Friday, January 23, 2009

Writing that touches

Saskia Walker

I'm always in awe of today's guest. She's a stunningly prolific and accomplished writer, penning stories, novels and novellas for Juno, Harlequin, Berkley, Virgin, Cleis ... you get the idea! Somehow, though she must be a whirlwind of work, Saskia is always warm, friendly and supportive too. Ah, the lady's got grace, style and talent ... Saskia, how d'you do it??!

Why do you write?

It feels like the most natural thing in the world for me to do. I
think it's because I've always had stories knocking around my head,
and that came from being an only child with an active imagination. I
read a lot, and my parents travelled constantly. I'd always be running
an interior commentary on things I saw and heard, making my own
stories up when I wasn't actually reading. I'd invent whole histories
for people who caught my eye.

As an adult, writing those kinds of ideas down and letting my imagination grow through that medium was the next logical step. It was a dream to make that my career, but I honestly never believed I'd be able to make it happen. I feel very privileged to be able to write every day, and that there are readers who enjoy my work.

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

I just want to write stories that succeed, stories that are a good
read. I don't get too philosophical about it. My enduring goal is to
be a good genre fiction writer, and that means writing solid,
successful stories that entertain. I see myself very much in the long
tradition of storytellers rather than having literary aspirations, and
I'd like to think I take readers away to another place for a while
—and that they enjoyed it!

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

That's a tough one… It's hard to measure success in terms of what I
feel about it, because I always feel as if I have so much to learn! I
can only hope that each thing is better than the last because I'm
moving forward on this huge learning curve. I suppose I measure
success by reader's responses, and what new challenges I've risen to
in the process of writing. I think I've had more mail from readers
about my 2008 novel, RECKLESS, than any other piece of work, and the
comments were often about the combination of story elements with the
romantic and erotic elements. That felt good. That was what I wanted
to achieve, so I guess that's the one.

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

So many things inspire me! Two things that always get me turning ideas
over are wild weather, and sunshine. Yesterday was a wonderful, crisp
and sunny winter's day, and I had a new story idea. Magic.


Saskia Walker is a British author who writes erotic fiction across
genres. Her short stories have been published in over forty
anthologies and her novel-length work spans from contemporary erotic
romance to ancient fantasy. Saskia lives in the north of England on
the windswept Yorkshire moors, where she happily spends her days
spinning yarns. She has lots more stories to tell.

A thousand thanks for joining me, Saskia!

I'll now be having a bit of a break from Writing that touches - I seem to have deadlines piling up like snow at the moment!

Writers, if you'd still like to take part, please feel free to send your interview responses and a photo and bio to me at nikki dot magennis at googlemail dot com. The series will continue at some point.

Meanwhile, thanks to all my fabulous guests and visitors - it's been wonderful!


Emerald said...

I am delighted to see Saskia here for Writing That Touches, as I have experienced her as "warm, friendly and supportive" as well, and I LOVE her work!

I especially liked your response to why you write, Saskia. I relate to the "interior commentary" you mentioned experiencing as a child. I remember as a child finding myself describing settings in my head the way I would if I were writing about them. I am so glad you get to spend so much time doing what you love, and that your readers so benefit from it! Thank you!

Thanks as usual, Nikki, for this wonderful series. It's been such a pleasure. :) Best to you as you attend to your deadlines!


Nikki Magennis said...

Hm, sometimes I wish that 'interior commentary' came with an 'off' switch! But I expect other people's might be more interesting than mine.

Saskia is definitely someone I think of as a natural writer. Her stories just flow so beautifully and supple-ly. (Unlike that sentence ... !)

Saskia Walker said...

Nikki, thank you so much for inviting me to be part of this series. I’m overrawed at being included amongst the talented authors you’ve featured.

Emerald, I’m glad it’s not just me with the internal commentary, sometimes I wonder. :)

You’re both very kind with the flattery but seriously now, stop it, you’re making me blush and that isn’t good for my "cool erotica writer" image. :)

Portia Da Costa said...

Great series, Nikki!

And Saskia, when I read your answers, I see we are very much on the same wavelength!

Especially in terms of what we want to express in our writing. I *love* your answer to that one because it's exactly how I feel. I see myself as an entertainer too. :)

Oh, and Reckless is awesome!

Nikki Magennis said...

Ah, we have a blush! ... fantastic.

Just wait 'til I start singing the song I've written for you, Saskia!

; )

(note to visitors, please don't leave, I'm not really going to sing, I promise.)

Janine Ashbless said...

Hi there Saskia - lovely to see the Naughty Lady herself.
I see myself very much in the long
tradition of storytellers rather than having literary aspirations, and
I'd like to think I take readers away to another place for a while
—and that they enjoyed it!

I think I might hang that over my desk.

Hey, there's a real clutch of us smutwriters (sorry Portia!) in Yorkshire, isn't there? Is it something in the water?

Alison Tyler said...

I just want to write stories that succeed, stories that are a good read.

I think you succeed every time, Miss W. I adore the way you tell stories, the way you draw in your readers. When I think of your work, story after story unfolds in my mind, in setting after setting. On a beach, at a club, in an office. You take everyday places and make them both magical *and* memorable.


Jeremy Edwards said...

Hear, hear! Saskia, you are a stellar talent and a super-sweetheart of a colleague. The unforgettable things you can do with a plate-glass window or a discotheque!

And Nikki, you deserve a special Smut Medal for this series. And while we're waiting for the medal to be minted* ... can I tell them all that you'll be bringing The New Rakes to my blog next Tuesday, January 27?

*Or whatever flavor you like best.

Emerald said...

"Smut Medal"! Hahahaha -- that's fabulous!

"Hm, sometimes I wish that 'interior commentary' came with an 'off' switch!"

Oh, I do hear you, Nikki. :) The "interior commentary" for me has not always related to writing!

Thanks again for featuring the magnificent blushing cool erotica writer Saskia here on this fabulous series! ;) It really has been a delight, Saskia. Thank you for sharing.

Donna said...

Saskia, you are such an inspiration to me as a truly gifted storyteller and a generous spirit.

The more I write, the more I've come to realize that much of the so-called "literary" trappings involve a lot of posing and pretension. Every great literary classic is first and foremost a "good read."

Your stories are always page-turners. Add to that your satiny prose and humor and I'm up for a trip to Saskia Walker land any time!

Saskia Walker said...

You people are doing your best to embarrass me! I’ll have to go hide under the duvet. Seriously, I do not have the ability to endure flattery. I’m dying here. But, thank you. :)

Portia, thank you, sweetie! That means a lot to me.

Janine, Portia mentioned that you’re based in York when we met up last week, I had no clue. Amazing. Mark and I head over to York for a Christmas shopping trip (although we seem to spend most of that time “shopping” in The Maltings ;) I’ll get in touch next time and maybe we can meet up.

Alison, I’m bowled over by your comment. There are days when I wonder whether I get near the goal at all, (this job is hard!) Your encouragement means so much to me. You are a terrific role model to all of us and I know for sure that I wouldn’t have grown as a writer without the opportunities you gave me. I can’t thank you enough.

Jeremy, you’re adorable, but - be warned - if I hear you’ve started moonlighting as a window cleaner I’m not taking the blame ;)

Donna, thank you! That feeling is entirely mutual. You know how much I loved Amorous Woman. I’m anticipating the next novel! And I wish we’d got more time to chat in SF, I went through that conference in a complete daze. Sometimes I think I dreamt it. ;)

Charlotte Stein aka The Mighty Viper said...

Great interview, Saskia!

I'm a Yorkshire gal, too, and it daily amazes me that I live, like, two minutes away from such fabulous people.

Thanks for doing these, Nikki- they've been really fascinating. I love getting an insight into other people's processes and inspirations and all that. You don't know how important it is to a new writer to know that other people are in similar (if much larger, grander, more fabulous) boats.

Madeline Moore said...

Great little interview. I love this series, Nikki. Saskia, so good of you to share your point of view on this crazy business of writing. I too feel compelled to comment on the interior commentary - I remember the exact moment I realized that I was narrating my own activities. I was getting into the tub and I thought, 'She got into the tub...' and then I thought, 'What the hell?' 'She thought, "WHat the hell"' and so on...and on....

Nikki Magennis said...

Madeline - oh god yes! That's hilarious, and very true. It does funny things to ones brain, I think.

Saskia Walker said...

Charlotte, another naughty Yorkshire writer, yay! It's always a bonus finding the kindred souls. :)

Madeline, that's hilarious! Yes indeed. The weirdly wired mind of the writer, ay. Wouldn't change it for the world though, would we!