I asked Amy how she distinguished between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography.
"Hmm, interesting question! Personally, erotic romance would be longer stories with a plot arc and with more going on than just the central romance (even if there’s quite a lot of sex in the mix!). Erotica would be more focused on the sex – in the fan fiction world, they call it PWP, short for ‘Plot? What Plot?’ Though I do prefer my own interpretation – Porn Without Plot," she said with a wink. "Having said that, pornography, for me, would be more image-based – photographs and filmed scenes."
She's not yet read extensively in the erotica world; she came to writing erotic romance without much of a background in the reading side of things. So she isn't that familiar with a lot of erotic authors.
"My fellow Total-E-Bound author Paige Turner is an amazing wordsmith," she said. "My favorite erotic book is her Temporary Trouble-- a M/M/F office-based sex with amazing characters—gotta love it. In the mainstream market, Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series is an epic fantasy world with strong ties to BDSM, and I love her stuff so, so much!"
"What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotica?" I wondered.
"I think a lot of it is still viewed as the heaving bosoms/coy euphemisms bodice-ripper stuff. What people who don’t read erotica don’t realise is, that’s one tiny portion of the erotica market. Another thing is that erotica writers must sit there with one hand down their pants at all times while they write. Personally, that seems really impractical – I mean, typing one-handed isn’t the fastest way to get the words down on the page, is it?" she asked with a grin.
When Amy is researching her books, she goes to her local fetish club, talks to people in the fet community, and watches sexual-tension-heavy scenes from her favorite TV shows and movies.
"I think you can learn a lot from voyeurism. And YouTube can help with the little things – having never tried to walk in 7-inch heels, I wasn’t sure if it could be done with any kind of confidence and grace. Apparently it can, but only for very short periods!" she assured me.
"What is the most embarrassing sex scene you've ever written?"
"Ha! I don’t know about embarrassing, because if you write sex, it’s a pretty good bet your readers are going to expect the whole range of smutty stuff. There’s a scene in my first novel, Dominance and Deception, that involves a lot of cock-sucking, which doesn’t do much for me, personally (I’ve never really been into blow jobs). But once I’d finished the scene I looked back on it and went, ‘Did I write that?’ Apparently, I did!"
Amy is more character-focused in her writing now than when she first started out.
"Without fun and/or intriguing characters, the smut gets kind of stale and familiar, I think," she told me. "I also like to jump from genre to genre these days. Crime, paranormal, fantasy… all under the umbrella of erotica, but just some variation. I don’t think I could write in one sub-genre all the time."
On a more personal note, I asked Amy, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"
"I don’t know about being another person, but I would definitely consider transforming myself into a few inanimate objects for a day," she said with a wink. "Mark Harmon’s shirt, maybe. Or possibly Dina Meyer’s bath towel. That’d be a fun place to be…"
Amy doesn't even have her ears pierced, much less any other part of her anatomy.
"But when I read The Story of O, the scene where O is led around by a leash clipped to her clit piercing just made me melt," she admitted. "So if I absolutely had to, I’d go for a clit piercing. Yeah, pretty extreme!"
I asked her about her favorite food—she admitted that, even though it's odd to say it, she's only eaten her favorite food twice.
"There’s a beach about 120 miles from where I live at the moment, and there’s an ice-cream bar on the waterfront. They serve chocolate knickerbocker glories there, in old-fashioned tall sundae glasses – no fruit, just chocolate and vanilla ice-cream, lots of cream and chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of nuts and chocolate flakes. Damn – having described it, I really want one now!"
She cannot, however, bring herself to eat oysters—even if everyone does rave about them being an aphrodisiac.
"They just look wrong!" she said.
"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I wondered.
"I haven’t, but I’d love to. For many reasons," she assured me with a wink and a big smile.
Her favorite letter is T; she always seems to pick it after the vowels when she plays hangman.
"Plus, lots of fun words begin with T," she told me. "Tease, tempt, tremble, touch, tongue, tingle, tickle, tangle, toy, trick and treat…"
Finally, I asked Amy what advice she would give a new writer just starting out.
"Read! Seriously – it improves your vocabulary, helps you to absorb and develop your sense of narrative structure, and it’s just plain fun. I’ve read stuff by writers who don’t read other people’s fiction – it’s never good."
About the Author:
Find the author online at http://amyvalenti.wordpress.com.
In an Orwellian future world, highly skilled professionals must be sexually suppressed, to focus them better on their work. They get one week per year to procreate-a 'heat phase' allocated to them by computer.
Holly had been ready to give up everything for her career as a doctor-including her sexual urges. Her body rejected the treatment, denying her access to higher medical training, but Holly used her aunt's connections to the clinic to cheat the system. Now she's an unsuppressed woman struggling to hide in plain sight, and to control her desires without being discovered.
If the government finds out she's faking it, they'll likely kill her. So when a sexy medical student named Scott turns on the charm while flashing the wrist tattoos that mark them both as suppressed, Holly is terrified of letting down her guard with him. Could there really be a secret resistance faction whose aim is to abolish the suppression laws? And if she gives in to Scott's advances, will there be terrible consequences?
Reader Advisory: This book contains references to F/F intimacy and M/M intimacy, ménage a trois, masturbation and steamy, smutty sexiness! This book also contains a ménage scene MMF and FF flirting.