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 started writing Muppet Babies fan fiction in about 1988 (I was four!). Seriously… I was a big fan of Miss Piggy – not so much now I’m older, but back then she was my idol!
More on-topic, I started on erotica in about 1999, when I was fifteen. That was fan fiction, too, actually… Buffy and Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, followed by a Buffy/Willow/Faith lesbian threesome! Back then I had no idea what sex was like, so it was terrible, of course, but here we are in 2011, and I’m published, so stuff must have happened in the meantime...
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 started so many writing projects over the years, and the only ones I seem to be able to finish are the erotica ones! I have no idea why that is. But a couple of years after finishing my first erotica fiction over the usual minimum word count of 10K, I thought, “I could be waiting forever to finish a project I can tell my parents about. I’ll send out a few erotica stories in the meantime and see if I get any acceptances.”
I nearly died when I found out I got one, about three months later! The story in question isn’t in print any more – it was a paranormal, loosely vampire-based short named Shocked, and I have a revised, rewritten version coming out in December.
3. What genre would you like to try that you haven’t yet?
Well, so far I’ve written contemporary vanilla, contemporary kink, kinky crime, paranormal erotica, and I’ve also dabbled in some dystopian erotica, though that’s going to take a while to finish.
For some reason, recently I’ve wanted to write about dragons. A female dragon trainer and a male knight, to be specific… I’ve never really been that into swords and sorcery, so I’m a little surprised, but I plan to give it a go!
4. Plotter or pantzer?
I’m getting a little bit better at plotting, but so much of my stuff has just been me sitting down and letting the characters worry about themselves, and just going scene by scene with a very vague plot in mind. It seems to work for me, though my longer works tend to be the more plotted ones.
5. What do you do when you’re suffering writers block?
As bad as it sounds, I go and walk around my local bookshop. It’s not what it seems like, though – I don’t go and read through other authors’ work to steal their ideas. Just being around a lot of books makes me inspired – in a kind of ‘one day, this could be you’ way. And there’s a lot of pretty cover art around, these days!
6. What would you like to share with new writers? Any suggestions or advice?
If you’re having trouble getting your ideas onto the page, there’s a tool online named Write or Die – it gives you noise prompts whenever you stop writing, and it times you, so you don’t have the time to spare deliberating over whether something sounds good or not. I’d suggest getting your first draft down using Write or Die, and then going back and editing/restructuring later, once you’ve finished. You might surprise yourself with what you’ve written!
7. Looking over the past year, what has been the best moment for you in your writing career?
Finding out that Dominance and Deception was going to be given a print release. I might have actually jumped up and down on the spot. ;D On a more practical level, my editor at Total-E-Bound has been a joy to work with, and I’ve now begun to call her my ‘Freditor’, because she’s a friend as well as an editor. That’s probably the best behind-the-scenes thing to come out of 2011. :)
8. What do you enjoy doing with your spare time, your non-writing time?
Sleeping, definitely! And playing videogames. I’m a proofreader and copy editor as a day job, and I enjoy it even though it’s work. I’m a big reader, too, and there are a few TV shows (most significantly, NCIS and Castle) that I wouldn’t want to miss.
9. If you could change one thing that you have written, what would it be?
I wrote a silly little short for some friends, which parodied the were-shifter genre. It’s named Cursed and Compelled, and it’s one of the free reads on my website. Everywhere I looked, I seemed to see stories about new were-creatures – were-leopards, were-lions, were-panthers, were-tigers, you name it! – so I decided to pick a very silly animal for my oh-so-sexy hero to turn into.
It still makes me laugh, but I wish the ending was better. It’s not a happily-ever-after, and I think it lets the rest down a little, but at the time I wasn’t putting the greatest amount of thought into it.
10. What are you working on now? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m very excited about my new BDSM series, which is centred around a fetish club named Club Alterna. Each novella in the series will focus on a different girl and the guy or girl who catches her eye, and so far I have the first four stories planned out.
The first is named Floored, dealing with a stubborn switch’s struggle against the urge to submit, and it’s written and contracted for release in March 2012. That’ll be M/F, followed by book two, Suspended, which is F/F and bondage-centric. Book thee, Captured, is M/F and revolves around alternative fashion and fetish photography. Book four, Swayed, is F/F, and is about the club’s vanilla DJ, and the Domme who unexpectedly falls for her.
You can find out more at my series page, here: http://amyvalenti.wordpress.com/club-alterna-series/
11. What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
I’m thinking in baby steps right now. Step one: my first print release, which is Dominance and Deception in January. Step two: finish my first series, Club Alterna, which starts in March. Step three: get a novel published with one of the big publishing houses, so I can one day walk into my local book shop and go, ‘Hey, look! There I am!” That’ll be when I really count myself as a success, I think.
And now for a teaser from Amy's book:
Dominance and Deception
Author: Amy Valenti
Genre: Crime/Thriller, BDSM
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Submission is a dangerous game…
Faye Tate is a police forensic scientist, a switch, and secretly in love with a police detective. Detective Zach Pierce has made many enemies, but his attraction to Faye is too strong to be denied.
Can Pierce protect his submissive from those who seek to use her against him, or will her devotion to her Dom cost Faye her life?
Faye looked down at the red mark rising on her flesh, then up at me. “That the best you can do, Sir?”
I raised the crop, never letting my pissed-off façade slip. “I haven’t even started—”
Faye’s phone rang, the unexpected sound disorientating us both. She groaned, scowling at the offending object as if it was sentient.
“Damn it! Not now!” She tugged expectantly at her handcuffs. “Okay, let me out of these.”
I stood there, impassive, and she rolled her eyes.
“Zach, seriously. Someone’s probably dead and we’ll have to go to work.”
I knew she was right, but that didn’t mean I had to like it. Dropping the crop and stepping over the tangle of our clothing, I crossed to the dresser and checked the caller ID. Sure enough, it was Santoro. For a brief moment, I entertained the irrational thought of firing him, but it passed.
Without releasing Faye from her bonds, I hit the speakerphone button to answer the call.
Taking a deep breath to steady her breathing, she spoke. “Santoro, this better be good. I’m a little tied up right now.”
As I stifled a chuckle, Santoro replied, “I know, it’s really late and I’m sorry. But we have a problem. There’s been a triple homicide, and Pierce isn’t answering his cell. His home phone’s off the hook.”
I didn’t remember taking my home phone off the hook, but I’d left my cell phone switched off in the car, which was parked outside Faye’s place.
“He probably let the battery run down again,” she told Santoro. “I’ll stop by his place on the way into work, okay?”
“Are you sure? It’s not out of your way?”
“I’m sure. You get going, and I will handle Pierce.” She winked at me.
“You’re risking an awful lot, here,” I murmured, quietly enough that the cell phone wouldn’t pick it up.
“Relax,” she mouthed back.
“That’d really help,” Santoro said wearily. “Thanks.”
“So what do I tell Pierce when I see him?” Faye asked.
Silently, I sat on the edge of the bed. Faye’s eyes widened, and she shook her head at me, though I could tell her heart wasn’t really in the denial.
As Santoro began to outline the case, his tinny voice just barely audible in the quiet of Faye’s bedroom, I trailed light kisses over her breasts and stomach. When I glanced up, I could see she wasn’t taking in anything Santoro was saying. Her eyes were closed, and a tiny smile tugged at the corners of her lips.
“…Faye?” Santoro’s voice brought us both down to earth.
“Hmmm?” she replied languorously, before shaking herself out of it. “Sorry, what?”
Santoro laughed. “Oh, Jeez… When you say you’re tied up, you really mean that literally, don’t you?”
Faye and I stared at one another for an instant before she cracked up. “I knew there was a reason you’re Pierce’s right-hand man, Santoro. Nothin’ gets past you.”
And now, for a little more info about Amy!
She has a degree in creative writing and currently works as a proofreader/copy editor. In her free time, she reads, writes and plays videogames. On the rare occasions she doesn’t have a laptop on her knee, she loves to curl up with friends and pets – and chocolate – for TV show and movie marathons.