by Dayle A. Dermatis
Jolie du Pré is a multipublished author of literary erotica, as well as the editor of the recent Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica and founder of GLBT Promo, a promotional group for GLBT erotica and erotic romance. We’re thrilled to have her with us today!
How did you get started writing erotica?
My husband was the culprit. First I wrote young adult fiction, well enough to win a contest sponsored by a Canadian newspaper. But I didn't enjoy reading young adult novels. My husband could sense that YA fiction, coupled with my interest in writing, were not a good match. He was the one who suggested erotica, and I have never looked back.
As a bisexual woman, what was factored into your decision to focus on f/f erotica? Would you consider writing f/m erotica, and if not, is that a decision based on personal preference, branding, political issues…?
Good questions! I started writing erotica about six years ago. I wrote everything from M/F to M/M to F/F. Yet even though I'm a bisexual woman, F/F captured my heart. Women have always been important to me and I've had a number of female lovers in my open and honest marriage. But making money in F/F can be harder than trying to do it with M/F or M/M. I've decided, after careful consideration, that I need to return to a bit of M/F in order to increase what I earn. For me that means that sometimes my characters will be bisexual rather than lesbian.
Every writer has a unique voice. But is there such a thing as a “bisexual” versus “lesbian” versus “straight person stretching her writing copes” sensibility in lesbian fiction?
This is an interesting question. Last May I sat on an erotica panel at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. I like to look at women, and I made a statement that if you are a straight woman who does not like to look at women, please don't write lesbian erotica. What I mean is, you need to have a genuine interest in women in order to pull it off. If you are a straight woman, or even a bisexual woman, who prefers men, you may not be able to hide your preference when writing lesbian erotica.
We had a discussion previously here on Lust Bites about f/f stories not getting the same attention as m/m stories in the world of erotic romance today. Do you think that’s true? Any comments?
Yes, it's true. The majority of people who read erotic romance are heterosexual women. These women are interested in M/F and M/M, not F/F. That's why, from now on, my erotic romance e-books will include M/F sex along with F/F. Those who write M/F and M/M erotic romance e-books are pulling in the most money. I'm ready for some of that money. However, the stories I write for literary erotic print anthologies will continue to be F/F. I've never had a problem there.
The big news in your life right now is that you your new anthology, Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica, came out recently. Tell us about the experience of being an editor, especially compared to being a prolific writer.
The theme of Iridescence, lesbian stories about women of color (Asian, Latina, Indian, African American and more), was born out of my frustration with the lack of characters of color in erotica. I consider Iridescence to be more than just an erotica collection. It's a unique contribution which made my experience as editor very special. Reading the submissions and choosing the stories was a joy. Plus, I enjoyed having the opportunity to treat authors the way that I like to be treated, because as an author I am disgusted with the behavior of some of the editors and publishers out there. It's not that I enjoy editing more than writing, because they both give me pleasure in different ways.
Trying to write a really good erotic story with fresh descriptions and valid plot is harder than most people think. Got any tips?
Fresh descriptions and a valid plot require an open and interesting mind. One of the best ways to get that is to read a variety of literature. That would be my first tip. My second tip is to respect your style, and what makes it unique, and work at strengthening that style. I can't become a better writer if I'm busy trying to write like someone else.
You’re primarily a writer of short stories, although when I poked around the web about you, I saw that you’re working on novels as well. Do you find one medium easier or harder? Any other notable differences you’ve discovered?
Actually, I've started one novel. A novel is difficult for me to write because in order to write a novel you have to be able to plot. If you've only written short stories, it can get tough. My novel is on hold because I keep leaving it for other writing projects, but I'll finish it eventually.
And just for fun: Coffee or tea? Cats or dogs? Werewolves or vampires? Mac or PC?
Coffee! My husband and I are serious coffee drinkers. We prefer to buy the coffee beans and grind them ourselves for our cups. Cats! They're low maintenance. Vampires! I've never been intrigued by werewolves. Mac! I'm a PC user, but if I could afford a good Mac, I'd probably use one.
Here’s an delicious taste of Jolie’s writing, from her story “Monisha” in Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica
Sitting on my sofa I look out the window and watch the snow flakes fall from a white sky. It’s cold outside, yet thanks to my landlord my place stays at one temperature - hot. Sweat beads on my chest as I open a window in search of relief.
It will be Christmas soon. My family stopped speaking to me ever since I came out, so I don’t have a lot of presents to buy. I want to go outside into the cold air, get a latte and read the paper, listen to corny holiday tunes, and get the hell out of my apartment.
I walk into a coffee shop. A jazzy instrumental comes out of the speakers to the tune of Silent Night. She’s behind the counter. Tawny skin and a face full of freckles. Brown dredlocks. Large breasts. Big hips.
She turns around and bends over to get some cups. I stare at her full behind and I imagine us naked: she on her stomach, my dark chocolate hands on her caramel ass.
“Happy Holidays,” she says. She’s standing up now, facing me and smiling.
“Happy Holidays. What’s your name?” Flirting has become my hobby ever since I went on unemployment.
“Do you come in here much, because I’ve never seen you before?”
“No, but I will now.”
She blushes. I’ve taken a lot more chances these days, hitting on pretty girls who work behind counters whether they’re straight or not. If I bomb, I just get what I need and leave.
But when Monisha hands me my latte she looks me in the eyes.
I grab a paper and sit down. Every so often I stop reading and look at her face.
She catches my gaze and smiles. I smile too.
"I'll be back tomorrow," I say to her as I leave.
Everyone is welcome to attend a reading of Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica at Bluestockings
172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington
New York, NY
212 - 777- 6028
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Jolie du Pré, Tawanna Sullivan, Shanel Odum, Sofia Quintero, Rachel Kramer Bussel
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
by Dayle A. Dermatis