Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Inside Scoop on Wuthering Heights, My Contribution to the Controversial Clandestine Classics Imprint

You may have already heard of the Clandestine Classics line – lately it’s garnered a lot of media attention, appearing on news programs like CNN and in print papers, plus popping up on just about every online news site you can think of, including Time and Entertainment Weekly. If you haven’t already heard, Clandestine Classics is a publishing imprint by Total-E-Bound, a British publishing house that I have several of my books with.

You’ll recognize many if not all of the Clandestine Classics titles, because the imprint is a collection of classic novels – think Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, among many other beloved authors – infused with erotic romance storylines. My contribution to the imprint is an erotic romance BDSM edition of Wuthering Heights, which you may already have heard of if you’ve been reading the Clandestine Classics articles in the news. It will be releasing on October 1st and will be my fifteenth published erotic romance.

Coming October 1 in ebook and October 15 in paperback

The romantic story of the destruction caused by the frustrated love of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, set against the moors of England, creates a rare blend of violence, beauty and erotic love.

Heathcliff, an orphan, is raised by Mr Earnshaw as one of his own children. Hindley despises him but wild Cathy becomes his constant companion, and he falls deeply in love with her, discovering that he can tame her unruly nature. Their tumultuous but passionate romance is threatened by the Lintons, who are determined to civilize Cathy. She endeavors to be a lady when they are present, but is as wild as ever when they are not – and remains forever untamable by anyone other than her lover, Heathcliff.

When she will not marry him, Heathcliff's terrible vengeance ruins them all-but still his and Cathy's love will not die...

 A story of doomed love and revenge with a brilliant new introduction of passion fulfilled.

* * * * *

The imprint is new, and while the extensive media coverage has brought the project a great deal of attention (which is great), most of the media articles have  been rather sensationalistic (the descriptive term ‘porn’ has been used quite liberally, which isn’t really any more surprising than it is accurate). I can’t speak for the other Clandestine Classics authors, but here’s the scoop on my version of Wuthering Heights, which I am extremely proud of and excited about.

What it is: My Clandestine Classics edition of Wuthering Heights contains all the original text of Wuthering Heights, plus additions that I made to enhance the romantic plot / Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationship. The enhancements are woven into the original story in Emily Brontë’s voice so that it blends seamlessly with the original text. Anyone who’s read Wuthering Heights knows it’s absolutely brimming with passion and sexual tension. The aim of my additions is to delve more deeply into that passion and portray a more vivid account of Heathcliff and Cathy’s romance where that passion is fulfilled. Yes, my additions include sex scenes. No, that’s not all they include – not even close. My intent was not to shock with graphic sex, but to capture the spirit of Heathcliff and Cathy’s romance and explore that dimension of the story further.

Why I wrote it: Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite novels of all time. Within a few minutes of being approached about the Clandestine Classics project by Claire, CEO of Total-E-Bound, I’d requested Wuthering Heights and had signed the contract.  I’ve been in love with Heathcliff and Cathy’s story since the first time I read it, and had, of course, always imagined more for them. (How could anyone who’s read it not?)  There’s not another novel on the face of this planet that I’d rather revisit than Wuthering Heights, and working on it has been a delight. As a devoted fan of the original, it was gratifying for me to create an edition where Heathcliff and Cathy were able to live out their legendary passion more fully.

Why I made it a BDSM romance: As I recently stated, my intent in revisiting Wuthering Heights was to capture the spirit of Heathcliff and Cathy’s romance and to explore that dimension of the story further. It’s my opinion that BDSM practices (such as the bondage and spanking I included) do just that. It was important to me to keep everything in character, and I believe that all the sexual encounters I portrayed are in tune with the dynamics of Heathcliff and Cathy’s relationship (which is anything but a typical relationship, as anyone who’s read WH knows). I wouldn’t have included the bondage or spanking if I hadn’t thought it perfectly in tune with the characters; Wuthering Heights is too precious to me to stray away from the true spirit and dynamics of the story. Heathcliff and Cathy are extreme characters who live and die ensnared by an extreme sort of love; I don’t think the sexual practices I’ve written about are overly-extreme for them at all. In fact, I think readers will be surprised by the tenderness of their ‘BDSM’ sexual relationship.

The bottom line: I wrote the erotic romance version of Wuthering Heights for readers who are as captivated by Heathcliff and Cathy’s relationship as I am, and who have always dreamed of something more – passion fulfilled – for the couple. For those who are new to my work, I’d like to emphasize that I don’t write erotica – I write erotic romance. There’s quite a difference; the focus of my stories, including Wuthering Heights, is on the romantic relationship between the characters, and all of the sexual content is a result of that and is integral to the development of their relationship, rather than simply being gratuitous. All of my stories are intended to capture the heart, not just titillate, and the intimate scenes they contain are as romantic as they are steamy.

Is it sacrilege to add to a beloved classic like Wuthering Heights? When the original Wuthering Heights debuted it was often condemned. Sadly, it was not always considered a classic or recognized for its brilliance because many people found its content shocking and immoral, and their voices drowned out those who dared to praise it. Today, long after Emily’s death, Wuthering Heights is finally acknowledged for what it is – a timeless work of art. I’m happy to be bringing more attention to one of my favorite books of all time – perhaps some readers will pick up WH and discover Cathy and Heathcliff’s story for the first time. And if others are shocked or offended, that sort of reaction won’t be a first when it comes to Wuthering Heights.

WH is not the prim-and-proper, witty fiction of Emily’s contemporaries, such as Jane Austen. It’s raw, passionate, full of moral depravity (Heathcliff devotes his life to ruining those of several innocent people) and truly wonderful despite it all. My edition of WH is not for everyone, but then, neither was the original when it debuted. The content was so shocking at the time that personally, I feel that if it had been written in modern times, Emily probably would have included descriptive sexual content – after all, she was not one to shy away from the unusual, the boldly passionate or the downright shocking.

For anyone who’s still shocked / outraged that I wove new content, including sex and BDSM into Wuthering Heights: If you’ve read Wuthering Heights, you know that Heathcliff digs up Cathy’s grave years after her death and pries open her coffin to spend time with her corpse (and if you haven’t – surprise!). I really think that passionate sex –spankings included – is quite tame next to that.

Similar works of mine: Wuthering Heights will be available soon from Total-E-Bound’s Clandestine Classics imprint – October 1st as an ebook and October 15th as a paperback. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in steamy, romantic twists on old classics, you might be intrigued by my Sleepy Hollow books. They’re part of an original series that was inspired by the classic The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Unlike Wuthering Heights, the books are completely my own work, though they contain some familiar names, locations and legends. My M/M/F ménage romance Haunted Passions and its M/M romance prequel Whiskey Dreams will introduce you to Brom Bones, Ichabod (aka John) Crane and Katrina Van Tassel as you’ve probably never imagined them before. And Whiskey Dreams is currently free as an ebook at major retailers such as Amazon, B&N, Apple and All Romance.



  1. Interesting post! It's fascinating to read how the various authors approached doing their take on the classics.

  2. Ranae, I couldn't agree more with you on your thoughts about Wuthering Heights. I hesitated for all of one second when I read those controversial letters BDSM, then I thought yes, spot on! Like you, I adore this book. It is one of my all-time favourites, and I totally believe that Emily Bronte saw a lot more passion and naughty action happening between Heathcliff and Cathy than she could possibly write down and if these two aren't up for bondage and spanking, well, who is?
    Honestly, I can't wait to read what you have made of this story! Big congratulations on this!

    1. Thanks so much, Sage. It's fantastic to meet someone who's on the same page as I am when it comes to Heathcliff and Cathy. :) Honestly, I bet there are other WH fans out there who feel the same way we do.

      And just FYI, it's BDSM, but I wouldn't say it's extreme BDSM. (I know some would consider BDSM in and of itself extreme, but as anyone who reads BDSM fiction knows, it varies and gets a lot heavier than bindings, whips and spankings.)

  3. Ranae,

    I think your recasting Cathy and Heathcliff as partners in a power-exchange relationship is an insightful choice. Their tumultuous relationship is indeed about different kinds of power.

    Sounds very tempting.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth, and you're exactly right. :)

  4. I really enjoyed this blog entry, and am linking to it as well. I'm reading through my Clandestine Classic-to-be and taking mental notes about what I plan to do - and appreciated so much reading what you had to say about your own process. I think your take on Cathy and Heathcliff is fabulous and inventive. Can't wait to read it. :)

    1. Thanks, Bebe. I can't wait to find out which classic you're revisiting for the CC imprint! :)