Have you already torn through Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You? Starting on July 31, 2012, you can enter the world of another love story with sizzling sexual content—although this novel has a twist. Beth Kery’s Because You Are Mine will be published in eight installments; a new part will come out every Tuesday until September 18, 2012. The parts are available exclusively as eBooks.

This steamy tale follows Francesca, an artist, and Ian, a businessman. Francesca is commissioned to create a painting for the lobby of Ian’s building, and sparks start to fly once they get to know each other better.

Kery chatted with BookPage about erotic romance, art and sexy heroes.

Erotic romance is more popular than ever. Why do you think so many readers are attracted to this genre?
I think the genre was growing before Fifty Shades of Grey became such a publishing juggernaut. Once that happened, however, it really hurtled the genre into the spotlight. It’s hard to pick apart the elements of a sensation. There are so many factors, plus a little bit of incalculable magic.

Once romance readers were exposed to higher sensuality and sexual content, they came to crave more. Even romance that isn’t considered to be “erotic” is hotter nowadays, and readers expect it. There’s a trend for more sexual content, more graphic sexual description and more honesty about what happens in the bedroom in romance novels.

What is unique about the relationship between Francesca and Ian?
What’s unique is their ability to give just what the other needs to grow. Ian is the experienced, worldly one, both sexually and in general. He teaches Francesca so many things: about the power of her sexuality and beauty; how to better manage her somewhat haphazard, hand-to-mouth existence; how to take the reins of her life and take control. He’s a little weary of life, however, of always having to be in ultimate control. Ian never really had a childhood. Francesca teaches him how to let go, live in the moment and be spontaneous.

That’s what’s beautiful about their relationship. Each holds the key for the other’s transformation.

Readers want "more sexual content, more graphic sexual description and more honesty about what happens in the bedroom."

What do you think makes for a sexy, memorable hero?
Oh, so many things. He’s a protector of the heroine, even if he doesn’t start out with the intention to be so. He’s the epitome of strength, but there has to be something about him—some crack that only the heroine can access, something that opens this seemingly impenetrable male to the experience of love. A sexy, memorable hero has to have enough depth and layers that the reader ends up “getting him” completely and falling in love with him, despite his imperfections.

Francesca is an artist. Ian, a businessman, commissions her to create a painting for his new skyscraper. Do you have a particular interest in art and architecture?
I definitely do. I’m a lover of the arts—although a terrible artist myself. You’ll often see artists or art motifs showing up in my books. I’m a longtime member of the Art Institute here in Chicago. Francesca actually holds degrees both in art and architecture, and I’m a huge admirer of architecture as well as art.

One of the first misunderstandings between Francesca and Ian is when she mistakenly believes he just awarded her the commission because of a “love of a straight line” versus her immense artistry. You’d have to be a very special person to be both an architect and a painter.

Were there any challenges specific to writing a serialized novel?
Yes, it was a fun challenge, but a huge one. For instance, while I was working on Part VIII, I had just finished copyedits for Parts III to V. I was worried about content specifics from Part I-III, because those are edited and sent off . . . but what about slight changes I’ve made in the story? Any author will tell you that she constantly goes back to tweak in the earlier stages because of something she wrote later that wasn’t necessarily planned. The Berkley staff was so supportive about going back and making small content changes in blurbs and even the copyedited manuscript.

How will you hold readers’ interest in the characters over eight installments of the book?
Hopefully, each installment will pique interest in the characters’ growth and romance. I’m curious to hear what the experience will be like for readers. I hope it’ll be positive, sort of like watching a television show and anticipating the next episode. I think the small wait—the parts come out weekly every Tuesday—will help to build excitement and deepen an awareness of Ian and Francesca’s love story.

Can you tell us about your next project?
My next project will actually be another serial for Berkley! It’s due to come out in January of 2013 and will take place in Ian’s and Francesca’s “world.” I have three other books due out from Berkley between 2013 and 2014.

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