Here’s an author interview with Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese. Take it away, ladies…
- How did you start writing erotica?
It wasn’t really a deliberate choice for either of us. We’re both interested in realism and process. And sex is one of the messy, gritty, complicated, realistic ways to really show how a character works, and how a relationship is happening. There never seemed to be any reason to leave sex out of our stories. Leaving it in, and making it sometimes a central plot point, apparently means we write erotica.
- Where do you draw your inspiration from?
We both live in beautiful cities full of beautiful and ambitious people. A lot of ideas just come from our relationships to where we live and where we travel. But we’re also inspired by the tropes everyone loves — and then we pry them open and try to find out the truth in there. We’re also inspired by hearing “no.” Everyone should be. If you want to tell a story, and there’s an obstacle to that story, you have to learn how to fight for it. That’s as true for our characters as for us.
- Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?
Neither of us is really keeping secrets about this and we’re not using pen names. People are much more reactive to the idea that we’re writing and getting published than they are to what we’re writing and publishing. There’s a bit of, what made us think we could do that? Well, we wanted to, and we put the work in, and unlike in our stories, no one is getting discovered in a diner. You have to declare your goals and just go for it. Whether the people close to us are up for reading LGBT erotica or not (some are, some aren’t), what we really hope is that people’s reactions include a realization that if they want something, they don’t need to wait for permission, they can go after — and achieve — their ambitions too.
- What was your ideal career when you were a child?
No lie, Racheline went through a phase when she was 7 of wanting to be a cocktail waitress. The 70s were a weird time.
Erin definitely wanted to be a meteorologist for a while. She still thinks wind maps are really rad.
- How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
We have so many projects going on, we can’t really afford to write only when we’re in the mood for it. There just isn’t the time. But it’s easiest to write when we’re completely obsessed with a world. One day recently we cranked out 3,000 words on a story that was not one of the three other things we really needed to do that day. But we were obsessed and that’s where the energy was going, so we rolled with it. Hearing no helps too, because that just makes us want things more and work harder to get them. And on the rare days we don’t feel like making words, the solution is always just to open the doc and start writing. We can fix crappy words later, but we can’t do anything with words we don’t have.
- What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
Don’t start the story too soon.
- If you get writer’s block when you’re writing, how do you get around it?
Conflict drives narrative. If we’re stuck, it means the stakes aren’t high enough.
- If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
You ask that like they aren’t already alive. Victor in Starling is a really difficult, complicated, sometimes wildly inappropriate and somewhat dangerous person. But he’s also the guy who shows you you can keep going when you feel like you just can’t do anything but give up and disappear. We don’t have to wish he would come to life. He’s there in our heads to tell us to get over our pity parties, do our work, and excel viciously, when we no longer feel like we can. I think we always feel stories are alive.
- What’s your favourite genre within erotica and why?
We both like hints of magical realism. Even in a realistic world, we want there to be a touch of the otherworldly. I think we’re also both really interested in power exchange — not in the sense of BDSM necessarily, although we do have some projects that definitely focus on that — but in the sense of all relationships have power discrepancies and how do those show up and get handled in both a sexual and emotional context.
- What are you working on at the moment?
More material in the Love in Los Angeles series, a new series we’re hoping to be able to announce soon, and a few other projects both within the erotica/romance space and outside of it. We have a lot of balls in the air and anticipate a lot of news and new material coming out in 2015.
- What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed?
We’re not sure we can answer that yet. When we started Starling, that was the hardest thing we’d ever done (neither of us had written a novel before), and we’re here with it. But successive stories we’ve written in the Love in Los Angeles universe have brought new writing challenges — every project does really. And we’re doing some stuff right now outside of the erotica space that’s just hard — hard to execute on and hard to bring to the world. When we get there, we’ll let you know, but our general attitude is that if we’re succeeding at everything, we’re not going big enough.