My fellow Xcite author, Danielle Austen, took me under her wing and gave me a heads up as to what to expect when I was preparing for my first novel to be published and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. Turns out we’ve got a lot more in common than just our publishing company. So meet fellow nerd, Dannielle…

Aside from writing erotica, the prophecy girl trilogy was a fantasy story set in the world of magic. What inspired you to choose that setting?

The stories I enjoy (whether in books, TV, film or videogames) tend to combine action, adventure, character drama and a tinge of sci-fi and/or supernatural; so it was a blend of genres I also gravitated towards in my own writing. I chose magic in particular because unlike things like vampires and werewolves and spaceships, I had complete creative freedom. I was able to create my own rules without having to worry about existing genre tropes, and do whatever I wanted within those confines. It also gave me the flexibility to escalate the scale of the magic throughout the trilogy; from Angelito’s illusions in The Magician’s Lover through to Cereza terraforming an entire planet in The Ancient’s Destiny.

I couldn’t help picturing Derren Brown when I read about Angelito. Are any of the characters based on real people/celebrities?

Ha! I completely understand picturing Derren Brown! Alas, he was not the inspiration for Angelito; however a different celebrity was, on a physical level at least. He’s not the only one; Dmitri, Jason, Frank, Tera, Tengu and a couple of others have their appearance inspired by actors and musicians and others. Some characters such as Cammie are inspired by people I know in the real world, and others like Cereza and Zee are entirely new creations who just appeared in my head. In any case, I don’t like revealing specifically who my characters are based on – it can interfere with a reader’s existing mental image, and there is no “right” way to imagine any of my characters.

What’s your favourite video game?

I’d played games before, but almost 15 years ago I played a game which gave me cause to buy my first ever console – Halo: Combat Evolved. It gave me such a sense of awe and wonder that I’d never experienced before, and it was the first time a game really felt like what it was trying to portray – I really felt like a supersoldier alone on a strange alien planet. The whole series is great – I lost almost two full years of my life to Halo: Reach alone, and Cortana’s death in Halo 4 had me in floods of tears – but the first game has a particularly special place in my heart. Hubby & I recently bought ourselves an Xbox One and so far the only game we own on it is the Halo collection – I basically have a £300 Halo machine!

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your free time?

I have a full-time job which sucks up a lot of my time; on top of that I also have routine housework to get through, some pretty extensive home renovations to sort out, time to devote to hubby, and a regular exercise routine to keep up. Sometimes my life can be a little like an exercise in spinning plates – but it’s not a complaint; I would much rather be too busy than bored! When I do get some time out I like travelling, watching good TV with the hubster, playing videogames, and going out running.

Have you always wanted to be an author? What made you choose erotica specifically?

I’d always had a creative side that I needed to release; my problem for many years was trying to find the right avenue for it. I tried being in a band, but had the small problem of being unable to sing or play any instruments! Then I tried screenwriting after having an idea for a movie, but the whole process was infuriating; I found that having to write in the correct and very specific format just got in the way of the actual writing. But after I read Juliet Hastings’ “The Hand of Amun” – for me the greatest erotic novel ever written – my mind exploded with possibilities. Here was something I could actually do! I already had a couple of English qualifications so I knew how to write, and I found the characters and the stories came easily – plus writing erotica gave me a great creative outlet for some of my issues and weird neuroses.

Not too long ago I was having a whinge to hubby about some of the negative aspects of writing erotica and he asked why I don’t just write in another genre – but honestly, I love writing cross-genre erotica. It’s the only thing I feel compelled to write. I don’t think there are many other authors writing the kind of erotica I write; I’m writing the erotica I would want to read, and as an added bonus there’s the possibility that others will enjoy it too. It’s not a financially rewarding genre and I’m never going to be a household name but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Who’s your favourite author?

If we’re talking erotica, then it’s Juliet Hastings by a country mile. I don’t think she’s active anymore, but the books she did write were all phenomenal. But if you mean on a normal day-to-day basis then there are three authors who never let me down – Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King. It’s tough for me to pick just one as a lot of it is mood-dependent, but if push came to shove I’d probably fall on the side of Vonnegut. He was one of the most unique authors the world has ever seen, and probably the only author to ever make me alternately laugh and cry in the space of three paragraphs.

What’s your strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse?

I assume that getting my claws into Daryl Dixon isn’t an option?! I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead and zombie movies in general so I feel pretty well-educated on this front. If the world’s gone to hell then I’m off to Hawaii; it’s my favourite place in the world, it’s really remote so it’s nigh-on impossible for hordes of zombies to stumble into, and if there are already zombies there Hawaii has pretty lax gun control laws so guns and ammo won’t be hard to come across – and I know from past experience that I’m a dab hand with a semi-automatic rifle! Granted, getting halfway across the world in the midst of a zombie apocalypse could be tricky but I’ll manage it somehow – if there’s one thing erotica has taught me, it’s that the world is full of yacht-owning billionaires who are just desperate for the love of a woman who likes being spanked!

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