Stately Pleasures is my first solo novel. I had a co-authored novel published back in August 2013, with my good friend Lily Harlem, called Grand Slam. I actually wrote Stately Pleasures first, though, but it took longer to get published. Stately Pleasures is a BDSM, ménage erotic romance with a Rubenesque (curvy) heroine. It was an idea that had been floating around in my head for a while, and it plays greatly on my adoration for stately homes, and my dirty mind turning seemingly innocent objects into sexy ones. I had lots of fun writing the book, and although the learning curve for my first full-length work was steep, now I know I can do it, I can’t stop. I’ve just finished writing my second novel, which is about 95k, where Stately Pleasures is about 75k.
You have had over 100 publications, so can you give us an insight into your writing style?
To be honest, I just write what comes naturally and don’t worry about style. Though if I’ve read back through work of mine that I haven’t read for a while, I’ll often surprise myself by really enjoying my stories, whereas at the time of writing I’m so close to them that it’s just work and tweak, tweak, polish, polish. I’m also told that much of my work is funny—in a good way. It’s certainly not intentional, but I reckon that’s a good thing. If I was trying to be funny, I probably wouldn’t succeed.
You have co-edited a number of anthologies, so how does this affect your own work?
I’ve edited and co-edited anthologies. My first was Uniform Behaviour, which I’m very proud of, as a percentage of the proceeds go to Help for Heroes. I don’t think editing anthologies affects my own work at all. It’s just another string to my bow, something I enjoy doing, and I always try, wherever possible, to write for the anthologies I edit, too. This is usually easy, as I don’t tend to work with themes I don’t enjoy.
To what extent does PR and marketing also aid your own self-promotion?
Hugely. Basically, I eat, sleep and breathe books. If I’m not writing a book, I’m promoting one, running a blog tour, creating a website, updating a website, tweeting and Facebooking about one, reading one... I’m sure I must have missed things out there. But basically, running my business (http://www.writermarketing.co.uk) means that self-promotion is easy. I have plenty of practice with promotion, so it’s just a matter of switching from promoting a client’s book to promoting my own. I don’t see what I do as lots of little jobs, really, it’s all one big job that makes up my full-time work schedule. And I love it.
You read a lot of erotica, so tell us about some of your favourite authors.
I certainly do read a lot of erotica! My favourite authors include Portia Da Costa, Saskia Walker, Janine Ashbless, and of course my fellow Brit Babes (http://thebritbabes.blogspot.com).
What made you take the leap to become self-employed in 2011?
That’s a very, very long and boring story that you don’t want to hear! The incredibly brief version is that I wanted to do something where I’d get all the credit for the work I’d done, and be appreciated. Therefore I started my own business with the support of my friends and family, and I don’t regret it for a second. It means I can manage my own time, and I succeed in doing everything to deadline and the best of my ability, as well as squeezing the writing in around the other work.
What prompted you while doing your A levels to go on and study in Creative Writing?
Being clueless! By the time I was on the second year of my A Levels, I still had no idea what I wanted to do as a career. So I decided to buy myself three more years to make up my mind and go and do a degree in something I knew I’d enjoy. When I graduated, I saw a job advertised for a PR & Marketing Executive. At the time, I didn’t even really know what that meant, but they wanted someone with Creative Writing skills. I applied, got the job, and feel incredibly lucky to this day that I ended up falling into a career quite by chance, but I ended up loving it!
How did the reaction to your first piece of erotic fiction affect your confidence?
Incredibly well! I wrote my first piece of erotic fiction as a dare from some of my University friends. One particular friend, whose idea it was, gave me the story title, character names and a brief outline, then I went away and wrote it. When it was done, it got handed it around the table at lunchtime with the same group of people that had been there when I’d been dared. Let’s just say the boys didn’t get up from the table for a while! It went down incredibly well (even though I look back on my early work and cringe now!), and I’d enjoyed the process of writing the story, so I carried on doing it. I was lucky to get my first publication early on, and quickly became addicted to seeing my work in print. I’ve never looked back.
What is next for you?
A million and one things! As you’ve probably already gathered, I’m rather a busy bee, so I’m always juggling several projects. I recently finished my second novel, The Persecution of the Wolves and am letting it sit for a couple of weeks before I go back and redraft it. In the meantime, I’m working on a novella and some short stories. That’s the thing I adore about eBook publishing – different lengths of work can be published with no trouble at all, so I can write other, shorter, things between full length books. It gives variety, and I love variety in my work.
My next solo publication, I suspect (as I’m waiting for edits on something else which may end up coming out before), will be my gay military erotic romance novella, Letters to a War Zone, which will be published on 28th March by Totally Bound. This was another tale I adored writing, especially since I’m a sucker for a man in uniform ;)