Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Author Interview ~ Amy Valenti

With us today is my fellow Total-E-Bound author Amy Valenti. I’m so glad she’s here with us and letting us peek into her creative processes. But instead of my babbling, let’s get moving with the interview. What inspired you to write your first book?

Getting into the BDSM scene was a big turning point for me. Figuring out I was sexually submissive felt like finding the missing piece of my mental jigsaw puzzle – I understood myself a lot better, and with that came the inspiration to start writing about kinky characters.

Before I knew it, I had a series of short stories based around a Dom police detective and his forensic scientist submissive, and I submitted one of them to Total-E-Bound to see if they were interested. Once I got the acceptance, I showed my editor the rest, and she encouraged me to blend all the short stories into a novel-length piece, which became Dominance and Deception. It kind of happened by accident, really!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finishing things! I start so many stories, and up until a certain point I’m writing away merrily (usually until the characters have had sex, if it’s my erotica stuff). Then I’ll come up with some awesome new beginning to something else, and I’ll put aside the half-finished story to concentrate on that… I need to be more disciplined with myself, I think!

Yanno, I totally understand. I’ve got a ton of half finished stories laying around. Getting deep in here, too. Now, what was the hardest part of writing your book?

After I got into contract for Dominance and Deception, my editor emailed me to tell me that the publisher didn’t want to release any present-tense novels. Guess what tense D&D was written in? You guessed it. I had to rework 75,000 words of present-tense stream of consciousness into a more conventional past-tense format, and it was gruelling! It’s all done now, though, and I’ve made sure to switch back to writing in past tense for future releases.

Isn’t life always a live and learn? Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Oh, definitely. I first got into reading about BDSM via fan fiction, and while I understand that some things are difficult to include without taking the reader out of the scene – negotiation for safety purposes, for example – sometimes I’ll be reading through my fingers, going, ‘That’s not safe, sane or consensual! That’s abusive and horrible, and that sub is going to end up in hospital!’

What I wanted to convey with my characters, Zach and Faye, is that it’s possible to write a charged, thrilling, intense D/s relationship without putting either of the participants’ mental wellbeing on the line. I wanted to have their relationship threatened by outside forces, and then have the established, loving connection between them make it better again.

I hope I’ve succeeded!

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with hearts (or anything like that)?

I have a doctor’s scrawl, which is kind of annoying, actually! One would think that someone who identifies as a writer would have more legible handwriting – but I think it comes of trying to get my ideas down as fast as I think of them, which doesn’t really encourage neatness.

Nah, neither of us have legible handwriting. Well, we can read each other’s writing, but I don’t think that counts. Are you a morning person or a night person?

I’m about as far from a morning person as it’s possible to get! It takes me about three hours to fully wake up in a morning, and when I have time off work I revert to a cycle of ‘sleep until lunchtime, then stay up until the early hours’ very quickly. I wonder if it’s a writer thing…

Ah, now I know why we all get along. We’re so not morning people either. What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

Cats are my ideal pets – my cat, Reg, is very lazily loving and will sleep by my side for vast portions of time, every now and then stretching into cute poses to remind me he’s there. He’s the perfect writing companion!

Having said that, my dream is to one day work from home, so that I can own sugar gliders. They’re very sociable creatures that pine for you if you’re not there, and form strong attachments to one person. They’re happy to chill out in your pocket for hours, and they make the cutest little noises! I heartily recommend you YouTube them, if you don’t already know what they’re like.

Looks like we’re travelling to YouTube next. Oks, so what is one thing scientists should invent?

Teleporters. I have friends all over the world, and I’d love to be able to just zap myself over to another country to see someone for a weekend!

Sounds like a plan to me. Do you like thunderstorms?

Yes! Provided I don’t get caught in one on the way to work, that is. I can’t stand sitting around in wet clothing for hours. But I have been known to stand at the window, watching the lightning flash and the rain bounce down onto the pavement.

Once I actually grabbed my umbrella and went out walking in a massive thunderstorm. The umbrella didn’t shield me from that much of the rain, and it had metal bits in it, so I might as well have left it at home. It probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had, looking back on it now, but at least I didn’t get hit by lightning!

Sounds like fun to us. Dangerous, but fun. What are your current projects?

I’m working on a novel with a working title of Suppression (I’ll think of a better one later!). It’s set a couple of hundred years in the future, in a kind of Orwellian, 1984-style dystopia where all professionals are required to have their sexual urges blocked to aid their concentration on the job. My protagonist is a medical student whose suppression procedure has failed, and she’s managed to slip under the radar, pretending she feels nothing and terrified she’ll be found out and put to death for deceiving the authorities. She’s not the only one faking it, though, and a certain guy has seen right through her pretence…

This is a story quite dear to my heart, since it’s the first novel I’ll be finishing that was actually intended to be a novel from the start! I’m not sure how long it’s going to take me, but watch this space! You can find excerpts and updates on my blog, Electrifying Erotica:

Want to read more about Dominance and Deception? Here you go:

To catch a killer, you have to think a little kinky...

Submission is a dangerous game... Faye Tate is a police forensic scientist, a switch, and secretly in love with a police detective.

Detective Zach Pierce has made many enemies, but his attraction to Faye is too strong to be denied. Can Pierce protect his submissive from those who seek to use her against him, or will her devotion to her Dom cost Faye her life?

Reader Advisory: This book alludes to scenes of F/F intimacy. It also has scenes of ménage à trois. - my blog, Electrifying Erotica - my Twitter account - my Facebook account - my Goodreads page

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