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Saturday, June 18, 2011
Author Interview: D.L. King
Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome D.L. King. Her writing has been described, in erotic romance reviews, as “Not for the faint of heart.” She used to tell people that she writes porn, but now she says that she writes smut.
"People seem to be more willing to come along with smut writers than purveyors of porn," she explained. "I suppose, if you agree that porn is just sex for sex’s sake, with no reasonable facsimile of plot or character, than no, I don’t write porn. Actually, what I write is erotica. Sex is more than integral to erotica; it is actually the whole reason for the story. But the story really must be a story, not just a sex scene. Erotica doesn’t require a love match or a happy ending, or even a happy for now ending. But that doesn’t imply that it can’t have one."
She considers several of her books and stories to be romantic, but she admits that most erotic romance publishers don't. As an example, she has a novella called The Marrying Kind, which is exactly what the name implies.
"The main characters are in love and want to get married. Really, it’s a comedy of manners, ala The Importance of Being Ernest. It’s cute and funny and fluffy," she told me. "But it’s also hardcore femdom erotica. One of the larger online erotic romance publishers wasn’t interested—actually, one editor was and the other called it filth. My Melinoe novels are also, at their core, romances. Boy meets girl. Girl falls for boy and vice versa. Wackiness ensues. Girl and boy end up living together, happy as clams. Of course they’re also hardcore medical fetish, femdom erotica."
Sexually, there's not a line in her writing she wouldn't cross.
"Sure there are taboos that once crossed would spell the death of your manuscript, as no reputable publisher would publish work including them and, truthfully, they don’t interest me, anyway; topics like pedophilia, bestiality, incest, etc.," she said. "But my work is definitely not your typical erotic romance. It’s erotica, usually with a healthy dollop of humor. My main publisher is Cleis Press, you should really go and see for yourself. My new anthology, Carnal Machines, has some very romantic stories, also pretty down and dirty erotica."
There are several writers who impress D.L., or as she said, "Make me wish I could write like them (another way to put that would be, make me feel inadequate)."
The list varies as to who might be on the top at any given time, D.L. tends to add to the list, but never take away from it. Right now, some of her favorite erotica writers include Laura Antoniou, Alison Tyler, Kathleen Bradean, Louisa Burton, Thomas Roche, Lisabet Sarai, G.C. Scott, Mike Kimera, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and Remittance Girl. Mainstream authors she loves include the team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. She's also a Stephen King fan, as well as a fan of Anne Rice.
"And I can’t pass up Laurell K. Hamilton or Charlaine Harris," she admitted. "Lately, I’ve been eating Richelle Mead’s books like candy."
"Who is your favorite erotic author?" I asked.
"Okay, so now you’re gonna make me choose? I hardly think that’s fair! Perhaps I should go with an author I’ve never published, but whose books inspired me to begin writing erotica: G.C. Scott. I remember reading The Passive Voice and His Mistress’s Voice and thinking how very accessible they were. His books have turned me on something fierce while, at the same time, giving me the idea to try my hand at writing erotica. Reading G.C. Scott is what got me started writing."
"What about your favorite erotic book?"
"Again with the forced choices! I have several favorites. As a 'go to' book, when I’m not using my book, The Melinoe Project (which really is my 'go to' book of choice) I might pick one of the Beauty books by Anne Rice (A.N. Roquelaure) and His Mistress’s Voice remains one of my favorites. Right now, I’m also in love with Rachel Kramer Bussel’s femdom anthology, Please, Ma’am."
D.L. does a lot of research for her books. While a lot of what she writes is based on personal knowledge and/or experience, quite a bit is based on research. She has written two novels that centered around medical fetish, but because she's not a doctor she had to do a lot of research with them.
"I don’t want anyone reading anything I wrote and saying, 'Hey, wait a minute, that’s not the way that works,' and then throwing the book against the wall. I know I get pretty upset when I read something I know to be false. If I see too much of that, I’ll stop reading, even if I like the story. So I really try not to do that to my readers."
She also admitted, however, that research is a good way to procrastinate.
"I can spend, literally, hours on the computer looking up 'stuff.' It might be stuff I need or it might be stuff that stuff I need has led me to. It can be very fascinating—and very time consuming, or should I say time-wasting? Here’s a little-known secret: Writers are big procrastinators. Yep, it’s true. Most of us can spend hours, days, even weeks not writing. There’s research and then dishes to do. Grocery shopping must be done and then I really have to meet my friends at the bar because I haven’t done that recently enough and they’re going to think I don’t love them anymore. I have to catch up on email and all the projects people have asked me to do. The house needs cleaning and I really want to watch the latest episode of Fringe or Castle or Vampire Diaries. Wait, when was that deadline??? (We’re also good for going off on tangents. What was that question, again?)"
D.L. does most of her research on the Internet, but does have several reference volumes on her desk. One of her favorites is The Oxford Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases. She also has the complete works of Shakespeare, Rodale’s Synonym Finder, Strunk and White, the OED of Current English and the OED Thesaurus.
"I don’t think you need any special reference books to write erotica, specifically; good writing applies to all genres and good writing is grounded in a good grasp of the language and its rules," she told me. "Any special bits of knowledge one needs, such as what happens in a real BDSM club or how a guy feels just before he achieves orgasm, etc, can be researched in bed, interviewing friends and experts and online. But, get it right, because people will know if you don’t!"
On a person note, I asked D.L. what food she considered best for eating off another's tummy.
"I’d have to say whipped cream, and I’m seriously not just sucking up. But what better thing is there for eating off another’s body? Whipped cream, when used judiciously, stays put until you lick it off. I’m not big on messes. I would be completely appalled at a sploshing party. I really would. And that’s why I say, whipped cream. I briefly thought about honey, but honey runs—and is awfully sticky. No, I’ll stick with whipped cream and I’ll enjoy eating it off of several different body parts, especially the ones you can dip in it. As an aside, I did once eat a homemade chocolate truffle off of a body at a party. That was a lot of fun, actually."
For her favorite food, however, she said, "Here’s a little known fact about me. I don’t like chocolate. Well, not very much. It isn’t something I would choose to eat. I prefer vanilla (cakes, frosting and ice cream, not sex). But that’s not what you asked. I enjoy savory food, rather than sweet food. I prefer pizza, potato chips, braised short ribs and even lima beans to cake, ice cream, candy, custard and pudding. But, when it comes to my favorite food, I’d have to say foie gras; I go positively weak in the knees for foie gras. I prefer goose, but duck will do in a pinch!"
Ironically, given her choice of favorites, she cannot bring herself to eat sweetbreads. "Really, liver and sweetbreads are not the same—not the same at all," she declared.
When D.L. not writing (or "being slothful" as she put it), she likes lying around on the couch watching TV, but doesn't get the chance to do that very often. She has a day job and usually writes when she comes home from work. Depending on the time of year, she can also be found in her garden or entertaining friends. She loves to grill and cooks just about every dinner outside as soon as the weather permits.
"I also really like to read outside, when the weather’s nice, with some cheese and crackers and a glass of wine," she told me.
Finally I asked her, "If someone were to play you in a movie, what actor would it be and why?"
"First, why would someone be playing me in a movie? I think they should be playing one of my characters, that would be a lot more interesting than watching some famous actor lying around, watching TV, weeding or reading. I’m just saying…
"But, if someone had to play me, I’d like it to be Angelina Jolie, ‘cause she’s really hot! I think she should play me the way she played Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movies. Or, if not Angelina Jolie, maybe Jessica Alba or Jennifer Garner, for the same reasons. By the way, none of them look anything like me, but really, in the grand scheme of things, is that important?
"In actuality, if someone wanted to play the bossy, writer me, Kathy Bates would be a good bet. But, all things equal, I’d like to see Angelina Jolie play me.
"Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk to your readers. It’s been a lot of fun."
You can keep up with D.L. on her blog, http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2876426.D_L_King/blog