Here’s an author interview from [intlink id=”802″ type=”post”]Victoria Janssen[/intlink].
Find out what she had to say…
- How did you start writing erotica?
I started writing it to amuse my friends in college. I didn’t start out writing explicit sex, only sexual tension, but when it turned out I was good at that sort of writing, I decided to see what I could do. I really enjoyed the feedback I received!
I wrote some fanfiction for paper fanzines, and eventually decided to submit to paying markets, as by that time I had made friends with some professional writers.
I sent my first story, “Water Music,” off to an anthology edited by Mary Anne Mohanraj called Aqua Erotica. Alas, it did not sell. Later, when I saw the anthology, I realized why; my story was considerably smuttier and less literary than what was chosen.
So, first rejection in hand, I went to Cecilia Tan (whom I knew already through a friend who’d sold to her) and asked her where I should send it. Cecilia suggested Best Lesbian Erotica, edited by Tristan Taormino. I can’t remember when I mailed the submission, but it was probably the winter of 1999. Tristan bought the story, and from then on I considered myself a professional writer.
I spent several years honing my skills at short stories before I attempted a novel. Selling short stories enabled me to establish a “track record” which helped me make valuable contacts among fellow writers, editors, and agents. Short fiction also provided me with experience in writing to spec (answering calls for submissions), dealing with editors, reading contracts, locating reprint opportunities, and discovering the range of my writing skills.
- What erotic authors do you enjoy reading?
Emma Holly was my first favorite. I still love her books; I especially enjoy her sense of fun, and the way she mingles science fiction and fantasy in some of her novels.
Kate Pearce is another favorite, because the characters in her Regency historicals are not always completely heterosexual. I appreciate the variety!
- Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I often draw inspiration from calls for submissions! They spark my imagination as I think how I would address the topic. Also, sometimes I write in reaction to something I’ve read.
My erotica is not meant to represent my own life. I aim more to write fun stories that might just happen to include a little social criticism.
- Do you have any unusual writing rituals?
If I’m having a difficult time getting started, I often play a card game on my laptop, usually Free Cell. I’m only allowed to play if I’m really and truly stuck.
When I start writing for the day, I tend to begin by reading a little of what I wrote the previous session, easing into the writing process by editing or at least reminding myself of the point where I left off.
- Where’s your favourite place to write?
I tend to prefer coffee shops or other public places. If I’m at home, I’m more likely to be distracted by things that need doing, like laundry.
These days, I almost exclusively write on my netbook rather than my bulkier, aged laptop. Occasionally, I write by hand in a notebook, but usually I reserve that method for notes.
- Who is your favourite character from one of your stories and why?
I could never choose. I love them all in different ways. I have a difficult time writing villains for that reason, and tend to go too far in the EVIL direction.
- What was your ideal career when you were a child?
I wanted to dig things up, like Neanderthal skeletons and woolly mammoths. I also wanted to be a writer, but in a very vague sort of way. I didn’t have any idea how hard it was to be a writer!
- How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
I write whether I’m in the mood or not! But a good way to inspire myself is to read. It doesn’t matter what. All my reading feeds my writing.
- What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
“Don’t be afraid to let yourself write shit.”