Here’s an interview with Vanessa de Sade.
Take it away, Vanessa…
- How did you start writing erotica?
I started writing erotica because the stories I wanted to read just weren’t out there. I wanted to read women’s erotica where ladies like me, that is, over thirty-five and of a certain size, got all of the action and it wasn’t really available a year ago with the exception of some sexy fat-girl-rom-com stories.
One of the first works of erotica I ever read was Nancy Friday’s Women on Top, and I was struck by the fact that people’s real sexual experiences were far sexier than the, often bland, fantasies that they turned them into. I didn’t want to do that with my work, so I started writing stories with a little grit and darkness in them, I didn’t want to turn out Harlequin romances with hard-ons.
I really think that what I call rubber-doll-erotica (where everyone is blonde, tanned and hairless) is the realm of male fantasy and women – if they’re honest – prefer a touch of realism. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my stories are not cinema verity erotica, and in real life people certainly don’t jump into each other’s beds nearly as easily as they do in my fiction, but I find it really hot to create stories where the heroine has a few lumps and bumps and some hair on her body.
- What’s your favourite published work of yours and why?
I like Big Cat Circus and Step Mom best, because, in the case of Big Cat Circus, it’s full of period atmosphere and weird night-creature characters; and, in Step Mom, because of its gothic fairy tale atmosphere, but most of all because I love the heroines. They’re big and busty and extremely self-confident and are the kind of women I want to be.
- What erotic authors do you enjoy reading?
Recently I’ve been enjoying the Violet Blue anthologies and Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Books.
- Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Real life. When I see people that intrigue me I think, wow, what would she look like naked? What would he look like with a hard-on? And just what would those two do if I put them together? Nearly all my characters started as strangers who caught my attention.
- Do you have any unusual writing rituals?
Not really, but I’d prefer it if the cat didn’t keep sitting on my keyboard like she’d doing today!
- Where’s your favourite place to write?
My office with the door shut. Sometimes I get quite involved in a scene and want to, er, ‘participate’ while I’m writing…
- Who is your favourite character from one of your stories and why?
Babe, the circus fat lady in Big Cat Circus. Not just because she’s big, like me, but because she embraces all the shit that life throws at her and keeps on going, plus knows how to handle a cock when it’s presented to her.
- Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?
My partner knows but no-one else, especially not my kids. He likes it and keeps thinking up new situations for me to write about, usually at inappropriate moments when he should be concentrating on other things.
- What was your ideal career when you were a child?
- How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
Usually I’m in the mood before I sit down but sometimes if I’ve had a very busy day and need to unwind I get out my inspiration scrap book. This is a huge collection of images that have caught my eye and ranges from hardcore internet porn to pictures of silent film stars – incredibly sexy people – but also includes pictures of places that talk to me and bits of fabric and textures. I’m also under contract to produce at least one novelette a month, so that’s a good motivator too!
- What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
I never read writers’ guides or tips. Ever.
- If you get writer’s block, how do you get around it?
I’m not bragging, but what’s writers’ block? There’s so much to write about there aren’t enough hours in the day. OK, sometimes what I write is garbage and it has to be trashed, but I never have any problems putting words on the page.
- If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
Babe from Big Cat Circus again. We could dress up and go out on the pull together!
- Which author, erotic or otherwise, would you love to meet and why?
Virginia Woolf, Collette, Simone de Beauvoir, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath. The list is endless. All women who pushed boundaries and demanded to be recognised as themselves, not what men wanted them to be.
- What’s your favourite genre within erotica and why?
Rubenesque and/or lesbian Rubenesque. I just love big ladies and love dressing them up and then stripping them naked. (I also love posing naked in the mirror, sorry, does that make me a narcissist?) I love to have my heroines appreciated by men, of course, and I really love describing men’s naked arousal when they’re looking at my girls in their underwear or in their birthday suits (and there’s just no limit to the variety of cocks out there, is there!) but sometimes I get antsy and want to keep my girls for myself, so I let them meet other like-minded ladies for fun times.
- What are you working on at the moment?
Just finished a sexy parody of the Wizard of Oz for an anthology and I’m starting another Taboo Quickie novelette about ladies making their own porn.
- What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed?
I think starting to write in my late thirties and getting published was my biggest challenge. As to my success, judge for yourself!
- What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?
Every new story is my biggest achievement until the next one!
Vanessa de Sade