Pillow Talk: Erotica Writer Heather McAlendin
Erotic fiction has never been more popular. And that is saying something because as soon as humans could commit words to paper (or walls or slate) they've been writing sexy smut. And with a longstanding artform, there are always ebbs and flows of popularity. Ebooks have brought erotica roaring and panting into vogue as they are now readily distributed to many eager fans.
Having always loved writing, Heather McAlendin decided to try her hand at erotica a few years ago and hasn't looked back. Her first Wicked Dreams was published in 2008 and she has followed that up with numerous other works.
Sexlife Canada chatted with Heather about her work, where she finds her inspiration and what advice she can give to new erotica writers.
SLC: How did you get into writing erotica?
HM: Erotica seemed a natural extension of the fiction I currently write. My mainstay is paranormal fiction and inevitably, as with most adult fiction characters, romance and sexual tension occurs.
Erotica is an extremely interesting and difficult genre to write well. You have to focus and be creative in your language usage and how the characters get into sexual situations otherwise it can become monotonous and boring. I never want sex to be boring, certainly as I head to my mid forties, I am just learning about some wonderful aspects of my sexual self and feel comfortable expressing that in my work.
SLC: What are your favourite subjects to write on?
HM: It's not one subject I focus on. I write everything from couples erotica to lesbian and bisexual situations. I like character driven stories more so than just creating sexual situations only. Two of my stories published by XOXO Publishing; In my Dreams, and Sweet Desire involve the owner of a fictional swingers club as a back story and the evolution of certain characters relationships with one another.
SLC: What are some of the challenges you face in maintaining creativity?
HM: It's not always easy to create unique and fresh sexual situations and language. A writer's main challenge in any genre is to capture and keep the reader's interest. Inspiration comes from many difference resources. It could be a piece of music, artwork, a conversation with my partner. And like any good writer I can and will use personal situations to influence my work. (as to what and where those situations have actually occurred, I will leave up to the readers imagination!)
SLC: Who are some of your inspirations?
HM: Interesting question. I actually have not read much erotica but the little I have read certainly sticks out in my mind. Certain writers have a way to capture and titillate my imagination. I have read D.H. Lawrence and Lady Chatterley's Lover, Anne Rice and Anais Nin.
SLC: If you could send your body of work to just one special person to read, who would that be?
HM: My lover; my partner and my fiance. He is my biggest supporter and biggest fan. He has helped me discover my sexual self.
SLC: What hobbies or interests do you have outside of your writing?
HM: I love writing but I am also a natural light photographer and I love crafts. Currently I am working on a stained glass project.
SLC: What tips do you have for aspiring erotica writers?
HM: Write intelligently and do your research. There is nothing worse that reading a piece of work where timelimes or characters and situations just do not make sense. Be creative but do your homework about the time period you are writing about; what was or is sexually specific to that time or place. You have more leeway in a sci fi or paranormal piece of writing but use language that does not assume the reader is unintelligent. Erotica is a very sophisticated genre these days. If you are writing about a specific lifestyle or sexual fetish etc., get your facts straight! Mostly be creative and have fun with it! If you don't enjoy sensuality, sex, being in touch with your erotic side...your reader will bore very quickly.
SLC: What are your plans for the future?
HM: To keep writing and moving forward with my career. I learn as I write and get a lot of inspiration and support from my readers. Someday I'd love to actually be mainstream but for now I am an indie writer and love the freedom that brings. Onward and upward! Feel free to visit my website for more information about my work.