Here’s an author interview from [intlink id=”248″ type=”post”]Kay Jaybee[/intlink].
Find out what she had to say…
- How did you start writing erotica?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I wrote my first play (about toys that came alive), when I was 8 years old, and have been making up stories and poems ever since.
I started to write erotica by accident. One day, almost six years ago, I was sat in a cafe just outside Aberdeen, and found myself scribbling some ideas for a kinky story down on a paper napkin (which had previously been wrapped around a particularly yummy Mars Bar scone).
When I was a student, I’d always disliked the poor quality of the stories in the porn magazines that knocked around the house, and a friend challenged me to write something better. I was far too shy at the time to take up his dare, but something about my mood over coffee that rainy day in Scotland must have sparked off my imagination, for the erotic ideas have been queuing up in my head ever since.
- What’s your favourite published work of yours and why?
I’m particularly fond of my first solo work The Collector (pub. Austin & Macauley, 2008). I worked on it for over two years, researching many of the stories myself (which was amazing fun). I was involved in nearly every stage of The Collector’s production, including the design of the cover, which I was determined, would be plain enough for its readers to be able to take anywhere, at anytime. There is something very sexy about being able to read erotica in secret in a public place!
- What erotic authors do you enjoy reading?
I like the work of a great many erotic authors, and their varying styles and specialties appeal to me at different times, depending on my mood.
I have recently read K D Grace’s excellent new novel, The Initiation of Ms Holly, and would recommend it to any lover of smut.
I frequently dip in and out of the stories and poems on the erotic web site www.oystersandchocolate.com. I just adore the wide variety of styles and subject matter the site covers, not to mention the quality of the authors they showcase, such as Jeremy Edwards and Donna George Storey, to name but two.
The first anthology of erotica I ever read was A Nin’s Delta of Venus, which I devoured at far too young an age. Then, when I was 19, I read my first Black Lace novel, Cassandra’s Conflict by F Alleyn. Something about the pull of Alleyn’s borderline S&M stories stayed with me, and I have no doubt that novel influenced by early work.
- Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I get inspiration from absolutely everywhere. Location is my main influence. I frequently find myself in shops, café’s, work storerooms, libraries, restaurants, train stations, and so on, working out what might happen there, how many people would be involved, and how to take their clothes off- or not… Sometimes it gets so bad that I’d really love to be able to turn my imagination off- just for a while; as long as I could be guaranteed it would turn back on again!
- Do you have any unusual writing rituals?
I guess I’m unusual in his day and age, in that I always write my stories in a notebook with my trusty biro. I also have to have coffee nearby – very nearby!
- Where’s your favourite place to write?
I simply can’t write at home. I can edit, and proof read at home, but the initial writing of a story draft has to happen in a coffee shop, with a large (make that enormous) black coffee to hand. I write every weekday morning, beginning the day in my favourite café in Devon, munching on their delicious toast and marmalade (and occasionally their home made bread pudding- which is to die for!), while I pen my smut. Once I’ve drunk them dry, I have a brief trip to the library, before going to another café for a top up of caffeine, before I sigh heavily and head off to my ‘proper’ job.
- Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?
Very few people know that I write erotica. My closest friends all absolutely love the idea. I must confess to experiencing a kick of satisfaction when I see the shocked look on someone’s face when I tell them what I do. There’s always that moment of uncertainty when they wonder if I’m joking or serious.
Once I have told someone, the questions are non stop- the first question the girls always ask is ‘where do you get the ideas from?’ The first question the boys always ask is, ‘do you write lesbian stuff’ quickly followed by, ‘how can you if you’re straight?’ In all cases I simply answer with a smile.
I was quite nervous about telling my husband, parents and brother about how I spend my mornings, but I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive family, and far from being shocked or appalled, they have encouraged me every step of the way.
- What was your ideal career when you were a child?
Rather predictably, I always wanted to be a writer. I still can’t believe it’s happened!! I get a massive high out of getting my work in print, whether it’s an individual story, a poem, or an entire book.
If I hadn’t given the writing a go, I’d be an archaeologist or medieval historian, working in a museum somewhere.
- What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
A work colleague, who is also an excellent (although frustratingly unpublished) sci-fi writer, told me how to avoid the perils of repeating the same words or phrases too often within a piece of work. I now, in accordance with his suggestion, have a standard list of words and phrases I’m prone to over using. Now, when a story is finished, I work through it to double check I haven’t continually repeated the word ‘suddenly’ or- my major pit fall,- the word ‘slightly’.
- If you get writer’s block when you’re writing, how do you get around it?
The only answer for me is to get some fresh air, and literally walk away from the story for a while. Nine times out of ten, I’ll return to my story an hour or two later, and the cogs will begin to turn again.
- What’s your favourite genre within erotica and why?
When it comes to writing erotica, I find bondage and submission the most interesting. The more toys the characters have to play with, the more I can play with the story itself. I also prefer to write (and read) about threesomes or moresomes- the more limbs to contort the better!
- What are you working on at the moment?
As is my habit, I am working on more than one project at the moment. I have just completed a proposal for my next book (I don’t dare give details yet- just in case it all goes pear shaped), and I’m writing as many short stories as humanly possible before Christmas, ready for the influx of calls for story submissions in 2011. Yesterday I finished a straight tale about a very unusual cupboard under the stairs; today I started a short lesbian piece about a woman obsessed with a painting…
- What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed? What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?
Just getting published in the first place was the biggest challenge ever. Tuning into exactly what a publisher is looking for, and then, what an individual editor prefers is a major task.
I was very lucky to encounter the site, www.oystersandchocolate.com fairly early on after I began to write erotica. They kindly took my naughty poem ‘Regrets’ (http://www.oystersandchocolate.com/Poetry/799/Regrets.aspx) back in Sept 2005, and the editors, Jordan and Sam, have been great supporters of my work ever since, for which I will be eternally grateful.
At the same time as Oysters and Chocolate took me on, the wonderful Violet Blue read my story, ‘Jen and Tim,’ and liked it enough to suggest a few changes, and gave me tips on how to make my stories less contrived.
Violet stuck with me and my story, and published ‘Jen and Tim’ in her anthology Lips Like Sugar (Cleis Press, 2006).
Since that time, I’ve had over 60 individual stories and poems published. Every time I have a piece accepted, it feels like a major achievement. I know that sounds a bit twee, but it’s true. I really hope I never stop getting the buzz of sheer elation that comes when an editor emails me to say they like my work!