Interview with Stephanie Gwladferth

Describe your desk
Cluttered. i really need to tidy it more.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Philosophy, Current Affairs... and, of course, Erotica
What is your e-reading device of choice?
When did you first start writing?
I've always wanted to write and wrote some non-fictional articles when I was younger. But it was only a year ago that I started, after I started buying books on Smashwords.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is Consanguinamorous. It started as a piece of erotica involving an incestuous relationship. But as I was writing it, i decided to do research - I always feel that erotica reads better if it's at least a little realistic. There are websites and blogs out there for people who've been or are engaged in incestuous relationships (they prefer the term consanguinamorous as it has less negative connotations) and I read them and corresponded with some of them. And what came across most is that these people felt a deep and abiding love for their partners. Most of them describe it as the most intense love they've ever had. And the sex likewise.
And I thought about this. Normally erotica involving family members concentrates on the forbiddeness of it, the thrill and shock of that (which, to be fair, some of them said was a factor in their sex lives). Sometimes it's combined with other extreme sex acts like BDSM to emphasise this. But it concentrates mainly on the sex and the participants, insofar as they're realised characters at all, are driven by lust, a lust which appeals to the readers because it's portrayed as perverse and debauched. This isn't unique or new - Victorian pornography had a lot of incest and a lot of male homosexuality in it and was aimed not at homosexuals or those engaged in such relationships but at straight people who were turned on by reading about people doing forbidden things, things they'd never do themselves. And the participants were never driven by love, just lust. So I though about this and I thought about how these Victorian pornography readers would have reacted to a portrayal of a homosexual relationship based on love instead of lust. Or an incestuous relationship based on the same - a consanguinamorous relationship. The former, of course, is easy enough to find in erotica and romantic fiction these days. But I thought it would be interesting to portray a consanguinamorous love story and one with a deep and abiding love also because that's the complete opposite of how most people view such relationships though, as I said, it's how most of them look from the inside. And few, if any people have done this.
And this difference, this clash of values, of perceptions is interesting. It's no small difference, you only have to watch the media frenzy when a relationship like this hits the headlines, as it did last year with Kim West and Ben Ford. Compare that with my story, where I've tried to show how such a relationship might feel to those involved in it. And watch what happens when that love collides with the real world. The morality - or immorality - is interesting because most people have a disgust of consanguinamorous relationships that they've never given any thought to. The book forces you to. It's not unlike one of the philosophical questions posed by Jon Haidt in which a brother and sister go camping in France and end up sleeping together. Most people react by saying that it was wrong for them to do this but, when forced to say why, nobody can come up with a reason.
And so it's less erotica and more romance and a forbidden romance at that. Shades of Romeo and Juliet. I'm thinking of writing a sequel, probably involving Linda's struggle with their relationship.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The ability to publish right away, to edit and update my books and to get feedback from buyers all made it very attractive.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's probably the best self-publishing platform because of how easy it is to publish on and how many other publishers it distributes to.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The writing of the first draft where it just pours out of me. I become a bit reclusive whilst doing this. The editing and rewriting into the second and subsequent drafts is less fun, but necessary.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'll tell you when i get some!
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a book involving women hockey players - that'll be field hockey players for those of you from North America.

It was inspired by the 2016 Olympics. Great Britain played the Netherlands in the final and I, who hadn't really given much thought to hockey since leaving school all that time ago, stayed up late to watch it. In the event, it was a thrilling match with GB desperately staving off Netherlands' attacks to hold the game to a draw. It was then settled through penalties.

Throughout the match the commentator often referred to the fact that our captain, Helen Richardson-Walsh, was married to one of the players, Kate Richardson-Walsh, and that this was the first time a same-sex couple were in the running to win a gold medal together (and the first time since the thirties that ANY married couple had won a gold medal.) It was also mentioned that both players played for Dutch teams, as did our goalie who was integral to our eventual success. This isn't uncommon - the Netherlands takes hockey more seriously than we do and so a lot of our best players play in Dutch teams, gaining experience. Anyway, I got the impression that the Richardson-Walshes had met in the Netherlands - this was incorrect, as I later found out, but it's what I thought. And I thought that that was maybe an interesting story.

Anyway, we won. And the British team went berserk in their celebrations, as you do, and, as a Brit, I was with them. But, every now and again, the camera would pan over to the Dutch team, who were walking around like zombies. You had to feel for them. And it's then I got the idea for the book:

What if we had a player who followed more or less the same path as I'd thought the Richardson-Walshes had followed? A player, good at hockey, who travels to the Netherlands to play in the Dutch league and hone her skills who then meets and falls in love with another hockey player, eventually marrying her. But instead of it being another UK player, what if she'd fallen in love with a Dutch girl? How would the Olympics have played out then? How could their relationship cope with the difference in perception, the berserk euphoria of the UK team vs the extreme depression of the Dutch team? Hell, what if one of them was a goalie and the other was a forward and so they got to face each other for the penalty shot that determined the outcome of the game? How would that play out?

So, I've written about half of it so far. I'll update you.

UPDATE: I've pretty much caught up with real life. That is to say I've taken the book to the Hockey World Cup, that has just finished. I was writing those chapters as the World Cup was playing out and I think that's made it better - when characters are speculating as to the possible outcome of games, this was usually done before said game had been played and so isn't being written with hindsight (and a lot of them were wrong anyway. I mean, who could have predicted Ireland getting to the final?)

This took away a certain amount of control. I mean, I wasn't sure if I wanted England to play the Netherlands at this point in the story, but I left it up to results to determine that. England and the Netherlands were supposed to met in the final, according to the FIH seeding system, but England's failure to win its first two games plus Ireland's success in their first two games meant that they took 'our' spot from us and England met the Netherlands in the quarter finals. I had to adapt the story to this.

From now on, though, it's all going to be speculation. Incidentally, the book isn't entirely 9or even mainly) about Hockey. It's a love story about people. But as the people are both International Hockey players, it does come up .
Who are your favourite authors?
George R R Martin (Game of Thrones, if he ever finishes it, will be one of the best fantasy series ever written). Bernard Cornwell writes good historical fiction, as does Philippa Gregory. Phillip K Dick, Alistair Reynolds, Ursula K LeGuin (The Disposessed remains one of my favourite SF books, a serious look at an anarchist society), early Stephen King, Adrian Tschaikovsky.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The need for sustenance. We're all wage slaves, when we come down to it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Surfing the internet, watching Buffy or Sense8 or similar on TV
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Largely by chance. Occasionally when an author I'm reading recommends someone else.
What is your writing process?
I write a first draft very quickly with a rush of creativity. Then i leave it alone for a while and look at it with refreshed eyes a few days later, revising it and rewriting it into a second draft. Then i do it all again for the third draft. It's not that simple - I revise as I'm writing it, even the first draft - but it's close.
What are your five favourite books, and why?
The Disposessed by Ursula K LeGuin. A serious attempt to imagine how an anarchist society would work. What's perhaps best about it is that it's not a Utopia - LeGuin shows all the flaws the society has, some that grow out of its anarchist organisation, others that seem a betrayal of anarchist ideas. It's fascinating.
The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K LeGuin. A look at a colonial war and the resistance to it from the POV both of the colonial commander and the resistance. Avatar done properly. It examines how the resistance to oppression can warp a society and destroy its values - but what's the alternative, to roll over and surrender? Written in the early 70s and probably influenced by Vietnam.
The Complete Griselda by Oliver Dickenson This collects all the Griselda stories then extant (he's since written a new, and final, story to end her tale.) Written in the style of Damon Runyon (who wrote Guys and Dolls) it deals with Griselda, an adventurer in Pavis in Glorantha whilst it was under Lunar occupation.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin. Known to TV watchers as A Game of Thrones, the whole series of books - he said seven as of his last estimate - are known as A Song of Ice and Fire. He's only done five, so far, and we're still waiting to see how well the sixth one was represented by the TV series, which has outpaced it. High Fantasy at its best, Martin examines both the splendour and the squalor of a mediaeval society and how high ideals fare when they come up against the real world.
The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein I first read it when I was a teenager and its still got a place in my heart. High Fantasy, again, less gritty or realistic than Martin but no less detailed. Much better than the films.
Published 2018-08-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Housewife And The Hitchiker: The Whole Story
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,540. Language: British English. Published: June 27, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Lesbian Erotica, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Lesbian
Kate is a student, hitching her way to Glastonbury in 1995. Julie is a newly separated housewife in her 40s, driving home. Against her better judgement, she picks Kate up and gets taken on a voyage of discovery that changes her life. Note: This consists of two stories, one from Julie's point of view and the other telling the same events from Kate's point of view and extending the story a bit.
Consanguinamorous: A Mother's Love
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 17,610. Language: British English. Published: September 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » MILF, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
A Love story. Julie is in love with a younger man. Her life is complete, she feels so much happier and so does he. There's only one problem: He's her son. A tale of Forbidden Love and its consequences. And an examination of the arguments used to justify those consequences.