novel MOUNTAIN ASH, I listened to Skinny Love by Birdy and Someone Like You by Keith Urban over and over again until I got Jodie and Nate’s sex scene perfect. For my No. 1 Bestseller, BELLA’S RUN, I used Lee Kernaghan’s Love in the Time of Drought.
It’s not about the tune itself either, it’s about the welling emotions, and how the music makes me feel. Sometimes I even end up crying and I’m usually as drained as wrung out dishrag afterwards. Sex scenes, for me, are a ‘one scene only writing day’.
K: Yes, I remember well a couple of tearful phone calls from you while you were writing Mountain Ash. AND, I just got goosebumps. I listened to Skinny Love by Birdy while writing Being Jade – cue the Twilight music.
When it comes to sex scenes in your work, how far are you willing to take your readers into the bedroom (or boardroom, or elevator...) and why?
The characters dictate how far I go. In MOUNTAIN ASH, we have three sex scenes. One we skim though, the second is in great detail (down by the riverside rather than in the bedroom) and the third is practically behind closed doors. I listen to the characters, they tell me what they want; I don’t dictate the play.
K: That’s very respectful of you. No wonder your characters respond so beautifully in each moment.
Tell us about your first kiss – where did it happen and what was it like?
It was at my parent’s farm, after an evening out with my first boyfriend. It was our 'first date'. I was sixteen at the time (yes, sweet sixteen and never been kissed) and that kiss was terrible. I couldn’t work out why he had to move his lips like that. It was like being snogged by a wet fish. Yuck!
Funnily enough my husband frequently reminds me, I didn't kiss him on our first date at all! (I think the first boyfriend first kiss experience scarred me for life!) I then remind him that seeing our next date was only a night later surely twenty four hours wasn't too long to wait to kiss your life-long partner to be. (Yep, you guessed it, I was holding out :)
K: Wet fish kiss? Ewww. No wonder you were put off. But I hardly think 24 hours could be considered as ‘holding out’!
Have you ever had a lover who changed you or taught you something new about yourself, a lover who made a difference in your life?
My husband. He loves me for who I am. There is no pretence, no barriers. I can tell him anything. He is my soul mate and my best friend.
K: He sounds too perfect. Are you sure you’re not looking for brownie points?
M: Nope. He is what he is :)
Leather or lace or? What would be your favourite fantasy undergarment to wear in the boudoir and why?
Leather is for saddles, bridles and boots and farm stuff. It’s a more masculine textile to me.
Lace, on the other hand, is feminine, sexy and full of grace. As I spend most days in jeans and work boots in a blokey kind of world, lace is definitely my pick for the boudoir.
(I wonder what my husband would say if I ditch the cotton sheets, chenille bedspread and start calling our bedroom the boudoir? Mmmm … He’d probably love it )
K: I reckon he would love it, Margareta. But if you’re wearing the lace, would he wear the leather??? I can just see him in a studded g-string *winks cheekily*
Who is Margareta Osborn?
Margareta Osborn is a fifth-generation farmer who has lived and worked on the land all her life. She also writes about it in the Gippsland Country Life magazine. Home is the beautiful Macalister Valley of East Gippsland where, with her husband and three children, she spends many hours in the mountains in which her novels are set. She is the author of two bestselling novels, Bella's Run (No. 1 bestseller) and Hope's Road (listed as one of Get Reading’s 100 all-time favourite books), and the no.1 bestselling ebook A Bush Christmas, which has just sold into Germany. Her third novel, Mountain Ash, was released on March 3, 2014.
Find out more about Margareta and her gorgeous books at these links: