|Giselle's To Do List|
I think a lot of us here at The Grip are in the same boat. We're not the popular kids. And we don't want to be.
But, as Lisabet mentioned in the comments of Monday's post, I make my living at this. I don't have an evil day job. Writing is my evil day job. It's povertylicious. And I don't say that jokingly, so don't be offended or think I don't take low income seriously. I literally live below the poverty line.
I never answered that interview question, did I? The thing that makes my work different from others' in the genre is that I'm queer and I'm pretty genderfucked and, though there are a few men I find interesting, they aren't anything like the Alpha Males who are so popular in erotic romance today.
The kind of erotic fiction readers want is not the kind of erotic fiction I write.
When I started writing erotica in 2006, I came into this venture soooo naively. I still hadn't figured out that I wasn't a normal person. I thought the stuff that appealed to me erotically would appeal to everybody else. So.... yeah, that's not the case. I've mentioned before that editors and publishers advised me to stop wasting my time on fiction about lesbians or bisexual women. Instead, I wrote more. I wrote a trans lesbian novel that won a Rainbow Award but, as Sacchi mentioned, awards don't help sales. You'd think they would but they don't.
What's a poor author to do?
Write a stupid book. That's what I decided on. Dark romance is popular these days--erotic fiction at its rapey-est. I really had to push myself into this project. Non-consent doesn't appeal to me. But if there's one thing I learned from writing my Adam and Sheree trilogy it's that writing a taboo topic can change my opinion of it. (I thought incest was really squicky before I wrote Adam and Sheree. Now it's all I want to write.)
Actually, the idea for my soon-to-be-self-published novel Seven Kisses came to me as I was cutting through the grounds of a very Victorian-looking rehabilitation centre. I've lived in the same neighbourhood for over a decade but I'd never seen this place before. It was one of those magical realism moments where you think, "Where did that come from?" I found myself wondering what kind of rehab this clinic provided. I had an image of two orderlies mistaking me for a patient and dragging me inside kicking and screaming.
As I continued my walk that day, a hazy idea for a dark romance formed in my mind. What if they locked me up and subjected me to strange "therapies"?
I hadn't quite committed to writing this dark romance until I spotted this on my book shelf:
|That's "Beauty and the Beast" to you.|
A book I'd bought and never read. A tale of capture and confinement. It's the original dark romance!
I've had a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast ever since 1991, when the Disney feature came out. Writing this book as an adaptation made me more comfortable with the concept of dark romance.
Of course, it didn't take long for my adaptation to run off the rails. Sure there's a beast, but he exists under the command of the cruel psychotherapist Mme de Villeneuve.
|Get it? Hahaha I'm so funny.|
What just happened here? A book that was supposed to be strictly heteromance with a hard, unforgiving hero turned into an I-don't-know-what romance (yeah, it's still a romance) about a fairy tale wicked witch therapist with serious issues. But don't worry--I didn't forget the monkey butlers.
Even when I try to write for the market, my books always turn into ME. That's great news for my fellow erotic authors who appreciate my work. It's bad news for my bank account (which currently has $53 in it. Canadian.).
Same thing happens every time I write "for the market." So do I regret trying? Actually, no. Sure my frustrated code name for Seven Kisses was "Stupid Book," but I really like the story I ended up with... even if readers might not be sold on my spin.