Toes tingling and pulse racing, it’s my delight to welcome erotic audio fiction legends Dayv and Rose Caraway, of the Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast.
Sexy-voiced Big Daddy Dayv is partner-in-crime to author, editor and podcaster Rose. He is occasional narrator, joint interviewer, and the man ‘behind the scenes’, juggling audio engineering and creating graphics. As he likes to joke, he is ‘Ben’ to Rose’s ‘Jerry’, bringing texture to her exotic erotica ice-cream.
Rose, how does it make you feel to read erotic fiction aloud?
When I narrate erotic fiction I feel entrusted, alive and connected. I feel like a conduit. Early in the morning, after I’ve had my coffee and read the latest news, I listen to my neighborhood. If there’s nobody mowing, weed whacking or working on their car, then it’s safe to hop over to the other computer in my office and switch on the recording equipment. I check levels, make sure that sound is good and then, I close my studio door. I am in my space, my portal. Ready to take passengers on a journey.
Narrating erotica makes me feel complete. Believe me, I know how silly that sounds, but Erotica completes me. I feel sexy, honored, and without a doubt—empowered. That goes without saying. But, honestly? Narrating makes me feel part of something bigger than myself. A movement. I’ve never felt part of a movement before. When listeners hear me narrate a story, I hope they can hear the author’s passion and mine. We are communicating—communing.
I feel integral.
I feel that audio erotica is the antidote to the sleeping potion we’ve been under. With every story I narrate, that spell begins to lift; lust is no longer a hidden dark secret within us. The moment I speak the words, I’m removing another layer of shame. The author begins this process when they put pen to paper. Together, we’re helping people awaken, at their own pace. Each story narrated acknowledges sexuality, our own and others’, because it’s being read aloud. Those words want to be heard, making us stronger, so that we can better express and own our sexuality: we become fucking validated, man!
What’s the most common feedback you receive from listeners regarding the work of KMQ and their enjoyment of erotic fiction?
Rose: Ever more women are finding the empowerment to get in touch and say thank you for the KMQ Podcast. That was lacking in the past, with most feedback coming from male listeners. Women are responding to me, as a woman, writing about sex. It’s liberating for them to know that it’s normal to think about sex, and to sometimes want sex down and dirty and fast. Men and women are really far more similar than we realize.
Dayv: We’ve received thousands of emails, and 70% of our email feedback is from men, mostly thanking us. People often say that the KMQ Podcast has helped them communicate with their partner. Some even say that our work has ‘saved their marriage’, helping open dialogue. We’ve been moved by those messages. Erotic fiction invites conversation in a way that no other medium can.
Rose: It gives me goosebumps thinking about this. One woman told us that our show had reignited her sexual desire, and inspired her to take steps. That’s what erotic fiction can do: it gives us a comfortable place from which to explore and understand ourselves better.
What would you like to see explored through erotic fiction?
Rose: I began writing erotic fiction because I wanted to show what happened ‘when the lights went out’. There are still so many occasions where film and television and fiction don’t show the sexual element, almost as if we can’t handle it. It makes me feel cheated, and I want to address that. If we’re to believe that a male character is aroused and about to have sex, show us an erect cock.
Dayv: I enjoy so many themes and angles in this genre, but I do know that I’d like to see more sci-fi with erotic elements. I think there is still some way to go before erotic elements become more visible in ‘mainstream’ fiction, and this would also be great to see.
Rose: In writing, I like to try something new and I’m willing to go to the edge, exploring the bowels of eroticism, looking into the driving forces. I want erotic elements to make the story more meaningful. I think it can work with all genres. Humour can also be part of the storytelling process.
Dayv: I’d like to see people become more accepting of erotic content in books. We’ve come a long way in accepting ‘nudity’ in mainstream culture, no longer equating it only with sexual intention. We need the same degree of maturity about erotic fiction.
Rose, what inspires you to write fiction with ‘erotic elements’?
Rose: I’m creating a place for my erotic thoughts and dreams. This cements them into existence, as if giving birth to a new scenario. Writers have multiple personalities, which we explore through our words. Everyone should try writing, or get behind a microphone and record their thoughts. It gives you the opportunity to examine your thoughts, and to reflect on your motivations. It’s also energizing to examine new angles. When I read something by another author that’s inspirational or compelling, there’s magic there.
Dayv, how has your perception of women been shaped by erotic fiction?
Dayv: I’ve always liked women, and was raised in an all-women household. I have a deep respect for women and I hope that shows.
I’ve become more aware of women as sexual beings through reading erotica. There’s a common perception that women don’t have the same sexual drive as men. Historically, men have been more free to express sexual desire. Erotica shows that women do think about sex outside of monogamous relationships and ‘romance scenarios’.
Rose: And that women’s sexuality isn’t just one dimensional.
Dayv: It’s also made me more comfortable with myself sexually and it’s brought even more dialogue to my relationship with Rose. We were good before, but we’re even better now. We talk to each other more openly about everything now, not just sex.
What are you offering listeners?
Rose: I want to bring a wide range of stories to listeners, so that they feel not only inspired but comfortable, and so that they feel encouraged to communicate and be fulfilled. Foremost I want to break down notions of sex being ‘bad’.
Long term, I want to put erotica on the map much more boldly, and make it easier to find. You have to jump through hoops to find it on retail platforms. The more writers out there using erotic elements effectively, the more visible it should become. We mustn’t be afraid or ashamed.
Dayv: By listening to erotic fiction, we’re encouraging people to feel they have ‘permission’ to be sexual. It’s more socially acceptable for men to have casual sex but it’s not so usual for men to be encouraged to explore emotional aspects of sex. The reverse tends to be true for women of course. Erotica gives men ‘permission’ to have an inner dialogue with themselves, and with their partner. This is something that porn does not; it doesn’t offer sexual language for dialogue. It doesn’t aid communication with a partner. If anything, porn can create barriers, as women especially sometimes feel ‘betrayed’ by their partner watching (and masturbating to) pornography.
Meanwhile, men aren’t generally reading erotica because it’s hidden in the romance section.
Incidentally, when men contact us with requests it tends to be for ‘cuckold’ stories or multiple partners. Meanwhile, we found women responded well to the ‘high tension’ in Raziel Moore’s ‘Close Enough‘
Rose: I like to be challenged, and I think our listeners do too.
Erotic fiction can shed light on so many topics, but we should, at the same time, remember that it’s not real. It’s a fictional space from which we can explore.
How have you navigated ‘disapproval’ of your work?
Dayv: We have to be honest to do this right. We’ve thrown everything into this and we’re so proud. If people ask, we tell them, otherwise I just say that I produce audiobooks. Plus, I weigh 250lb. I’m a big fella, so nobody gives me shit! Just joking! Our family members, my mum, dad and sister, have been supportive. My life has drastically changed in the last five years and it’s been great. Our family members have had their eyes opened, in the best way. They’ve seen that taking risks can be good.
Rose: Absolutely! Mostly, I’ve experienced nothing but support online. The exceptions have been from a handful of strict, religious men. As I say, I’m all for promoting a positive attitude towards sex, encouraging people to realise that it’s not something evil for which you will go to hell.
Rose, do you consciously use your voice in a particular way for reading erotic fiction?
I try to read honestly, by remembering that I do have listeners with me. I want them to hear the pulse of the story as it was intended and not be distracted by over-performance. You can tell when a narrator is enjoying what they’re reading, as their voice disappears behind the story. Every once in a while, you can hear them smiling.
I don’t know if I’ve said this to anyone other than Dayv, but there have been some really special moments in my studio. Some people call it ‘being in the zone’. I think of it as a kind of ‘conductivity’. It may be because I’m a writer that I feel kinship; something special happens with certain stories…
While I’m narrating, every so often I’ll feel as if I’ve slipped into the author’s writing room. I’m there, looking over their shoulder, watching them write. There’s darkness all around us, a black void I can’t see beyond, but I know that the writer can. The writer—always dressed in a black suit—sits in a simple wooden chair, at a matching wooden desk. There’s paper on the desk and it’s illuminated, becoming the light in the room. The writer is listening to their Muse and I’m listening to the scratch of their pen on the paper. I can feel their words filling my throat.
When a story is well-edited, without confusion as to who’s speaking, no awkwardly repeated phrases, no vague intent, no unnecessary or overly complicated action, no distracting plot side-steps, and no rambling sentences, I can lose my breath at all the right moments. The story tells itself. Unflinching and honest.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Rose: It’s good to look at your intent. Whatever that is, give it your undivided attention. Remember that it’s ridiculous to imagine that you’ll become a millionaire.
Spend time on your skills and, when you believe you’re ready for someone to offer feedback, pass it to them to read and critique. Choose someone you trust, with a good eye for detail. it’s impossible for you to see everything in your own work. Do read aloud to yourself too, as part of the editing process (or have a friend read to you).
As a quick aside, make sure that your story works equally well in audio as in print. We are an ‘on the move’ people, with most of our audience listening at work, or at home while they do their chores. They prefer the privacy and intimacy of audio. I love narrating, speaking directly to listeners.
Dayv: Audio is a great way to access male fans of erotica particularly… and I want to remind writers that there’s a lot more to erotic fiction than writing romance. Remember that when thinking about potential male readers/listeners.
Rose: Read and write. Write and read, everything you possibly can. Don’t focus on marketing and social media to the detriment of your writing craft. If you want to make money, spend time on creating good erotica. Don’t be afraid to fail. Write bravely. ‘Kill’ your baby and birth a new one if need be, but don’t stop. Ultimately, breathe through your ink. Be so good that you cannot be ignored.
More from Dayv in this article, on Men Reading Erotic Fiction.