1. An exclusive interview with erotic author Penny Birch

    Penny Birch's In Disgrace

    Penny Birch is one of the few living erotic authors to have built up a genuine cult following, partly from the feel of real experience that comes through reading her stories but also because of her specialist areas, including watersports and pony-carting. As Penny puts it on her website, 'All Penny Birch books focus on female submission and contain a wide variety of kinky behaviour. There's always plenty of spanking, humiliation and anal sex. Some also focus on more specialist areas… The short story collections cover the widest range of all.'

    Lovehoney stock Naughty Naughty, Slippery when Wet, In Disgrace, In for a Penny and What Happens to Bad Girls, but this is just a taster for Penny's 30-book strong backlist.

    Penny's books are convincing, utterly depraved and very English, with much of the action taking place in fields and woods populated by jolly, rotund uncles and brattish but voluptuous girls who need a good spanking to see the error of their ways. Read one to see what all the fuss is about, or whet your appetite with the following interview:

    How did you first come to start writing erotic fiction?

    I've always had a compulsion to write, and used to write stories just to keep myself amused. Most of them far too rude for publication, but I've sometimes thought of producing an ebook entitled "The Very Worst of Penny Birch", probably on the day I withdraw from public view!

    Could you tell us a little about your influences?

    The strongest influence on my work is the English countryside, on which I superimpose my erotic fantasies, most of which involve myself and other girls having rude things done to their bottoms. My ideas were already quite well evolved before I came into contact with other people's work, but I have to give credit to the brilliant artwork of Paula Meadows, who manages to capture the feminine perspective on spanking like no other.

    Do you practice what you preach, or do you prefer to work purely from the imagination?

    I've done most of the things I include in my novels, and if I haven't done it I've almost certainly seen it done. I'm also fortunate in having lots of kinky friends, so if I don't have my own experience to work from I can always gain from somebody else's. That's also why I write in the first person, because my descriptions are of how things feel for me, at least physically, but in a different context.

    Why should people read erotica?

    Er… why not? What a silly question.

    Can you make a living from writing erotica?

    Just about, but I wouldn't advise anybody to try it. My husband, who writes as Aishling Morgan, and I just about cope between us, and it's getting harder all the time. Admittedly I haven't even tried to write for the mainstream, but I've probably sullied my reputation so badly by now that nobody would accept me anyway.

    Is there any other contemporary erotica you rate highly?

    There are plenty of other good writers around, but the one who stands out for me at the moment is Fiona Locke. Her writing is very clear, without any attempts at literary gymnastics, which is how good erotica should be, and while she doesn't share all my tastes, when she writes spanking fantasy it's as if she was reading my mind.

    Oh, and there's my husband, of course, but I have to say that or I'll get a hot bottom.

    Do you have any tips for aspiring authors on how to write erotic fiction?

    Yes. Read as much as you can. Say what you mean, clearly and without euphemism. Don't worry about what other people are going to think. Do it because you want to, not because you want to get published and think it's an easy option.

    Many of your books feature the curious pastime of pony-girl carting. Could you tell us a bit about being a pony-girl?

    What's curious about pony-carting? It's the best possible way to spend an afternoon in the English countryside, harnessed up but otherwise naked, held on a rein and gently whipped for hours.

    Seriously, though, being a pony-girl is a wonderfully liberating experience, as well as naughty, while nothing else brings so many fun fetishes together.

    Have you used sex toys in your stories, and if so which ones?

    There are always lots of corporal punishment implements, especially canes, which I find both terrifying and irresistible. Now that I've had over thirty novels published I've probably included descriptions of just about everything that's made, from plain old dildoes to electrical gear and pussy pumps, but sex toys aren't a major theme.

    Are there any sex toys you've enjoyed using in real life?

    Personally, I'm very restrained, with just my favourite mini-vibrator and a big one that plugs into a socket in case the batteries run out at an awkward moment. On the other hand there's all the pony carting equipment, and my husband keeps a wide selection of CP implements for my bottom.

    Oh, and I recently treated myself to a pussy pump, just so that I could describe the sensation in American Blue… honest.

    Finally, do you have any message for Lovehoney customers?

    My usual, I suppose, have fun, but be safe.

    You can buy Penny's books here.

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