When you first started writing, did you have any idea you’d be writing erotic books? Do you write in any other genre?
Not really! Though to be honest, I consider myself more so a multi-genre fiction writer rather than a writer of erotic books, especially since most of my books cross into other genres as opposed to being straight-up erotica. I prefer to do projects with a much broader appeal. For me, it’s more interesting and inspiring and I think my readers prefer it as well. The fact that I don’t struggle with writing erotic content might stem from having read some of the Victorian erotic classics when I was younger. I always preferred the more literary styles of prose, which no doubt had an influence in my own approach.
Do you use a pen name? If yes (or no), why?
Not for a long time, no. I realize there are certain instances when a writer might see the need to take on a pen name (such as to establish a “brand” in one or more genres), but it’s a practice I tend to discourage when asked by new writers or when I teach my erotic writing workshops. My view is this: write something that has quality, value and literary merit. The fact that the material has a lot of sexual content is irrelevant. You can find a slew of books on the mainstream bestseller lists that have just as much sex in them, if not more, so that shouldn’t be the deciding reason to take on a pen name.
What was your inspiration for Thrones of Desire?
I’ve worked in fantasy before, for instance my short story collection In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales, so it wasn’t a major shift for me. The fantasy genre is taking off in a big way and reaching out to readers who normally wouldn’t have paid it much mind. The hit TV series Game of Thrones (based on George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novels) has definitely added to the excitement and I have to confess that it reeled me in as well. So I’d have to say that I need to credit the series as being the catalyst for Thrones of Desire.
At what point did you decide you wanted to write themed erotica?
I don’t think general erotica is all that interesting, to be honest and I never did. Since I’m so much of a genre mixer and blender, it was perfectly natural for me to focus on themes—be it paranormal, Gothic, epic fantasy, speculative fiction, fairy tale, etc. Themes tend to be more effective in getting the story line away from the everyday kind of thing—at least that’s been my experience. And the feedback I get from writers who want to contribute to my anthologies indicates they feel similarly, in that my selected theme stimulates them to stretch themselves creatively and come up with something new and exciting.
How kinky is Thrones of Desire?
I think kinky is in the eye of the beholder! Indeed, many things that were once considered kinky are now considered mainstream. Having said that, Thrones of Desire definitely isn’t short on kink. However, I’ll have to leave it up to each individual reader to determine just how “out there” the book is on the kink Richter scale, since everyone is bound to have a different opinion as to what constitutes kink.
Is there one area of romance erotica that you tend to write about more? Why do you think that area creeps into your writing more than some others?
I don’t actually set out to write romance erotica; I just write and see what happens. In fact, I don’t consider myself to be a writer of romance erotica at all, but I guess everyone wants to stick a label on a writer’s work in an attempt to classify it. As many people know, I’m very anti-label! With regard to the romantic themes you can find in my work, I suppose it’s safe to say that I’m not one for neat and tidy packages when it comes to love and romance in my writing. Life isn’t like that and I don’t think I can con my readers by portraying it as if it were. That’s not to say I don’t have happy endings. Some stories do end well, and some do not. There’s definitely a fair amount of poignancy in the storylines, not to mention difficulties that must be overcome. I don’t do simple!
Is there an area that you haven’t written about yet that you’re interested in?
I don’t think in those terms. I get an idea and decide to do something with it. I tend not to look at specific areas or categories and say, “Oh, I’ll go write something that’s (fill in the blank)”. It would be unnatural for me to dissect something to that level, i.e. a specific “area” and then consciously decide to write in that area.
Do you write erotica based on what you find interesting or sexy, or do you write more for your audience?
Neither. I don’t write for an audience—I just write and see what comes of it. I don’t necessarily write erotic content that I find personally arousing or of particular interest to me either. I realize that if you happen to be a writer of erotic prose, there is often the assumption that the material is either personal to you or autobiographical—and this assumption is probably encouraged by many erotica writers! I’m a writer, therefore it’s my job to create all kinds of characters and scenarios when I write—and they don’t necessarily have any bearing on me or my personal life or preferences. If I only wrote what was a personal turn on, I’d be cheating my audience, not to mention limiting myself creatively.
What have you written in the past that you think your fans might find interesting?
What might be something of interest to your fans that you don’t think they know about you?
I was initially planning to be an artist and it was essentially down to the fact that I sold a book before I sold a painting that decided me to become a writer.
What’s the most surprising piece of feedback you’ve ever received from a fan of your writing?
I’ve had quite a few people tell me how refreshing it is to see someone approaching the writing and editing of erotic fiction from a more literary standpoint. It’s always good to know that someone out there is actually paying attention!
When you’re writing erotica, is there a particular movie or music that you might watch or listen to that helps you get in that frame of mind?
Ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere, and I’ve found that ideas often stem from completely unrelated things. I never do anything as contrived as pre-setting a specific mood-writing scenario when I work. I just get down to business! Most writers don’t have the luxury of picking their mood and setting anyway. A good friend of mine who writes a lot of erotic prose was telling me that one afternoon he was at his computer writing a particularly heavy-duty BDSM scene, and while he was doing so he had one of the family dogs sitting on his lap, his son in the doorway asking for money, and his wife yelling at him from the kitchen. You see my point?
If someone new to your work is going to start with a story, which one would you recommend they read first?
My books and short stories are all so different from each other, so it’s really a matter of what they’re in the mood to read. If they have a sense of humor, I’d definitely recommend my sex parody novel Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. If they want something with a Gothic flavor, then my anthology Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance is a good choice. If they are in the mood for something darker that contains a variety of genres, then my anthology Dying For It: Tales of Sex and Death. I will say that I’m particularly fond of my short story “The Blood Moon Kiss” in Red Velvet and Absinthe as well as “Letter to Valentino” in Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers and “It’s All Right, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” from the aforementioned Dying For It. Those are quite possibly my three favorites.
What is your favorite flavor ice cream? And since this interview is for BDSM Book Reviews, vanilla is not an option!
That’s not a problem, since I never cared for vanilla! I’d have to say mint chocolate chip seems to be a winner for me. But it’s got to be a good quality ice cream—none of that cheap stuff!
Website, links info:
Mitzi Szereto website: http://mitziszereto.com
Mitzi Szereto on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mitziszereto
Mitzi Szereto Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/mitziszereto.fanpage
Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog: http://mitziszereto.com/blog
Mitzi TV: http://mitziszereto.com/tv
Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire: http://mitziszereto.com/thronesofdesire/
Mitzi Szereto Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/72445.Mitzi_Szereto
Mitzi Szereto Google+ official page: https://plus.google.com/b/105002950509883985630/105002950509883985630/posts
Mitzi Szereto MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mitzi_szereto