Here’s an author interview with Kate Paddington. Take it away, Kate…
- How did you start writing erotica?
I started writing fan fiction for Farscape, an Australian sci-fi TV show, in my early teens. That didn’t start out as erotica, of course, it was all romance with fade-to-blacks, but it set me on the course that eventually led me to discover erotic fiction. I kept writing it because my professional life has been focussed more and more towards math and science and so romance, sex and storytelling tend to make me feel human again.
- What’s your favourite published work of yours and why?
Well, that’s an easy one! Platonic is my first novel, so I’ll say it’s also my favorite. But it’s also important to me because this is the first time I’ve really been through the process of publishing a book—the editing, the design, the volume of feedback—and I’m really proud of the result.
- What erotic authors do you enjoy reading?
To be honest I don’t really read erotic fiction novels, I’m more a fantasy/adventure kind of girl. All my erotic romance needs have previously been filled by very well written fan fiction based around a number of different shows. I am keen, however, to start reading some proper novels, starting with those being produced by Interlude Press and written by other fan fiction alumni like me.
- Where do you draw your inspiration from?
In the case of Platonic, the inspiration came from watching a television show and wanting the characters to get to their grown up, happy place faster than the show could get them there. I started writing a fan fiction to take the characters in the direction I wanted them to go while on screen, their relationship eventually devolved into a cheating storyline and a break up. I was frustrated because I loved their love story and thought their breakup made sense, but I wanted them to hurry up with growing up so they could really figure themselves out and then come back together to try again. Ultimately I wanted a happy ending love story for two flawed, young individuals and to do that, I had to have them apart for almost a decade.
- Do you have any unusual writing rituals? Where’s your favourite place to write?
I actually don’t have a lot of choice in where I write and how much ritual I can put into it. I’ve fit it in around my PhD for the last four years and that’s been chaotic: I travel a lot for conferences and lab visits, I spend days hunched in my office trying to write science articles and get my head around math and physics, and I get allocated weird hours in labs so that I can handle cell samples and shoot lasers through things. So generally that’s my weird writing ritual, that I do it in the sparse, spare moments around all that, wherever I am—hotel, lab, office. With writing Platonic out into a novel, I managed to time it with a ten day drive around Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, a little escape I’d planned for myself so that was a different speed and a different experience. I wrote most of it from hotel beds and desks, looking out at mountains and snow and the sky. It was lovely. I wish I could always write like that.
- Who is your favourite character from one of your stories and why?
I really love Rita in Platonic. She’s good friends with Mark and Daniel during high school and she stays loyal to both of them and then is outraged that after a decade apart they’ve fallen back into each others’ arms and not told her about it. She’s a minor character in this novel but she’s a vocal, powerful woman in my head, which is important to me. She has so many adventures and stories of her own, she’s motivated and determined and living her life to its fullest.
- Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?
Not really. I’ve told my parents and sisters that I’ve written a novel and my mother has read it but she won’t talk to me about it which is pretty much the story of my mother and I: we don’t talk. My family was very religious until about eight years ago when my parents just kind of gave it up. On top of that I’ve always been the scientific, uncreative, unromantic one in their eyes… this is certainly shaking that up but it remains to be seen whether they’ll ever truly accept it.
- What was your ideal career when you were a child?
I fantasised about the whole author thing when I was in my early teens but I was told it wasn’t a real option, much like actor or astronaut, and when my family and teachers realized I could do science they pushed me into that and I started to want to be a scientist. I guess, remarkably, I’m now both…
- How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
Ideally: a glass or two of wine, silence of good instrumental music, good food… having time stretched out in front of me. All good motivators and enablers. Realistically: An empty office or lab and science being frustrating will turn me to fiction writing.
- What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
Not to choose science over my creativity and writing. My high school English teacher during my final two years was very aware of family and academic pressures on me to pursue science at university but she was a constant resistive force to that idea. When I graduated she wrote me a note in the yearbook, telling me that I didn’t have to choose science over the humanities, that I could pursue both. I don’t think she meant ‘Write a novel and a biophysics PhD in the same year’ but she did convince me to study Philosophy and History during my undergraduate. All of which led me to writing fiction as well as making me a much better scientific thinker and communicator. You don’t have to just be one thing, do as much as you can, explore all the different things that make you happy, and keep doing things if they’re still making you happy. She was so right.
- If you get writer’s block, how do you get around it?
I’m a big procrastinator when it comes to big projects like writing this novel! Once I get going, though I don’t often get blocked up for ideas or for the words to express them, probably because I’ve spent so long thinking about it. It also helps that I always have so many different writing projects on the go at once so that I can swap between them whenever I do start to get a little bit stuck—a sexy romance story to a scientific article detailing my latest research to a grant application for funding or just a night off to write some good old-fashioned fan fiction.
- If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
Patrick, I’d love to have him right here in front of me to look at for a very long time, preferably naked, and then probably to serve up a decent slap because he is not entirely a good person, and then probably to take to bed. Patrick has always felt too big to be contained within the pages and he’d be magnetic if I met him, probably not in a good way, but I would love to meet him nonetheless.
- Which author, erotic or otherwise would you love to meet and why?
Neil Gaiman! For a really silly reason though. Neil has a very awesome wife, Amanda Palmer, and I am constantly tugged back and forth between which of the pair is my favorite (for some reason it seems important to me that I have a favorite). So while I saw Amanda play an amazing gig a couple of years ago and so then she was in the lead, not long after, Neil wrote a remarkably good episode of Doctor Who and he took the lead. Then Amanda’s new album came out and she was winning. I feel like meeting Neil and picking his brain about his writing might give him the edge needed to take out forever favorite status. How silly is all of that?
- What’s your favourite genre within erotica and why?
I don’t know if it’s technically a genre but I love the contemporary romances that are entirely driven by the characters themselves: their flaws and desires and not much else. It lets me really get to the core of a relationship, when there isn’t circumstance or externally driven conflict there, making things happen.
- What are you working on at the moment?
Once Platonic was written and edited to the story I wanted, I flung myself into the last six months of my PhD and that’s pretty much all over now as well! On top of that I have something like five scientific articles out under review at the moment. So all that science feels like it is done and the novel is done and my plate is emptier than it has been in almost five years! No exaggeration—this is a wonderful feeling! So what next? I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t another story ready to be written: it’s there, it’s been lurking in the corners of my consciousness, waiting for me to go to bed so I can leave life behind and bury myself in what I could write. It’s been there ever since I realized storytelling was possible. But I haven’t dared to actually begin putting it into words on the screen so I don’t really want to say what it is or that it’s ‘next’. Suffice to say that it’s another growing up to fall in love story, but set in Australia this time, and who knows, maybe it’ll happen.
- What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed?
I’m meant to say my PhD since that’s longer than Platonic and was less fun to write and has consumed me for three and a half years, but writing my PhD was a piece of cake compared to Platonic. That was a huge challenge, especially because it all boiled down to me balancing work on the novel with work on the PhD in a limited timeframe. But hey, it’s done, published, and I’m so excited and proud of it!
- What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?
See and now here I’m meant to say Platonic but I have to admit it was the PhD simply because that achievement is a summation of three and a half years of research and writing and learning – and that’s huge.
Thanks so much for these fantastic questions! I’ve had a ball answering them!
“Why did you ask me?” Daniel asks, genuinely curious.
“That’s unfair. I’ve been asking you all night why you came.”
Daniel holds his gaze. “You know that night in the bar, when I ran into you?” Mark tilts his head—he remembers. “You asked me to email you and your eyes were wide and pleading and there was no way I was going to be able to say no to you. I remember wondering if you used the same face on juries, to get your way in court. I guess what I’m saying is that I still don’t know how to say no to you. I still don’t know how anyone does.”
Time stops around them, stutters and then kicks back in when their eyes slip away from each other. Neither one of them knows what this is or what to do with it. Neither of them walked into this dinner tonight thinking “seduction” or “relationship” or “date” or anything like that. They were far too busy not thinking it.
“Did you want to say no?” Mark asks.
“Of course not. I wanted to come. Of course I did, Mark.” And then somehow they’re touching. Without giving it any conscious thought, Daniel has reached across the space between them and caught one of Mark’s hands in his.
The realization that they are touching comes slowly to Mark; his nerves feel sluggish, his brain has trouble processing the simplicity of the touch, just skin on skin, not intimate or unwelcome or leading to anything. But Daniel is touching him—and not briefly, not fleetingly, he’s holding on—and suddenly it all rushes back through Mark and he never, ever wants to let go.
Not ever. This is it. Daniel is it. He always was.
“You broke my heart.”
Mark Savoy and Daniel O’Shea were high school sweethearts who had planned their forevers together. But when Mark goes to college in California rather than following Daniel to New York, he embarks on a decade-long search for independence, sexual confidence and love.
When Mark lands a job in New York and crosses Daniel’s path, they slowly rebuild their fractured friendship through texts and emails. If they finally agree to see each other, will they be able to keep it platonic? Or will the spark of a long-lost love reignite just as Daniel accepts a job overseas?
Platonic is a story of trials, growth, and knowing how to learn lessons from the past to build a future.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Kate Paddington wrote her first work of fan fiction at age 12. Today, at age 26, she has degrees in philosophy and chemistry, and is currently completing a PhD in biophysics. A native of Australia, she has published numerous academic papers as part of her research. Platonic is her first novel.