Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Anya Howard, author of Submissive from Kensington.
"How do you personally distinguish between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography?" I asked Anya.
"First, let me say I think these tags are very subjective ones, dependent on personal tastes and social trends. What is defined as erotic romance today might well be called pure pornography twenty years from now, or vice versa.
"But for me personally the distinction is simple: erotica involves the sexually demonstrative affection between consenting adults. Erotic Romance is a modern term to differentiate marketable erotica from formula written Romance that portrays the courtship between a single pair of individuals. And pornography is generally anything involving a sexual situation or situations that a reader personally finds distasteful."
One person's definition of porn may not be the same as another person's, so it's hard to know if there's a line she wouldn't cross, she told me. "Let’s just say I never want to write anything sexual involving little kids, animals, snuff, mutilation, or bodily functions pertaining to anything that toilet paper is ordinarily purchased and used for. Don’t get me wrong," she added. "I have nothing against a scene involving naked college guys rolling the campus. That might prove interesting."
One of the biggest misconceptions the public has about erotica is that it can't be romantic.
"When you think about it, where did the word erotica come from? The god, Eros. And he’s best known as Psyche’s lover," she said. "Over the decades erotica has been stigmatized by lurid stereotypes. I feel that these stereotypes are still often perpetuated out of ignorance, fear and sometimes personal advantage by whoever is doing the perpetuating."
Some of the most talented writers in the field of erotica, for Anya, include Monica M. Martin, Devyn Quinn, JD Robb and Anne Rice, when she was still writing as Anne Rampling and A.N. Roquelaure.
"I also very much admire the writings of Jade Blackmore," she told me. "Blackmore not only knows how to pen erotic prose, she has a true gift for sensual poetry."
Anya admits she's very lucky to have a wonderfully supportive family who have had faith in her writing and her ability to succeed, even when she was afraid the fates were against her aspirations.
"My husband has most especially encouraged me. I think I may have given up a long time ago if it wasn’t for him," she said. "I began writing erotica shortly after meeting him. He just turned on the magic key to that particular muse and the engine hasn’t switched off yet. And I hope it doesn’t for quite awhile, either."
Over the years, Anya has written many genres of fiction, most notably –under another name—children's books.
Speaking of children's books, if Anya could entertain a character from a book, she first claimed it would be Curious George.
"Can you imagine being a young primate forced to sleep and play every day of your life with some guy in a cowboy hat? I’d have some people from PETA waiting here when George arrived so they could take him immediately to a safe shelter. I’m sure they would see to it that George receives psychological counseling before re-integrating him with his own species." She winked then said, "Actually, I really don’t know.. maybe Othello. I’d like to shake him and say, hey, can’t you see what sick mind game Iago is playing?"
Quotes from Anya about a variety of subjects:
Favorite food—"I love practically any Chinese dish."
Least favorite food—"Beef liver. Disgusting!"
Coke v. Pepsi—"Pepsi is sweeter. This is why I prefer Coke."
Painted toenails—"I don’t like the feel of paint on my nails, never have."
Favorite letter—"T. Nothing sounds better than the crisp letter 'T'; it is found at the very root, and is the beginning of every tree."
She laughed and said at one time she could tie a cherry stem with her tongue, but admitted it's been a while since she's tried.
One thing Anya does do is check her horoscope every morning before she does any work.
"I like to know the position of the moon and planetary alignments and aspects, and incorporate these things into my work schedule," she explained.
Finally, I asked Anya, "If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"
"Carpal tunnel comes with the territory, so if you’re looking to invest your money, think: WRIST BRACES. More seriously, I think all writers should remember one thing if they want to be happy, and that’s write what you love. Literature is like marriage vows - sure you can have it all written down on a piece of paper, but without love it’s just a bunch of words."
You can keep up with Anya on her website, http://www.anyahoward.com