Coming Out as an Erotic Novelist. Plus, Win An Erotic E-Book & Other Goodies!
Ever wondered how erotic fiction writers tell their friends and family what they do for a living?
Nicola Jane, author of interactive erotic novel Follow Your Fantasy, reveals all in this special guest blog post.
This competition is now closed. Winners have been contacted via email.
The day my Facebook status update said "Just another day, writing about cock" was not the day I planned on coming out as an erotic writer to my day job as an educational materials writer.
But, after being on a panel at a materials writing conference, I started getting friend requests and Facebook mails from respectable fellow professionals, none of whom knew my little secret.
I couldn't accept their requests but I didn't want to snub them either. What was I supposed to do?
Photograph by Cesar Viteri.
Since I started writing Follow Your Fantasy, an erotic Choose Your Own Adventure style story, in autumn 2011, I've had various coming-outs to make. During the writing process, I didn't mention it to many people at all. I was too shy and the stuff my imagination was coming out with was a surprise even to me. Then I realised the latent power of it in flirting with a guy I was getting to know and let's just say, the first person who read it was quite visibly affected. Result!
That didn't make it any easier to tell people I wasn't trying to seduce. I skirted round it, saying I was working on something "very adult" when I moved to Madrid and joined a writer's group. I told my mum the loose format but that I wasn't going to be sending it to her as with other things I've written. She was a bit offended. "I have lived, you know!" she said. Thanks Mum, I don't want to know about that any more than I want you reading the orgy scene I've just written.
Since I finished writing it, I've slowly been coming out. And people are fascinated. Test readers of earlier drafts were very open about the effect it had on them. Women I had barely met started telling me their fantasies. Men I turned down when I was younger began playing out X-rated scenarios of what might have been. "You mean to tell me that the girl that wouldn't sleep with me at Uni is now writing sex stories! I've been robbed!"
Even my younger brother asked me if it would be weird to send me an erotic story he's been inspired to write. (Yes, but send it anyway!)
Erotic books like Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James, Garden of Desires by Emily Dubberley, and Women On Top (among others) by Nancy Friday have allowed women not just to admit their fantasies to themselves, but to actually talk openly about them.
Now the Choose Your Own concept puts readers at the accelerator - or the brakes - and I can imagine conversations where women compare the route they took through the book and what they liked or didn’t like. Talking about sex is the surest way to getting better sex.
Men, for their part, show an unexpected interest considering the traditional view that they prefer to watch porn than get their kicks reading.
One male friend, after reading a couple of sections, said it made him feel hopelessly inadequate if that was what was going on in women's heads. Hopefully, if men read the book, they'll feel inspired not inadequate. What better way to find out what your partner is turned on by than finding out how your choices overlap or differ? As for me, I've surprised myself with some of the things my imagination must have had simmering away underneath all along.
I'm writing the second book and having new conversations with myself while exploring things to put into the story. Sex toys are going to feature, as are some much dirtier scenarios I would never have thought I had the mental lexicon for. All of this has given me the bravery to accept some of those friend requests from fellow education professionals. And, like everyone else so far, they loved this breath of fresh air blowing off the academic dust.
I actually think I'll end up with more work as a result of the contacts I'm turning into friends straightaway via my alter ego, Nicola Jane. So the (tongue in cheek) cock status updates can stay.