Erotic Author Interview: Donna Storey, Author of Amorous Woman
The erotic secrets of one woman's sexual awakening and her subsequent passions in Japan as an Amorous Woman...
Recently, I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Donna Storey's new novel Amorous Woman--her first foray into the world of erotic novels after spending time writing short stories to hone her skill.
It is a fabulously unique story and stands out from the crowd by being set in Kyoto, giving a glimpse into an erotic world that most of us can only imagine. You can read my personal review over at Orgasm Army, but I was lucky enough to talk to Donna directly about her book...
Donna, first let me tell you how much I enjoyed your novel - -it is quite rare for me to give a book 4.5 stars!
I am SO glad you enjoyed the novel--it's a great relief for me as well, especially since I'm a first-time novelist.
I can imagine--but I think you're set for success because not only is your book exceedingly well written, but it is unlike the bulk of erotica out there by being set in such a different world as many people find Japan. How did you get interested in the sexual peccadilloes of the Japanese?
I'd always wanted to travel to exotic countries, but when I read James Clavell's novel, SHOGUN, I was really intrigued by Japan. I was an English major in college and not sure what I wanted to do when I graduated and I saw a bulletin board advertising teaching jobs in Asia. I got it into my head that I wanted to teach English in Japan instead of doing whatever English majors do (teaching? publishing? sponging off of my parents?) and I just packed a suitcase and went to Kyoto as a tourist, planning to find a job when I got there which really didn't fit with my plan-it-out, shy personality.
But once I arrived in Japan, things just fell into place. I quickly found a job (this was in the boom 1980s) and seemed to fit well with the culture in a way I didn't feel I belonged in the US. It was very easy to find boyfriends and I was also adopted by older Japanese who took me to wonderful restaurants and hot springs. That magical anything-can-happen feeling is what I tried to capture in the early parts of the novel.
You really did get across the feeling that anything could happen in the early parts of the novel--I know that I wasn't sure what to expect from the first chapters, but I also felt that it was going to be an interesting, twisty ride. As I said in my review, one of the things I really loved about the novel was that the lead character, Lydia, was such a sensual, physically-attuned character. I really felt that she had a sexual appetite that made it very easy to find her arousing. How did she come about?
My AMOROUS WOMAN is modeled after a 17th century erotic classic about a woman whose sexual appetites led her to experience almost every role open to a female at the time. In my case, I explore many of the roles open to a foreign woman--English teacher, wife, bar hostess, prostitute. Having that classic model for the story was reassuring for a first-time novelist.
It was a lot of fun to translate the original Amorous Woman into a modern Western character. First of all, I think living in a foreign country allows you to cast off certain inhibitions you feel at home. That was certainly true of Lydia--and myself. Then there's the language and cultural barrier, which makes your experience more sensual because you rely on other ways of understanding. I spoke some Japanese, but there were times when my lover and I consulted a dictionary in bed--and of course other times when we didn't need one at all! Some forms of communication are universal.
I would have to think that any reassurances you can take as a novelist would have to be a plus--there are budding authors in the crowd (I'm sure at least some of them will be working hard on their submission to the Lovehoney Erotica Competition)--could you talk a bit about how the process is for you?
I think every published story I've written is based on something that intrigues me or scares me or arouses me. And each story requires its own time to come to fruition, rather like sex. I have a nice long foreplay period and then dash off the story in a burst of creativity or start with an idea and move quickly into writing which means more time in the composition
phase to get things heated up. While I'm writing the story, I lose myself (again like sex!). I go into that world and live it. Multiply that a hundred times for a novel. It really took over my life for about six months. I lived and breathed Lydia. And of course, the ideas had been simmering on the back burner for many years before that.
Another surprising thing for me was that some of my characters refused to do what I wanted them to do, so I had to change my story, in fairly minor ways, but still they forced my hand. For me, novel writing was definitely more intense, but satisfying.
Donna, thank you so much for giving us some insight into the background of the book and your process. I hope that it is a huge success for you--I can't think how it could help to be!
Have a question or comment, or want to get a message to Donna? You can write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.