by Olivia Knight
Lust Bites has a brand-new shiny spangly contributor in the flock / stable / chocolate-tray, or whatever the correct collective noun is for erotica writers: Edie Bingham, author of The Pride and Southern Spirits, improv comedian, stand-up, closet-cat, and would-be trainspotter. So while the French celebrate the murder of the aristocracy and the birth of La République, we’ve captured Edie and put her in a cage to display to you.
The cage is for her own protection.
Edie Bingham's first novel, The Pride, was written as a bet. Everyone who spent their entire formative years earnestly penning novels in imitation of Jo from Little Women will now lob rocks, fruit, and boxes of unpublished manuscripts, hence the nice thick iron bars around her – because it got published, it’s brilliant, and we’re damn proud to have her on board. (Or, at least, imprisoned.) She’ll dish the details on Friday, but for now – it’s about a woman from a race of hidden people with cat-like traits who tries to escape her traditions to live among men, only to fall for a sensitive historian . When she is abducted and taken back to her Pride, he follows and rescues her. Plus she has a tail, which is cool.
Her second novel, Southern Spirits, also has paranormal elements - a very special train carries people on a ghost tour of the Deep South. In a nutshell, it’s an erotic murder-mystery-ghost-story-detective-novel-contemporary-thriller (as opposed to her earlier erotic paranormal-sci-fi-contemporary… she doesn’t do boxes, cage notwthistanding). Southern Spirits will be released on 5 August this year. As someone with an advance copy, trust me: it steams.
So while we have her safely behind bars, let’s interrogate her…
How did you get into writing erotica?
Ray Liotta walked out of a cornfield and said to me "If you write it, they will cum…" Actually it was an argument about cat costumes being the sexiest for fancy dress which turned into a short story about a woman who was actually a were-cat hiding in plain sight in the chorus line of the musical Cats and gets discovered by a groupie. It just went from there I think… Plus I quite like writing about sex, which helps.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm researching the next book , tentatively called The Forsaken, - about a hidden Crystaline Cavern buried in the desert that moves position with the moon and has a long history of folklore surrounding it. The central character is a folklore historian defending her archeologist father's shattered reputation by trying to find the cavern which supposedly has healing and rejuvenating properties. It has echoes of stories like King Solomon's Mines, She, possibly a dash or two of Indiana Jones... but with a lot more sex.
What is your mental picture of the "typical" erotica writer, and are you one?
I was once told at a comedy gig that I didn't look like a "porn writer" so I told him I'd shaved off my handle bar moustache and left my flares at home. I always picture some lady in tweeds, I think, though I'm sure there really isn't a "typical" type.
Your other personality does stand-up – do your erotica and your comedy feed into each other? Can erotica be funny or does it ruin the moment if someone cracks up?
There are really odd similarities – writing for both requires me to be thinking about engineering a very specific emotional response – either laughter or arousal. They both utilize similar skills of observing human nature and how people behave. I do think my comedy background helps with the lighter moments in my books and I suppose I tend to make sure there is actually some comedic elements in there because it's such a big part of my life. As far as erotica goes, I think it needs a lot of thought but if it's there and works, it’s wonderful. I hate it if it's written badly as I do think it so easily can spoil the mood. I personally find humour extremely attractive from the right man or woman, and extremely irritating from the wrong ones. I always try to have a comedic character in the mix, just to add a bit of reality, because sex and relationships are hilarious as well as sexy and wonderful.
Both your novels have brilliant and quite unusual premises. Where did you find your starting points for them? Are you a train spotter? Were you turning a Turkish holiday into a tax-deductible expense or are you secretly a member of an ancient demonic race yourself?
For Southern Spirits, I was thinking about journeys – sexual journeys in particular. I was also really interested in the notion of places being haunted or occupied, having a "spirit" or personality or entity watching the people within over a long period of time. Setting it on a train keeps the characters close and in a situation they couldn't walk away from easily.
The Pride came out of the argument about cat costumes, but I also think I may possibly be part cat – the part that likes to be stroked and fed by someone else and sleep most of the time. I've also been told I can scratch and bite with the best of em. I've been to Turkey several times on holiday, and the Turkish Restaurant owner Sedat is based on a friend of mine over there. So a little from column A and a little from Column B I think.
Where would we find you – sitting on the station in an anorak with a notebook or lounging in the luxury suite in the train?
Honestly? I'm a total anorak. I love pop culture, nerdy TV shows, geeky guys, science fiction, inane and obscure facts and comic books. I even wear spectacles. Writing sexy books is the only cool thing I do. Thank goodness for erotica!!
In the Lust Bites crowd, you would be voted most likely to…
….leave the ladies room with my skirt in my knickers. Hey, at least I'd get noticed!
...and now, it's open to the rabble to hurtle fruit, questions and champagne at our latest Lustie!
Monday, July 14, 2008
by Olivia Knight