On your Good Reads page it you talk about an upcoming, a semi-autobiographical novel about the porn industry - is there anything you could share with us about this?
First of all that I’m impressed that you did your research! Yes. My first full length novel, ’What Is Porn Doing To Us’ (working title) is a journalistic attempt to understand the mighty industry without judgment or defensiveness. It’s autobiographical in that I grew up with it being classified as a degenerate, obscene, lewd side of humanity. This societal outlook appears to have changed drastically, however, more of the hidden ‘dangers’ of porn are being exposed causing us to reexamine the ‘victimless crime’ truth. Maybe some of the truths are never going to change. Still, does that make us a sick or an accepting of what is society by consuming these alternative modern outlooks on sexuality?
Your story Best Buds is written from the standpoint of a woman who admires her best friend. Your other piece, All American Bad Boys, is from a male point of view. Have you come across any challenges writing from these two perspectives?
Oooh, can of worms there! I grew up in a very loose sexual atmosphere. My parents were swingers, adult magazines with stories were accessible, there was even a box of smut books in our garage my dad had ‘smuggled’ out of France - books that were illegal in the States. I realized after releasing my first few stories that they were all very male centered, so I challenged myself to think like a woman. Besides, most erotica is for women. I’d like to change that. Men should feel good about being thoughtful and creative sexually, lord knows were not taught that. I think my goal in writing is to create a platform for men and women to feel great about their own urges, desires, and secret pleasures (as long as it is consensual).
Checking out your publishing history, you've written a series, SkillZ, and several stand alone works. Does your process differ between writing a single piece vs a series?
No, the process doesn’t differ, but they are different. The stand alone works, like ‘The Mailbox’ are based on a hot fantasy. The fantasy is in my head and needs to get on the page, then it’s served and shared. Whereas with SkillZ or Vegas Timeshare, these are actual elaborate works based on experiences I’ve had, mixed in with steamy scenes that occur with the main characters. The series stories could be novels (minus the graphic sexuality) if only I was patient enough to wait to put them out.
In your bio you write that you've lived near Area 51 and "spent much time exploring the desert as a kid, witnessing strange lights in the sky..." What are some of your biggest sources of inspiration?
I don’t believe I’m more special than anyone, but I do know that I’ve had many uniquely strange experiences with aliens and ghosts and relationships. One of my strongest reasons for writing is to share those. The inspiration comes in the hope; I have hope that people are not judged, nor feel judged for things they are naturally drawn to or that occur in their lives. Things they wish to either indulge in, experience, or witness like a voyeur. I grew up feeling shameful for what I am. I tried to snuff the ever present dirty, provocative, sexuality inside me. Why do I still carry that? To find that women love erotica so much was hard for me to swallow at first. Now it excites me; sexuality has always been cerebral to me.
Your background also says you loved the classics - are there any that have influenced you/your style?
Style wise, I’m drawn to ‘life being retold, interlaced with philosophy and wishful manipulations.’ Like 1984 (Orwell), Mrs. Dalloway (Wolff), Tom Sawyer (Twain), Catcher in the Rye (Salinger), Don Quixote (De Cervantes), and The BFG (Dahl). The story contains seeds of how life could be better if it just wasn’t how it really is!
What's your writing process like? Are you an outliner, a think as you go writer, or somewhere inbetween?
So far, what has been working for me is to just write as I go - get the ideas out so that the story flows. Then I will go back to the beginning and fill in all the sensual details. That is the most time consuming, as I like to make it rich for the reader. Then I go back again and edit. Currently I’m working with a writing program. It is very challenging because it wants me to have a place for everything. It remains to be seen if organized chaos is healthy for me.
What qualities are you looking for in a publisher? What are your deal-breakers?
I’m still new at understanding the marketplace. I haven’t pondered my expectations of a publisher thoroughly, yet. Everything has been done in-house where there is absolute freedom. This is an extremely competitive art form, however, and the publishers know their markets. As I begin pitching them this year, I can only think of teaming with one that can market my unbridled open mindedness and varied categories. Not every reader thinks in terms of brands and limitations to their preferred genre. I think most of us readers are eclectic. Categorizing choked the music industry. When the audience feels like an outsider for having varied taste, they are less likely to visit the typical consumer outlets.
Is there anything you'd want to see change in the industry or process?
Sure. There is no doubt that Amazon runs this industry. I would have never put a story out if I didn’t hear from friends that I could self-publish and make money on Amazon. Then it all changed, and it continues to do so, and that’s great! Unless, you are an honest, hard working author committed to maintaining integrity and personal growth through the continuous improvement of your product. That in itself is a full time job. We’re working overtime when algorithms change and marketing gets more expensive.
Your bio says you're committed to organic marketing - what inspired you to choose this route?
I don’t want to be what I see as part of the problem. To expect me to purchase ad space so that my book will get attention over some other author that can’t afford to buy an ad is where we’re at now. It’s like the ‘pay to play’ thing in the music industry. When I released SkillZ in 2015, hundreds of people borrowed it without any prompting. Now, if I don’t ‘promote’ my release, virtually no attention will come to it. This is how the algorithms have been set up. So, instead of playing into the soaking of artists, I’m choosing to ‘socialize’ by making relations with other like minded lovers of art. It’s much more gratifying anyway to build a family than it is to optimize a search engine.
What do you feel are some of the biggest misconceptions about erotic literature/erotic writers?
That we are all men with female pen names! lol.
How would you describe the impact of books like Fifty Shades on the genre?
I think smut writers are mostly grateful. The mainstream success of FSOG opened the door for us. Society is still pretty closed minded, though. Just read the “Controversy” section of Wikipedia for FSOG. There are still studies being done with the bent of Puritanism and guilt for women who feel free to be sexual beings. My stories are an attempt to end the philosophy of victimization and shaming. We are all better lovers when we feel free.
What's a piece of unconventional writing advice you could offer fellow writers?
There’s no such thing as writers block. If you can’t write what you’re writing, write something else. Never limit yourself. (ask me in 5 years if this advice is any good!).
What else would you like readers to know?
Going shameless here … borrow my books! Give me feedback! I will use it. I am listening. Here’s my email: firstname.lastname@example.org This is what I do, for you.