When the Australian Romance Readers conference in February 2009 held a silent auction to benefit Victoria Bushfire Recovery, I donated an author interview. The auction raised over $7,600AU in funds for the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. Good on ya!
The winner, Amarinda Jones, chatted with me over email about writing, and said from the outset I could “ask her anything.” Woo hoo! I can’t even tell you how tempting it was to ask about the water circling counter clockwise down the toilet bowl. But I refrained.
Your May release – what is it about? How many books have you written?
The May release is from Ellora’s Cave and is called Prince Vampire – funnily enough about vampires. It follows some of the characters from two previous vamp books. It’s a story about a woman who falls in love with a fantasy vampire prince from a romance book.
How many books have I written? Hmm, 20 to 30 (?) I‘ve never really thought to count them.
When writing erotica, what do you think are the most important things to remember about reaching the audience?
Like any genre, make it realistic, make it doable, make it something a reader can identify with or dream of.
What do you say to those who trash your genre?
Erotic romance polarizes readers – some hate it, some love it. I admire strong opinions and rarely get upset by them.
Why do you think erotica polarizes readers? Why the extreme reaction – because they dislike being induced to arousal, or because sex is alarming? Do you notice that US readers react differently than readers in other countries?
…because they dislike being induced to arousal or sex is alarming? Um, nope, I hadn’t thought about it in those terms before but now I have that picture in my mind…hmm…no, that’s not it. I believe, from my own experience, some people consider it trash because of the explicit language and graphic content. And that’s fair enough – that goes back to personal freedom to choose. I find dedicated erotic romance readers are the same the world over. They react the same to the good and the bad and they have no hesitation in telling if your work is enjoyable or if you suck. Blunt, honest feedback from readers is better than any review and I encourage it.
How strong (hur hur) is the erotica author community in Australia? Are there many?
I tend to deal with more US writers so I have no idea but I am sure there are many Aussies as we tend to be fantastic at most things.
I’ve noticed that the erotica writers’ community is a tight-knit one that is heavily invested in discussing the growth of their genre. What sorts of discussions do you have related to the craft of writing erotic fiction?
NOTE: I am not trying to give you a wink-wink nudge-nudge question here, but am asking seriously. Since erotic fiction does include graphic, specific, and explicit (in the explanatory sense) depictions of sexual events that aren’t always part of the standard experience of most individuals, what sources do you find most helpful when researching?
Hmm…I would like to say I get all deep and meaningful but I don’t. Writing is writing. I don’t have time to ‘discuss’ things. I prefer to act than talk about it.
As for research, real life experience is best.
Many people are fascinated with the behind the scenes of how people create a piece of writing – and those questions can be fun for writers or really tiresome. Is there a particular place or location, tool or aid that helps you write? A constant source of inspiration for new ideas?
My writing process…I don’t really have one. I don’t need music or candles or incense. I don’t channel the mystical spirit within – there is none – nor do I have a muse. It’s just me. I write a lot at work – no, they haven’t worked that out yet – and I tend to come up with dialogue and ideas when I’m at the traffic lights. I keep a notepad beside me and I get beeped a lot. Other than that most of my books are written while I’m in my pjs eating popcorn. Maybe popcorn is my muse.
I write about what I know and spin it out some. I watch and listen to people and then think – “yeah – I could use that in a story.” I keep my heroines real and average. I like to think about how I would react in the circumstances they find themselves in. They’re not perfect and they stuff up like me. The beautiful, flawless heroine doesn’t interest me. Flaws make people interesting and believable. I want to see Miss Average-with-cellulite get the drop-dead-gorgeous guy – but even then he’s not all that perfect and he knows he’s damn lucky to have this smart woman in his life.
I welcome feedback from readers either about my books or my blog. I even like negative feedback because it tells me where I am stuffing up and how I can do better. I appreciate strong opinions. I’m an Aussie. Wishy-washy words just don’t cut it with me. So, give my books a try – if you like ‘em great. If you think they suck then email me with your thoughts and I’ll always respond. Go ahead, give an opinion.
Thanks to Amarinda for the interview, and for bidding on it for a good cause! If you’ve got a charitable auction that you think might benefit from some Bitch donations, please feel free to email me. I’m always eager to donate to charity auctions!