Lucy A. Snyder is an author I admire who writes some of the most captivating stories I’ve ever read. Now, she’s got a single author collection of erotica linked into her Jessie Shimmer novels. She talks about why and how this got started.
On Writing Erotica
“Does this mean you’re writing your own slash?”
That’s what one of my friends said when I told her of my plan to write some new erotica stories featuring characters from my Jessie Shimmer urban fantasy series and release them in my collection Orchid Carousals.
I thought about it for a moment, and laughed. “Yes, I suppose I am!”
If you’ve read any of the books in my Jessie Shimmer series you know I don’t exactly shy away from portraying sex in my regular fiction. But despite the graphic scenes, books like Shotgun Sorceress or Switchblade Goddess are not erotica.
An erotica story is a narrative that focuses on sex. Sex is crucial to the plot tension. And, yes, erotica stories have real plots. They also have characterization, world-building, and all the other things you come to expect from any other type of fiction. Or, at least the good erotica stories do; take away the plot and the compelling characters and you end up with porn that has a hard time sustaining reader interest over more than a few pages. (This is a lesson that the writers of the webcomic Oglaf know quite well; they have thousands of dedicated readers who probably arrived at their site looking for a bit of diverting cartoon porn but keep coming back week after week to see where the characters’ stories are going.)
So, why erotica?
One of my overall goals as an author is to be able to write well in a wide range of styles and genres. If an editor comes to me and says “I need a 6,000-word Lovecraftian western story written in iambic pentameter that focuses on Nikola Tesla and Sherlock Holmes finding a crashed spaceship outside Tombstone, Arizona in 1890,” ideally my response should be “Sure; when do you need it?”
Being able to write a plot-worthy sex scene is no different than being able to write an exciting fight scene or a heartbreaking death scene; it should be a part of any well-rounded fiction writer’s toolbox.
But more directly, while I was working on the novel trilogy, I found myself with many more story ideas than I had room for in the novel. I wanted to continue the narrative, certainly, but I also found myself with back stories that I wanted to tell. And a number of the ideas that I had seemed to lend themselves well to erotica.
For instance, I wanted to tell the story of how Jessie and Cooper first became a couple; more to the point, I wanted to show readers that because of their age difference, it really wasn’t an easy decision for Cooper. I could have told a story that focused on Jessie’s anguish over her aunt’s death … or I could tell a story that focused on her passion for Cooper and would be a bit more fun for readers. Clearly, I chose the latter.
While I was writing Switchblade Goddess, I realized that I’d given Mother Karen a short shrift in the narrative. She’s a fairly important supporting character, but very little of what I knew about her life had actually gotten into the books. So I used the story “Demonized” as an opportunity to show readers more about her history and her intimate world.
At the end of Spellbent, Jessie leaves poor love-smitten Kai behind. A lot of people told me they particularly liked Kai and wanted to see more of him. So, I collaborated with Kaysee Renee Robichaud to write a noir-flavored erotic story that shows what happens to Kai after Jessie’s out of the picture.
There are more stories floating around in my head that I didn’t have time to write before the collection needed to go to press. Possibly in the future CGP or another publisher might release a volume entirely devoted to the Warlock’s adventures.
In the meantime, I hope readers enjoy Orchid Carousals!
Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, Switchblade Goddess, and the collections Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger.