I am so happy to welcome Richard Savage, one of my co-authors in the anthology Spanked! from Black Velvet Seductions. He has also done the art work for all of my covers at BVS. Talented much? Absolutely.
Now I’ll step out of the conversation and let Richard take over and tell a little about himself.
Let me first start by saying thank you to Starla for inviting me here. For me, writing is a rather solitary pursuit, so it is a privilege to get a chance to chat about my work.
I love my work as a writer and artist. I feel so lucky to do what I do for a living; it doesn’t really feel like work, though I take it very seriously. Every day I write something, every day I draw or paint. It is not so much a job, as it is simply what I do. Due to circumstance, I find myself writing in unusual places, hospitals, coffee shops, train carriages and, very commonly, in a bar or restaurant I know rather well. Occasionally my writing catches someone’s eye and it is rather amusing to be put in the position to have to explain exactly what it is that you are writing. It is funny to see the reactions on people’s faces; which have ranged from shock and disbelief to amusement and incredulity. My response to them is simple, art or writing, it is my work. I do other things of course but art and writing is pretty much my life.
I have always been rather driven, obsessive maybe. I was fifteen or so when I first wanted to be an artist and writer, for me they go hand in hand. One of the driving forces is my dyslexia which has plagued me all my life. At school I found it completely debilitating academically. It was not really recognized as a disability and teachers back then branded children as thick. At the age of twelve, I was told by an English teacher that I would amount to nothing. That proved an immensely powerful motivation. It started with me wanting to be a children’s author and illustrator. Some people have considered it a little strange to move from children’s stories to erotic romance but I have never seen it as strange.
Tell us about writing erotic fiction…
I very much enjoy reading and writing erotic fiction. In my reading, I have to say, I primarily enjoy stories written by women. I know this is a bit of a generalization but with erotica written by men, it often seems very goal driven. The fiction that interests and inspires me is so much more based in the emotional responses and the dynamic interaction of the characters. When writing fiction, I really like to get into the characters, to try to see the situation through their eyes, so that I am showing the story through their experiences rather than just telling the story. I really feel at home exploring the conflict within the relationships I write about. I suppose, in a way, it makes me a bit of a voyeur, eavesdropping on my own characters.
When I first set out as a writer of erotic fiction I wanted to do it with a feminine voice. I think finding my voice was key to developing my writing style. It does pose a problem for a heterosexual man but I feel the need to have a believable, credible voice.
I even thought of a female pen name. For a short while I wrote as Amanda Ravenscroft. My decision to write under my own name was an easy one in the end, I am proud of what I write and I have no one in my family I feel the need to protect, so I felt it much simpler to use my own name.
I do like my stories to entertain. I am intrigued by alternative lifestyles, but I suppose what I would like to get across is no matter how unusual people are and how kinky things become, we are all just people looking for love and companionship. There is no such thing as normal; we all have preferences and it is ok to enjoy all that you are.
Do you have a writing schedule or certain place you write?
I suppose my most creative time is lying in bed in the morning. There is a golden creative time in the morning before I am fully awake. That is a great time to work out difficult bits of plots, expand and explore the story. The rest of my writing time is spent wherever I happen to be.
Time is just too precious to waste. I like to make the most of each and every day. I have adapted to be able to write in most places and can block out most distractions, though when it is really noisy I do have ear plugs in the laptop case.
What kind of writing process do you have? Do you ever deal with writer’s block?
The writing process is pretty organic, the stories seem to grow and I like to write a whole story to the end before going into the editing process. That said, I do like to run it by my editor to make sure I am on track. As a writer one can be so close to the story it is hard to be objective, that is where having someone you trust editing is crucial.
There are occasions where most of us hit some form of writer’s block. To be honest I don’t get it a lot but if I do, I tend go over old chapters rereading and doing revisions, it seems to get me back into a creative mood.
How do you feel about promoting your work?
Promotion is an ongoing process; an author never really finishes promoting a work. They spend time writing and nurturing the story into life, when they send it out into the world it is still important to them. A story might be five years old but it is still brand new to someone who hasn’t read it before.
Most writers blog and have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Most of it I don’t tend to think of as promotion, although it is. I like to hear what people have to say about my stories, I think that kind of interaction is healthy from the writers perspective. Thankfully the vast majority of the feedback from readers is positive but you do get the odd one or two that have not enjoyed the story or an element of the story. I try to take on board any comments I get.
Have you ever dealt with rejection as an author? How do you get beyond it?
Rejection, well I have a pile of letters a foot high which I have been collecting since the late 70s. If life has taught me anything, it is that if you really want something badly enough you will keep at it until you reach your goal. I am very much a glass half full sort of person and on the staircase that leads to my art studio are prints that represent the 50+ book covers I have in print, with the covers of my own four stories very prominently displayed. Whenever I am feeling lackluster I always have a look at the covers and then I get on with the work in hand.
Now to your published works… Do you have a favorite story?
I have four stories in print, all with Black Velvet Seductions and all erotic stories. I am fond of them all and I can’t really choose a favorite as you couldn’t choose a favorite child.
Good answer, Richard.
“The Anniversary”, a part of the supernatural anthology “The Crimson Z” ISBN 0-9774682-8-3
My first published story and I still have a soft spot for it. There is a highly charged emotional scene near the end, which I can’t really describe as it has a suspense element that would give the plot away but you can read more here. It was a hard scene for me to write emotionally as I was dealing with the loss of my father at the time and I think a lot of the raw energy comes out in the story.
My next two stories were published together.
“Temporally Yours” “The Key” ISBN 0-9802246-1-6
“The Key” is a light romance written for Valentine’s Day, “Temporally Yours” is a supernatural story about time and plays with the nature of time, a topic that resonates strongly with me as I never seem to have enough time. I like to get a point across in all my stories, a prime underlying message is the normality of Dominance and submission within a caring and loving relationship. The main plot of “Temporally Yours” is a story about how two people struggle to fit their lives around a busy lifestyle.
My only regret really is the title, “Temporally Yours” is a time reference, as in yours in time. I thought it a witty and rather clever title. If I had a dollar for everyone who referred to the book as “Temporarily Yours” I would be a happy man! “Temporarily Yours” gives the impression that it is a flippant romance, rather than a romance that struggles because of lack of time. If I could retitle the book it would be “Yours for All Time” but there you go, you live and learn.
I enjoyed writing the story. The plot centres around Alan and Barbara. He is constantly working so when Barbara buys a pair of $1500 shoes after Alan has cautioned her repeatedly about the budget, he decides that desperate times call for desperate measures. They are a loving couple who have lost their way. The story poses the questions, who is in the driving seat and can a spanking really save their marriage?
Also, hats off to Cara Bristol and, of course, Sarla Kaye, my fellow authors who both have great stories in this anthology.
EXCERPT from “The Anniversary”
Evelyn and Peter shared an intense, loving, Master and slave relationship until Peter made one bad decision that took him away from his beloved Evelyn. Now they meet just once a year for an annual rendezvous that they have continued for old time’s sake. The following excerpt is from the section where Evelyn is approaching the hotel where she will meet with her beloved Peter.
There seemed no end to this golden time. Yet, like all golden times, it had to end and when it did, it crushed her. The thought buzzed through her mind and a tear rolled down her cheek. A golden time, but that had been four years ago. And here she was now, driving through the night. The lights cut through the night, lighting trees and flickering across the houses, which were scattered sparsely throughout this part of the countryside. The hotel had been built in the middle of nowhere and the remoteness had been the reason they had picked it for their honeymoon, all those years ago.
She knew she was drawing close to her destination, although time had taken its toll on the landscape. The road lacked the quaintness it once had and the small shrines situated on sharp bends gave testimony to how much more dangerous the roads had become over the years. There was the old mailbox once a bright red, now faded to a drab grey. An old oak tree whose once majestic lower branches were now lopped off. There were more than a dozen markers she used to navigate this journey and though the landmarks were older and shabbier, they were still unmistakable. She had never been great at navigation, especially out of town but although remote, she had never had any difficulty finding Woodside Manor.
There was a small crest to a hill before the approach to the Manor. Evelyn caught her breath as the lights played across the building, lighting the two majestic towers that flanked either side of the castellated top of the main building. Woodside Manor had once been an exclusive country club, owned by an oil tycoon. No expense had been spared on its original construction. It had enjoyed a second life as a luxury hotel, but successive owners, had let it fall into disrepair.
Evelyn’s sleek, burgundy-colored Jaguar turned off the main road and up the long, winding, tree lined driveway, which led to the hotel. As she approached, her lights swung across the faded façade that had once been a gleaming white. There was a fountain in the middle of a large doughnut shaped parking area. It was once lit and the jets of water then had been bathed in colored light. Now it was dark and the water danced no more. The water was green and stagnant and the ornamental statue in the centre of the pond was covered with a thick moss concealing that it had once been an attractive lady holding a Greek urn.
From the first time she had visited the manor she had loved the place. The opulence of the frontage had always reminded her of the set in the film Gone with the Wind. The building seemed steeped in southern colonial elegance. She felt a little saddened to see this grand building, now so down at the heel. The gardens too, what she could see of them, were a faded reminder of what had once been.
Woodside Manor was no longer the prestigious venue for millionaires and playboys; it had faded, as all things fade in time.
The tires crunched to a halt and Evelyn sat in the car, with the engine still running. She touched the amulet at her throat. The chain was short enough to draw comment. A close friend had once said that the medallion on such a short collar resembles a dog’s collar. The comment had made Evelyn smile and she drew her own comparison with the ownership of her as the beloved pet. Of course, a vanilla world could not see what it was, it simply made them curious. She fingered the decorative rose and the inlaid gold P and thought of her service and what the collar represented.
She turned the key and the car’s quiet hum fell silent. Evelyn sat still in the car, aware of the gifts she wore in honor of Peter. Conflict swirled in her mind. In the dark, her fingers fiddled with the car door latch. It clicked and swung open, but as she left the car, she went cold.
You can read other excerpts of my stories free on the Black Velvet Seductions web site and sign up for their newsletter. There are free monthly draws as indeed there are on my web site www.swage.net I give 3 prints a month away to people signing up to the newsletter and there are prize competitions too.