Emma Archer is an erotica writer who is equal parts brilliant, hilarious, and filthy. She has also earned the honor of being the first interview on Inside Martin that requires a NSFW label. Normally, for those of you familiar with the "10 Questions for..." series, this is where I would give some background info on Emma and perhaps a synopsis of her career. But, seeing how this interview is already breaking new ground, I decided instead to share a letter directly from the author herself:
I know how it is when you’re horny. Delving the deepest recesses of the Internet for that singular picture, video clip, or story that will bring you to your fall. The one-handed elation you feel upon finding that perfect gem of Onanistic joy. The heady moment of release, the Cheshire-cat grin of your afterglow. The inevitable WTF moment as you rush to hide all evidence of your perversion.
I’ve been there. Hand in my pants, fingers cramping, multiple tabs open, thanking Zuul for the gift of private browsing. And I, too, have finished my business only to look at my computer screen with a mix of satisfaction, contrition, and alarm. There are rough, dark neighborhoods in the cities of our sexual salaciousness; sometimes you walk the well-lit streets of simple fucking, sometimes… you need a guide.
I want to be that guide. Truth be told, I’ve fallen in lust with you, dear reader, with your private proclivities and hidden hankerings. Whatever your kink, as long as it’s between consenting adults, I am all in. I want to be the wanton wind beneath your wings, the fevered filth that floats your boat. When there’s only one set of footprints in the sand, I want it to be because I was riding your back, flogging your ardor like the beast that it is.
So, without further ado, here are 10 questions for Emma Archer...
1. What would you like readers to know about your writing?
I’ve always been fascinated by people's sex lives, I have a natural sexual empathy that tends to make me a bit of a chameleon in bed. I top, I bottom, I can be a blushing innocent, or wanton whore. Sex is my favorite thing. To do, to talk about, to write about. I love it, can't get enough of it. I was lucky to be raised without a lot of the shame surrounding sexuality, and whenever I've had a particular fantasy, I've done my best to make it a reality. I’m a carnal creator, in bed and on the page. Writing erotica means I finally get to put this dubious gift to work. I get to be part of the solution, I get to contribute to the complexity of human desire. I get to make you come, make you squirm.
2. Who are some writers that have affected your storytelling sensibilities?
When I was ten years old, I bought a box of books from a yard sale for a quarter. It turned out to be full of erotic novels, many of them by VC Andrews. That was an educational summer; I read My Sweet Audrina fourteen times. That book had it all: spanking, masturbation, incest, rape, bondage, anal sex, gang bangs—it was fan-fucking-tastic.
I had an extremely sheltered childhood, very little television, no junk food, I wasn’t even allowed to leave our cul-de-sac to ride my bike. I was a total innocent. VC Andrews (and Anne Rice and Stephen King and Clive Barker and all the other authors I read way too young) awakened in me a life-long appetite for all things taboo.
I also read the book Jaws that same summer, from that same box of books. And there was this section where the main female character is not wearing underwear and she’s thinking about how wet her pussy is, and how much she wants Hooper to fuck her. I’ll never forget the moment when my mother walked in and saw me completely engrossed, turning pages with wide eyes and asked, “What’s that you’re reading?”
“A shark book,” I answered, and that was it. She just nodded and left the room. From then on, books became my secret world, my oasis. I really enjoy writing erotica for the Kindle because it makes me feel like I’m offering that same deliciously secret world to someone else. Hopefully they aren’t ten.
3. At this point in your career, you’ve focused on short stories. Do you have any plans to write a novel?
I’ve written two fiction novels, and they’re both crap. I say that with all the love a mother can have for her wayward children. They were learning experiences, and in all likelihood, I’ll go back and try to fix them someday. I like writing novels, I like world building, and I think I have a knack for interesting characters, but the simple immediacy of erotica really appeals to me right now.
4. What methods and strategies have you employed in order to promote both yourself as an author, as well stories?
I did my research before I started writing erotica. I figured out which genres were underrepresented, and how best to maximize my consumer base. In every story, I include a link to another story. I always write in different elements of kink, so that I get five customers instead of one.
Early on, I was reluctant to tell people my pen name. I was embarrassed, worried they'd think I was deranged. Then a friend of mine said to me (at a party where everyone was pestering me for a link to my “whore stories”), “What’s your intention with this erotica? Do you want to sell books?”
I had been writing fiction for five years at that point, and had made almost no money doing it. I told him I absolutely wanted to sell books.
He said, “There are at least twenty people here clamoring to buy your writing, and you are telling them ‘No.’” I realized he was right. I told everyone there my pen name, and several of them bought stories and proceeded to read them OUT LOUD at the party. It was my trial by fire. I came out, and I’ve stayed out. Now I tell everyone my pen name, and sell quite a few books.
5. Were you a fan of erotic literature before you started writing it?
I was, although I tend to be more of a visually stimulated person. I never liked romance novels, and tended to skip ahead to the sex, but erotica has always appealed to me. I love Anaïs Nin, and will read and re-read pretty much anything by her. And I like Song of Solomon, which is not exactly erotica, per se, but there's an appreciation in it for the human form, for love, for beauty, and adoration that has inspired me to write sex in a meaningful way.
6. As an erotica writer, do you find yourself drawing from real life experiences or are your stories mostly fantasy?
Okay, here’s where things get tricky. After reading one of my (Adult! Consensual!) pseudo-incest stories, I had a well-intentioned friend call me and say, “Did something happen to you as a child?”
No. It didn’t.
I am a fiction writer, I write fiction. Do I often draw upon a particularly promiscuous and sordid personal history when I write that fiction? You bet your sweet cherry, I do. I gave my first blowjob when I was thirteen (to a nice Mormon boy, no less), probably thanks in no small part to that box of yard sale smut. I hit the ground running, and it’s been all downhill from there.
Many of the things I write about, I’ve tried. I’ve been happily, erotically, non-monogamously married for over a decade, you don’t get that far without getting weird. Or, at least, we didn’t.
7. My “friend” is a big fan and owns all of your stories and he wanted me to ask you who the gal on your book covers is?
Yeah. That’s my bum. I didn't want to spend money on stock photos, so I've been just using myself as a model. If you think the covers look like amateur crap I do with my phone camera and MS Paint, well, that’s exactly right.
8. Where do you see your writing career five years from now?
I hope in five years, I’m supporting my family completely with porn, and that I’ve revised and published at least one non-smut book.
9. What are you currently working on?
I’m about halfway through the fourth story in my Juniper series, and I’m putting the final touches on a commissioned piece I’m doing for a nice Indian couple.
10. What advice would you give to an aspiring author who hopes to see their work published one day?
My advice: don't you dare be ashamed of wanting to be a writer. I know, it’s a little embarrassing. That’s the difficult thing about being an artist (if you'll allow me to abscond with the term for a moment), that feeling of mortification you have for wanting to share your talent with the world.
Get over it.
Write and write and write, and let people read what you wrote. If it sucks (and it will, oh, God, will it ever), write some more until sucks a little less. It took about four years of writing shit before I finally found my voice and started to feel like I had a right to put a pen to the page. Now, I spend my days coming up with synonyms for the word “wiener.” So, there ya go.
If you managed to read that whole interview without blushing, then good on you. And, more importantly, you should probably be reading Emma's erotic fiction, so what're you waiting for?! Go to her Amazon Author page, where you can find all of her brilliant, literary filth. If you'd like to sample Emma in 140 characters or less, then follow her on Twitter. While you're at it, visit her hilarious blog, Fearless, Motherfuckers. Leave her a comment and tell her Martin sent you.