Hey, folks. As previously reported, long-time TG fiction fan and copy editor extraordinaire who has helped me clean up many of my own books, recently published a fantastic TG novel with a lot of fun, forced-femme action. My relationship with selkie goes back some time, back to when I he/she contacted me to let me know that he/she loved my work, but was being driven insane by all my typos and errors! The email came with an offer to copy-edit my work, which I politely declined in part because I fancied myself a Jackson Pollock of words, gleefully splashing and dripping my stories onto the page, heedless of a few random marks.
Secondly, because I never worked with anyone, and I was concerned by the logistics of the process as well as the idea that someone might “tamper” with my work. Well, finally selkie prevailed, and I and a whole bunch of readers are thankful for it! Well, now, let’s get to the interview!
1. When did you first become interested in TG fiction?
Dear Lord, that’s testing me. Let me think… probably when I discovered a paperback called “Miss High Heels” in a second hand book store. Ah, let’s see… it was the edition with the cover as shown here… https://openlibrary.org/works/OL7704866W/Miss_High-Heels
I think, though, I’d been working my way towards that for a while, before that . Through books like The Story of O, The Power of Mesmerism, and others. But it was only with Miss High Heels I realised I was identifying with the female characters in much or all of the erotica I was reading. I think the very first erotic book I ever bought was a lesbian love story, come to think of it. I still have it – I still have all the erotic books I’ve ever bought! You should see my hard drive. Uh… that sounded better in my head….
2. What are your top five favorite pieces of TG media (books, movies, songs…etc…)
Oh, no! That question is impossible for me, since I have such a long list of stuff I’ve found and, uh, you know, ‘thoroughly enjoyed reading’, or watching? Literally thousands. I actually plan to write a blog post of my top 100, since I think I could bear to cut the list down to merely one hundred. But just the top five?
Hmm, I think I have (counts) 57 of your books, and I like a lot of them a lot. Just picking my favourite of yours is difficult! Maybe… “Voices“? But La Vendetta and Jack Danger were very hot, too!
Um, I love Tom Tame’s Pinsedo… Julia Manchester’s Roleover… Oh! Ruuen Roga’s Tamashii no Kusari (Soul Chain), thanks to the English translation… I really liked Jennifer Jane Pope’s ‘slave’ series of full length erotic novels (starting with Slave Genesis). Um, “The Guinea Pig” by Ruth White, would be one of my top five, I think. But then so would be “Hush, Hush Woman” from Reluctant Press. And Liz Jamesguard’s “The Men in the Pink Flannel Suits“. Oh, and of course the heavily illustrated computer text adventure game Trap Quest, which I found worryingly addictive for the first six months after I found it. And which I now contribute to. (Hi, Aika!)
Uh… is that five? It seems like approximately five, right?
3. Tell us about Arabian Nights. What inspired the story? Why did you choose the rare, but enjoyable, 2nd person POV?
I’ve always particularly liked Virtual Reality situations. (I have high hopes for the next ten years!) And I stumbled onto Milida’s “Arabian Nights Gender Changing World” at writing.com, which is what they call an interactive story. Milida wrote the starting chapter and world background, and then she and others contributed pieces in a branching story structure. And one day, on one branch, an idea by one contributor – Mr George – really struck a chord with me. The idea that the women who’d been made, ah, extra busty, weren’t aware of the change. That seemed hot, so I started contributing. And because I tend to write too much, my pieces were much longer than the average.
I made a bullet list of about ten points for the plot idea I had, and just started writing, and it grew and grew, and the plot expanded, and the poor hero’s situation kept twisting and changing… That was basically my first draft of the story.
So I didn’t choose 2nd person POV, that’s the style for the interactive fiction that was the story’s root. I wrote about 300,000 words of the story before real life stuff intervened. After about 50,000 words I thought I might publish it one day, just for fun. And I thought, rather than rewrite it all in 1st person or 3rd person, I’d just let it stand true to its origin.
I hang about on the Trap Quest discord channel a lot, and it was there that I struck up a friendship with my illustrator, Avi. And since I’d been thinking it’d be nice to have the story sprinkled with some images, we decided to go into it together. We’ll be splitting the profits, if we make some! We both hope the series may prove popular. Though I know he’s keener to illustrate some of my other planned books – he’s more into sci fi.
4. I believe this is your first time publishing a TG book on Amazon. Describe that experience for our readers.
Heh. Because it’s illustrated, and because I use LibreOffice, it was far, far harder than I’d expected. I’m going to blog about that experience soon, too. Some of the problems – caused by a couple of bugs in LO – almost sent me mad. I was chatting to a couple of people while I teetered on the brink of insanity, trying to wrestle the ebook version into submission, and their amused reactions I think pulled me back from the brink. I have 12 or 20 bug reports waiting for me to file. I spent a day reproducing the problems and I still need to file separate bug reports related to image handling. That’ll probably take another full day, but I suspect the bugs are still there because no one has yet given them good, reproducible example of the problems. I have… 59 files created, as I worked through reproducing the problems.
Hmm. That makes LibreOffice sound awful, where it’s really very good, in general. Just the image handling stuff has some serious bugs that make you pull your hair out.
The Amazon side of things was very smooth and easy, in comparison. I used Calibre to generate the .mobi file to upload to Amazon. Creating an author page and filling out the tax info and all that was straightforward. I’m also using Ingram Spark for the ebooks as well – since we might produce some collections as print books too – and also on Smashwords.
And then you pointed out those embarrassing typos I’d introduced (by sloppy mousing: “realise” getting turned into “realism” when I thought I’d selected “realize”), so I corrected and uploaded a revised edition and also asked Amazon to push it out to people who’ve already bought the book. They may or may not do that; they said:
"If we find only minor corrections, we won't notify customers by e-mail, but we'll activate their ability to update the content through the “Manage Your Content and Devices” page on Amazon.com."
On the ‘plus’ side, I now know how to make illustrated books with the tools at my disposal, reliably and without any hair-pulling.
5. What comes next for our erstwhile heroine? (If you can talk about it without giving away too many spoilers!)
Ah, well, without spoilers? Tricky…. We plan to illustrate the whole series. Um, what else? John Lemure (the main character), is pretty feisty and determined. He’s not the type to give up. On the other hand, the whole blasted VR world seems to have a surprising number of opportunities for gender swaps and transformations, and he has annoyed many of the quite cunning women in his harem.
I also like a fair bit of sex in my stories, as you probably noticed. Is that fan service? So each book will have a lot of hot situations. And I have plotted it out, and there is also a ‘big picture’ that will gradually be revealed.
I like mental changes, too. But perhaps more along the lines of conditioning rather than mind control per se. I also enjoy the idea of the body influencing the mind.
6. Hit us up with anything you want to say that wasn’t covered above!
Probably from these stupidly long-winded replies you can tell I enjoy writing; and even that I prefer longer fiction to short stories. For my erotica, I also want to give good value for money, so (like you) I will have each book a solid length. (I just realised that sounds a bit suggestive. Heh.)
I also feel erotic fiction is kind of the genre everyone looks down on, but I don’t see it needs to be that way. I mean, the literary fiction crowd tends to look down on all genre fiction writers. And many genre writers (sci-fi, detective, thriller…) look down on the Romance writers (I think because of the whole Mills & Boon thing). And the Romance writers look down on the writers of erotica. Which I think is all a bit mean. For example, The Story of O is really well-written.
I think it’s sad that Western culture adopts that stance when it comes to human sexuality. Personally, I see no reason why erotica can’t have real story, plot and characters. So, after Arabian Nights, I have several more sci-fi/erotica genre blended stories already sketched out and under way. It’s one of the things I like about your own books, and the other writers I mentioned above: they’re all proper stories, not just porn. They’re a celebration and exploration of the fun and pleasure we can have with sex. Even if sometimes we like to explore some darker kinks in our fantasies.
Oh! Sunstone! I didn’t list Sunstone because it’s not TG, and it’s not even really erotica in my view – it’s just a delightful love story that happens to have a lesbian couple into BDSM as its two main protagonists. And like all Stejpan Sejic’s graphic novels and comics, it’s just gorgeously painted. I love the expressiveness of his characters. Expressions matter a lot to me (and Avi). We spent a lot of time getting the expressions right on all the characters in each illustration.
I suppose I’ve probably gone way over the word limit you’d allocated for this interview (and it’s now 6:30am for me, so it’s long past my time to go to bed) but maybe I can just mention my blog, https://selkiesite.wordpress.com/? I plan to post to it more regularly now the 1st novel is bedded down.
And thank you so much for interviewing me. I will now shut up. Bye!
Thank you for taking the time, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!