Interview with Alyssa Steel

When did you first start writing?
I started writing as soon as I learned how to hold a pencil and spell things even remotely the way they sound. My first foray into writing erotica happened ages and ages ago. When my husband and I were still dating, I'd write a little sexy story for him every now and again. I fully embraced my erotica writing by self-publishing on Smashwords in August, 2012.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love the whole process, even if I do sometimes get bogged down in the minutiae of editing and formatting. Ultimately, though, the thing I like best about being an indie author is that I maintain complete creative control over my work, from beginning to end. Don't like the cover? Great, I'll come up with something else or hire someone to make a kick-ass cover for me. As an indie author, I'm in the driver's seat with my work and I'm not obligated to change a thing for the sake of making an editor or publisher happy.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords, I love you. You think I'm joking, but I'm not.

I feel that Smashwords does a great job of setting up indie authors for success by giving us all the tools we need to be successful in the publication and distribution of our e-books. The giant formatting bible that Smashwords offers, for free, makes it virtually impossible not to achieve Premium Status, which allows an author's books to be shipped to multiple retailers, such as Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and others. The trick with gaining Premium Status is patience. You have to be willing to put in the time and energy to make sure your manuscript is properly formatted and that all the grammar and spelling is correct. If you can do that, you're gold.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee, for one thing. I also have cats who will scratch my face if I don't get up to give them breakfast, and dogs who might pee on the carpet if they don't get let out. Oh, and my homeschooled son, who needs breakfast before he can get started on his work for the day.

And then there are my characters. I can't very well leave them in a state of suspended animation, oozing sweat and pheromones but unable to get down to business, for too long. That would be cruel and unusual punishment, and I fear they'd hunt me down in my sleep and ship me off to some little cabin somewhere and make me keep writing, Annie Wilkes style.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's definitely the adventure.

They say there are two basic types of writers: Plotters and Pantsers. A plotter is someone who will outline his or her book before he starts writing. A pantser just sits down and writes by the seat of his or her pants. Without a doubt, I'm a pantser. I get a glimmer of an idea in my head, but I don't try to flesh it out with plot points and outlines. I've tried that route, and it tends to make me feel trapped and panicky.

Instead, I just sit down, put on some music, and let my fingers run wild. I don't know what is going to happen any more than my readers, or my characters for that matter, do. I just follow my characters' lead and write down their truths the best I can. Seeing their adventures unfold before me, unfettered and uncensored, is the thing that keeps me coming back to the computer day after day.
Why do you write under a pen name?
Quite simply, because I write Erotica and I have a preteen son. I can't very well have him stumble across this stuff by mistake! I also use a pen name because I write other genres, mainly young adult and upper middle grade, under my actual name. Again, I don't want those readers stumbling into work that's inappropriate for them.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I usually seek out recommendations. Sometimes I'll comb through lists and look through titles that seem interesting, but more often than not, it's by word of mouth. Lots of great writers just don't make the best-seller lists, and in the end, I prefer a quality story over a best selling one.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yep. It was about King Kong singing along to Pure Prairie League in the bottom of a ship. I was in second grade.
What is your writing process?
I really have to structure my writing time because I have so much going on in my non-writing life. After I have some coffee and get my kid fed and started on his work, I lock myself in the office for an hour or two, turn on some music, and then just write. I find that if I don't give myself a dedicated time to write, I'll get busy doing meaningless stuff, like laundry and food shopping, instead.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The very first story I ever read on my own was The Monster at the End of This Book. It was a Sesame Street Little Golden Book and it completely blew my very young mind. I don't want to be a plot-spoiler, but the only monster at the end was Grover's own fear of the monster at the end. Deep stuff.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Personal Laptop
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Cross sales & marketing through e-book publishing websites like Smashwords
Describe your desk
My desk is simple. It's mostly empty except for household items I use daily or decorative clutter that simply gets forgotten. My desk feels like home.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in hell. I read to escape and wrote to dream.
Published 2013-12-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Forget Romance: Five Tales of Erotica
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 26,440. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Erotica Anthologies, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Forget Romance: Five Tales of Erotica from Alyssa Steel that include a virginal peasant girl reluctantly thrust into the spotlight of a king's court of mistresses, a desperate couple on the brink of divorce, a young couple experiencing the most amazing night of their lives, and two women following their deepest, darkest fantasies.
His Heat, My Desire
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,730. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Erotic, Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal
A dark-eyed stranger meets a heartbroken young woman in an alley. The connection is instant and intense, and this chance encounter changes the course of her life forever.
The Concert
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 6,240. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Couples Erotica, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
After two years of a hot and heavy office flirtation with Mike, Lori experiences the most amazing night of her life.
Taken by Surprise
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 5,020. Language: English. Published: September 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Couples Erotica, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Jennifer is in for the ride of her life! One day she comes home from work to discover that her husband, Alec, has gone to great lengths to fulfill her deepest and darkest fantasies. But can Jennifer let go of her fears and anxieties enough to actually live out some of her scandalous dreams?
Do You Trust Me?
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 7,230. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Shelby and Chris are a not so happily married couple on the brink of divorce. One day, Chris asks her if she trusts him and Shelby has to decide how far she will go to please her husband and save her marriage. Adult Content Warning: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.
Isabel: The Reluctant Mistress
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,750. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Historical/Medieval, Fiction » Erotica » Women's Erotica
A virginal peasant girl is reluctantly thrust into the spotlight as she auditions to join the king's court of mistresses.