What is your favourite genre to read? A question every author gets asked all the time. Truth is - I love most genres - except brutal horror. Or books set during wars. Or anything without a happy ending....
So, maybe I do have some reading preferences.
One genre I always make time for is erotica. I think there are some major advantages to reading the genre I write in, but bigger than that, erotica has impacted my life in many ways.
In regards to my writing, keeping connected to erotic fiction is so important. Reading what other erotic authors write and how it is written is inspirational and educational. It is easy to fall into a comfortable rhythm when writing, and erotica especially. Writing about intimacy, sensuality and sex can become repetitive if I become complacent with the artistic input. By reading erotic poems, stories, novels and blog posts keeps me connected to the value of the written word when it comes to describing something as vital and essentially human as sex.
In The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron talks about ‘filling your well’ by seeking out inspiration. Sometimes this is as simple as getting out of the office, into nature, taking a walk, going to an art gallery or museum. But often it means reading. As Stephen King says in his memoir On Writing: A Memoire of the Craft “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. So I read. I read romance for the sweetness, I read horror for the violence and I read erotica because I write erotica. Listening to other authors voices can help me find my own. Plus there are only so many words for our body parts, so many ways of describing sexual acts, and without reading how others do it (no pun intended) I would be ‘reinventing the wheel’ rather than standing on the shoulders of giants.
On a personal note, erotica opened my eyes to what sex and sensuality could be - and despite couple passionate and experimental early relationships, it was a hand full of books that taught me about kink, the fine art of seduction, that terminology did not always explicitly describe the act, and more...
The Lonestar pulp fiction series. My first erotic novel. I found a single edition when I was 13. We were living in a hospital in Calgary, while my grandfather was very sick and I was too scared and uncomfortable to visit him. I hid in the TV room and found a stack of dusty old dog eared novels that ran through classically Wild West topics - like cattle rustling and land disputes, while following the sensational exploits of two deliciously sensual MCs. I don’t remember their names, and would probably not recognize the book if it leapt off a shelf and slapped me in the face. Undoubtedly I could locate a whole host of its series on the shelves of thrift stores everywhere, but they made a huge impression. In addition to being entertaining, and oh so naughty, I remember the female MC was sexually liberated and stood in her sexual power.
The Sleeping Beauty Series: Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquelaure. I discovered Exit to Eden first - about the time they made a mockery out of it with a ridiculous - but no less humorous- movie staring Rosie O’Donnell and Dan Aykroyd. (Seriously cheesy, but I was young and pretty much everything sexy was fascinating to me) So I found Exit To Eden the book - though where I found it, I cannot remember… possibly the library? I was about 16 and the book changed my world. I learned about S&M, entire encyclopedias of kink, and alternative lifestyles that were utterly foreign to me until I read the tale of a man who volunteers himself as a slave for a year on this tropical island. Well, I was hooked.
At 17, I moved to England, and set off to the library looking for more sassy books, like Exit to Eden… the Sleeping Beauty Series may have even been mentioned in Exit to Eden, because this was 1999 - pre Google. The look on the librarian's face when I asked to check it out is eternally carved into my brain. I devoured all three of the books that existed at at the time:
In college I bought my own copies, and am now on the third copy of each of them. They have a regular spot in my re-read rotation. Then, Anne Rice released the fourth book in the series, Beauty's Kingdom and I completed the set.
Finally, the Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning. This hot hot hot rock star fantasy is well written, with rich, deep characters and love stories frosted in steamy sex, wild adventures, and a human element that both surprised and delighted me. The author took the rock star fantasy and made it real by dealing with topics from drug addiction, to abuse, violence, domestic and childhood abuse and more. A fantastic series of steamy nights in. Check out Backstage Pass, Rock Hard, Hot Ticket, Wicked Beat and Double Time.
The advantages of reading what I write keep stacking up, layered upon life lessons, ambitions and hopes for a deeper, richer connection in my romantic life. Thank you erotic fiction! I'll keep reading you, so keep getting written.