Please welcome with me our spotlight author of the week, Judy.
“I’ve been reading erotica since my early teens when I had to shoplift it from local bookstores as they wouldn’t sell it to me, and even if they did I’d have been too embarrassed to buy it. It was a lose-lose situation. Erotica has opened so many doors for me as a woman. It inspired me to experience and savour many different sexual scenarios and those, in turn, helped me to discover many previously hidden facets of my true sexual nature.
There came a point where I just had to get one of the major sexual experiences of my life down on paper, and the result was A Bouquet of Gardenias, my only novel to date. Being based on true events it was sometimes difficult to write, but I felt a tremendous amount of relief and satisfaction when it was finished. Even more satisfying has been the fabulous critical acclaim it has received. It excites me that my writing can excite other people.
When I read erotica, I like the sex to be frequent, kinky and rough. And that’s the way I like to write it. I want my readers to feel what the characters, especially the women, feel in my stories. I want to express their lust, their forbidden desires, their depraved appetites and their enthusiastic enjoyment of all types of sexuality. I live in London and love the shops. I’m married.
“I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.” – Anaïs Nin.”
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What inspired you to first start writing? Is your motivation to write now different or the same as before?
“I have to say that, so far, I’ve only written one novel, A Bouquet of Gardenias. This was written over a period of almost two years and I put everything into it. As it was based on my own experience, I wanted to treat it as if I would never write anything else, hence the intensity that some people have discovered when reading it. I’ve read a lot of erotica and found that most of it covers the same ground. I wanted to do something groundbreaking; something that stood out in its genre.”
Writers are projected as loners or introverts. Is this true for you?
“I’m probably more of an introvert than an extrovert. This depends upon who I’m with and where I am, which I’m sure is true of most people. Unlike some people I know, however, I have no problem with being on my own and can do without the company of other people.”
What genre do you like to write in? Why?
“I only write erotica at present. I have no interest in writing anything else, though I’m pretty widely read. I was uncertain whether to write in that genre at first, as there seemed to be so many others doing it and I was a little afraid of the competition, I guess. But I decided that I was writing about something based on real experience, so that would hopefully give it some validity, and make it exciting to read at the same time. I reckoned that people were sick of billionaires and all the rest of it.”
How often do you write and what schedule to you like to keep?
“I have no schedule whatsoever. I write when I feel like it. Writing this sort of explicit erotica is very intense, and you need to have a lot of free time to do it. I lead a very busy life and have to cram writing into it when there’s nothing else to do.”
What is the easiest part of writing to you?
“I find that hard to answer. None of it is easy. Sometimes it flows, sometimes it doesn’t. I actually abandoned A Bouquet of Gardenias for almost five months. It was a very complicated book to write in many ways.”
Can you share any tips on inspiring other writers to pursue their dreams?
“The only thing I can say to other writers is to keep at it. Don’t worry about what you’re doing. Nobody but you is seeing it. Once you’re happy with it, it’s ready. That’s all you can hope for. Also, read as much as you can in as many genres as you can get your hands on.”
What is your favorite thing about being a writer? Why?
“My favourite thing about being a writer is discovering what’s inside your head. Things you didn’t know were there. I would never have dreamt that I could have filled up over five hundred pages. I wasn’t aiming for something that long (I didn’t know that most erotica was nowhere near that length) and was surprised that I could do something like that. I just wrote down what had happened to me and it filled up page after page after page.”
Who would you compare your work to? What differences set you apart?
“I can’t really compare myself to any other authors in the erotica genre. My favourite erotica author has always been Anaïs Nin, but I would never compare myself to her and her writing style is totally different to mine. If you don’t know her work, check her out on Amazon. It’s all brilliant stuff.”
Does a bad review affect your writing?
“Well, allowing the public to review your work is very egalitarian and so far, most of my reviews on Amazon have been very good indeed. Some not so good, but in those cases, I get a feeling that the reader didn’t quite realize what he/she was getting themselves into by reading my novel!”
What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
“When I was a child, I wanted to be a nurse. I ended up being a science specialist, but not in medicine. “
What book have you read that has been the most life changing?
“The Unknowable Gurdjieff by Margaret Anderson. I was aware that the writer P.L. Travers (who wrote the Mary Poppins books) was a lifelong follower of Gurdjieff and that piqued my interest. I’m not a rabid fan, but I read that book when I was about eleven, and parts of it made quite an impact on me.”
Are you working on anything right now? If so, what can you share?
“I’m working on bits and bobs. I don’t think my next book will be as long as a Bouquet of Gardenias. I was thinking more of a collection of novella-length pieces. I have a few completed, but still, have a long way to go. Don’t hold your breath!”
Who is in your support system? How do they keep you motivated?
“I have no support system whatsoever. No one knows that I’m the author of A Bouquet of Gardenias apart from my husband. It has to be a secret as it’s so autobiographical. Once I knew that no one would ever know it was me, I could write without inhibition. It would be a different book if I had friends giving me advice. I think their advice would be ‘Are you mad?? Don’t write this!!! What if people find out it’s you!!! Are you a pervert?’. I’m a respectable married woman! If you told people I’d written this book and that it was based on a real ménage-à-trois I’d experienced, they wouldn’t believe you in a million years.”
Do you keep a blog or a journal? How does it help you as a writer?
“No blogs, no journals. Don’t have the time or interest. I never kept a diary when I was young for the same reasons.”
Do you have any daily mantras? What do you tell yourself to keep your inspiration alive?
“No mantras. I just listen to my inner slut and start writing.”
What is one thing you want people to know about you as a writer? A person?
“As I said in question 13, I don’t want anyone to know anything about me. They’ll get a good idea of what I’m like from the book and that’s more than enough. I’m aware that there a lot of writers out there who want to be personalities and give their opinions on this and that, but I’m not one of them. As a writer, I just hope people think I’ve done a good job. In erotica, that means that I’ve turned them on sexually.”
What are your career goals?
“I don’t have any career goals, really. I’ve never been that way inclined.”
How will you handle fame if/when you reach that level? How do you think it will change your writing?
“I don’t seek fame, so won’t have to handle it. No one knew who Pauline Réage (The Story of O) was when her book came out, and it doesn’t seem that it bothered her too much.”
What advice would you give your younger self about writing?
“If I was talking to my younger self, I’d tell her to read much more and get more advanced knowledge of grammar (this wasn’t too essential in the scientific route I took). I didn’t start reading seriously until I was about twenty-five and started reading to kill the boredom of travel on the London Underground on the way to work.”
Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?
“Wow! An autobiography would be pretty steamy; perhaps a little too steamy. I’ve done a lot of things, some of which I’d like to forget, others which I can’t forget. But an autobiography would defeat the purpose of my writing, which is total honesty and a lack of inhibition.”
How did you celebrate the launch of your book?
“I didn’t really celebrate it at all. It just came out. I know a lot of writers make a big thing about this, but I’m not one of them.”
If given the chance, what author would you interview? What is the most important question you would ask?
“I’d like to interview Anaïs Nin. I’d like to ask her how she got the inspiration for her stories and how much of them she’d experienced in real life. I’d ask her about her lovers, famous and not so famous.”
Have you experienced writer’s block? How do you handle it?
“I don’t know if I had writer’s block with A Bouquet of Gardenias. Writer’s exhaustion, maybe. If you read it, you’ll realize why. It was a very physical book to write in many ways. Ask any erotica writer and they’ll probably tell you the same thing. That’s all you’re getting!”
What would you tell others who are considering traditional/self-publishing? Any advice?
“Advice? I don’t know what I’m doing really, and I’m just making it up as I go along. A Bouquet of Gardenias was published in February 2016 and shortly before Christmas 2018, it was at its highest Amazon sales ranking ever. I just keep plugging away on Twitter. Self-publishing over traditional publishing? In my case, there was no choice. There is no way on earth that any traditional publisher would have taken on A Bouquet of Gardenias. No way at all. Fifty years ago, a book like mine would simply not have existed.”
What do you want to be remembered for as a writer? A person?
“I want people to say ‘Somewhere, out there, there’s a woman who did all those things in that very well-written, red-hot, explicit erotic novel. I wonder what she’s like. I wonder if I’ve actually met her!’ “
Thank you, Judy!