Interview with T.C. Dale

Published 2019-11-03.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing my own fiction when I was about 10-12 years old. It was horribly trashy stuff, but even then there were 'erotic' undertones (as far as 10-12 year old me understood anything about sex). I distinctly remember some Piers Anthony 'Phase' fanfic about shapeshifting unicorns who stayed the night together and the next day the mare was pregnant.

By 14-15 I'd graduated to Forgotten Realms fanfiction about my roleplay characters in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, some of which I kept writing well into my 20s. And by this time, my budding fascination with dubcon, noncom, and power dynamics had become apparent. From about 15-25 I stopped writing fiction and went heavily into religious philosophy and nonfiction materials, burnt myself out horribly, and segwayed back into fantasy and blatant erotica when I was in my late 20s. And here we are today!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have written for most of my life, but never attempted to publish anything. That was for 'real' authors or 'professional' authors, and I believed I simply wasn't good enough. I often spoke of my story ideas and my characters; I would detail hundreds of pages worth of worlds. I enjoyed roleplaying AS my characters, developing their background, and exploring their struggles. Finally, after many years of saying, "I should write this" (and many years of my friends telling me, "You should write this!") I decided to make myself a Patreon and see if anyone would actually PAY to see my writing. It turns out they will.

While my goal has never been to become rich (or even 'self-sufficient') as a writer, it is a marvelous feeling to have my ideas and hard work put out there, and know that people enjoy it. It's a small bit of extra income, but it's also immense validation to share my fantasies with others.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting reviews or hearing people's reactions. I love knowing that I've evoked emotion, and left someone wanting, left them crying, left them cheering, or left them enraged. As an author I believe that my goal is to craft something so realistic that, even though you know it's fiction, you have a real emotional investment in it. If I can make you smile, make you cringe, or make you wet/hard, then I have done my job!
What is your writing process?
I usually start with an outline / broadbrush. I sketch out the sequence of events and broad strokes of what's going to happen, so that I can make sure I know the basic flow of where I'm going and where I need to get to. Once I have that done, I'll go back and start filling in all the details, often leaving notes for myself along the way. I research intensively -- far more than I think most people would suspect for an erotica author. I'll look up maps of locations, pictures of the streets and surroundings; I'll research temperatures, culture, languages in the area. I never know when a reader might be from a particular area I'm writing about, or be a member of that profession, or be experienced in that particular kink: I want to make sure I'm not going to make them stop and say, "Wait. That's completely wrong."

When it comes to descriptions, I use real life references as much as I can. I find myself mimicking accents and facial expressions; I'll stand up and (if they're around), recruit my friends or partners to check whether certain bodily positions truly work in the middle of a scene. I'm fortunate enough to have a very wide range of experience, especially regarding my erotica, that I can draw on real life for a lot of my material.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have two full-length works in progress at the moment: Magician's Apprentice and Double-Edged (working title).

Magician's Apprentice in a mind-blank erotica story about a young, science-minded woman who meets handsome strange who claims know magic -- and wants to teach her. She accepts, but she has no idea he's lacing his lessons with secret triggers to turn her into the perfect Apprentice.

Double-Edged is a medieval fantasy work with D/s and dubcon themes, but no open erotica. A young woman witnesses the murder of a local politician; his assassin takes her hostage as leverage to escape and flees towards the safety of the border. There is more than one secret that threatens to catch up with them, though, and the longer she spends in her abductor's clutches, the more she realizes that she may not want to leave.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Creativity is a must in my spare time. I don't read novels nearly as much as I should, but I spend a great amount of time roleplaying and exploring interactive fiction of various sorts, whether that's a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' style book, a video game, forum-based collaborative fiction, or similar. I'm blessed with a close circle of creative friends who are marvelous writers of their own, and we alternately make each other feel incredibly untalented and extraordinarily gifted when enjoying each other's material.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a standard template I use that has my author name and position on it, and the correct dimensions. Finding public domain images is by far the hardest part. I use Unsplash, Pixabay, and others, and will spend HOURS attempting to find something that speaks to me. I don't pay for premium access to the sites, but I'm a fairly good hand at Photoshop. As I tend to write 'darker' material, my covers often reflect that, and I try to make sure the cover gives some sort of idea of the tone of the story. I also try to steer clear of stock images that I see repeated often in other erotica's I see. I want my covers to be unique and eye catching, even if they don't always have a beautiful woman or handsome man front-and-center every time.
What do you read for pleasure?
Honestly: mostly non-fiction. I enjoy educational materials. Right now on my 'to read' list I have a book about misogyny in America and a book on game development and design. I do enjoy fictional materials as well, but ironically I don't enjoy most erotica books I've picked up. Too many of them have been riddled with poor grammar, spelling mistakes, and similar that I am very, very wary of picking up an erotica book just for fun.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own two Kindle devices, but I only use them when traveling (and even then, not always). Even though they are bulkier, pricier, and more fragile, I am a die-hard supporter of actual paper books. Given the choice between an e-reader (of any sort, even just a laptop screen) and a physical copy of the same text, I will choose the physical copy every single time.
Describe your desk
My 'usual' writing desk is a black L-shaped one of modern/sleek design. I have dual monitors and a wired keyboard/mouse. I have my wireless headphones to my right (often used for enjoying music while writing), and a Bluetooth speaker for playing things more out-loud. Right now I have cup of coffee AND a can of soda on different sides (because I am a caffeine addict, I admit it), my cell phone off on one corner, and a small desk lamp to give me a bit more lamination. There's assorted odds and ends scattered around that I need to clean up, but all in all I keep a tidy workplace.
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