Author Influences : Krissy Kneen

krissy kneen author uncertain grace  

Today, I welcome Krissy Kneen. Although now focusing on fiction writing, she has previously written for theatre, for film and for television, and has directed documentaries. Inventive and provocative, she’s written across a range of genres, including erotica, science fiction, horror, memoir, and poetry.

Interested early on in Theatre of the Absurd, she tells us that ‘the obsession morphed into my love of surrealist novels’.

An enduring theme in her work is ‘coming to terms with being an outsider, finding a voice, finding other outsiders, and forming community at the margins’. Krissy explains, “In everything I write, there’s a longing for family and community. People say we only ever have one story to tell and that we tell it over and over in different ways. I really believe this is true. My latest novel, An Uncertain Grace is no exception.”

Badlands remains her favourite film, delving our quest for connection, and alienation from family. She comments, “It does so in such a poetic, minimalist way. I used to watch that movie over and over, and look at it structurally, and try to replicate that structure in my early novels.”

Speaking of her intent, she asserts, “I want a conversation with readers. I want to pose questions and then I want readers to go away and think of answers. This is how I interact with books I read and I love to share that process with others. I don’t have any answers because there are no fixed truths. All I ask of a reader is that they actively participate in the process. I want my book to be a different book to every reader.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.49.23Krissy explains that her love of literature began when her grandmother would pay her 20c for reading and reviewing books. She adds, “I moved on from stories about mice to Moomintroll, and by the time I hit Ray Bradbury I no longer needed the money. The books themselves became the reward. I started to write because books like R is for Rocket and S is for Space by Bradbury left so much space for me as a reader that I needed to add to the dialogue.”

Speaking of other authors’ influence on her writing, Krissy explains, “There are certain books that feel like they’ve unlocked something in my brain and I can feel more space freeing up. This is the most exciting thing for me. I felt it when I read Ray Bradbury as a child and that set me on the path to becoming a writer. Bradbury made me pick up the pen for the first time in a serious way. Before reading The Golden Apples of the Sun, I was dabbling, drawing my own picture books and writing little adventures, but Bradbury challenged me to be serious about the work. I was young but I was ready to be challenged.”

The graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, by Chris Ware, changed the way Krissy looked at the world, as did Here, by Richard McGuire. Most particularly, she is compelled by their use of nonlinear narrative. She asserts, “This was a revelation for me. I’ve felt the same thing reading Michael Ondaatje, who does amazing things with sentences. Anne Carson unlocked a new space in my brain with her poetry. Similarly, Maggie Nelson melted my brain with Bluets.”

Krissy is inspired by the way poets and graphic novelists play with form, ‘challenging what we think we’re doing as writers and making us want to engage with new forms of storytelling’.

Speaking of Lidia Yuknavitch, she tells us, “When I read The Small Backs of Children, things changed again. I felt her work physically, as if her words were pushing me, challenging me, encouraging me to fight back. She’s made me interested in writing my relationship to my family history, and has shown me new ways to approach the material. I feel challenged to start looking at genetics and family.”

krissy Kneen TriptychIt comes as no surprise that art has inspired Krissy’s work. Her family are visual artists and, as well as designing the sets for a couple of theatre shows in her youth, she enjoyed her own art exhibition. Her Triptych comprises three conjoined novellas, each named after, and referencing, well-known paintings: The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, by Katsushika Hokusai; Susanna and the Elders, by Artemesia Gentileshi, and Romulus and Remus, by Peter Paul Rubens. Krissy stresses, “I can’t seem to write anything without the inspiration of the visual arts.” An Uncertain Grace is inspired by a photo created by Sebastio Salgado, which holds a central position in her narrative.

Krissy’s latest release, An Uncertain Grace, is a novel in five parts, about who we are—our krissy kneen author interview uncertain gracebest and worst selves, our innermost selves—and who we might become.

Some time in the near future, university lecturer Caspar receives a gift from a former student called Liv: a memory stick containing a virtual narrative. Hooked up to a virtual reality bodysuit, he becomes immersed in the experience of their past sexual relationship. But this time it is her experience. What was for him an erotic interlude, resonant with the thrill of seduction, was very different for her—and when he has lived it, he will understand how.

Later…

A convicted paedophile recruited to Liv’s experiment in collective consciousness discovers a way to escape from his own desolation.

A synthetic boy, designed by Liv’s team to ‘love’ men who desire adolescents, begins to question the terms of his existence.

L, in transition to a state beyond gender, befriends Liv, in transition to a state beyond age.

Liv herself has finally transcended the corporeal—but there is still the problem of love.

 

Purchase from

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Text Publishing

 

About Krissy Kneen

Krissy has six books in publication (with Text Publishing and UQP) and a number of short stories and personal essays published in anthologies, newspapers and journals. Three documentaries written and directed by Krissy have been screened on SBS and ABC TV.

She tells us, “I’ve always gravitated towards work in the arts although I often threaten to quit my job and retrain as an astro-physicist. I may only be partially joking. For relaxation, I paint and experiment with symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast in fermented food experiments, most of which are deliciously successful. I am owned and operated by Heathcliff, the neighbourhood cat, who has adopted me and puts me to work as an inconvenient lap and an open-all-hours cat-restaurant. Bi-sexual by nature, I’m lucky enough to have captured and held on to the nicest and most attractive man in the world.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 11.49.23

 

Find Krissy at 

https://www.textpublishing.com.au/authors/krissykneen

www.krissykneen.com

www.furiousvaginas.com 

 

Writing Erotic Literature: Ultimate Top 20 Tips

 

Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller whiled away many an evening debating their top 20 tips:

see mine below…

You’re never too old to write (or read) erotica

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There’s a fetish for everything

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Cultivate characters’ individuality and inner charm

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Men are optional 

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Hats are optional (especially at orgies)

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Helmets work best in size extra-large

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Aliens like sex

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So do sea monsters

20,000 Leagues under the sea

So do dinosaurs

dinosaur love

So does Bigfoot

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Tied up ticklings can be titillating

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There’s more to erotic fiction than romance

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The tongue can be mightier than the sword

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Tangos can be for more than two

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Temper pleasure with pain

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Wield words with the care of an artist’s brush

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An unexpected perspective can prove thrilling

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It’s good to innovate

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Inspire playful urges

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Render the reader lightheaded with arousal

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We all like to be shocked (just a bit) 

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Happy writing (and reading)

See how I do it here…

Siri Ousdahl: contradiction, paradox and CONSTRAINT – a review

Constraint is Siri Ousdahl’s debut in the genre of erotic fiction, although she has written prominently under an alternate author name for many years. She holds several prestigious writing awards and has worked extensively in publishing.

Within this, my critique of Siri Ousdahl’s novel, she joins me to discuss transgressive themes and the contradictions within our psyche. 

Constraint pulls no punches. There is no sweetening of the pill. It is a tale of kidnapping, siri-ousdahl-constraint-emmanuelle-de-maupassant-critiquerape, violence and humiliation.

Our natural response is outrage. How dare one human being treat another this way? The early phases of the story are written clearly with the intention to arouse this reaction from us.

We are told that Alex is a sadist and has always been so, musing, from the youngest age, on ropes, chains and controlled violence. As an adult, he rises to the challenge of exercising precise control. ‘He wants to work out how much he can darken her flesh without breaking her skin.’

It is from this position that Siri Ousdahl unravels her story: winding back and forth, through past and present, and presenting us, readers, ready to judge and condemn, with knots we must unpick.

What should be simple is not, because we are human, and to be human is to be a creature of paradox.

Siri, while no writer can ‘control’ the reactions they inspire in readers, your story clearly aims to manipulate strong emotional responses, shaping them in various ways as the tale progresses. In this way, where do you hope to lead your reader?

This is my first formal erotic writing. In my other world as a writer I’m committed to psychological realism, and my ambition is to elicit a complicated, conflicted reaction from my readers. Very little is unequivocally one thing or another, red or blue or green; everything is tints, shades, and blends. If our understanding of ourselves is at all realistic, it is full of unresolvable contradictions. I wanted to write a sex novel that reflected that.

When I decided to write a noncon BDSM novel, I was my primary reader, so the person I was challenging was myself. I wanted to write a book that was as morally problematic as Lolita and as sexy as The Story of O. I wanted to see whether I could balance unsentimental realism with the poetry of eroticism, telling a story that, ideally, would both repel and attract. I wanted to see how long I could stay on the tightrope without falling off.

siri-ousdahl-author-writing-quote-1Our psyche comprises contradictory elements. Linnea, we are told, is ‘an alloy’, stronger than the metals from which she is made. A powerful metaphor in the story is given through Linnea’s sculptures, which comprise contrasting, yet harmonising materials: hickory and chestnut or oak and walnut. They symbolize Linnea’s inner being. ‘There are three tiny knots… clustered like moles on a woman’s shoulder.’ This metaphor continues. ‘The twisting shapes hint at lovers entangled ankle to throat’, bound by fine steel wire, brass straps, clear glass bands, rough rope knotted. Linnea’s art is a visual representation of what she desires for herself: bondage and forced compliance. We are told that ‘wood fucks wood’ and that the scent is ‘musky, human’.

Later, we read that Alex and Linnea’s bodies are a ‘sculpture’, representing ‘blood and hunger’.

Siri, you use Linnea’s art to reveal her state of mind (both during her captivity and beforehand). Can you tell us more about your research into the art world and how you’ve used art to bring layers of meaning to the story?

As a child, I didn’t study art (though I drew a lot), but I was raised in a family that valued art, much of it carved wood and stone sculpture. I’m sure my mother would not be thrilled to know how often I touched the art, running my hands along the shapes, marvelling at the three-dimensionality of it, its gravity.

I knew Linnea was a sculptor almost before I knew anything else about her. She was strong-muscled and ‘saw’ with her hands. Her art needed to be nonverbal, because I’m entirely verbal. Her sculptures were very clear in my head from the start, and I wish I had some of them!

Her photorealistic paintings were a surprise to me, but as I spent time in her head, trapped in the siri-ousdahl-author-quote-writing-4enclosure, I knew she would become obsessive about the walls: that she would make art from this constraint, as well.

I did a lot of research into the women of the abstract expressionist movement, and I developed immense respect for them. A woman artist of the first half of the twentieth century – in any movement – was in a horrible situation: her work ignored or treated with contempt, expected to model for and/or have sex with the men who defined whether she would ever be taken seriously.

As we enter deeper into Constraint, we’re given insight into the mind of kidnapper Alex, and the subject of his fixation, Linnea. Neither are as they seem and, as the story unfolds, the paradoxes within their natures are made more explicit.

A central theme of the story is our inward battle: our desire for self-determination and our wish to surrender some part of ourselves, to forfeit control, to allow another human ‘under our skin’, even (or sometimes, especially) where we know that surrender has the power to harm us. Most love stories explore, to some extent, this contradictory push and pull. In Constraint, there is an overt ‘battle’ between Linnea and Alex.

We’re told that the attraction for Alex is the paradox of the situation: that he enjoys Linnea’s compulsion to fight him, while witnessing her simultaneous arousal, seemingly against her wishes. He enjoys the ‘battle’ yet also wishes ‘for her to want him as much as he wants her’. We witness Alex’s violence towards Linnea, yet also his tenderness. ‘She has rolled close to him in her sleep, with her hands tucked close to his ribs and her face pressed against his shoulder… He…turns his face into her sleep knotted hair and breathes and breathes and breathes.’

We also see Alex’s compulsion to lose himself to a place of otherness, of transcendence. ‘He snaps the switch lightly against his forearm. It’s barely a touch, and the bright sting is no more challenging than walking out into icy-cold air or biting into raw ginger, but a faint white stripe flares and flushes red, a color shift as sudden as an octopus shifting camouflage. He observes this siri-ousdahl-author-writing-quote-3with interest. He is dropping into the strange, abstract space where she stops being entirely real to him, where he stops being real to himself: the no-place that is all places, and their bodies become geometries and his body and brain divide themselves into pieces simultaneously dissociative and entirely, pulsingly, engaged.’

While whipping Linnea, Alex ‘…does not think as he builds rhythms, patterns… He switches to using both floggers, infinite eights overlapping. And faster, until he is breathless, fighting a strange wild laugh that is rooted not in his mind but his body’s work… Linnea is barely present in his mind; she is also the entire focus of all his attention.’

Meanwhile, we learn that, as a child, Linnea played games of self-torture for pleasure. ‘In her teens she started to make sense of it all. She read Réage, Millet, Nin, Roquelaure, McNeill; eventually (with a horrified blend of alienation and recognition) de Sade.’ Linnea ‘knew she longed for bondage and all the sorts of torment ingenious men and women had developed. She was hungry for the whip, the collar, marks.’ She ‘knows that her body will respond in complicated ways—as it always has been complex, pain and pleasure tangled like necklaces tossed onto a bed…’

In this way, they are sexually well matched. We are told that their ‘games and rituals’ are such as ‘their natures decree’. Linnea watches coyotes outside, dancing, playing, fighting, then mating: another metaphor for her relationship with Alex.

Siri, can you tell us more about the psychology of the dynamic between your siri-ousdahl-author-quote-writing-6protagonists?

 I was a lot like Linnea as a girl, with a high tolerance for pain and a craving for adventure that was not satisfied by my quiet upbringing. I did many dangerous and stupid things, all of them exhilarating. I was also a pain in the neck, for reasons I did not then understand: My mother says that I would ‘cruise for a spanking’, restless and clearly pushing rule after rule until I eventually did get spanked – ‘and then you would calm right down, happy and settled’ – which is how I remember it, as well.

My nature decreed what I wanted, even as a child. As I became sexual in my late teens, I found I moved effortlessly into BDSM, though I didn’t always understand how to get what I needed until I was in my 30s. As an adult, I have both topped and subbed for floggings, whippings, bondage, D/s, and many other things. When I write, I write from experience.

Despite this, I think I understand Alex better than I understand Linnea. Writing is basically a top’s game: I write something to elicit a response. I design a scene and then execute it and if I do it right, the reader feels things they didn’t expect. I am in charge, though the reader can always safeword out, put down the book and walk away.

In exploring the theme of constraint and freedom, we see the metaphor of inside and siri-ousdahl-author-quote-writing-6outside spaces – looking inward and outward. Linnea struggles against Alex’s constraint of her freedom, but we come to see that her constraint is also internal. ‘She’s a coyote in a leg-hold trap, chewing at her own ankle.’ When she asks what he wants from her, he laughs, evading, ‘because the answer is love and he cannot admit that’. Linnea evades, as well. ‘It is not the house and enclosure that blocks honesty; their constraints travel with them.’

Alex seeks tension. He ‘draws a narrow line around Linnea and longs for the moments she breaks past them… What hawk comes to your hand without training, without bribes and constraints…? How is this different than other, more conventional relationships?’ He muses that even true love is built from ‘unconscious accommodations, invisible chains.’

The non-consensual elements of Constraint are, by nature, disturbing, while yet having power to arouse. It is this very juxtaposition that makes the story compelling, since we are encouraged to examine paradoxes within our own behaviour. You’re exploring where many authors fear to tread. Siri, what inspired you to choose this theme, of our contradictory, paradoxical, self-destructive nature, and of the constraints we carry within us?

A correctly structured BDSM experience (or relationship) has clear rules and expectations, but many ‘traditional’ experiences do not: in most relationships, love and trust change meaning unilaterally, over time, without negotiation. A lot of BDSM fiction is actually terrible BDSM: even if the sex/play itself is safe, sane, and consensual – even if there are contracts – the characters lie, manipulate, gaslight, misdirect, and cheat their way into the relationship.

Alex is, at least, honest about what he wants, to the extent he understands it.

Having delved into Linnea’s romantic past, Alex challenges her lack of intimacy with siri-ousdahl-author-writing-quote-2anyone. She resists, saying, “No one is anyone’s.” Later, taunted by dominatrix Klee, Linnea asserts, “I am not yours. I am no one’s.” Klee responds, “So sad. We all belong to someone…”

We see Alex’s desire topossess’ Linnea, to make her love him, while this can never be true until she wishes it to be so, until she recognizes an emotional connection to him.

The relationship between Linnea and Alex progresses, through shared intimacies, until she feels that he is ‘seeing her, actual her, instead of whatever he usually sees when he looks at her’. We read that he sees ‘she is her own person’.

By the closing pages, he has accepted that his non-consensual treatment of her has been unacceptable, to the extent that he is willing to suffer any consequences (including imprisonment). He notes that he no longer has ‘certainty that his decisions are the right ones’.

Alex tells Linnea explicitly that he loves her and offers that she may choose what happens next, even if it means her turning him in to the police. He has the power to continue as he did, but recognizes his error in having attempted to force her love.

Meanwhile, Linnea admits to Alex that she believes he knows her as no one else does, and chooses to submit because it is what SHE wishes, not because it is forced upon her. ‘Her skin is her own. She is not afraid of him. She never has been; fear was never the thing that kept her here.’

Siri, did you consider other conclusions to Constraint or, for you, was this ending inevitable?

As with The Story of O, several endings are possible. This is the HEA ending, or as close as a story like this could honestly have – and it is dependent on where I typed ‘The End’. I can’t believe they bdsm-erotic-fiction-story-of-o-pauline-reagewill stay together as things are, but there’s a sequel I have thought about that starts six months from now, when Linnea has left Alex and ends up in Switzerland, using Klee, Berndt, Vadim (and others) to make sense of her experience. Can they return to one another after that? Depends on the next book.

There’s also a less romantic ending where she escapes or he lets her go and she returns to her life (or a life) without talking about this to the police – which is how women often address rape. And an ending where she does turn him in, and has to then deal with the fact that she will never be as satisfied sexually, as seen by her partner, as she was with him.  

Fiction, within the safety of its pages, invites us to explore what disturbs us, to process what is written and to respond. It asks us to reflect upon our own behaviour, our motivations and compulsions. The non-consensual theme of Constraint is liable to inspire controversy, reaching as it does into realms of discomfort for many readers. To anyone who would criticize the story as eroticism of rape, how would you respond?

It’s fiction. In what way is this different than reading book after book about a murderer? If someone is fucked up enough to think that an erotic novel gives them permission to rape someone, the problem is the rapist’s. That said, we do live in a culture permeated with sexual violence against women; the (substantial) percentage of women who like to read or watch noncon and dubcon erotica are as conditioned to this as the men who think it’s okay to rape. A hundred years from now, if we sort out rape culture, will books like this still be being written? I don’t know, though I have theories.

I am an intelligent, philosophically inclined woman who values honesty in interpersonal dealings. I am writing this book as a direct response to the artificiality of most noncon and dubcon fiction. Is it eroticizing rape? It is also engaging directly what what’s wrong with eroticizing rape. It’s a complicated stance.

Siri, your language is both precise and lyrical. Which authors have inspired you in creating your distinctive voice?lolita-nabokov

I was thinking a lot of Lolita while I was working on this. Nabokov never sets a foot wrong: every word is exactly calibrated. I was also thinking a lot about the French writer Alain Robbe-Grillet’s strangely opaque voice.

I’ve no doubt that readers will anticipate further works from you. Can you share what’s in store?

I do write fiction under another name, and some of Siri’s readers may recognize her voice elsewhere. I have thought about writing about Klee as a young woman in 1970s France: how did she become the woman she is? I was partway through the book when I read a recent Vanity Fair article about erotic novelist/octogenarian dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet, wife of writer Alain (and what a strange coincidence that was). Robbe-Grillet has a lot in common with Klee, I realized.

siri-ousdahl-constraint-emmanuelle-de-maupassant-critiqueI’m also researching an erotic fantasy novel! Yes, research: I can’t bring myself to write anything without lots and lots of reading ahead of time.

Thank you once again to Siri for taking time to discuss her intent in writing and the complex psychologies of her work.

If you’d like to read Constraint, you’ll find it for sale, here.

You can also find Siri at Visconti Press

Read more from Siri on motivations in writing erotic fiction here, as part of the 130 Authors series.

You may also like to read critique of Constraint written by Remittance Girl, here, and by Terrance Aldon Shaw, of Big Brain Erotica, here.

 

Dayv and Rose Caraway: Up Close and Personal

 

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. 

Dayv and Rose reach a huge audience with their audio broadcasts, sharing erotic short fiction and interviewing authors in the genre. Stupid-Fish Rose and Dayv Caraway interview erotic fiction pg

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. Rose Caraway reading narrating erotic fiction conduit for author passion

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 Rose Caraway quote on honest and unflinching audio narrationbe 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-Caraway Erotic fiction Author-Photo-201x300Rose: 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 Dayv Carawaymore 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 Rose Caraway fiction eroticwant 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. 

raziel moore close enough erotic fictionThey aren’t usually cruising that aisle, or sharing those recommendations with their friends. 

 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 Rose Caraway erotic fiction author interviewthat 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 Rose Caraway  Erotic Fiction audio quote express your sexualityhappens 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 Dayv-Caraway-300x300their 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.

 

You can visit gorgeous Dayv and charming Rose for more at the Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast site, and find them on Twitter and Facebook.

More from Dayv in this article, on Men Reading Erotic Fiction.

 

 

Why I Write

Thank you to the lovely Kay Jaybee, for first hosting this interview.

 

I want. I want. I want so many things.

I want to explore what might be or might have been.

I want to rewrite the past and create whatever future I choose.

I want to reshape ‘the truth’, to view the world from inside other skins.

 

Emmanuelle de Maupassant quoteAs Sylvia Plath said: ‘I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life.’

Like many writers (I suspect), I have a laptop stuffed with snatches of writing and story outlines, ideas I’ve been exploring, thoughts I’ve spilled out, tens of thousands of words as yet unseen. Some of my most brutal writing is there: my resentments; the pain scraped from my bones and the pit of my belly; desire pushed from the slow ache of my cunt.

When you write from that deep place it changes you; all the creatures from your dark corners come creeping out.

It’s damn liberating!

When I write, I don’t need to hold back. The greatest challenge is only that I be honest with myself, writing what I want to rather than what someone else might think I should be writing.

Cautionary Tales Emmanuelle de Maupassant quoteI’m often asked why I don’t write a ‘real’ book (in other words, one that doesn’t include sex). Bizarrely, exploring sexuality and desire on the page isn’t celebrated in the same way as the exploration of other human themes, such as grief or unrequited love. No matter that literature exploring sexuality often does so in the context of far wider human experience. Think of Jeanette Winterson and Fay Weldon; they cover it all. They aren’t looking to someone else for permission as to what they write.

There are things that won’t let me rest, themes I keep returning to, unpicking the knots. For me, it’s the desire for freedom, to be less constrained by social conventions, to speak my mind, and to speak the truth of my body too.

Other authors’ works which draw me back time and again explore, overtly or covertly, the themes of madness and imprisonment: as in Sarah Waters’ Affinity, Fingersmith and Little Stranger, in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and the novels of Wilkie Collins. What is it to be ‘mad’ and are our minds ever ‘free’? Angela Carter and Michel Faber, in their gorgeously rich prose, tackle these themes too.

In my case, this search for freedom has led me towards the erotic genre.

When I began, I remember feeling as if I were hacking off the outer layers of myself.

Emmanuelle de Maupassant quote - Twitter sizedIt felt dangerous. I was standing on a cliff edge, and that sense of stepping off the precipice made me feel sick, but also elated. I felt alive. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to turn back, because how can you when you’ve tasted freedom?

You’re pulling the words from where they resist being found but if you lock them away, they’ll squash the life out of you.

Everything I write draws on something from within myself. Yes, it’s fiction, but the heart of the story always reveals my preoccupations. My fears prowl the pages, as well as my fantasies.

As Lidia Yuknavitch says: ‘What is underneath what you want? And what is underneath that?’

vivid flowers with text kindleI want to explore the bittersweet; those things we rarely dare look at, feelings intense and wild and violent and unexplainable. On the page, I can play out anything my heart bird cover talesdesires, explore anything, be anything.

You may visit my author page on Amazon here

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