I would like to take a moment to welcome Richard back to this blog! Last time I wrote a review for his short story, Cornholed.
Amazon Book Description:
Chris and Amy's romantic weekend getaway to the deep forests is interrupted by a female werewolf in heat.
Warning: This 13,300+ word story contains very explicit sex, and should not be read by anybody under eighteen years of age.
What made you want to write erotica?
I've always been interested in sex. I just found it fascinating on all levels: emotionally, aesthetically, technically, physically, psychologically... you name it. The ways in which a man and a woman can physically and emotionally unite through sex are effectively infinite, and man/woman is just one of many possible combinations or permutations.
There is only so much that one person can experience in life, and beyond that point is fantasy. My interest in sex is such that I don't think that it could ever be fully explored or satisfied in life, so it seems only natural to envision a wide variety of fantasies and hypothetical scenarios, then sharing those scenarios with other people through writing.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Effectively, yes. I mean, as a very young child, I originally wanted to be a mad scientist. I wanted to come up with crazy inventions like flying trousers, or invisible cars, or a robot army, or whatever.
By the time I was ten, though, I'm pretty sure that I knew that I wanted to be a writer. The problem was, I spent the next few decades avoiding becoming one.
I told myself that I wasn't imaginative enough, or that I wasn't skilled enough, or that I wouldn't make any money at it. Years flew by, and eventually life forced me to confront the fact that I was wrong on all counts. I have one hell of a vivid imagination, and I have quite a bit of skill at writing. The problem was that I was comparing myself only to the very top storytellers, instead of comparing myself to the average.
I'd read something like King's "Dark Tower" series, or like Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, and I'd think, "I can never match this. Why even try?"
At the same time, I'd watch average movie after average movie, read average book after average book, and I'd think, "Hell, I could do better than that, without really trying hard."
Over the years, it sunk in that, yes, I really could do better than that. I might never be the #1 writer in America, but even being the #100 writer in a specific genre (or #500) would be a very large honor, and that was something that is actually attainable, if I work hard enough at it.
What does your writing area look like?
It's a mess. To the left of me, on my desk, there are three stacks of books that I'm browsing or using for references. A stack of romance novels, a stack of technical sex guides, and a stack of writing guides along the lines of Strunke & White's Elements of Style. Then, behind my computer, are a bunch of other books that I intend to read for pleasure, when I can find the time.
On the wall behind my computer is a large chalkboard that takes up most of the wall. It's littered with notes, to-do lists, and random ideas.
To the right of my desk is a large bookshelf that's packed with books and back issues of Playboy. Behind me there's a rack full of swords and knives, and a cabinet full of random sex toys.
The rest of the room is filled with just a kind of general clutter.
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes, several. Most people I know these days have to have more than one job in order to pay the bills; it's hard to find full time employment in this job market. These are often people with degrees, myself included.
I've never been too proud to turn down work; I have bills to pay. So I've always had a variety of part-time jobs, some of them more unusual than others.
I think it's a good thing, because it gives me a wide variety of experiences to draw on when building characters and settings. My late start at writing professionally will, at the least, allow me to create a wide variety of characters who have some occupation other than writing.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
As a rule, I write short stories and novellas. I typically have some kind of mental outline that kicks around my head for months or years before it finishes gestating, before all the kinks are worked out of (or into!) the story.
Most of my stories are action stories. They're sex stories, where most of the telling is concerned with the specifics of sex. Plotting them is still important, and it still takes up a lot of my time and energy, but it tends to be less about things like, "Bill is in love with Marsha, but Elliot is in love with Marsha too. How should Bill and Elliot find out about each other, and how will they react?"
My plots revolve more around issues like, "Would Amy recognize the fact that the woman in the ski-mask who's going down on her is really her best friend in disguise?" or "If a female werewolf goes into heat, what exactly would she do to a male camper that she caught?" or "Why exactly would a woman have sex with a dinosaur, and how would it be possible for her to survive it?"
Not to mention a lot of stuff like, "His wife's using her mouth on him, and I've established that he's close to orgasm. So how and where does the other woman get involved? Does the guy finish in his wife's mouth, or does he pull out and try to cool down? Is he going to actually get to have sex with both of them, or just foreplay with one, and finish with the other? How many orgasms should the women get, and how?"
The "Oh, God!" is in the details.
What is the hardest and easiest part about being an erotica writer?
The hardest part? You're setting yourself up for any number of jokes there, but I'll refrain.
The most difficult part, for me, is getting people to understand that I'm actually a good writer. This isn't something that I'm just playing at for a hobby- this is something that I do, something that I'm good at.
People seem to think that erotica is a genre for hacks and semi-literates, and people seem to think that ebooks are a medium for more of the same. That, I think, is something that is going to change more as time goes by, but right now these are obstacles that I have to overcome.
The fact is, I went to a remarkable university specifically to study creative writing and literature, and I earned my degree.
Another fact is, people try to write of sex as something that is juvenile, or something for bored, lonely housewives, but sex is perhaps the strongest drive in nature; it's something primal, powerful, and it's something very serious, even when it's fun.
Erotica is just as legitimate of a genre as anything else is. We just haven't had our Stephen King yet; we haven't had a writer with the sheer skill and output to thoroughly demonstrate that he could write whatever the hell he wants to, and he could do it well, but he chooses this particular genre because it's as legitimate as any other.
That's one of my goals, I think. I'd love to become the Stephen King of erotica. I probably won't make it, but I'll at least give it a good shot, and I'll try my best to pave the way for the next man or woman.
What was the best writing advice that someone has ever given to you?
I wish that I could properly attribute the advices, but I don't remember exactly who said it, or in what context. It was something that I picked up in school, from an instructor, but I don't recall if he was speaking for himself, or quoting somebody else.
Likewise, I most likely don't remember the exact quote.
It was something like this:
"Any writing technique that interferes with communication with the audience, fails."
That's something that more writers need to remember, because I see people get hung up on themselves all the time, and it interferes with their writing. I have a tendency to do it myself, which is why I found that rule to be such good advice.
Sometimes a writer wants to do something fancy, but in doing so, they lose a lot of their readers. That's no good- the entire point of writing is to be able to put certain thoughts directly into the heads of people you've never met, people who just picked up your book and started reading. If you can't put the thoughts into their heads, then you're failing at your job.
Other times, a writer receives feedback that something in their book is vague, or unclear, even though the writer feels that they have spelled it out sufficiently. The writers' ego is usually such that they feel like responding along the lines of, "Well, it's not my fault that you're too stupid to understand plain English. I'm not going to dumb things down for you."
Again, though, the writers' job is exactly to communicate. If the readers get lost, then communication isn't being achieved. Even if the writer is correct that the reader in question is stupid or unclear, that doesn't really matter. A writer's job is not to communicate with only an elite few, not unless he/she wants to corner a particularly small niche of the market.
A writer has to be able to communicate with a wide selection of readers, of people with a staggering variety of personal experiences, of people with varying areas of ignorance and of expertise, and even people with differing levels of intelligence.
If a writer is not able to communicate their visions effectively, then they're really not doing their job effectively. Period.
What was the process with getting the cover for "Moonheat?" How do you like it?
I used the Kindle cover generation program, and picked an image of the moon. I don't like it.
I'm not an artist, though, and I currently can't afford to hire a good artist for my cover work, so my options are rather limited. Most of my cover art looks like crap.
I have an artist friend who has donated his time and talent for a couple of my covers ("An Innocent Haircut" and "Satisfied By A Stegosaurus"), but he has his own bills to pay, and can't afford to spend all that much time giving out freebies for a friend. Those covers look really good, but the ones that I've done myself are barely better than nothing.
The story doesn't necessarily lend itself to an easy cover, either. There aren't that many ways to depict a naked, six-breasted female werewolf, not that would meet Amazon's rules for acceptable cover art.
For those who might consider reading "Moonheat," what would you tell them to expect?
Sex. Lots and lots of sex.
I'm writing erotica, so I'd expect that to be something that readers would anticipate, but I want to make it very clear, because of the two Amazon reviews this story has received so far, one of them is as follows:
"No real character development. This is simply one very long drawn out sex scene. I really love a hot steamy romance with hot steamy sex...but this just isn't it."
I'm not sure what the reader was expecting, really. The description of the story is simply:
"Chris and Amy's romantic getaway to the deep forest is interrupted by a werewolf attack.
Warning: This 13,300+ word story contains very explicit sex, and should not be read by anybody under eighteen years of age."
I have no idea why the reader was expecting a lot of character development, nor why they were expecting "hot steamy romance."
The only thing that I promised about "romance" is that it would get interrupted by a werewolf attack, and I delivered on that.
I don't feel that any of my characters in that story are exactly two-dimensional or anything. The main character certainly seems fleshed out quite a bit more than many short-story characters are, especially since it's not a character sketch: it's a sex story.
I'm not generally one for writing thousands of words about characters making moon-eyes at each other, followed by a thousand words of sex. When I read erotica, I prefer the amount of time, energy, and description that the author puts into the sex scenes outweigh that which is put into the setup for the scene. Consequently, that's what I write.
Incidentally, I do take some exception at the description of the story as "one very long drawn out sex scene." It's really three long, drawn-out sex scenes. At 99 cents, I consider that to be a bargain.
Favorite quote from your book?
I think that my personal favorite passage is where Chris discovers one of the perks to having sex with a werewolf:
"With human women, Chris had always felt the need to hold back. His enthusiasm had carried him away too many times, and he’d slammed the head of his cock into his partner’s cervix, causing her pain. Or he’d pounded her too hard, too fast, and hurt her. With human women, he always had a certain level of fear, fear of hurting his partner. Oddly enough, with this frightening she-beast, that was one fear that was entirely gone, and Chris reveled in it. He could truly cut loose, do whatever he wanted, without any realistic chance of hurting his partner.
She was taking him, all of him, taking him to the hilt, to the very base of him. He could feel his cock occasionally bottom out in her, depending on the angle of penetration. He felt his cock hit her cervix a few times, but she didn’t even seem to notice. She was a werewolf: invulnerable, bullet-proof, cock-proof.
It would be quite something to be able to completely unleash oneself during sex, to be able to drop every bit of concern for one's partner while being assured of their complete safety. No need for restraint, or for safewords, or for the fragility of human flesh."
There are a couple of unique elements in Moonheat, which really stood out to me.
First of all, Richard does not spare a detail in describing the werewolf. I've read only a handful of paranormal erotic stories, and most of them seem to gloss over describing the paranormal animal. I feel cheated whenever authors do this. However, I felt far from cheated in Moonheat.
Second, usually the paranormal creatures that I see in this genre are male. But, Richard changes things up a bit with this novelette by making his creature female - how refreshing! I thought it was really interesting seeing how the dynamics changed when a paranormal female was having intercourse with a human male.
Richard clearly enjoys varying up his writing by using colorful language and changing up the rhythm of his sentences to match the mood he is looking to create. I can tell that he obviously puts a lot of thought and consideration into his writing. Additionally, I've had the pleasure of chatting with Richard, and he noticeably feels a sense of responsibility while writing his erotic tales. He wants to write stories that will entertain and arouse while at the same time presenting healthy sexual fantasies. I must say, Richard hit the mark when he wrote Moonheat.