How did you start writing erotica?
Kind of a bet, actually. My man-beast is a writer, and was debating dabbling in the genre. We collaborated on one of his projects, and he said I had a knack for it, dared me to work on Queen of Clubs, out of our shared love and conflict towards Frank Miller’s work. We’re huge Sin City fans, but the Old Town Girls definitely got short shrift with Frank’s issues with women.
What’s your favourite published work of yours and why?
Tough one. In general, I’m a fan of the whole Queen of Clubs series. The individual stories, there’s some that resonate with me more than others, and I expect that’s the same reading them, but the entirety of it is something I’m very proud of. The club is as much a character as any of the dancers or customers, just as able to harm people or make mistakes. My editor has read some of the later stories, the ones that are a year or so away from making it to you guys, for chronological cohesion, and the first time she said “I was so disappointed the club did that, because I liked the person they hurt,” it just cemented it.
I love a lot of the settings I’ve played with, though. Anna, from the upcoming Princess of Thieves series, is one of those characters who I instantly love. And I’m a ménage girl myself, so the complicated relationship dynamics in the also upcoming Honeypot series (A MMF polyamorous coupling, in which the heroine also is a sex worker) made it another favorite.
Of course, one of my standalones, Edgeplay, will always have a huge spot in my heart, because it contains possibly the most complex, fucked up heroine I’ve ever written. That one was incredibly difficult to write, because it hit me so personally. At this moment, I’m not sure when that one will be published– as much because I may need a bit more time to make my peace with it, as because it’s just not quite ready to be shown. Edgeplay follows a woman who uses hardcore BDSM rape fantasies as a coping mechanism, often badly, to deal with her own trauma. To write that one, I had to lean in to a lot of my own unhappy coping mechanisms.
What erotic authors do you enjoy reading?
Lili St. Germain is amazing. I love how her work blends thriller, horror, and incredibly unlikeable antiheroes (And just as important, antiheroines) with an erotic edge. I also enjoy Suz de Mello- I got turned on to her work when we were in a collection together, and fell hard for her nuanced view on BDSM, and the realistic edge she used to portray it. I also greatly enjoy Tara Burns’ work. She’s not an erotica writer, persay, more a sex worker essayist. Some of her work can be titillating, some of it can be polarizing, but it’s brutally honest about the industry.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Depends on the project. In general, music, and to a lesser extent, photography. I’m a huge fashion nut and music nut, so I keep playlists for individual dancers, as well as shopping lists for costumes or makeup they’d like. And the overall feel in an image in a fashion editorial, or the processing on a cover image can add to it too. I’ve heard my stuff can sometimes be “very Lana Del Rey”, and I think that sums it up. She does the same thing, creating personas that intersect with visual language as well as her music. Artists like her, FKA Twigs, and Janelle Monae, who straddle the threshold between passive entertainment and performance art are hugely inspirational to me. I try to create that kind of experience for myself through my work, though there’s no way I can offer that to readers, aside from a handful of extras on my website, like the dancer playlists.
Do you have any unusual writing rituals?
Not really, honestly. It’s just another activity to me. I do the first draft, and once it’s finished, I send it to my kindle, go over it another 10-15 times noting tweaks, rewrite it incorporating said tweaks, resend it and then do the same thing again. I read as fast as I write, so I usually go for quantity to catch things.
Where’s your favourite place to write?
Well, not many options, since I don’t write on a laptop. I only have the one desktop, so my setting is somewhat limited. But that works for me; I have my pets all around, and if I need a break, I just scoop a kitten up and soak up a few feline cuddles. The only way it could be better would be if I could haul the whole setup out into my garden. But in the winter, it’s a moot point.
Who is your favourite character from one of your stories and why?
Tough one. I have several favorites– Malia and Lee, and Nina, Candy, and Vixen, Sugar. But they all have some commonalities. They’re people who are more damaged than the others, who are held back in some way from not just achieving some kind of happy ever after, but held back from what we could consider a healthy life. Whether it’s reactions to family issues, abuse or trauma, mental illness, poverty… They’re people who underscore the frictions I see in the world around me. I affectionately refer to them as my ‘lost boys.’ That seems to sum it up.
And they’re the hardest ones to write, because they make me question myself. Writing Edgeplay, the story that Nina appears in, was a punch to the gut that left me shaking for weeks after. She made sense to me, in a way that not all of my characters do. I talked a little bit about Edgeplay in one of the earlier questions.
Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?
Yep. My partner does. He doesn’t read everything I write, but he is helpful for planning and support. And I wouldn’t be writing without him.
What was your ideal career when you were a child?
Everything from archaeology to film score composition and orchestration. I’ve always cycled between my areas of interest and talents, and no one career felt like it could fulfil me.
How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
I write no matter what mood I’m in. When I am physically unable to (health problems), I read, reread, and make notes on rewrites. I work pretty much 24/7.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
Just keep writing. It’s my partner’s philosophy, and it’s served me well. I have hundreds of thousands of unpublished words in revision, and have rarely suffered from writers’ block for more than a day.
If you get writer’s block, how do you get around it?
I reread the work from the beginning, review my outlines, and pick it up at the end of what I had written. Usually that’s enough for me.
If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
Tough one. In general, I’m antisocial, so I’m not likely to become friends with any of them. And I don’t know that I could really say which ones would have the most interesting lives, outside the pages of a book. I’m sure they’ve all got some stories to tell and would be fun to have a drink with.
Which author, erotic or otherwise would you love to meet and why?
Another tough one. Writers are always such interesting people, and there’s many I’d enjoy a conversation with. I always hesitate on this kind of question since I know that if I ever did meet any of those writers, I’d never be able to look them in the face, having publicly outed myself as a groupie.
What’s your favourite genre within erotica and why?
I am a sucker for dark romance and erotica. I love a good antiheroine, and writing that explores the relationship between violence, sex, and psychology. The caveat for that is good writing. A lot of people can’t make it convincing, or realistic enough for me to believe the darkness. And I hate darkness for the sake of darkness. Some subject matter, too, like abuse, assault, can be downright offensive in the hands of an unskilled writer who doesn’t understand it. And getting something like that wrong can be awful for a reader, since there’s so many personal judgements and societal issues tied up in those events. You aren’t just writing something that readers will have a more difficult time identifying with, you’re feeding into a pattern that actually has a huge effect on readers who have that in their backgrounds. So people who pull that stuff off well have my admiration.
What are you working on at the moment?
Tough one. I write fast, like novel-in-a-week fast. So I cycle through projects really quickly, and have a lot of stuff in rewrites. At the moment, I’m drafting a new series, Eden’s Exiles, an erotic MC thriller. Which instalment could change by tomorrow, though, if I make my quota today.
In general, these are the series I’m writing:
Queen of Clubs: A series of novella-length standalones following the dancers at a strip club as they find romance and progress in their own time.
Rex Roderick, Sex Detective: This series has a fun, kind of porny tongue-in-cheek take on film noir. A collaboration with my man-beast. Follows a private investigator who attracts sensational, sexual cases.
Princess of Thieves: An erotic romantic suspense series following Anna, an emotionally disconnected cat burglar, as she takes on dangerous jobs and tries to avoid falling for anyone along the way.
Honeypot: An erotic thriller serial following a sex worker who is unwittingly drawn into intrigue and espionage.
Eden’s Exiles: An erotic thriller series following the members of the Eden’s Exiles motorcycle club, and their fierce patriarch.
Sex Drive: A scifi erotica series of novellas, cowritten with Michelle Browne. No one does alien sex like Michelle Browne. Though I’m sure she’d probably say the same after the Cthulhu-noir story I did, complete with sex scene, for one of her anthologies. If it tells you anything, that story was entirely predicated on the sentence “She had tentacles, in all the right places.” This series is mainly for fun, because we both have warped senses of humor and vivid imaginations.
Exposure: A sister series spinoff to Queen of Clubs, using the same novella standalone format, but following the lives and romances of independent nude models, photographers, and stylists.
What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed?
The whole thing is a challenge. I never saw myself as an intuitive writer or storyteller, so adjusting to going at it full throttle, not holding myself back, is an adjustment. I’d say I’ve succeeded, because I haven’t backed away from it yet.
What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?
A handful of the stories that have tackled difficult matter I don’t usually see tackled well, but that I’m happy with the treatment of the material in. Sugar, from Queen of Clubs (Several seasons ahead) is on this list, as is Edgeplay, and Inkubus and Reaper, two dark erotic fantasy titles to be published under the name K. de Long. Inkubus‘s romantic lead is a schizophrenic woman, which presented a lot of challenges, and that whole series deals pretty heavily with the ideas behind exploitation, abuse, consent. Very dark stuff.
For someone who doesn’t even like writing a diary or journal, being able to actually work through really dark themes and content on the page feels like a huge achievement.
I steeled myself, and tapped his shoulder. He jumped, his elbow knocking me back against the wall as he tumbled off the stool into me. In my platforms, I barely kept my footing. I had practiced walking in them for two hours after I bought them, and I had to guess that practice was the only reason I was still on my feet.
“Shit, shit, sorry. Are you okay?” He looked up at me as he got his feet back under him, and prepared to stand. His head was entirely too close to my hips in the tiny space, and I chuckled, imagining him as a giant spider preparing to tie me up. I loved awkward guys. Guys with rough edges, who were interesting to look at not because they were beautiful, but because they were unique. Under other circumstances, Kirk would have been right up my alley. Maybe literally in an alley.
The exotic dancers and employees of the Queen of Clubs walk a fine line, with only wits, beauty, and market savvy to keep them from toppling into the shark pit. Ride shotgun through lapdances, romance, and sexual awakenings. Don’t worry, these girls won’t ask what your hands are doing under the tip rail.
Cora, an adventurous student, finds herself auditioning for a stripping gig…and it comes with more than the asking price, including a very attractive DJ.
Queen of Clubs contains adult content, and is intended for mature readers. Each Queen of Clubs title is a standalone novella length work.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Katie de Long lives in the Pacific northwest, realizing her dream of being a crazy cat-lady. As a kid, Katie flagged the fade-to-blacks in every adult book she encountered, and when she began writing, she vowed to use cutaways sparingly. After all, that’s when the good stuff happens. And on a kindle, no one asks why there’s so many bookmarks in her library.
Stay in touch with Katie:
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/CSk3n
Make sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/10/vbt-queen-of-clubs-cora.html