1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity-where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane-and tell us why.
Current level of insanity – definitely an 8. Why? Three kids, a temperamental dog, writing to do, editing to do, and a part-time job. My brain is pulled in seventeen different directions on a daily basis, and I’m lucky I can (usually) remember my own name. Tea helps. And way too many cigarettes.
2. From editor to author, and now you’re both. Why did you accept the position of Drollerie Press‘s Editor-in-chief?
I accepted because I adore Deena and I think she’s brilliant. And because Drollerie is publishing the kinds of things I’d love to read, and be able work on. Plus, I miss editing. Working with an author from inception to finished project is really a gift, and Drollerie gives me the freedom to choose projects I really love without having to please an editorial board or worry about the bottom line. I’ve gotten so busy, though, with my own writing, that I’ve been stretched pretty thin and I really want the erotica line to grow, so Deena and I have decided that I would take over the erotica line, Penflourish, and step down as Editor-in-Chief. I’m really excited about this opportunity to basically create my own imprint.
3. Did/Does being an editor make you a better writer and/or vice versa?
I think they complement each other in really helpful ways. Editing definitely informs my writing, which I noticed after I’d been editing for a while, because suddenly I could “see” the places where I would suggest revisions if it had been a project submitted to me.
By the same token, I think being a writer helps me to understand what other writers are going for sometimes, and sharing a common language with them makes communicating changes a lot easier.
4. Isn’t what you edit rather different from what you write?
Yup. That’s part of the fun. After editing romances for so long, too, it got a little formulaic – I could see the big-picture structure of where a story was going really early, and that sucked some of the joy out of it. I like being surprised with the Drollerie projects, and the freedom our authors have to wander away from traiditional happy endings.
But what I’m editing isn’t very different than some of what I like to read, and what I’ve published so far isn’t indicative of everything I write, or want to write.
5. Tell us about some of the Drollerie releases (previous and upcoming) that you edited.
I don’t have space to list everyone, or at least not talk about them in depth, but I was very lucky to work with everyone I have so far. But I’ll give two examples.
Editing Deborah Grabien‘s Still Life with Devils was an absolute joy; I’ve been a huge fan of her writing for a long time, and this novel was so gorgeously creepy and real, I couldn’t stop turning pages. Deb has the chops to sell almost anything, too-she makes you believe in the supernatural, makes you hear her characters speaking, see the settings.
I was also really lucky to work with Imogen Howson on Falling. It’s like she read my mind about the kind of submission I wanted. A fairy tale in a whole new setting, touching on the old themes and making them fresh and different, and written so smartly, so elegantly. A real pleasure.
6. What are you hoping to see when you next go through submissions?
I want to see some really good erotica. Not porn dressed up in Victoria’s Secret, either. Really lush, precise language, exploring sexuality in all its forms, and with all its ramifications, not just for the “wow, hot!” factor. And erotica in all kinds – historical, contemporary, even fantasy.
I want to see some new takes on fairy tales. Either retellings that bring a new perspective (Sleeping Beauty from the prince’s point of view, for instance, or the wicked fairy’s), or new twists on the old tales in new settings. A note: erotica is a perfect way to explore fairy tales. (Hint, hint.)
I also want some really innovative horror or paranormal stories. Ghost stories, vampires, whatever, but something *new*, something that takes me someplace I’ve never been. My only caveat there is that I want stories with worlds, and rules, firmly in place. Rules that make sense, too, insofar as that’s possible with something like vampires. Sell me on why your werewolf breed is real, for instance. And don’t hold back on the rough, the raw, the painful. Again, not everything has to have a happy ending.
Most of all, I want good stories told well. I want a strong, confident voice, a firm grasp of conflict and motivation, and the patience to weave the language into something gorgeous and still accessible.
Drollerie Press accepts erotica with a mythic theme in any genre, setting or style. It can be based on any of the legends, myths, or fairytales, or be original but mythic in tone, just as we accept for any other genre. It does not require a HEA, only explicit sexual content that is integral to the plot. To submit a story for publication under the Penflourish imprint, e-mail your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll post the list of upcoming Drollerie Press releases later today.