Sunday, September 22, 2013

Interview Part I: About Writing

So, because you all are wonderful, I have received a ridiculous amount of "interview" questions... so many that I realized I needed to break up this blog into three different blogs to be released today - Tuesday... otherwise the one blog would be the longest blog in the history of blogs... (possibly not, but it would be up there).  I've combined some of the questions that I got that seemed to go along with / were similar to others and I've separated them out into three categories.

Today I'm answering the questions about my writing, tomorrow I'll be answering questions about erotica/porn/sex, and on Tuesday it'll be the questions that are more personally directed to me as well as one very important question: What does the future hold?

Here we go... Part I:

How old were you when you started to write erotic stories?  What inspired you to start writing?  
I was 22.  I'd been reading Literotica for several years, but because I'm a speed reader I was starting to run out of the stories that I really enjoyed and new ones weren't coming out quickly enough for me, and a lot of them didn't have exactly the kinks I was looking for or they would have some and not others and I started thinking "Maybe I should just write what I want to read."  And so I did.  My first series, Office Play, ended up getting a lot of really supportive comments from people and it made me want to keep it up... especially because I def got off on writing the EXACT kind of story that I wanted to read.  Still do.
Do many people know you write erotica? How do people react when you tell them? Do they buy your books? 
Define "many."  LOL.  Almost everyone knows that I write, what they know about what I write depends.  My family knows that I write for amazon and that I write erotic romances, they don't know about Lit... my dad just doesn't talk about it and my mom's thrilled that I've found a way to make extra money (actually, I'm wasn't the one to tell my Dad, my mom outted me at a family dinner to him and my brother... bro was not pleased LOL).  My friends know that I write that as well as the fact that I write for Literotica.  Actually, one of my friend's boyfriends thought we were pranking him when she told him - and was even more unnerved to realize that he was in the middle of thoroughly enjoying reading Being the Maid.  He said he couldn't finish it once he knew that it was me writing it LOL.  Other friends haven't had that difficulty.
If any of them have bought my books they haven't told me, but a lot of them have read my stuff on Literotica over the years =)
Do you correspond with other authors on Lit? 
Sometimes.  In the past I used to e-mail / co-write with drksideofthemoon.  He hasn't been around for a while though.  Lately LoAnnie's probably the one I talk to the most, through twitter, although I also occasionally e-mail with abob1 and a few others.  It's always nice to be able to chat with / vent to people who know exactly where you're coming from, although I don't always have time to e-mail, etc. when I'm doing 80 million other things as well LOL.
What came first, the kinky real life or fictional?
Definitely the fictional.  Although, I definitely always had kinky fantasies.  Slave Leia in Star Wars had me thinking up non-consent and dirty fantasies when I was like 12.  At the time I thought there was something wrong with me, when I finally found Literotica I finally realized that a lot of people have dark fantasies.  Even now, my real life isn't as kinky as the stuff I write about - although every year we do get explore a little more kink ;)
How much of the stuff that you write about have you personally experienced?
It depends on when the story was written.  When I first started writing, I had absolutely no experience in the things I was writing about (and I think it comes across because some of what I write is way too harsh to be anything but a fantasy).  Eventually I told my boyfriend about some of my fantasies and we started to explore, I've done even more exploring with my husband.  I have come to the conclusion that some of the stuff I write about are things that are hotter in my head than they would be to experience.  I'm a little bit of a masochist, but I definitely like to read about things that would probably be too much for me to experience and still be turned on.  I've also discovered that I like reading/writing about humiliation, but it doesn't turn me on to experience.  Being called a "slut" or a "sexy whore" doesn't turn me off, but it doesn't do anything for me either.  I've done bondage, spanking, nipple clamps, vibrators, anal, strap-ons, a little bit of whipping, a flogger, and a couple other things.  I usually review those toys on my blog.  
Do you ever get fed up of writing about sex or have writer's block?
Oh absolutely.  That's part of why I write more than one story at a time.  If I'm writing a sex scene between Adam and Angel and I get sick of it, I can move over to Vivian and Gabriel courting, right up until they get to the next sexy time and then I'll jump over to Cynthia and Wesley, etc.  That also really helps with my writer's block because it gives me something fresh and different to look at and work on, and when I come back later it's usually with new motivation / ideas.
There was definitely a longer period where I was tired of writing about sex, which I took a break from Literotica during, but that was mostly because I was going through a bad time in my life.  Even then I would come back and write sometimes because I couldn't stay away.  I just love to write. 
Have you ever written a scene that holds no interest for you?
Oh absolutely.  Pretty much every incest story I've ever written LOL.  As long as I don't think about how the characters are related to each other I'm okay.  It's the #1 most requested story category that I get so I can't seem to entirely avoid it, and since I've found my own way to manage writing in it, why not, you know?  Any lesbian scene too.  Trust me, I don't have anything against lesbians... in fact, I applaud their bravery.  Vaginas scare me.
What erotica sub genre is your favorite/least favorite to read/write?
Pretty much anything with either reluctance, anal or a little bit of pain and I'm happy.  My least favorite is probably lesbian, both for reading and writing, because it's something I have a harder time working in the things that turn me on.  I still write it occasionally, even though I don't do the survivorphile contest anymore, but pretty much only if it's a group sex, BDSM or non-con/reluctance story.  Because that's my way of working in the things that interest me, and I can't write a story that has absolutely nothing that gets me going. 
What are your pet peeves with fans?
Definitely when they try to take over the story.  Obviously that doesn't really happen on Amazon but it happens all the time on Lit.  Someone will have a vision of how they think the story should go and try to dictate it to me.  Or they'll dislike something about a character and want me to change it or they'll try to put their own spin on how they think BDSM "should" be or how a woman/man "should" feel rather than recognizing that everyone is different.  I've gotten more than one comment about how Vivian should be more like Alanna or Jessica and I'm just like, how boring would it be if I only wrote about one kind of submissive?  Vivian LIKES being submissive and I like her.  I'm not going to change her just because of some comment made on Chapter 9 of the story (I can't actually remember when the comments started but I know it was several chapters into the story).
What do you love about your fans?
I mean... what's not to love?  Other than the pet peeve-y stuff ;) Although I'm not really sure I consider those people 'fans' because they apparently only like my work if I write the story to their specifications.  But seriously, I think I have a lot of wonderfully vocal fans who come up with fantastic ideas.  I love getting reader requests as well as comments on my stories with suggestions.  I know the latter part might sound weird when I was just bitching about people trying to direct my writing, but there's a difference between suggesting something that would be cool or saying "I hope this happens" and saying "a real person would never act like this, she needs to ____________."  A lot of my best ideas and little twists come from comments that fans make - sometimes criticisms and sometimes compliments or hopes.  I absolutely love how involved people get in the story line... I was in alt over the whole Team Justin vs. Team Chris thing that was going on during Venus School, that was quite possibly one of my favorite things (especially since I knew from the beginning that all 3 of them were going to end up together).  I love that people are invested and that they let me know it.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. 
What kind of music do you listen to when writing (is it different depending on the kind of scene or maybe you don't listen at all)?
I usually don't listen to music when I write, sometimes I have the TV on in the background... I usually like shows that I find silly and not SO interesting that I have to watch every moment.  Lately my choice has been Big Bang (real sexy right? lol) because it has funny moments but I'm not actually invested in it.

Who do you read (erotic and otherwise)?
Lately I'm reading a LOT of Victorian romance, although I also hit up the occasional BDSM novel.  My automatic-buy erotica/romance authors are Cherise Sinclair, Lexie Blake, Stephanie Laurens, and Kallypso Masters.  I also will almost always buy things by Laura Lee Ghurke, Lisa Kleypas, Carolyn Faulkner, Elizabeth Powers, Julia Quinn, Maggie Ryan and Laylah Roberts.
When it comes to 'otherwise' - I am a GIANT sci-fi fantasy nerd.  Patricia Briggs, Karen Marie Moning, Mercedes Lackey, and Gail Carriger are among my current buys.  On my shelves are also Robert Jordan, Tamora Pierce, Spider Robinson, Angus Wells, Piers Anthony, Elizabeth Moon, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, Sara Douglass, Eric Flint, David Drake, Brian Jacques, Laurell K. Hamilton, Frank Herbert, Terry Goodkind, Kate Elliot, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, etc. (I have a ridiculously large library).
And when I'm not reading either of those, I'm reading historical fiction or history books focusing on the Tudors, especially Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn =)
What genre would you classify your books as?  What draws you to this genre of books?
I would definitely classify my books as erotic romances.  A lot of the stuff I have on Lit I would classify as pure erotica, although even there I would say I'm slowly moving in a direction towards erotic romances.  Part of what draws me is that I find relationships between people absolutely fascinating.  I love exploring the different ways a relationship can go right or wrong and I love that there are endless variations on the same love stories, depending on the people involved in the story.  Plus... I love the sexy stuff. 
If I was a first time reader, what book do you suggest I start with?
Probably The Venus School of Sex.  Unless the person tells me that they're into historical in which case I would send them to Birching His Bride.  Eventually I'll hopefully have more options to send people to =)
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Sometimes they just come to me and I'm not sure where they come from, but more often they're sparked by something.  It can be anything from a conversation with someone, to seeing a movie trailer, to reading a book and thinking "but what if it happened this way instead," to getting a specific request from someone.  The ideas tend to come in from all over =)
How much research do you do for each book?
Very little... lol j/k.  It depends on the kind of book.  Some things come purely from my imagination (like what it feels like to be double penetrated), some things I have to look up online - like what kind of dojo Liam has and what some of the exercises would be.  Other things I really do have to research, especially when I'm writing historical stuff... although even there I tend to rely on knowledge that I already have, since I was a History major before I was an English major =)
Do you write part time or full time?  How do you schedule it into your day?  Do you have a page or word count goal in mind when you sit down to write?  What do you write on?
I write part time...  I wish I could go full time.  And I don't really schedule it into my day, I just fit it in where I can, which also means I usually don't have a goal when I sit down other than "get as much done as possible."  I write on a computer, and I type about 100 wpm so that's a good thing =)
What is the hardest/easiest thing about writing?
The easiest thing for me is always writing the outline / story idea.  The hardest thing is getting the characters to stick to it LOL.  Sometimes the easiest/hardest thing is the exact same thing: keep writing.  Sometimes I'm not in the mood, sometimes the words just flow like a river.  And I don't always know which it's going to be when I sit down.  
Do you design your own book covers?  If so, how do you make the choices?
Yes I do.  At the moment I use for stock photos and then I do the writing on them myself.  I usually look for something that I find visually appealing and that speaks to me about either the characters in the book or the plot line.  A lot of the time I'll just look at a picture and thing "Well that's close, but it's not quite right," and I couldn't explain logically why I chose a different picture that felt completely right when it might be really similar to the one that's not.  A lot of the time it's a gut feeling.
As a self-publisher, what are the advantages and disadvantages?
The advantages are definitely that I can keep my books super cheap because I don't have to pay an agent / allow a publisher to make decisions like cost.  The disadvantage is definitely editing and marketing.  I would love to have access to a professional editor and to have someone else handle my marketing for me.  One advantage I have is that I only started publishing because of fans on Literotica who asked me to, and so I started with a group of people who were interested in buying my books and who were wonderful enough to leave reviews for me on Amazon once they did, which helped out immensely. 
What are your views on good and bad reviews?
A bad review can make me pissy and feel like not writing, especially if there's nothing constructive in it.  I can take constructive criticism, but a lot of the time people leave bad reviews that don't give me anything to work on for next time.  It's frustrating.  Good reviews, for me, aren't just the ones that compliment me (although I love those), they're the ones who do give constructive advice or suggestions or criticism so that I know what to do for next time.  And I love them.  Good reviews make me feel happy and motivated, they can completely make my day if I'm in a bad mood when I read them.  I'm always checking for reviews, because it's the validation that people enjoy what I write and that it's worth the time and energy that I put into my writing.
Do you ever write something you really enjoy and no one else seems to?
Haha, I wish my humor stories got more attention honestly... I go back and re-read them sometimes and I think they're hilarious... but after they were first published they stopped getting any comments.  *cries* j/k.  They're probably mostly funny to me, to be honest.
What advice would you have for young writers?
Don't give up, because writing is one of those things that you can always get better at - that's one of the most lovely things about it.  When people give you CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, don't get pissed, LISTEN to it.  It's incredibly hard to listen to people tear up your work, but sometimes (a lot of the time) they have a point.  Don't be afraid to change things.  Also, know when to stand up for your work.  I got TORN apart in my creative writing class by the professor in college, but one of the things that she kept saying was that it wasn't literary... but I knew that the audience I wanted was more general, I wanted to write more pop-literature than what she considered "true" literature.  But I still took a lot of her advice on things that I thought were applicable.  The best thing you can do is be open minded and be willing to look at your work with a critical eye, listen to constructive criticism that is given to you and READ.  Read lots of work by authors that you love, study what they do and how they do it and try to apply it to your own writing.  I can honestly say that I wouldn't be as good a writer if it wasn't for all the reading I do.
What are your long-term writing goals?
Lately I've been toying with the idea of making some of my books available through Amazon in print... they have a program so that I could do that.  The main thing is that I feel like a print book should be even more heavily edited / perfect than a Kindle book, in large part because it's automatically going to cost more for people to buy them.  So I would want them to be professionally edited, which costs money (probably like a thousand dollars per book if not more) and I'm not sure whether or not people would be interested enough in buying the hard copy to make that worth it.  One of my friends suggested doing a Kickstarter to try and raise the money, which I'm seriously considering.

No comments :

Post a Comment