Here’s an author interview with Albina Nahar. Take it away, Albina…
- How did you start writing erotica?
My path to writing erotica was very unique. As an actress I had appeared in the Cinemax television series LINGERIE, and then was one of the leads in the erotic cult movie SWEET PRUDENCE AND THE EROTIC ADVENTURE OF BIGFOOT. After some initial awkwardness I really enjoyed doing these projects, and considered them to be acting out erotic fantasies. I want to point out that the sex is all simulated in those projects – they are erotica, not pornography.
In the same breath I’d been writing film and theatre projects as part of my curriculum – I have degrees in Theatre Arts and psychology from Toronto University. Writing was something I found creatively fulfilling, almost more than acting.
After SWEET PRUDENCE was released I was amazed at how many women really enjoyed the film, in part because they could see that the cast was enjoying themselves. Then I sort of stumbled upon the huge number of erotic EBooks that was written be women, for women and thought, hey, maybe this is something to explore.
I mentioned that to the director of SWEET PRUDENCE, suggesting that he write a follow-up book, but he turned around and said, “Well, why don’t you write a book?”
Since I knew the two main characters so well it was an interesting opportunity to take the ball and run with it. Knowing the characters took some of the fear out writing my first book, and allowed their voices to flow. The film’s director encouraged me to be creative and not worry about what anyone else, including him thought.
My second book THE KEYHOLE is an entirely original concept, without the crazy humor. I think writing SEDUCED BY THE SAUCERMEN gave me the confidence to make that leap.
- What’s your favorite published work of yours and why?
Having only done two (with a third in the works) it would be kind of shortsighted to declare a favorite. How about saying, “the next one, because that’s always the most exciting.”
- What erotic authors do you enjoy reading?
Cerys du Lys is a personal favorite for several reasons. First being that she wrote a number of humorous erotic books, which gave me the courage to be funny. Secondly she moves from genre to genre so smoothly it’s inspiring. And finally, when I was in the midst of writing SEDUCED I sent her an email. She replied so quickly, offering me encouragement as well as expert insights into the world of EBooks. I can’t thank her enough. That kind of generosity is rare and wonderful.
- Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Until recently I was a university student, so I approach building stories the same way I would write an academic paper- research and study. My second book THE KEYHOLE revolves around an underground sex club (or Lifestyle Club), which there are several of in Toronto. So I made some calls, and interviewed owners and members, slowly building up my background information. And yes, I did attend a club, but didn’t participate. So when I describe Debra’s first night visiting a club it is very much from life. Now I’m delving into the fantasy world so I am immersing myself in medieval history. So if you want to chat about the War of the Roses, I’m your gal. So I guess my inspiration is slow and methodical… kind of boring to people I suppose.
- Do you have any unusual writing rituals?
The most unusual thing is that there is no rhyme or reason. I’ll suddenly stop what I’m doing and start scribbling. Then I notice six hours have passed. I work with piles of yellow note pads that have little rhyme or reason to them. I also have a bad habit of switching to Hindi mid paragraph and switching back to English a few pages later. It makes transcribing my stuff a bit confusing.
- Where’s your favorite place to write?
A sunny beach in Cuba, but unfortunately that’s not available so I have a nice area in my condo… or lying in bed with my pen and yellow pad.
- Who is your favorite character from one of your stories and why?
Well I suppose it’s the main character in SEDUCED BY THE SAUCEREMEN – Sweet Prudence. In the film actress Angie Bates played Prudence and has become a dear friend of mine. Angie has a very unique voice onscreen and in person and she always exudes the same warmth and hyper energy as Prudence. So when I write that character I instantly hear her voice in my head and it makes me smile. It’s like spending hours with a close friend.
- Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?
Well due to my acting career it was kind of difficult to hide my involvement in erotica… thank you IMDB! Now I was born in Bangladesh and raised in India and the UAE, and my upbringing was very traditional. So going into erotica was quite a shocking move. I’ve been honest with everyone and I they seem to have accepted it. What was it Dr Suess said? “It’s mind over matter, and those who mind don’t matter.” I think they prefer me writing words to being in the films. Overall my family is supportive and loving… the best part of my life.
- What was your ideal career when you were a child?
I wanted to be one of those glamorous Bollywood actresses adored by millions. I did pursue acting and modeling and I was even a Miss Universe finalist (another Miss Universe gone bad!!). But coming from a conservative, traditional family I also had to complete my education, which I just did by getting my degree in psychology. I take a lot more pride in getting my degree or writing a book than being in a pageant. But the free clothes were nice.
- How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
Initially it was a huge build up, feeling like if I didn’t sit down and write ten pages I was a failure. Now, after finishing two books that anxiety is gone. So the mood comes over me naturally because I feel confident. I won’t lie though; some good sex helps get me in the mood to.
- What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
Why aren’t you writing? That’s the best tip you can get.
- If you get writer’s block when you’re writing, how do you get around it?
I shift to something else like researching a subject or editing the text on another writing project. Someone said you have about 4-5 productive, creative hours of writing in you every day but once you’re on a roll the other related work is always there to shift to. So now, even if I don’t accomplish something creative I can still get hours of crucial work done.
- If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
Well I could say Sweet Prudence, but Angie Bates already exists so there’s no need. I think my lead character Debra, from THE KEYHOLE inspires me the most. I love the fact that she is so creative and fearless. She’s willing to leap into anything.
- Which author, erotic or otherwise would you love to meet and why?
Well, don’t forget I grew up in a different culture, so one of my idols would be Munshi Premchand, a wonderful Hindi novelist. His work was so honest it was very inspiring.
- What’s your favourite genre within erotica and why?
I am dipping my toe in all of them, so that remains to be seen. I certainly loved the farcical aspects of SEDUCED BY THE SAUCERMEN. It’s something you would never be allowed to do in traditional publishing. THE KEYHOLE is more traditional erotica, but still pushes the edge and has some characters I love spending time with.
One of the joys of erotica is that you can try almost anything. I did some ghostwriting to warm up and within a week was writing billionaire/werewolf/BBW stories… where else can you do such crazy mash-ups? You should embrace the craziness of this wonderful genre.
- What are you working on at the moment?
Well, clearly I’ve lost my mind because I’m creating an erotic fantasy series, which I’m sure people will say “Ala Game of Thrones,” But it is very different and unique. There are identical twin sisters battling for a throne, a former slave in love with the princess, intelligent dinosaurs forming their own society, demons that want to take over the mortal world, plenty of dry humor… oh, and lots of hot erotic love triangles. Right now the first book consists of about twenty pages of notes in my tiny handwriting. It’s a challenging piece to wrap my head around. I may start work and say, “Oh lord, what have I done?”
- What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed? What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?
The biggest challenge was the first book- the process of starting and finishing it. That includes the exciting creative parts, right through the painful grammar rodeo and endless copyediting. If you can get through all that, which most people can’t, you’re in business. I’m very proud of that.