My tutor at Cambridge gave me a book by Georges Bataille called Eroticism –a study of taboo, transgression, sacrifice, orgy, mysticism – and the erotic. The first sentence is: 'Eroticism, it may be said, is assenting to life to the point of death.' I was hooked. I started reading Anaïs Nin, wrote some short stories that were dreadful and then wrote The Secret Life of Girls. I couldn't get it published because there was little erotica. I put it in a drawer, started again, and went back to it after publishing A Girl's Adventure – the happiest day of my life. So far.
Nothing beats that first publication, does it? Have you noticed changes in your writing as you publish more novels?
I am trying all the time to SHOW not TELL, constantly looking at each word and deciding whether or not it is the right word and whether or not it is necessary at all. I cut, cut, cut. In spite of the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, I am not trying to emulate it, but, on the contrary, I am becoming more literary, more philosophical. The erotic genre should have a philosophical element and this is what I am beginning to explore.
I whole-heartedly agree. There is a lot of psychology as well as philosophy in my erotica. I really try to get into how people think about sex, not just having sex. I noticed your novel titles all have 'girl' in them. Is that a theme that connects them or just a coincidence?
The novels are not a series. It started as a coincidence, but I now think of the five books as The Girl Quartet and will not use 'girl' in future titles. Future characters will be women.
Ah, rite of passage. Is that a symbol of yourself as a writer as well? *wink* How long does it take to write a novel from first page to publishing?
You've been at this a while then (longer than me!). What made you choose Xcite books? Are you happy with their work?
My first two books were with Nexus, the company sold to Random House and I went to Xcite, where I have been very happy. It is a lively, dynamic set up and the editor gives me complete freedom. Last year, we attended the Erotic Show at London's Olympia, where I signed my books for live buyers, the first time that has happened in my life.
*blushes at her poor research* I've never signed either. I hope I wouldn't be too intimidated! You've published a non-fiction book, The Fifty Shades of Grey Phenomena. What made you want to go non-fiction?
There was such a publicity explosion with the trilogy, I read the books and realized EL James did make an important breakthrough: she took romantic fiction and added the erotic, where erotica is usually the reverse – hardcore action with the merest sprinkling of romance. I thought this was worth exploring. There is also that temptation for writers to write about writing.
I avoid it at all costs. LOL. Actually I do. I don't feel qualified to talk about it, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Okay, so based on the book: E.L. James or the Marquis de Sade. You can only read one. Which do you choose?
Marquis de Sade.
And if you want to know why, leave a comment and ask!! (She actually didn't give me an answer to why, so we need to badger Chloe.) Find her on Facebook.