1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How does your day go? What keeps you writing?
Well, let’s see. I’m awakened by my adoring husband, who brings me breakfast – espresso, strawberries and fresh-baked croissants – in bed. I sit propped against the goose down pillows in my silk negligee, sip my coffee and read the latest American, British, French, German and Japanese newspapers while my maid freshens my pedicure. After I shower, do my make-up and dress in something suitably provocative, I sit down at my state-of-the-art laptop and begin work on my latest erotic opus…
Don’t believe that story, huh? Okay, okay. The truth is that I don’t write
full time. In the real world, I have a technically-oriented job which I love, one that’s creative in a very different way from writing fiction. I try to write at least one full day per week, and to steal bits and pieces of time from my daily responsibilities for planning, editing, and promotion. “Lisabet” also reviews books for several sites and works as an editor for the charitable erotica imprint Coming Together (http://www.eroticanthology.com), so I have to work those tasks in, too.
Fortunately, I’m quite a fast writer – I can produce 5-6K words a day – and my fiction tends to need fewer rounds of revision than some authors. So I guess things balance out in the end.
What keeps me writing? I guess I’m addicted to words, and always have been. I wrote my first poems and stories when I was six or seven, and I’ve never stopped. Once I began publishing, of course, I began to have external motivations as well: demanding readers and of course, money. Lisabet Sarai began as a figment of my imagination, but now has a rich life of her own – a website, an active blog and mailing list, online friends and colleagues. It’s astonishing to contemplate how different my life has become due to my authorly vocation.
2. What brought you to writing erotica? What do you love about it?
I’ve always been fascinated by the sexual dimensions of existence. I have to admit I’ve had quite a few personal erotic adventures. My first sexy stories were fantasies written for various lovers. However, in 1999 I picked up a used copy of a Black Lace novel by Portia da Costa in an Istanbul hotel. It was the most arousing thing I’d ever read (and by that time I had some experience with ‘classic’ erotica) – deliciously perverse, imaginative and varied, with elements of power exchange that “pushed my buttons”. I’d never heard of the imprint (a pioneering series of erotic books written by women for a female audience) but I was hugely impressed. Then I began to think that I could write something in the same vein.
I sat down, penned three chapters of my first novel, RAW SILK, and sent them off with a synopsis to the Black Lace editor. After two weeks I received a postcard acknowledging my submission and warning me that it might be several months before I heard anything further. I shrugged my shoulders and stowed the card in my files, thinking that the whole thing was just a lark. Imagine my amazement when I got an email the next day from the series editor, offering me a contract!
Of course, then I had to actually write the rest of the book! It was
surprisingly easy. I just tapped into all my own fantasies. Looking back now, I realize both how naive I was, and how fortunate.
What I loved initially about writing erotica was the freedom to explore the outrageous and forbidden aspects of sexuality. I could write about things I’d never done but had always dreamed of doing. I could take real world experiences that might not have been ideal and reshape them into fictional encounters more pleasurable and satisfying than reality had ever been. As I published more books, my interest shifted somewhat, toward the various aspects of the craft. I began to experiment with new sub-genres and new literary techniques, and to create characters who were more than just thinly-disguised instantiations of myself, plots that went beyond my own desires. The writing process became a challenge as well as a process of self-arousal.
I think this is a common progression for authors of erotica. We begin by
baring our souls and letting others see our dirty dreams, but after a while, that’s not enough.
3. What are you working on now?
Currently I’m in the midst of a multi-genre erotic romance novella entitled RAJASTANI MOON. I began it as a bit of a joke, determined to pack as many different genres as possible into a single book. RAJASTANI MOON is a Bollywood-themed steampunk BDSM werewolf Rubensque menage. As you might guess, it has a humorous streak as well.
I’m also working on a collection of BDSM short stories to follow up on my
popular book JUST A SPANKING. I’m about halfway through the title story,
SPANK ME AGAIN, STRANGER, which is turning out to be light-hearted with a bit of a chick-lit flavor.
Finally, I’m doing plot and character development for an as-yet-untitled
sequel to my most recent release, the M/M science fiction erotic romance
QUARANTINE. I’ve never written a sequel before, but this book seems to demand it, as I more or less deliberately left some of the relationships somewhat unresolved.
4. What is your—or your character’s—favorite erotic book? Sexy movie? Sex toy?
Hmm. There’s a list of my favorite books and movies on my website
(http://www.lisabetsarai.com) but of course those things are always
changing. Picking a single book is much too difficult, though I have to admit that THE STORY OF O has been a major influence. Possibly the most erotic movie I’ve ever seen is FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey, Jr. (There’s a review on my website – http://www.lisabetsarai.com/furreview.html – which explains my attraction.) I also love some of Zalman King’s films, which seem to me to be far more erotic than more hard core titles.
Favorite sex toy? I guess that would have to be butt plugs, which seem to show up in an embarrassingly large number of my tales. I don’t consider implements of discipline such as riding crops or floggers to be toys – I take BDSM pretty seriously – but readers will find quite a few of these items in my fiction as well.
5. What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to do? The top thing on your personal bucket list?
In fact, there aren’t that many things that I haven’t done – I AM pushing
sixty, after all, and I did grow up in the free-wheeling Age of Aquarius. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a wider variety of experiences than most people. I’ve traveled all over the world, to every continent except Antarctica and Australia. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a long list of places I haven’t visited… but I really shouldn’t be greedy!
I guess the one thing I’d really like to do before I die is experience space travel. When I was in primary school, I wanted to be an astronaut, but they weren’t taking girls with flat feet and 20:2000 vision. (In fact, at that time they weren’t considering females at all.) I don’t have the money to be a space tourist, but I’m hoping the cost of going into space will drop enough that I can try it at least once in my lifetime.
6. What’s your personal romantic (or erotic) fantasy?
I don’t think I want to share that here! All I can say is that anyone who’s interested in that question should pick up copies of my first two novels, RAW SILK and INCOGNITO. It’s all there, in black and white!
My website, Lisabet’s Fantasy Factory: http://www.lisabetsarai.com
My personal blog, Beyond Romance: http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/83387.Lisabet_Sarai
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/lisabetsarai