“Have you tried all those things you write about?” they ask with a snicker. Such is the life of the erotica writer. Well I had fun answering that in my biography. But people don’t ask suspense writers that question. An author friend of mine who writes steamy stories answers, “Absolutely, I try everything I write about. When my villain cuts off someone’s hand, I make sure I have experience doing it.” And what about the paranormal and science fiction writers?
But on the other hand (the one still attached), you do have to have some experiences in life, some firsthand knowledge, to be able to write well. If you’ve never had a sexual encounter, you couldn’t write believably about it. Just as you have to have experienced some anger, heartbreak, and disillusionment to write a believable villain, you have to have been in love and felt lust to write about them. The bottom line is that it’s the emotions that have to be real for readers to identify with the characters.
But then there are the details. Personal knowledge is helpful, but there’s always research. Right now, the amount of information available to us all, writers and readers, is astonishing. I’ve written dozens of stories, many steamy, but this is the first one that specifically deals with sensual bondage. Although I’m not in the BDSM lifestyle, I’ve learned a bit about it. I’ve felt that marvelous sense of abandon that submissives feel. Anyone can try sensual bondage at home. And I’ve learned a lot from people I know, from non-fiction books I’ve read on the subject, and also from fiction.
Yes, I’ve learned about BDSM, and even about sex in general, from reading erotic romance. Sure, they’re fantasy. No doubt about it. But many stories explore sexuality in a way that allows readers not only to live vicariously, but to get an insight into other techniques and experiences. Writers like Eden Bradley (aka Eve Berlin) bring their real-life experiences from the BDSM world into their fiction. (And don’t you wonder if Angela Knight has had some personal experience with a sexy vampire?)
So instead of write what you know, some say to write what you know or are willing to learn. That’s good advice. I say read a good story and you can learn that way too!