Friday, February 16, 2007

The Erotic Circus


‘…Even as she convulsed with the orgasm, she knew somewhere within herself that this abandon was what drove her, what she had always been chasing, as she danced and flirted and listened for the roar of the crowd out beyond the stage. The sensation of being fucked beyond reason was the same as that of dancing herself to a frenzy, surrendering to the desires of the audience, of her lovers, her own body.’

I wrote Circus Excite over the course of one intense and feverish summer. I was in love with everything – my new boyfriend, my first book contract, the circus that I was creating inside my head.

I was terrified too, of course. Along with My First Contract came My First Deadline. White knuckle typing.

I’d been working for this for years. Only, I hadn’t considered what writing erotica would mean to me. A smut writer? How sexy, frightening, outrageous and strange.

Circus Excite is Julia’s story – how she falls in love with the life and idea of the circus: brazen, fantastic, louche and romantic. But as I wrote the book, I found it was as much of an adventure for me as it was for my heroine.

Writing such private, secret, intimate thoughts down on paper scared me. It was something like the dreams you have as a kid about turning up at school naked. Because I found I could only write the scenes if they turned me on – there’s a fierce honesty in writing erotica that meant I had to lay bare my darkest inner self.

In the book the ringmaster (ah! the ringmaster!) leads Julia through her sexual awakening, manipulates her actions and dares her to shock him. He teaches Julia to love the ethos of the circus - a place where nothing is as it appears. From the darkness of the tent come dazzling spectacles, freaks and clowns, glitter and smoke and mirrors…

I had a ball researching. I spent the summer visiting circuses and burlesque shows. I saw the beautiful Speigeltent, and interviewed the lovely Foxy Rouge. I have a box full of ticket stubs and articles on Blackpool Pleasure Beach, stills from Moulin Rouge and notes from the Chinese State Circus. Circus is a visual feast.
Eroticism blends beautifully with the whole idea of circus. Both are a celebration of fantasy, and both are unashamedly hedonistic. Both are also often a guilty pleasure, seen as separate from other more ‘serious’ arts. But as my character learnt to love the circus, so I learned to love writing erotica. It became a playground for my fantasies, somewhere I could let my imagination run wild.

Under the ringmaster’s influence, Julia finds the courage to explore her kinks. The other performers were fabulous opportunities to try out different scenarios – the earthy, fuckable Joe and the enigmatic Sylvie are two of my favourites. Their encounters with Julia are usually woven into their acts, so they become part of the whole circus. Contortion, illusion, and acrobatics become sex scenes. The difference between the highly charged performances and life backstage blurs.

As the circus tours, Julia grows stronger. She discovers more about her sexuality and her love of performance, until at the climax she has the confidence to …

But I can’t give away all the secrets here, now can I? If you want to know the full story, you’ll have to buy a ticket to CIRCUS EXCITE…




amazon.co.uk
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Visit Nikki's blog for a taste of Circus Excite

23 comments:

Mathilde Madden said...

I love Circus Excite. One of the most original and beautiful Black Lace novels.

I also love the picture at the top of this post. I have been staring at that man's arms since I woke up this morning.

Oh, men's arms! Big beautiful bumpy arms like that make me feel so happy and really only slightly sadistic. I am a simple creature, you know.

Nikki Magennis said...

I can't promise bumpy arms, but there is a fantastic site that has a whole thread of kinky circus pictures and various weird and wonderful erotic images.

I just found it and I can't stop looking.

justjo said...

Gorgeous post, nikki!

Janine Ashbless said...

Wow! Sounds wonderful! Congratulations Nikki.

Will now go and look at weird websites, instead of working on my own like I'm supposed to be doing...

Janine Ashbless said...

Uhhh ...

I found the photos of women with dead octopi on their heads. And the pickled foetuses. I think I failed my Sanity roll.

And that was before I came across Girlsandcorpses.

Thanks for the link Nikki. I think.

By the way, what does NSFW stand for? (Given the content I'm taking a wild guess at Not Suitable For Wimps)

Well, this blog is certainly an education. To think I used to be a young and naive writer of pornography...

;-)

Alison Tyler said...

NSFW = Not Suitable for Work... I just learned that recently. :)

Nikki, lovely post... sultry picture...perfect description about first deadlines (white-knuckle writing!).

There is something so decadent and deranged about anything relating to circuses. Did you ever read Geek Love, by chance? I think that's the most twisted circus-themed book I've stumbled on. And for sexy and lustruous, there's Cirque du Soleil. Do they ever come to the UK? We've seen a few of their shows out here...

Congrats on the book!
Alison

Nikki Magennis said...

Did you see the pirates-and-sailor-porn thread? The guy with the leggings?

Sorry, I should have said. This site is fuckin off the wall and some of it is very icky. But a lot of it is brilliant.

NSFW - Never Suck Fetishist's Wigs? Nobody Say Freaky Weirdos?

I think actually it's Not Safe For Work...

Nikki Magennis said...

Bah, Cirque du Soleil! Just as I was finishing up the manuscript they unveiled Zumanity - their erotic circus show - but only in Vegas. Would have loved to have seen it. There was a feature in Playboy. Jugglers and tits, and a giant fishbowl.

I shall seek out Geek Love - it's a brilliant title but I've never read it. Of course there's Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus. And some of 'Fingersmith' by Sarah Walters was set in music halls, which provided good research material. Not a huge amount of literature on circuses, though, bizarrely.

...Thanks for all your kind words. If anybody ever needs to find out about nipple tassel protocol you know where to ask.

x

Olivia Knight said...

There's protocol? For nipple-tassels? I'm asking! A while back on Radio 4 (okay, it's not cool, but it is big, and it is clever) they had a fabulous item on these circus-style strip joints coming back into vogue in London - I forget what they're called - it's something between cabaret, circuses, and Victorian music hall acts. (on Angela Carter, Wise Children has some fabulous theatrical goings-on - and there's The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, for those whose tastes are more on the octopus-cunnilingus side of things. Not that she features pussy-lickin' octopi - but that sort of weirdness.)

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Olivia,

That'll probably be the 'burlesque' revival. The biggest one is The Ministry of Burlesque, but there are quite a few.

If anybody ever sees the Burlesque Hour advertised - go and see them! They're a troupe of three women from Australia, and they're absolutely brilliant.

The whole burlesque thing is more to do with being saucy than necessarily horny. Funny, surprising, clever, and risque. Betty Paige style sexy. So there's a little stripping and nudity, but it takes a lot more than that to make a good burlesque act.

- And re the tassles, it's something to do with dry skin, no body lotion. How they get them to stay on. Some girls can even twirl either nipple in different directions. Amazing.

I'm digging the octopus slant. Am I the only one?

Madelynne Ellis said...

Lovely post, Nikki. Very cool pic. Haven't explored the link yet, cause I suspect it's not suitable viewing for under 18's, and I seem to have a small child clamped to me.

Alison Tyler said...

Okay, you have to check out the Wikipedia for NSFW:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSFW

I love this:

Not safe for work, not work-safe (NWS), not school-safe (NSS), not suitable for school or work (NSSW), or not for British school kids (NFBSK)

What about American school kids?

Nikki Magennis said...

Not Such Feeble Wimps?

Kate Pearce said...

Lovely post and you are so right about the honesty of writing erotica. Sometimes I forget that the stuff I write has to go out to complete strangers, But if you aren't honest with yourself, how can the readers get into what you're saying and believe in your characters?

Deadlines-I write for 3 publishers (VBL, EC and Kensington Aphrodisia)and have 4 deadlines this year. Sometimes I think I was nuts to want to be published so badly, other times I'm still like 'hey-I did it!'

Janine Ashbless said...

A female friend once asked me how I dared write stuff (i.e. smut)that revealed so much about what I was thinking in secret.

But - if you have anything you really want to say - then all fiction involves exposing yourself to strangers, and every time something is published (or read out loud)I feel horribly vulnerable for a while, no matter what the subject. I don't find writing about my sexual fantasies more revealing than writing about other intimate thoughts. In fact it's a lot less risky than revealing how you really feel about friendship, political situations, human nature etc.

Olivia, when you said in a comment that hanging with a group of girls made you feel like a fraud in drag (Now *that's* the sort of thing that's scarily honest!)I whooped and hugged my monitor. You articulated something I often feel and I can't thank you enough.

Olivia Knight said...

Thanks, Janine. It's funny - the older I get, the more women I find who feel the same way, and we invariably get on fabulously. (Hey - let's do coffee!)

But on laying oneself bare in one's writing - yes, I agree that all writing does that. For me the worst thing someone can do is attack a piece of my writing on personal grounds - "You're so obviously writing about x" or "How can you be so y". When I write, I think about the *writing*, not the reader. And I want the reader to think about the writing, not me. If they turn around and start talking at me, conflating me and what I write, I feel like they've breached some sort of contract, somehow. Is that as clear as mud?

Mathilde Madden said...

Maybe it's the first person thing, I don't know, but certainly with the three books I've done so far, everyone but everyone knows it's me.

I keep saying my protags aren't me and no one believes me. Even I don't believe me.

Mona said...

It must have been interesting visiting many circuses. It's a whole another world. During that did something caught your attention? If so, what was it?

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Mona,

Yes, it was a great experience!

Did something catch my attention? Just about everything! The lights, the atmosphere, the smell, the dry ice, the wire acts, the contortionists, the acrobats, the audience. The men who became women, the girl in the tiger suit, the balloon striptease...

Sorry, am I answering the right question? ; )

Nikki Magennis said...

Oh, and Tilly, there's one short story I wrote that my friends flat out refuse to believe is fiction. They even argue with me over the ending because 'that's not what happened'. Sheesh.

- and re the 'feeling like you're in drag' thing. Yes. Me too. Especially in heels. I think there's a big girly pill you're sposed to get given at birth but I spat mine out...

kristina lloyd said...

I'm running to catch up with myself at the moment but I just wanted to say, wow, what a lush and lovely post. You have a very visual style of writing. Gorgeous.

The Speigeltent comes to Brighton each year for the festival. It's magical inside. Marianna Multiple in Sex in Public was inspired by a trip to see a burlesque show there last summer. Nikki, you might have recognised it when you read the story.

- "Some girls can even twirl either nipple in different directions"

I thought everyone could do that.

Saskia Walker said...

Gorgeous picture...

CE is a wonderful book, Nikki. Much enjoyed!!

What have you got in store for us next?

Nikki Magennis said...

Um, how about a nice pot of tea? I could make a cake?

No?

I'm working on *mutters* punkbandphilosophyprofessormusicjournalist. Something. It's turning out to be harder than twirling one's nipples in opposite directions.

There's a bunch of short stories in the works too - Wicked Words anthologies and a couple of others I can't reveal just yet. But soon!

Thanks for your kind words, Saskia!