Friday, December 19, 2008

Writing that touches

Shanna Germain

The wild geese are flying past, there's frost on the grass, and it's time for the last 'Writing that Touches' of the year! I'm over the moon to have Shanna Germain as my guest today - a writer and friend that has inspired me in more ways than I can count. (Be sure to enter her holiday competition too!)

Why do you write?

Because I don't know how to do anything else? -laughs- Also, because I don't -want- to do anything else. Writing is the way that I do everything. Everything. It's how I see the world, how I think, how I process, how I come to understand myself and others. It allows me to create change, to uncover truths, to explore the things that make us love and laugh and hate and kill. To break open the myths. To know the unknowable. To speak the unspeakable.

As well as, of course, for all the fame and fortune that I've been promised. -grins- I'm still waiting for that part, needless to say.

Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?

In my writing? The truth. Always. I may write fiction, but I'm always aiming for some emotional truth. Whether I'm writing about sex or death or a first kiss or a last word, there is always something larger that I'm trying to pin down. A moment or an emotion. Something that makes readers draw in their breath and say, "Yes, that's just how it is for me."

What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?

Oh, wow. Anytime I hear back from a reader that has been touched by one of my stories, I feel like I've written a successful piece. Most successful? I don't know. It changes all the time, because I keep growing as a writer -- or I try to.

Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:

Oh, so many, but I have to say right now the recent election has really inspired me. I'm incredibly proud of the American people after this last election. I'd begun to lose hope for my country in so many ways, and I feel that this is a first step toward creating change, toward making things better and, perhaps most importantly, away from the apathy and despair that I so often hear people talking about.


Shanna writes about sex and death with a frequency that worries her closest family members, conservative strangers who read her blog and her plain-vanilla laptop, but she's not about to stop. You can read more of her work -- about sex, death and everything in between -- at

Thank you, lovely Shanna!

I'll be taking a short, festive break from the blog and be back in 2009 with interviews from more fabulous writers. Have a wonderful winterval, all!

Nikki xxx


Nikki Magennis said...

S, I have a decidedly rural ability to connect to the internet at the moment, so I'll just say now - you are one of my favourite writers (of any genre) and I WANT TO READ MORE STORIES! heheheh!

It's rare, I think, to find a writer who can combine deliciously sexy with such perceptive and deep insight into the human condition. Your work has moved and delighted me every time I've read it.

Did I mention sex and death is my favourite flavour? ; )

Craig Sorensen said...

I've never had the privilege of meeting Shanna, and yet I feel I know her.

I know her through her beautiful poetry.

I know her through the wonderful stories, that carry the soft perfume of that poetry.

I know her as a talented editor.

I know her as an exceptional storyteller.

Thank you for bringing Shanna to us, Nikki. I agree completely with your additional comments.

Janine Ashbless said...

It allows me to create change, to uncover truths, to explore the things that make us love and laugh and hate and kill. To break open the myths. To know the unknowable. To speak the unspeakable.


Thank you for those words Shanna!

I was, several years ago, asked how I dared write about some of the things I did in my erotica, how I could reveal such intimate fantasies. I was nonplussed - because every time you write on any subject, if you do it with sincerity, you are revealing your inner self, and laying it open to criticism and misunderstanding and public judgment. That's an inescapable part of being a writer.

Jeremy Edwards said...

Shanna was one of the first people I encountered in the erotica world. I met her, first, in her capacity as editor, and the interaction gave me a wonderful "you've come to the right place, kid" feeling. Both the content and bedside manner (ahem) made someone new to the "scene" feel respected and valued, feel greeted by an attitude that anyone taking the trouble to write was worth an editor's time and feedback. This first submission of mine to Clean Sheets resulted in a rejection, by the way—the kind of rejection, as handled by the likes of Shanna Germain, that inspires and motivates you to try again, because it's so obvious that the editor gives a damn, and that she's rooting for you.

Meanwhile, I was becoming familiar with Shanna's presence as a writer, her astounding sensitivity and control as a literary artist. Her word-perfect, emotion-rich stories stood—and stand—as shining examples of how erotica works and of all that erotica can be. I like to read a Shanna Germain sentence twice—first as a whole, and then one word at a time.

As a writer who offers so much finely crafted an editor who is always patient, insightful, and an all-around dang-blastedly supportive and fun and hilarious are a treasure, Shanna.

And I'm not saying all this just because you've promised to bend over for us in your little elf skirt. (On the other hand, I haven't forgotten that you've promised us this.)

Thanks for serving up Shanna, Nikki! You rule.

Neve Black said...

I've come to learn about Shanna's inspiring, sensual and deeply sensitive work. I can feel the warmth of her personality ebb an flow in and out from each piece.

She has a stellar reputation within the erotica community and I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say, thank you for your inspiration, your passion and your continued pursuit to stretch past boundaries -

Nikki, thank you for this lovely interview.

Alana said...


Emotional truth? Sounds familiar. And that's probably why you're work is so damn fucking good. Amen.


Alana said...


Thanks for the interview. XXOO

Alana said...


Take it from me, if you were to ever meet Shanna in person, you'd fall in love with her. I mean that.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Shanna is singlehandedly responsible for bringing art back into my life many years ago when we worked at a tiny little newspaper together. We wrote all of those homey little stories about the giant five-point buck somebody shot five minutes ago (and was now waiting in the parking lot in the back of a bloody pickup for a photo with the 10-year-old hunter) and school board fights and the county fair queen court. Let me tell you, Shanna put her poetry into the news as well. (She gave AP Style a run for it's money too -- snicker). So here was this beautiful young poetic newlygrad and me, who'd just had a second child and was slightly out of my mind. Well, Shanna didn't care about that as crazy doesn't bother her in the least. She took the time to not only urge, encourage, and nudge me not-so-gently to explore my creativity, but actually invited me to share some of my halting poetry and half-baked fiction. I rediscovered creative writing and photography through her urging and will forever be grateful.

What is so amazing to me about Shanna's writing is that she does hit those emotional truths so perfectly and poignantly that her stories and poems become completely real -- they are like finding an answer to something. I can still remember drafts of stories and snippets of poems from a critique group long ago that were so powerful even in draft form that they sucked all the air out of me and left me struggling to breath in the middle of someone's living room.

I do love you Shanna -- and I love your writing too, of course. You are nothing short of brilliant.

And Alana is quite right -- once you meet Shanna in the flesh you'll never be the same again!

--Gina B./KM

Kirsten Monroe said...

ps. Oops, forgot to say Thank You to Nikki. Thank You Nikki!

EllaRegina said...

Sex and death is indeed a moving combination.

Really knock-out stuff, Shanna!

Thanks for the interview, and to Nikki for this incredible, thought-provoking series.

Nikki Magennis said...

Thanks, all, for stopping by and sharing your stories!

I think it's true that we share the most intimate bits of ourselves when writing (not necessarily the sexy kind of intimate). Sometimes that seems terrifying, but I suppose it should really be seen as a wonderful stroke of luck, that one's found a way to make that possible.

Also, I think in Shanna's case, the writer's found a way to not only share truths that really touch the reader, but also to transcend/resolve some of those truths - like you say, Kirsten, reading those stories is like finding an answer to something.

Really, I'm honoured to count Shanna as a friend.

(I know she blushes at compliments and I'm really hoping to get her glowing Rudolph-style in time for the holidays! ...)

; )

Shanna Germain said...

Gah! So, this isn't really fair -- All of this has been here for a few days and Nikki -just- wrote to me this morning to tell me. I am... wow, just wow. Floored. Thank you all for the wonderful comments, the kind words, the shared memories.

I always thought the best work I could do as a writer was to try and touch readers, yes. But now I see there's something else too, something that brings me great joy and a sense of completion -- touching other -writers-. Sharing and growing together, inspiring each other, supporting each other through the failures and successes. You all give me that great, great joy. Thank you a million times over!

All my best, s.

Shanna Germain said...

-gives a laughing growl as she turns away, covering her cheeks to pretend her face isn't already as pink as a cold-flushed elf-

Nikki Magennis said...

I know, I'm a doofus, S, sorry! Can I use the fact I have ...


... as an excuse for being distracted? : )

Thanks again - for everything.

Smut Girl said...

So sorry missed Shanna's day. People will not stop getting sick around here. See, she's as lovely in a photo as her way with words :)
My favorite story by Shanna was in F for Favorite. Oops. Fetish. F for Fetish!