We are almost finished with our Sizzling July Interviews *pouts*
But to cheer us up, let me introduce you to my next guest, Giselle London!
Welcome to My Twisted & Kinky World!
Thank you for taking the time to interview me, Brenda!
Of course, sweety! It's great to have you here!
Let's start off by telling everyone a little bit about you!
I’m a little bit kooky, I try to have a positive attitude (even though sometimes it can be a struggle) and I enjoy writing erotica because when a story is done, I get to snuggle up and read it with my husband, which is…um…very enjoyable. ;-)
I bet it is!
So, I know when I sit on writer panels I am always asked this question. When did you start writing?
I started writing as a kid, mostly horror-novel types of stories. I was often complimented for my writing by teachers, and won some awards. However, I was legendary in my ability to put off finishing a book…to the point of friends teasing me about it. I was always working on a story, but never finishing one. Once I went off to college, I rarely tried to write at all. I came back to it a few years ago, after telling my husband some sexy stories to get his “motor running.” He teased me that I should write erotica. I spent a couple of years messing around with it, and studying the craft of writing. But it wasn’t until I was inspired by a bunch of fellow erotica writers that I knew, that I actually was inspired enough to *gasp* FINISH a story! That first month I made enough money to equal a part-time salary, and I’ve been writing and publishing ever since.
What inspired your first book? What was the title? Was it published?
My first finished story was His Virgin Babysitter, the first book in my Virgin Territory series. I felt that it was a concept that would be alluring to most men, and would be either a familiar concept or something that engendered curiosity in women. For me, I was comfortable writing it because I used to be super-religious, so writing from the perspective of a virgin was right up my alley. However, I’d seen too many “virgin” books that were very unrealistic, where the so-called virgins acted like experienced call girls! I tried to write something different. So while my heroines are all very turned on and sexy and ready to go, there is also just a hint of hesitation and nervous excitement to them. I try to go for that sweet-and-sexy quality. The heroes are basically nice guys whose self-control is in tatters around their seductively innocent virgins. And yes, His Virgin Babysitter was self-published. I’ve never even tried traditional publishing, because self-publishing is ideal for me and my lifestyle. Making pennies on the dollar and waiting ages to get paid isn’t for me!
Have you always written erotica? If not, what else do you write/have you written?
I’ve written stories in other genres besides erotica. (All unfinished, of course!) Mostly various sub-genres of romance, as well as some non-fiction. I’m a sucker for a love story.
What made you decide to write erotica?
I had always thought I’d be good at writing romance, and I had assumed it would be easy, as most people do…before they actually try it. But the more I learned about writing romance well, the more I realized I didn’t know! Then when I heard a few years ago that erotica was selling well through small digital publishers, my husband encouraged me to try erotica. I did, and the first story I wrote was something I was really proud of. To this day, I don’t think I’ve equaled the tight sexual tension I had in that story. Unfortunately, I deleted it later on, and I kick myself to this day for doing that!
Ugh! Never delete anything! Which I am sure you don't now. *grins*
My Giselle London stories are all m/f, with the exception of Mistletoe Merrymaking, which was f/f. My work is mostly very spicy “vanilla” stories (meaning there’s no fetish or anything really unusual). My stories are a sensual read for anyone, but definitely a very good choice for those new to the erotica genre, who might not be ready to read the really wild stuff just yet. But I’m also learning more about fetishes, and I may be venturing into more risqué territory in the near future. I write my stories with both men and women in mind, and I write with the idea that my readers might be snuggling up with their significant other, reading my stories together and getting in the mood. (And I highly recommend doing just that, it’s a fabulous way to grow closer, and to heat things up!)
We all can use heating up!
Do you have a specific writing style?
I prefer third person, usually from the woman’s perspective, or alternating between the woman and the man. However, I let the story dictate how it should be written, so if it seems like it would read well in first person, or only from the guy’s perspective, then that’s the way I’ll do it.
What is the process you use for writing?
Typically, I’ll at least do a synopsis, and for a longer story I’ll do an outline and short character bio for each character. For a novella or a novel, I’ll write out a scene-by-scene outline, do intense character bios and character arc, plot arcs, etc. But my Giselle stories are all short stories, from 4500-11,000 words. With the shortest of those stories I just started with an inspiring idea and ran with it.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The hardest thing for me is just settling down and getting started on my writing. Once I get started, I really get into it. Of course, there are the typical difficulties of trying not to use the same words for all the “naughty bits,” when there are only a few words that don’t sound silly, and also trying to keep it fresh. When you write short stories, like a 5,000 word story, there isn’t much room with that word count to be able to develop much characterization and plot—it’s mostly sex. So making sure that each encounter is a little different—especially when you write “vanilla”—is a lot more work than you would think.
I envy short story authors! I just am not very good with that realm. I am amazed at an author's talent when I read a solid, good short.
Is there a message in your novel(s) that you want your readers to grasp?
Since I write short stories, there’s not much time to develop themes or messages and still have a satisfying read. But I do hope that readers pick up on the fact that even in a sexual situation where the characters might be talking dirty to each other, or one character is more dominant than the other, the characters always have an underlying respect for each other. I don’t write stories where there is man-bashing, or where a woman is treated like a piece of meat. Even in Free Ride, where Lexie is bent over the hood of a car with her hands bound, and there is some spanking and dirty talk, everything that happens is because Lexie wants it—not because of some psychological lack of self-worth, but because sexually, she likes it hard and fast.
How do you come up with your book titles?
Although I’m tempted to come up with meaningful or clever titles, the fact is that for erotica and even for erotic romance, the “obvious” titles sell the best, even if they sometimes sound a little silly. So…His Virgin Babysitter…can’t get more obvious than that! That’s my best-selling book. The titles I put more thought into, like Mistletoe Merrymaking, are my slowest sellers.
Are your plot lines based on real life experiences or are they purely fiction?
Unfortunately, I did not have my virginity taken by a hot, wealthy doctor when I was a barely-legal teen, nor has my husband laid me across a restaurant table and had sex with me while two hot guys hold me down and two sexy women lick my nipples. ;-) Are there some small elements in my writing that are inspired by things I’ve said, or fantasized about, or are things I know about? Yes. But I’m not telling you what they are! :-D
Oh, now you know the readers are going to want to know!
If you had to name one character you have written that was the most like you, which character in which book would that be?
My characters are very different from me, but if I absolutely had to choose, I’d say probably Marie from Fr. Tom Takes a Virgin. As a former religious freak turned sex-writing strumpet, I can identify with Marie a bit. And come on, girls, haven’t we all seen a hot young priest and wondered if one scorching night with us would make him rethink his “calling”? (…aaaaaand cue the hate mail from appalled Catholic women!) I’m not saying I did it! I’m just saying…mmmm, mmm, mm! Fun to think about.
*laughs* Gotta love that hate mail! I have a special folder just for it! *chuckles*
I’ve always planned on going back and doing a spin-off series with Ali from His Virgin Babysitter, where Ali goes off to college after her tryst with the dashing Dr. Humphries with a new taste for older men, and ends up spending her freshman semester working her way through all the sexy older men in her life: professors, boss, dorm supervisor, etc. I’ve also thought about a sequel to the first book: Ali brings in a young virgin friend to replace her before she goes off to college, so Dr. Humphries won’t be lonely. J
Oh, now that sounds hot! Let me know if you write it and I'll have you back to chat about it!
Is being an author your only full time job or do you have a 'day job' as well?
Even though I’m not prolific, it pretty much is a full-time job, because I spend a lot of time working on my covers, practicing my budding graphic design skills, reading the work of other erotic short story authors, and doing other related tasks. The writing is actually the least time-consuming task, and that’s saying a lot. Fortunately, I don’t have a job outside of writing, because my family takes up so much of my time, I’d never be able to write if I did. I’d probably be comatose if I tried!
This is always the case with us self-pubs. I don't think many people who want to go the self-pub route realize how much work there is to do that doesn't involve the actual writing!
What other types of jobs have you held before becoming an author?
With the exception of some high-paid on-call babysitting jobs in a big city, all my jobs have been boring minimum wage crap jobs, before I got married. Nothing exciting whatsoever!
Do you travel much concerning your books?
Not yet. I did stay in a fancy hotel nearby a couple of times when I needed quiet time alone to write, which inspired the story in Room Service Rendezvous. Once I’ve reached a certain level of success and my husband has quit working, I plan to attend conventions and travel to certain locales for research. It will be rough, but someone has to do it!
*chuckles* Someone indeed!
What current projects are you working on?
As the Queen of Unfinished Manuscripts, I have plenty. Aside from some novellas and a novel in other genres, my current works-in-progress include a vampire story, more virgin stories, a MILF story, and…well, I could go on and on! If any readers want to give me input as to which story they’d like to see finished first, they can contact me via Twitter, or the email address found at the end of all of my books.
What is your latest release and where can readers find it?
My latest release was Taking the Babysitter. All of my books are on Amazon, and most of them are also available at all the major e-book retailers. A full list of my books and where to buy them can be found at my website, and if readers subscribe to my blog or to my twitter feed, they’ll be notified of new releases.
Most authors offer some sort of e-pub of their work. Do you offer traditional paper versions as well?
My short stories are too short for print, but I am considering putting all my stories into a collection that will be plenty long enough for a print version. I’m also beginning work on audio book versions of my stories, starting with His Virgin Babysitter and Free Ride. I hope to have at least one of them out during July, and available at Amazon.com, Audible, and possibly iTunes.
What is the toughest criticism you have ever received? How did you handle it?
As far as reviews, I’ve been lucky, and most of my reviews are five stars. The last time I checked (and I don’t check often), the few bad reviews I’ve gotten were at Barnes and Noble, where the reviewers left no actual comments. As to how I would handle criticism, I just take it with a grain of salt. If it’s a well-thought-out criticism, I’d definitely take it into consideration. If the reader has a point, it’s a great way to improve your writing. If the criticism was something silly like “this isn’t a book, it’s too short”, I would dismiss it. If a reader can’t be bothered to read the word count and the words “short story” (which I always include in the book description) before buying a book, then you can’t put much stock in anything they say, can you?
Nope, you sure can't. My one attempt at a short story received comments like that and I just shook my head.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?
I’d publish sooner and work harder. I have a tendency to work really hard and burn myself out to get a story out, and then I find it hard to get back in the saddle and write again for a while. I know I’d have even more reader loyalty and more success if I put out a minimum of one story a week, and my goal is to put out at least that many. I would also have taken advantage of Amazon Select sooner. It was a real boost to my sales when I finally tried it, but now from what I hear, authors aren’t seeing results as good as when Select was first introduced. Which makes me question whether I’ll do it again in the future, or not.
Wow, a story a week! That's an ambitious goal and a lot of plots!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Just do it! I spent two years fiddling around and not finishing any stories. Time is money—stop wasting it! I’m not saying put out a story that isn’t ready for publication, but sit your butt in the chair and get the work done, so you can publish it. I made decent money my first month out, and if I’d worked harder and gotten more books out on a regular basis, I’d probably be earning a fulltime “salary” by now. So don’t procrastinate, and be prolific. Put out the best quality book and cover that you can, without getting stuck obsessing over details. (That last advice applies mostly to erotic short stories…novels require far more attention to detail due to plot complexities.)
Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I am eternally grateful for every person who has taken the time to read my books. It means a lot to me. A lot of people would think erotica is meaningless, or just for fun (and it IS fun to read). But when you read it together as a couple, it can actually help mend and enhance relationships sometimes, and I always keep my readers in mind when I write, for that reason. I’m also so grateful to those who have spread the word about my books. The sooner I get to “fulltime money” status, the sooner I can devote twice as much time to putting out the books my readers love, and my helpers have been a big part in putting me on that road. I couldn’t do it without them. So thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thanks for dropping by My Twisted & Kinky World!
Thank you so much for interviewing me, Brenda. You really made me put on my “thinking hat,” and it was fun!
You're most welcome Giselle! *waves goodbye*
If you haven't been checking back this month, you have been missing out on some other Sizzling July Interviews! Check the archives and see who has already been here!
Amara - July 1-3
Evan J. Xaiver - July 4-6
S.L. Armstrong - July 7-9
Brita Addams - July 10-12
Leigh Ellwood - July 13-15
Blaine Arden - July 16-18
Leigh Jarrett- July 19-24
A.D. Cooper - July 22-24
Giselle London - July 25-27
Rachel Haimowitz - July 28-30
Aleksandr Voinov - July 31-Aug. 3
Don't forget to stop by my Smashwords for the Summer/Winter Sale! Selected Titles are up to 50% Off!
Aleksandr Voinov - July 31-Aug. 3
Don't forget to stop by my Smashwords for the Summer/Winter Sale! Selected Titles are up to 50% Off!