* * * * *
Jess: Have you written erotic-themed material? Why or why not?
Juliana: I dabbled in many other genres, but had not considered erotica until recently. What repulsed me before was the awkward "purple prose" that is often used in erotica. I decided it would be a challenge. As an author you have to push yourself to do things outside your comfort zone, so I tried it. I was hooked.
Jess: How do you differentiate quality erotica (as an art form), from pornographic writing?
Juliana: For me this is a difficult difference to determine. The first drafts of my first erotic story were plain pornography. The line is extremely fine, but the most important aspects are characters and story. Do they change each other? Do they become different? Do they stay the same? Why? The sex also should be necessary for the story. If the plumber comes over it is plausible that the lonely housewife wants to sleep with him, but the reader has to understand the reasons. The better the reader understands the reasons the farther removed from pornography it is. To be honest, I'm still struggling myself on where to draw the line.
Jess: That struggle could be part of the creative tension ;) I shall now ask how you would respond to the following statement:
“I am very put off by the notion of 'literate smut', as if any porn is intellectual, that erotica needs to have a high and low art distinction. I think this is just a pretentious way for people to excuse their taste for pornography.”
-- originally posted on http://www.barbelith.com/topic/925
Juliana: I doubt the person that made the statement has ever tried to write erotica. The elements that make a good erotica story are the same elements that make any other story good. The only difference is the focus of the action, but the same goes for sci-fi, or fantasy. The focus in sci-fi lies on technology, in fantasy it lies on magic, in erotica on sex and pleasure. Just as there is bad sci-fi and fantasy, there is bad erotica, which in many cases is no more than pornography, simply describing the motions.
Jess: What inspired you to write erotic stories/poems/etc.?
Juliana: I have written as long as I can remember. Boredom inspired me initially, I would write in class, in meetings, conferences, late sleepless nights. There was a point where I was no longer bored and then I stopped writing, until I picked up a short story book by Neil Gaiman. He inspired me to start again.
Jess: Do you always follow the "safe, sane, consensual" credo?
Juliana: Not always. Let's be honest, life doesn't follow those rules, so why would the book? I ignore the safe part in most stories, because the risk adds to the thrill and it is a fantasy, so it is always safe. Sane goes out the window pretty quickly for any author. I do try to keep it consensual, but it is rare where the power distribution between to people is completely equal. Straight up kidnapping and abuse rape is completely out of the question for me. I just don't feel comfortable writing about that in a positive light.
Jess: ITA (I totally agree) with much of what you said! What do you think readers will find most notable about your book(s)?
Juliana: Readers will be surprised by how much they like the characters and remember them. They might also be caught off guard by a plot twist here and there. Also, the sex it pretty hot, but that goes without saying. It is probably harder to write sex that isn't hot and steamy.
Jess: In order to write on certain experiences, you would have to either research or live the life. Which describes you as the writer?
Juliana: Living all the events of my characters is impossible. I just don't have the time and resources. Of course, I have the advantage of a cosmopolitan background and as a global nomad have been exposed to a lot. Research is a great way to fill in the gaps.
Jess: Cool -- I love the whole cosmopolitan/global nomad thing too. Do you think erotica caters to a male or female market (or does gender of the target audience not matter)?
Juliana: As males are generally more visual, I expect erotica to cater more to the female market. A male audience is likely to overlook erotica writing. Part of that is social expectations and the other part is the fact that males are exposed to different erotic stimuli growing up. Overall, I think both genders can equally enjoy it, I just think the female audience is more likely to turn to erotica.
Jess: Are there any topics you will NOT tackle, with regards to sexual behaviors and attitudes?
Juliana: As I hinted as before there are some sexual behaviors I will not tackle: rape and incest. I realize there is a market for this, but I don't feel comfortable writing it. From a literary point of view that would probably not be good for the writing in any case.
Jess: Please share with us a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words).
Dominka is drawn to Andel, a cultured and sophisticated man hiding a dark secret. She is determined to uncover the secrets he holds and relishes the fear he evokes around her. She isn't exactly a good girl either, though.
-- Eternal Vengeance by Juliana Sliema
Jess: Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):
There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right.
-- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Jess: Please let readers know where they can find out more about you/your work.
My character Rosie has taken on a life of her own and started her own twitter. She sometimes has interesting things to say: https://twitter.com/#!/RosietheTrucker
Also check out my amazon author page, as soon as my website is ready it will be posted there: http://www.amazon.com/Juliana-Sliema/e/B006YC6ICM
Jess: Thanks so much for sharing your perspectives on the art of erotic writing :) Best wishes with both life and literature too!
* * * * *
Juliana Sliema knows the value of keeping the mystery alive. She has traveled the world. Now she writes erotica and has melted laptops and started fires ever since.
Juliana on Twitter and Amazon.
JESS C SCOTT:
Jess is the author/artist/non-conformist behind jessINK (her indie publishing division). One of her specializations is erotic literature.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and would like to share your views via a similar interview, just check out/fill out the form at Author Interviews. Jess will email you with the link once it is posted.
Jess is available for interviews too. Drop her a note at missfeyATgmailDOTcom :)