Angela Fiddler wrote her first erotic novel as a birthday present to a friend who had requested kneeling and vampires. While the vampires come and go in the story, the kneeling remains. Angela likes smut, dark humor and stories that mix erotica with raw emotion. She talks about writing and her characters at www.angelafiddler.com.
Her latest book is the paranormal erotica, The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons.
Thanks for letting us
interrogate interview you! Can you give us a
go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I wrote my first novel at eleven and honestly could not imagine any other career path. I decided over a decade ago that any other job I did would just be as a life-support system for my writing and luckily I have a very understanding spouse.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
I think in order to get over that hump between I have a story I want to tell and I have a story I want to tell with enough of an emotional payoff for the reader to want to read, an author has to be internally motivated. So many people line up to tell you that they don’t want to hear what you have to say. To make it through the gauntlet, you have to have another reward pushing you to get better. Writing contracts and huge royalties are awesome goals, but they are at the end of the race, not at the beginning. The contracts may trickle in here and there, but the huge royalties aren’t going to come without hard work. I figured out a long time ago that an audience is not a natural part of learning how to write. And thank god for that.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I’m a die hard traditional-publishist…Is that a word? I think too many people focus on getting their stuff out there and not enough on whether readers want to read it. I think that if you tell a story that just clicks and are people are willing to put aside all other distractions to get through it from start to finish, it doesn’t matter what path you take to get it in their hands. I think the self-published authors out there that are succeeding are the ones who have been writing long enough to know how to put a story together. My heart breaks when I hear a first time author talking about self-publishing. Yes, there is a very small chance they will make it, but they may win the lottery just by buying a ticket, but success doesn’t come by chance to a book that does not appeal to a very large audience’s needs, and that doesn’t happen by chance. The authors that make it are the ones that keep writing past their third book.
What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)
When you’re just starting out, don’t spend your royalty check in your head until you get one. Don’t even think about the money. I have a formula in my head where the more things cost, the cooler it has to be and there is an awful lot of free or already paid for entertainment like cable or internet out there already that you have to directly compete with.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
My wife is incredibly supportive. I took some time off from writing for a while. Then in 2012, I told her I was going to quit my job and write full time after not writing anything for three years. I try to write for one reason, and that is to make her smile. That’s incredibly stupid, but when I see her grinning down at the screen, I know I nailed what I was trying to say. She accepts that endless edits are going to make me cranky, but she’s has a regular schedule that I try to keep to it as best as I can or I’d be up all hours of the night puttering on something.
When I was eleven, I gave my parents the book I wrote. My dad said, in total, “it’s a bit purple” and my mother said, “you know you still have to get a real job, right?” They never asked to read anything else and I never shared anything else I wrote until I was an adult. It gave me a lot of time to master my own voice without the influence of others. Learning how to develop a unique voice is most of the challenge of writing.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
I was in Boston in 2005 for the Worldcon. I had a novel that was almost-not-quite-but-nearly-there (you know that book?) it was my penultimate book, the last book I wrote before I started selling. I was in Salem, Massachusetts and I had to get my tarot cards read. The reading itself was absolutely fabulous. I was going to be a huge success and have all the support I needed. My head was huge. The reader said I could ask one question and of course I asked if my book was going to sell. He studied the cards and said no. I was shocked. The book was almost nearly there! He looked down again and said “You won’t sell it unless you massacre it.” On the plane ride home I reread the draft and saw exactly what he’d somehow saw. It was a good book but the execution was flawed. I did massacre it last year in my year off, but I haven’t done anything with it yet.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I think everyone needs a blog somewhere on one of the big platforms and a facebook for their networking, but I don’t like twitter any more than a late night update. I think all networking sites need to be avoided until the writing is done, though. They’re such massive timesucks.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
In 2006, I went in publishing my first book Castoffs, book one of Master of the Lines thinking m/m bdsm erotica wasn’t going to fly off the shelf and I was truly shocked by how well it actually did. The only way to make it is to consistently tell stories that are interesting and engaging and grind away at it until one book takes off and then you’ll have a pretty decent backlist.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
Oh, my god. Filter every sentence through your point of view character. If you want description that absolutely nails what something looks like, read Madame Bovary until your eyes can’t focus. Then go back to how your character FEELS about what is happening around him rather than trying to transcribe it as objectively as possible. Objectivity is boring.
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I figured out during my hiatus that writing stories are more than just having interesting things happening to characters. You still need to say something about the human condition as entertainingly as possible. I wrote The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons as a response to all the stories I’d growing up from the Xanth books onwards that talk about having a sexual companion who can’t say no as the ultimate fantasy. It might be a nice fantasy, but the reality is, we already have words for people who are unable to refuse sexual contact. No magic is involved.
The book is a sexy romp about the hijinx a man and his best friend gets into while trying to save the world and maintain his relationship at the same time, but it still speaks to sex trafficking and the fact that gay relationships are no easier in their maintenance as a straight one.
I love being able to say things. I may not like the four or five passes to take out all the words that detract from the important words, but the final result is always worth it.