Emphasis on Emma Holly
An ENE interview with author Emma Holly
Emma Holly is the author of four erotic novels with a romance novel to be released in June 2001. Ms. Holly has also had short stories published in these anthologies: Best Women's Erotica 2000, Secrets Volume 4 and The Oy of Sex.


ENE: Why do you write?
You might as well ask why I breathe. Writing is an intrinsic part of my personality. I can't remember not wanting to do it. As pompous as it might sound, I really feel as if writing is my calling. Of course, when I was ten I wanted to be Catwoman. Needless to say, I outgrew that.
ENE: When did you start writing? What did you write?
I started writing as a kid. My first story was about a turkey who wasn't eating enough to grow big and strong. Not a problem I personally have experienced. I'm a big fan of eating, especially when it involves chocolate!
ENE: Who are your favorite authors of fiction?
I've got loads, but at the moment Janet Evanovich, Laurell K. Hamilton and J.K. Rowling top the list. Go Harry Potter! (Yes, I'll be at the bookstore with the rest of the muggles in July.)
ENE: What stimulates your muse?
Hm. Long walks. Hot showers. Chocolate. Good storytelling of any kind. Movies, books. Genre doesn't matter as long as the writing grabs me.
ENE: Do you ever get writer's block? How do you deal with it?
Thankfully, I haven't had that problem. Maybe it's because I think of myself as a professional writer rather than a temperamental artiste, and tend to treat myself accordingly. I make it my habit to write whether I feel like it or not. If that day's work turns out to be crap, I can usually edit it into shape later. This is not to say I sit in my factory all day cranking stuff out. I allow my artistic side plenty of recuperative goof-off time.
ENE: Is erotica porn?
Unfortunately, the word "pornography" has become so politically, socially and legally charged that it's nearly impossible to use without negative connotations. I've gotten so I won't apply it to anything any more. I don't want to be perceived as viewing someone's writing - either its style or content - as less valid than someone else's simply because I call it porn.
ENE: Do you allow others to read your work while it is being written?
I used to but don't anymore. I've grown more confident, I suppose, or more of a control freak. My editor gets to kibitz, of course, and sometimes my agent, and that's as many cooks as I want in my kitchen!
ENE: What advice would you give romance and erotica fiction writers about getting published?
Apart from the practical stuff like "stick with it" and "read what's out there", I guess don't forget to write to please yourself. Getting anything published can be a crapshoot. Sometimes the joy you take in the process is all that keeps you going.
ENE: Here are some questions from our readers. How do you get the idea for your novels?
Any darn where I can! Sometimes they're a dramatized version of a fantasy, or a response to a book I wish the author had written in a different way. Sometimes I set myself a challenge just to see if I can pull something off.
ENE: Why erotica? Does it pay well?
Alas, no, it doesn't pay particularly well. If you want to make a living at it, you either have to be very prolific or very lucky. (But, hey, I never rule that out.) The answer to "why" is because it's fun! And fascinating! I can't think of anything more interesting than sex and why we do it the way we do.
ENE: Does your family know that you write erotica? If so, how do they feel about it?
Yes, they know and they're pretty cool about it. I don't make them read my books, mind you. In fact, I'd rather they didn't. Mostly, I think they're happy I'm finally published. They know I waited a long time for that to happen.
ENE: How long does it take you to write a novel? Do you have another planned?
The time depends on the story. The sexy Victorian romance I just finished took me seventh months, which is longer than my usual. It was a bigger book than I'd written before, and since it was a historical, it required more research. I've started another Victorian but it's way too early to talk about yet. I'm still in the bumbling around and cussing stage.
ENE: How do you write a novel? Making notes, writing the whole thing and then going back and revising it or chapter by chapter correcting it as you write?
Every book is different. Some I pre-plot. Some I fly by the seat of my pants. I'm always editing. It's one of the ways I get a handle on the book as a whole. But I'm a firm believer in each writer finding the method that works best for her. There isn't one right way, there's only the right way for you.
ENE: Do you use any form of prompt to give you ideas to write? Pictures, other books, Software? Do you get turned on writing erotica?
I don't think a scene is successful unless I personally find it arousing. Even if I'm dramatizing a kink that's more meaningful to the character than it is to me, I try to find a way to connect with it. I think, in the end, that makes my writing more accessible to more different kinds of readers.
ENE: How long have you been writing before you got published?
I wrote seriously for about ten years before I sold my first book. A long haul!
ENE: What influence did your education have in your decision to write erotica?
Haha. None! I was an ivy league English major. I'm sure most of my professors would be horrified to know how I've perverted what they taught me.
ENE: Do you write under another name?
So far I've only written as Emma Holly.
ENE: Do you believe women write better erotica then men? If so, why?
I believe women are better than men at writing erotica that appeals to other women. This isn't to say there aren't writers who have cross-gender appeal, just that in general men and women have slightly different sexual wiring and it's reflected in the way they write. Women tend to be more contextual, more emotional. They're more likely to spend time on character development and to have value systems other women will understand.
That said, what does "better" mean? If Penthouse letters float your boat and Emma Holly makes you roll your eyes, then, to you, the Penthouse letter author is "better." In an ideal world, everyone can find the kind of erotic fiction they like.
ENE: Have you ever done an historical erotica?
The sexy historical I wrote for Berkley comes closest to historical erotica. The story is a romance, but the love scenes are quite graphic. That's called BEYOND INNOCENCE and will be out in June 2001. It's a marriage of convenience story with a big gay twist. I call it my Victorian Will & Grace.
ENE: Have you used many publishers?
Well, not too many to count. I've published with Black Lace, of course. And Red Sage for my Secrets novella, and a few short stories to Cleis Press, and now Berkley for romance. I enjoy the variety, and hope I can continue to play the field!
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