I was not alone in being pictured, and this week I am delighted to be able to share (with David’s permission) some pictures of my fellow writers, along with their thoughts about writing erotica- staring with the talented writer and marketing supremo, Lucy Felthouse.
Over to you Lucy-
I’ve always written, ever since I was little. From a very young age I’d be scribbling endless stories in notebooks and telling anyone that would listen that when I grew up I was going to be an author. That creative streak has always been there and I think was helped by the fact that my family encouraged me to read, too. As a child I always—and I quote—”had my nose stuck in a book.” Some things never change, I guess!
Writing erotica happened quite by mistake. I did a Creative Writing degree at the University of Derby because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career (by this point I knew that I couldn’t just sit and write and expect people to throw money at me, unlike my younger self). While I was there one of my fellow students made the suggestion that I should have a go at writing erotica. I laughed it off at first, but then he dared me… so of course I couldn’t say no then!
I wrote my first piece and showed it to the people who’d been there when I was dared and all were impressed. They encouraged me to write more, and at roughly the same time I decided to do my dissertation on erotic fiction. The erotic writer Mitzi Szereto was working at the University at the time and the Head of Creative Writing suggested I go and chat with her. She gave me a few pointers and told me about some of her books. I immediately raided the University library (which held some of Mitzi’s titles) and discovered I enjoyed reading erotica too!
From there, I read and wrote quite a lot of erotica. I discovered the now sadly defunct Scarlet Magazine and submitted a piece there – which was accepted! I was insanely excited about my first publication and it spurred me on to write and submit more. My first publication in a print book was in an Xcite Books anthology back in 2006. Since then I’ve had several more pieces published by Xcite Books—including a collection of my stories, The Best of Lucy Felthouse, which is available in eBook form—and have also added Cleis Press, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance and Summerhouse Publishing to my list of publication credits. I’ve also had pieces appear in magazines and online.
I really enjoy what I do, and it certainly doesn’t feel like work (though edits are another matter altogether!). I don’t write full time, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I get ideas from here, there and everywhere. I spend a lot of time out in the countryside, walking, visiting ancient monuments, mansions, manors and just generally exploring and I get quite a lot of inspiration from the things I see and hear. You’ll find lots of monuments, old houses, libraries, and outdoors sex in my writing – and now you know why! People watching is also a great way of getting ideas – sometimes all it takes is a name or a sentence and my imagination turns it into something sexy or romantic and the words spill onto the page.
Contrary to what people who aren’t ‘in the know’ think, us erotic writers (well certainly the ones I know anyway) are just normal people. Granted, we may have our heads in the clouds—or at least our works in progress—a lot of the time, but if you were to see a bunch of us sitting at a table in a pub or restaurant, you wouldn’t have a clue what we did. Perhaps if you were sitting close by, you might hear the odd snippets of conversation that would make you wonder what on earth we were talking about, but you wouldn’t walk past our table and think ‘oh, look at them, they’re erotic writers.’ We have normal lives, we wear normal clothes and many of us have normal day jobs. We don’t walk around in PVC, corsets and thigh length boots, wielding whips (not that we’d be in the wrong if we did!). We’re just people with fertile imaginations who happen to write about sex! It’s a natural thing and part of life so why on earth shouldn’t we get words down on the page that people enjoy reading?
I would say that people’s misconceptions are really the only negative thing about being an erotic writer. They get completely the wrong idea about who we are. Yet as far as I’m aware, nobody has accused Stephen King of being a psychotic killer, or J. K. Rowling of being a witch (though she certainly works magic in her writing). So why on earth should it mean that we’re all whip-wielding, corset-wearing, chandelier-swinging, wardrobe-jumping sex maniacs?
The positives far outweigh the negatives for me. Since I’ve started doing this I’ve met so many fascinating people. There’s a real sense of community amongst erotica and erotic romance writers (I write both, as do many others), which I adore. There’s no back-biting or jealousy, everyone supports and encourages one another and I’m so happy to say that I can call several writers my friends as well as colleagues. Unfortunately, geography means most of our communication is done via phone, email and social media, but when we get together… let’s just say we’re generally the noisiest table in the place!
I’m very lucky in that the people close to me support what I do—but then they know me, and know it’s just what I do. I enjoy it, I seem to be good at it (at least the acceptances and positive reviews I get seem to indicate this) and most importantly… I’ve got the bug! The more I write, the more I want to write. Which is probably why this piece is so long…
Many thanks Lucy!!