An exclusive interview with erotic author Aishling Morgan
Aishling Morgan is one of the few erotic authors worth reading for reasons beyond the obvious - Lindsay Gordon is another. We currently stock Beastly Behaviour, The Old Perversity Shop and Strip Girl, which is a mere sprinkling of titles from an author who now has 25 titles to his credit.
Aishling specialises in exquisitely detailed fantasies which can be broadly divided into three groups:
- books set on another world entirely, such as the half-human, half-animal world of Tiger Tiger, a title that's a far better fantasy novel than most mainstream genre titles, or the horny goblin world of Maiden and its sequels
- books set recognisably on Earth but featuring fantastic elements, such as the octopus gods and pimped-up shellfish of Deep Blue - the perfect beach read for that dirty summer break
- historical novels set in meticulously observed time periods, generally Edwardian or Victorian, with glossaries and notes (but a rip-roaring readability that belies such an academic approach) and a leaning towards the bizarre but not quite fantastic, such as the woman-milking machine in Devon Cream and its sequels.
Aishling's a real master at what he does, and we're honoured to have his thoughts about writing erotica here.
How did you first come to start writing erotic fiction?
I wrote The Rake as a short story for a magazine, then expanded it into a novel, which was my first and the beginning of the Truscott Saga.
Could you tell us a little about your influences?
The main influence on my appreciation of erotica has to be Mayfair magazine as it used to be in the '70s. The girls were beautiful and yet natural, the stories imaginative and often bizarre, and the cartoons both amusing and erotic. My particular favourite was the Carrie cartoon strip, drawn by Don Lawrence and later Steve Kingston, which helped to fuel many of the fantasies I've subsequently explored in my writing.
I'd read de Sade, the Story of O and other classics at an early age, but I always felt I could do better.
Do you practice what you preach, or do you prefer to work purely from the imagination?
A bit of each. A lot of my work is pure fantasy, so no, I don't know how it feels for a virgin princess to be caught and molested by goblins, nor how a girl feels being brought to orgasm in the arms of an octopus, but I had years of experience on the London SM scene and I like to think I know what I'm talking about.
Why should people read erotica?
For pleasure, as escapism, as stimulation, really for whatever reason they please. I personally write to entertain as much as to arouse, and would hope that my books are worth reading for their own sake.
Can you make a living from writing erotica?
Yes, but no more than a handful of people do. My wife, best known as Penny Birch, brings in rather more than I do, and between us we've managed to bring in a reasonable income for ten years now.
Is there any other contemporary erotica you rate highly?
Rosaleen Young deserves a mention, also Alice McCloud, Lindsay Gordon, Fiona Locke, Ray Gordon. There are plenty of good writers about, but I definitely prefer genuine, unashamed eroticists to mainstream authors who use sex merely because it sells.
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors on how to write erotic fiction?
I suppose it depends what you want to do. If your aim is to express yourself it's best to stick to the internet and write what you please, but if you want to get anything published you need to take other things into consideration. Publishers have guidelines, which you'll need to follow if you want to get anywhere at all, because they're certainly not going to change them to suit you. To need to be aware of what's acceptable as well, and be prepared to accept some editing of your text. Also, it might be two years or more from first starting your work to seeing it in print, and you definitely should not have any financial expectations. On the other hand, beware of vanity publishers and remember the simple rule – money should flow towards the artist, always.
Have you used sex toys in your stories, and if so which ones?
I tend to work on the grab-what's-nearest-to-hand principle, so my scenes are more likely to involve courgettes and goose grease than vibrators and lube. There are all sorts of strange pieces of erotic/religious paraphernalia in my magical realism series, and plenty of bizarre engines of torture in the out and out fantasies. Does a milking machine designed for voluptuous girls count as a sex toy?
Are there any sex toys you've enjoyed using in real life?
My front room is crammed with pony-girl gear, piggy-girl gear, canes, whips, crops, paddles etc, and I have a three-seater pony-girl carriage complete with shaft gear and swingletrees, but again, I'm not sure that counts.
Finally, do you have any message for Lovehoney customers?
Yes. Always use plenty of lube, or goose grease.
You can buy Aishling's books here.