I'm writing this intro from a world made of cardboard boxes as I get ready to move to The Country. It seems appropriate that just as I leave for the wilds, I've got the wonderful Janine Ashbless as my guest - a writer whose work often explores dark enchanted forests and fantastical lands. That's where I'm going to live!
Please read on to find out why this supremely talented writer believes 'sex matters' - and leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning an advance copy of Janine's new story collection 'Dark Enchantment'.
Why do you write?
The sad-but-true answer is that it’s a physical need, and an addiction. I have no real choice. When I write down the stories in my head I get a physical buzz from it … and that’s not just because I write naughty stories that make me feel, er, “happy.” If I stop writing for more than a few days I get grouchy and filled with vile self-recrimination and then I start chasing Mr Ashbless round the house with an axe. He much prefers it when I’ve been writing.
Oh – and if I write something AND then I’m lucky enough to get it published I get this lovely validation of my existence from the universe too.
I’m not coming across as a complete nutcase, am I darlings?
Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?
“Sex is important. ” I think that’s what pretty much all of my stories express. The establishment would have us believe that sex is trivial and a bit silly, a footnote to anyone’s life story. This is bollocks. People pour time and money into sex, they destroy their relationships and their careers for sex. And – on the positive side – in the loneliest and bleakest times of our lives sex is a gift of solace and pleasure.
Fictional sex might be as important as the real thing, because let’s face it the stuff that really matters is what goes on in your head, not the bumping together of hairy bits. It’s what’s going on in your head that makes sex not just a trivial genital spasm but a place in which to find something more: escape from the self or connection to the human race, punishment or redemption, love, responsibility, surrender, empowerment, validation, intimacy, even transformation. So I write about those things.
Sex in my stories isn’t always happy but it always matters. And I try and make it hot as hell too, of course!
What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?
In my upcoming short story collection there are a couple of shorts that I’m just so proud of I could pop!
My first collection of short stories, “Cruel Enchantment” was most successful sales-wise, and to be honest that’s the structure I like writing best – erotic short stories. And someone I know once got a shag off a woman he’d just met on the strength of his having once had a torrid relationship with the author of “Cruel Enchantment” – yes, she was that impressed. Is that a measurement of my success?
On the other hand my second novel “Burning Bright” was most satisfying from a creative point of view, partly because it was such a bitch to get right and partly because I loved the two main characters with all my heart.
Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:
To both rudeness and writing, you mean?
Royal icing. Heavy, cold, sweet sheets of royal icing…
Janine lives in the UK, with various rescued and fostered dogs and a husband who does a proper day-job.
blog : website
Her work includes:
Two collections of paranormal/fantasy/horror erotic short stories:
Dark Enchantment (out Jan 2009)
Contemporary paranormal novel:
Two linked erotic/fantasy novels:
Her novellas and short stories appear in anthologies from Black Lace and Cleis, including Best Women’s Erotica 2009.
All to be found under “Janine Ashbless” on Amazon.
Thank you so much, Janine! Next week, presuming I've managed to find the internet in the depths of the forest, I'll be interviewing the shimmering Shanna Germain!