A very special guest this week, and one I'm sure many of you will recognize from both her online presence and the books has available. A warm welcome to Lisabet Saraii. I was so pleased when she volunteered to answer a few questions and share a little time with us here.
1. How long have you been writing? What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create characters that capture the imagination?
I've been writing pretty much since I learned how to read. When other kids were out playing in the back yard, I was inside with my head in a book. Then I'd try my hand writing my own stories, or poems. I've always been in love with words.
2. What influenced you to get published? How long did it take? Can you tell us the name of your first published work?
I've told this story so many times now - I hope that readers aren't bored! My husband and I were traveling in Turkey in the late nineties. I picked up a copy of Portia da Costa's Black Lace novel Gemini Heat from the book swap shelf. I'd never heard of Black Lace, nor considered writing erotica for publication, though I'd penned quite a few salacious fantasies for my lovers and my own amusement. Anyway, the book amazed me with its sexual diversity and emotional intensity. The first thing I thought was, "Wow! I've got to read more of this!" (Portia's still one of my favorite authors.) My next thought was, "I'll bet I could write something like this." I hadn't known that there was a market for intelligent, transgressive erotic fiction.
When we returned from our trip, I sat down and wrote the first three chapters of Raw Silk plus a synopsis. I sent them off, airmail, to Black Lace in the U.K. No email submissions in those days! About a month later I received an impersonal postcard acknowledging receipt of the manuscript and warning me not to expect to hear anything more for at least three months. I shrugged and stowed the card in my filing cabinet. Two days later I got an email from Kerri Sharp, editor at Black Lace, telling me she loved the book and asking how soon it would be before I could finish it.
I thought that maybe I was imagining things! Certainly, it turned out to be an entry to an alternate reality!
3. What genre would you like to try that you haven’t yet?
I'd really like to write a science fiction novel. I actually have a half finished draft of a M/M scifi novel sitting on my hard drive, but I'm stuck. I've lost confidence in myself and the story.
Scifi was one of my first loves as a reader, but it's so difficult! I'm not sure that I have the required fertility of imagination. Still, I intend to push my doubts aside and finish Quarantine, then see what happens. Actually I just published my first sci fi piece, but it's just a short - a story called Bodies of Light. Fifteen thousand words is a huge difference from seventy thousand.
4. Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s your take on this? Can you tell us something unglamorous you did within the last week or so?
Top of the list has to be emptying the cat litter! Then there's waxing to remove my unfortunate mustache...yes, aging has its delights...!
5. Plotter or pantzer?
I'm somewhere in between. I usually have an outline or scene list that guides my progress. However, I try to remain open to surprises and twists that occur to me while I'm in the throes of writing. That's actually what makes it such fun!
One aspect of my writing process that differs from many other authors is how linear I am. I almost never jump around. I start at the beginning of the story and write straight through to the end. I might do a bit of rearranging during the editing phase, but for the most part I "see" the arc of my plot when I sit down to create a new story. I could never write disconnected scenes and assemble them the way some people do.
6. What would you like to share with new writers? Any suggestions or advice?
Write your passion, not what you think will sell. Readers can tell whether a book is authentic or not.
Also, while craft is important, inspiration is more critical. You can improve your craft with study and practice. If you don't care about what you're writing, though, you're doomed to fail.
Finally, if you want to be a professional author, act like one. Take responsibility for your actions and treat your writing as a business.
7. Looking over the past year, what has been the best moment for you in your writing career?
In April I had the opportunity to meet a bunch of my fellow authors who were attending the Romantic Times convention. I didn't go to the conference, but my travel plans happened to land me in Los Angeles on the night that Total-E-Bound hosted a dinner party for its writers. I now have faces to associate with many of the names I've come to know over my past four or five years in the erotic romance community. It was just such a high! Especially since so many of the people I encountered for the first time in person seemed to be just as excited to meet me!
8. If you could choose one vice, what would it be and why?
We don't choose our vices! They choose us!
I guess I'd have to say that sex has always been my "vice". I went through some wild times when I was younger. I cringe a bit when I look back at my sexual antics, but at the time, it was all breathlessly exciting.
I miss those hormones! Now I indulge myself mostly through my writing. (And no, I'm not going to explain that "mostly"...!)
9. If you found that, for one reason or another, you couldn’t write anymore, what would you like to do instead?
Honestly, I think I might commit suicide. That seems extreme, but the ability to write is so much a part of me that if it disappeared, I wouldn't be me.
Perhaps I'm being melodramatic though. Nevertheless, it's not really a scenario I like to contemplate.
10. What are you working on now? Can you tell us a little about it?
Right now (early May is when I'm completing this interview), I'm just getting started on a paranormal erotic romance novella entitled "Hot Spell" upon request from my publisher. They need more short pieces to publish in their "Lust Bites" series. The story involves an encounter between a woman who is an Earth Elemental and a man who's a Fire Elemental. She's not aware of her nature, and he's running from his, afraid of the damage he can do.
I keep planning to resume work on the sci fi novel I mention above, but something always seems to get in the way. I know myself well enough to realize that this isn't an accident - I'm avoiding the book. I'd like to hope that by the time your blog visitors see this in July, I'll be back working on that project.
11. Are you in love? Have you ever been?
I think that despite the fact we've been married nearly thirty years, I'd have to say I'm still in love with my husband. It's not the same crazy sensation that it used to be, but that's probably healthier! I've been seriously in love perhaps half a dozen times in my life. There's nothing to compare with those emotions - except perhaps the buzz when your writing is really flowing!
And now, for a sneak peak at one of Lisabet's books:
Title: Bodies of Light
by Lisabet Saraii
Genre: M/F/M sci fi erotic romance
Publisher: Total-E-Bound – 30 May 2011
Love travels faster than light
Physicist Dr. Christine Monroe has devoted her lonely life to research on hyper-space travel. Her continued failure leads her to sign on to the Archimedes, a sub-light-speed mission aimed at establishing a colony in the Sirius B system.
Waking from suspended animation, she discovers that the ship is wildly off course and the rest of the crew are dead due to equipment failure. At first she thinks the two handsome strangers who show up on the ship are figments of her imagination - erotic hallucinations created by isolation and stress.
However, Alyn and Zed are solid, real, and ready to sacrifice their lives for the strong woman they’ve found stranded in deep space. As her ship begins to disintegrate, Christine must choose between the planet she was sent to save and the two alien beings she’s come to cherish.
Symbols danced before Christine's eyes, rainbow-hued Greek and Latin characters, subscripts and superscripts. Schrödinger's equation waltzed with Vernon's reformulated field expressions. The de Broglie wave function shimmered in and out of focus as it transitioned through various eigenstates.
Feynman's path integral slithered through her consciousness. Constants slotted in and out of matrices. Four-dimensional graphs appeared in graceful rotation, displaying successive three-dimensional views.
It was all so clear. The necessary transformations were obvious. The mathematical notations reassembled themselves into intricate patterns that Christine immediately grasped. The solution was surprising but beautifully simple.
Triumph filled her. She understood at last how to twist the universe and unlock the gates to other dimensions. Joy suffused her spirit like pure light. Humanity was saved, saved from its own stupid errors.
A touch woke her. The equations fled, along with her comprehension. She opened her eyes to find Zed bent over her, shaking her shoulder and looking concerned.
"Why didn't you let me sleep? I saw itâ€”the way to bend space and make faster-than-light travel possible. Now it's gone." She sat up, shaking her head, and glared at the stocky extraterrestrial.
"You were moaning and thrashing around on the bed. Almost like convulsions. We were worried."
"In any case, you've been asleep for thirteen hours," Alyn added. In two strides he crossed the floor of Christine's tiny quarters and seated himself on the bunk beside her.
"Thirteen hours?" She searched her memory. The pictures it provided made her blush. Alyn's platinum-crowned head buried between her damp thighs. Zed's massive erection bobbing in her face. She recalled the salty taste of him, the silk of his skin sliding over her tongue, the metallic tang of his cum. She remembered writhing against Alyn's mouth as he devoured her pussy. And there was more, much more - endless moments of shameful delight, pinned between them, Zed's cock buried in her cunt while Alyn's slender organ plundered her ass.
Christine remembered it all, far more clearly than her fast-evaporating dream of quantum inspiration. Her body remembered, too. Her quadriceps ached as though she'd done ten kilometres on the treadmill. Her inner thighs were tacky with her juices and pleasantly sore. When she shifted to support her back against the bulkhead, little twinges of pain recalled the outrageous sensation of being stretched and filled in both her orifices. Fresh moisture pooled in her cleft despite her determination to stay aloof.
"I guess you two wore me out." She twisted out of Zed's grasp, still bitter about losing the revelation from her dream.
"That's part of it," Alyn replied, trying to capture her hand. She snatched it away. "I suspect it is also a side-effect of your time in stasis. The stress from your mishap outside the ship may also have had an impact."
"So how do you feel now?" asked Zed, stroking his half-erect penis. "We missed you, while you were sleeping."
Christine tried to feel annoyed by the alien's apparently insatiable interest in sex. He was so beautiful, so hard and hungry-looking, so male, that she lost the battle.
"Rested. Starved. And not for sex," she added, noting Alyn's cock was also swollen. "No more sex until I've eaten. And until you've given me some answers."
And if that's not enough, and I know it's not, here's Lisabet's bio as well as information on where you'll find her:
A dozen years ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published three single author short story collections and six erotic novels, including the classic RAW SILK. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She edited the acclaimed anthologies SACRED EXCHANGE and CREAM and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS. In addition, she reviews erotica and erotic romance for the Erotica Reades and Writers Association (http://www.erotica-readers.com) and Erotica Revealed (http://www.eroticarevealed.com) websites.
Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines.
For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance