Interview with A. A. Samuel

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I'm not certain. I remember that my stories took an erotic turn very early in my childhood. Many of my oldest erotic stories date back to terribly inappropriate points in my childhood. I was always all about sex. I was even kinky!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I think a more relevant question under the circumstances would be the first piece of erotica I ever read. It was a romance novel called My Lady's Crusade, by Annette Motley, and it was ... deeply offensive on about a thousand levels. It was also crazy smoking hot, with romantic rape, anal sex, gay boys in bondage (though sadly not as main characters). It was pretty brilliant for a hyper-sexed 10-year-old. It may actually have been my first serious exposure to gay sexuality, even though all the gay sex happens off-camera.

My extremely fundamentalist upbringing, however, led me to sort of believe that erotica could only be written within certain strict limits (straight, non-fantasy, limited detail). My first exposure to serious fantasy and non-human erotica was the Wulf Archives series by Anthony Pryor (highly recommended), and it got the idea through my head that I could write down all my amazing sexy stories and share them with others. I started immediately! You should all thank Mr. Pryor for his influence.

I wrote my first gay fantasy erotica before I ever read anyone else's, but the best kinky gay fantasy erotica that I've read, (other than my own ;-) ;-) ) was J. C. Herneson's Stag God series. Finding those stories helped me realize I'm not the only person this ... interesting. *grin* Another highly recommended series.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fantasy, mostly. Remarkably little erotica - most of it bores the crap out of me, even the kinky stuff. Not everyone is J. C. Herneson, sadly.

Mainstream authors whose work I find erotic: Jacqueline Carey, Laurel K Hamilton (Merry Gentry anyway), George MacDonald Fraser. I'm sadly lacking in sources for the gay stuff. Maybe I should write some.
What is your writing process?
Seed ideas are so easy for me they just flow like water. I don't understand how anyone could not have ideas.

After the seeds are planted, the first thing that sprouts is the characters - their personalities, life histories, interactions with one another, and the basics of their emotional arcs through the course of the story. This too just springs almost effortlessly into being for me. If I struggle with a particularly crazy or incomprehensible character, I go into a kind of roleplay/acting mindset and start answering interview questions as if I were that character. I've never had a problem after that.

Then I need to figure a plot for these characters to have their emotional arcs in. That's a little harder, and is most fun for me when I can bounce ideas off another creative person while I work. Doing it alone is fine though, just takes a bit longer.

I work best with an assignment or outline, parameters to keep me on task. I've learned from experience, however, that certain types of parameters work better for me than others. Someone who gives me exhaustive information about a character and world not my own and then a lot of leeway for writing a story with that character? That's a commission I can usually write and enjoy. Minimal character info but a detailed plot outline I need to follow? Only works if I like the plot I'm given - and I probably won't, unless I wrote it myself (in which case it's very helpful!). Vague, mushy, underdefined parameters on a commissioned work? Totally counter-productive for me. Honestly, even in a personal work, I've learned the hard way that I'll wander in circles if I don't have a map. Structure is my friend, as long as it's quality structure.

Once I have my map, I start writing. I don't really suffer from blank page syndrome - one of many types of writer's block that absolutely baffle me. I don't get how people can have some of these problems.

The worst blocks I get are when I'm too distracted by real life or other ideas to be able to force myself to focus on the task at hand. I'm MUCH more likely to be bogged down by TOO MUCH material than not enough. It's like a mental traffic jam. The best cure for these, as far as I can tell, is fresh air, clean water, and a bit of exercise. Sometimes a playtime break is also called for.

When the story is done, I read it several times to fix errors, clean up sentences, make necessary changes, etc. I LOVE reading my own work. I know no one says that, but I really have a blast with the editing process. I mean, sure, sometimes I think everything I've written is crap, and it gets pretty tedious when I hit a section where EVERY SENTENCE needs a polish, or the whole scene drags and I need to shorten it, or I find a plot hole that's going to be a bear to fill, etc ... but it's always worth it, and I get almost as much pleasure out of editing my own stuff as I do writing it.

Then comes sharing it with other people, and that's where it gets hard again. I'm not always crazy about conforming to other people's tastes, or "what the market will bear". In perfect honesty, I just skip that step for my erotica. I present it the way _I_ like it. If it's not your thing, no skin off my nose. This isn't about being great or popular or getting into the publishing industry. It's not even about being professional, since I'm a bit of a natural perfectionist and fuss over grammar without needing to be told.

I just write sexy stories, for myself, then offer them for sale too. I very much hope that people enjoy.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Different things. Lately, my work, which is cool. I have a lot of irons in the fire, a lot of projects to work on and plenty of energy to work on them. I leap out of bed and attack my day head on, anxious about a lot of pending this and that, but also excited and inspired.

On bad days, my dog. I don't get how anyone functions without a dog. I owe her a lot.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I was writing on FurAffinity, and not getting a lot of attention. It's really a visual art site, and everything but writing gets better notice there than stories tend to. I felt like I was shouting into the darkness, so - to force people to notice me - I decided to write a story called "Hot Gay Werewolf Ass-Fucking."

The ploy worked very well, and the series of short stories that resulted ultimately became an early prototype for this trilogy. However, since I'm a romantic, a fantasist, and an adventurer at heart, the story ended up becoming WAY more than just anal sex between attractive homosexual werewolves. The original title never quite did the story justice, no matter how much attention it grabbed. I'm not sure Beasts Inside does it justice either, but it reflects the theme of grappling one's inner beast that inspires the central plot and conflict in the tale. Also, we'd all like to get some hot beast inside us, right? Either that or BE the beast, thrusting in-... sorry. Back to the interview. ;-)
How do you approach cover design?
Very carefully. I'm so new at it.

I'm a photo-collage artist, so ... I make a piece of collage art that's as close as I can get it to portraying the soul of my story within my abilities, and ... then I add words to it.

I learned an important rule in designing my first cover. I ran it past a graphic designer friend, and she let me know: never more than one weird font per poster. It can all be in the same weird font (if legible) or all in a normal font, or you can have one weird font and one normal font, but you NEVER mix weird fonts. They clash, and it's distracting. I kinda thought she was crazy, but I tried it and INSTANTLY the cover looked a thousand times better. Very grateful for that bit of wisdom.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
my cell phone (a Samsung Android). *shrug* it's tiny, but ... I don't like to juggle a lot of devices.

Gotta say, though, I love the way the older Kindles don't glow in your face. That screen they invented is brilliant. I'm sad it's not staying popular.
Describe your desk
Very cluttered. Most interesting items: probably my polyhedral roleplaying dice. But yeah - it's a mess.

It's right by a south-facing window though, with a view of a gorgeous tree. Right now it's all sunshiny with a nice breeze. Sometimes there are birds or squirrels. :)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
With this series, I really just couldn't stand the idea of anyone telling me what to do. I wrote it how I like it, and I don't want to change it for anyone. That basically means I have to publish and market it myself (since I'm not already famous).

In my non-erotica, I'll play the agent and editor game, jump through the hoops and endure the critiques. This stuff is for me, though. The rules are suspended, as long as _I_ think it's brilliant (and gods, I really do - I so love this series).
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is air and water to me. I can't stop. It's intrinsic to my being. It brings me joy, yes. I do love words. I love the beauty of stringing them together. I love taking the stories in my head and tenderly crafting them into something other people can enjoy, but ... I don't do it for the joy. I do it because to stop would be to die.

You think that sounds dramatic, but ... trust me. It's just the unvarnished truth. People are wired the way they're wired. I'm wired to tell stories, especially in prose.
Published 2014-05-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Beasts Inside: Ensnare
Series: Beasts Inside, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 112,570. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Who are you, when your mind is merged with another's - your lover's for example, or your past life's, a demon's? Emeric, Joe, and Takeo will learn the answers, and all while a hideous profane entity - intent on erotically enslaving all he encounters - strives to end his age-old banishment and take physical form once more.
Beasts Inside: Insatiable
Series: Beasts Inside, Book 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 83,900. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Trapped in his own mind and kidnapped to another world, Emeric, once an ordinary scholar, must submit to every depraved, lust-driven whim of his direst enemy - formerly his dearest love. Meanwhile, Emeric's new beloved, an anthropomorphic red panda named Joe, must make his way through a perilous, shameless land in his quest to rescue his human lover from an enemy he knows he cannot hope to defeat.
Beasts Inside: Potency
Series: Beasts Inside, Book 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 86,690. Language: English. Published: May 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal, Fiction » Erotica » Gay Erotica
An ordinary human scholar is kidnapped by a werewolf and dragged into a twisted magical world of passion and lust. Embroiled in Takeo's warped fantasies, Emeric will find that perhaps he isn't quite so ordinary after all. The bizarre is the norm in this gay, erotic, novel-length, dark fantasy, and Emeric is in for much more than the ride of his life.