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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Author Interview: Alessia Brio

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Alessia Brio, whose books include all colors and flavors of erotica, from heterosexual to ménage to same sex, and from twisted to humorous to deeply touching. “Sometimes,” she told me, “usually by accident, it even qualifies as romance.”

When she’s distinguishing between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography, her personal benchmark is intent. What did the creator intend? “With porn,” she said, “the intent is only to sexually stimulate—to orgasm, if done effectively.

“With erotica, the intent is to demonstrate the transformative power of sex. Much like paranormal/fantasy genres in which the world is essentially a character in the story, in erotica, sex itself is a viable entity. Without its impact, the story simply does not exist.”

She sees erotic romance as a romantic tale that is made complete by the inclusion of explicit sex, providing necessary insight into the characters. “Now, in my opinion,” she said, “it’s impossible for sex not to provide character depth because sex is...well..some seriously powerful stuff. I mean, it's responsible for our very existence. So, its inclusion in any work of fiction is going to enhance characterization. Romance without sex, to me, is like Near Beer.”

She doesn’t see the three as being mutually exclusive, however, but sees them overlapping like a Venn diagram.

She doesn’t see intent as being a workable definition, however, for what she calls “smut censors who believe it’s necessary to specify what should or shouldn’t arouse us or the romance industry purists who have their dusty knickers in a twist about all the kinky, explicit sex taking over ‘their’ genre. Besides, no matter what the intent, anything can be perverted. After all, cucumbers are legal in Alabama,” she added with a wink.

I asked Alessia what writers she thinks write excellent erotic fiction. “Open any volume of Coming Together and you’ll have the answer to that question,” she told me. “How’s thea for shameless promotion? I seek erotic fiction that is raw with emotion, that fully engages all the senses, and that is more intricate than just two (or more) people getting off together.”

Alessia got her start writing fiction and poetry on Literotica, which she describes as “a wonderfully educational environment in multiple ways.” Her experience up to then had involved writing editorials and narrative non-fiction.

“Storytelling grew from a robust fascination with sex and how it affects people. To me, erotica is not a subset of another genre,” she stated. “It's not the red-headed stepchild of the romance genre, no matter what RWA thinks. Quite the contrary. Sex, in all its magnificent forms, is the center of the universe. Everything else revolves around it. Everything. It's life. It's thrilling. We cannot escape it. Why even try?”

Alessia admitted to being baffled when I asked her about the most embarrassing sex scene she’d ever written. “Writing sex is empowering, not embarrassing,” she told me. “I have never been embarrassed about sex scene. Aroused? Absolutely! Embarrassed? Never!”

Alessia has several pierced parts, she told me: navel, nipple, and ears. “I have a thing for stainless steel and platinum. Metals conduct temperature and vibration incredibly well, if you know what I mean.”

On the other hand, tattoos aren’t her thing. “Other than visually, they provide no ongoing stimulation,” she explained, “and unless you are looking in the mirror all the time, you don’t even have that. Piercings are so there, so front-and-center, in your sensory consciousness. I like that.”

A few other personal things about Alessia: her favorite food is grapes—“So versatile! From wine to raisins. Frozen they make wonderful ‘ice cubes’ and provide a sweet snack once the drink is gone.”

She has the ability to tie a cherry stem with her tongue; in fact, her author tagline is “The cherry stem trick—for your mind.”

And, when she’s not writing she can usually be found doing research. She shared with me, “It’s the best damn part of writing about sex!”

Finally, I asked her what one piece of advice she would give a new writer.

She said, “I rather like the advice I recently heard repeated by Wil Wheaton during a Comic-Con interview:

Don't be afraid to suck... and you're gonna suck... and that's okay. It's easier to fix a page full of words that suck than it is to fill up a blank page. It's much less intimidating.”

You can read more about Alessia and her works at her website:

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