Here’s an author interview from Bertram Fox.
Take it away, Bertram…
- How did you start writing erotica?
Herman Hesse said that the secret of inspiration is to write the book you want to read, so I did, using my experience of BDSM relationships and making bondage toys. I honestly thought I could get it published in the mainstream genre, and I had ambitions to open up the BDSM world to ordinary readers, but mainstream publishers said it was pornography and porn publishers said it wasn’t hard enough. But last year Xcite published it, so I think I was right that it was the market that wasn’t ready.
- What’s your favourite published work of yours and why?
The Princess and the Goblin, currently published as an e-book, but I’m working on a longer version to be published as a paper book. It starts with the cliche fantasy of the girl in the cellar, but the characters came alive enough for me that they did things I’d never planned, and I feel it’s a realistic study of the psychology of enslavement and submission as well as a hot read.
- What erotic authors do you enjoy reading?
I admire Laura Antoniou for being able to write hot fantasy with real rounded characters and complex plots. She’s what I want to be when I grow up.
- Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Experience, other people’s lives, random news items, imagining how to sex up a classic story.
- Do you have any unusual writing rituals?
I compose best doing physical work like digging a garden or hauling firewood. If I can write till I slow down, go out and work till a chapter has shaped up in my head, come back to the keyboard and start again, then I can really turn stuff out.
- Where’s your favourite place to write?
An isolated farmhouse in Sweden that I get to house-sit when the owners are on holiday. No distractions, no calls on my time beyond cooking dinner, nothing for miles around but snowbound pine woods.
Funnily enough, the last book I wrote there was set on a tropical island.
- Who is your favourite character from one of your stories and why?
Whichever one I’m writing right now. While I’m writing I feel I get to know them like friends.
- Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?
They’ve long ago given up being surprised or shocked at anything I do.
- What was your ideal career when you were a child?
Back in primary school I told my father it didn’t matter that I couldn’t do sums because I was going to be a writer. In my teens I decided I’d rather make bondage equipment for a living. Writing erotica combines both interests.
- How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
Convince myself that I’m really allowed to spend time doing what I enjoy, rather than some duties.
- What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
As mentioned above – “Write the book you want to read.”
- If you get writer’s block when you’re writing, how do you get around it?
Do some simple physical work. If a particular chapter or story gets stuck, write something else for a while.
Also, open your mind to wider possibilities. Sometimes when I get stuck, it’s because I was trying to push the story where it didn’t want to go. If I leave it till I see a different way that works better, then it goes smoothly.
- If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
Celia, the perfect slavegirl from “Impudent Crimes.” Because my wife is too ill for the games we used to play, and she’d feel a lot better if we had someone who could do the housework and take a good whipping.
- Which author, erotic or otherwise would you love to meet and why?
Since I’ve already met Antoniou, my second choice would be Isaac Asimov, because everyone says he was such a wonderful character.
- What’s your favourite genre within erotica and why?
Dominance-submission, male or female. Because it turns me on, and because stories about it can tell us so much about character.
- What are you working on at the moment?
An enslavement novel with five assorted Dom-sub couples, all working towards a romantic resolution in their different ways. It’s a fun challenge.
- What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed?
I read a post on the old alt.sex.bondage newsgroup describing how you could (theoretically) impale a woman on a spit without killing her, preparatory to roasting her alive. I don’t usually go for such extreme sadism, but I got fascinated with the idea of a submissive so devoted to her Mistress that she’d volunteer for such a hideous fate and glory in it. I think I managed to convey her feelings quite well, though I cheated by setting it in a future with science-fiction medicine so she expected to live through it.
- What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?
I’ll call it an achievement when I write an erotic novel with enough mainstream appeal to be sold on the general fiction shelves.