As some of you may know, I’m a member (and currently Editor in Chief) of the Erotica Readers and Writers’ Association (ERWA) Storytime list, where people email their work for enjoyment and feedback from others who like a steamy tale. If you’re interested, the subscription link is at the bottom of this interview.
Belinda joined Storytime as a member in April last year, and rapidly proved herself to be an excellent writer, generous provider of critiques, and to have a wicked sense of humour. I think she’d been a member for all of four months when I made the kitten eyes at her and persuaded her to join the Storytime editorial team. So now, when she’s not writing and marketing, and not helping others to improve their craft, she’s keeping a beady eye out for really good stories to put in the ERWA gallery (with the writers’ permission, of course).
So – here’s the low-down on Belinda, who is absolutely one of my favourite contemporary erotica writers.
Now, many a time I’ve heard you describe yourself as a relative ‘noob’ where this writing malarkey is concerned. Do you mean that you’re fairly new to the joy of story-telling, or fairly new to the business of actually selling your stories?
I’m so new, I’m still picking bits of shrink-wrap out of places best not discussed in polite company. If you go to Smashwords, you’ll find my very first erotica, The Headmaster’s Office, published August 1st 2013. I wrote that story in June or July, and it was the first fiction I’ve written since school.
I published on Smashwords and some other free platforms for a couple of years, and then the lovely Phillippa from Uruk Press lured me blinking and stumbling into the glittering world of paid erotica.
You mean folks pay to read about people fucking?
Who knew? I wrote a short ancient world piece inspired by movies like Troy, and Uruk released it in Sex & Sorcery Vol 1 in August 2015.
So there you have it. Nearly four years writing fiction. Almost two selling them. Me = N00b.
Do you keep the majority of your stories based in Australia, or make the settings relatively generic?
I mix it up. Some stories have a distinctly Australian flavour, with recognisable places and landmarks that are deeply woven into the story. My favourite would be Goodbye, Miss Granger, which featured a day-trip to Manly on the iconic Manly ferry.
Most of the others are generic locations that could be anywhere, and most of my action happens indoors, so that helps. Broken Vows is a good example. I think the only thing that puts it in Sydney is a mention of how the buses work.
I don’t deliberately aim to set them all here. I’m really just lazy, and it’s hard to write convincing locations I’m not familiar with.
I know the feeling. London and West Sussex make startlingly frequent appearances in my stories…
One of the stand-out features of your latest book, Broken Vows, is the ab-crunching humour weaved throughout. It’s not often that I get to spend half my reading time giggling, and the other half fanning myself. Without thinking about it too long – can you name your top seven favourite comic influences?
Seven? Lordy, I don’t think I have that many. I do love comedy, though. Let me give you a sampler, and skip to the next question when you get bored.
For TV: I enjoy the irony woven into The Simpsons. I love that it’s something you can watch and re-watch throughout your childhood and get something new from it each time. “I WILL NOT WASTE CHALK” x100. Gold, I tell you!
For audio: As a card-carrying geek, I’m privileged to enjoy the comic genius of Monty Python, which I’ll happily recite verbatim with any other Python geek passing nearby. “HE’S NOT THE MESSIAH. HE’S A VERY NAUGHTY BOY!”
I’ll bite: “Nobody is to stone anybody until I blow this whistle!” [I’ve used this as chairwoman in hostile meetings before. It’s quite an effective ice-breaker…]
For prose: Anything Douglas Adams, may he rest in peace. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for sheer frippery– “Joo Janta 2000 Super Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses … follow the principle ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you’ and turn completely dark and opaque at the first sign of danger” –but for pure comic writing genius, I love Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. It was this book that first piqued my interest in writing fiction, trying to imagine how an author can weave all those stray threads into a cohesive whole that ties up in a neat bow at the end. I still don’t know how he did it.
I’ll look out for that. I see that a series has appeared on Netflix, too!
For film: The Castle, and indeed anything by the gang from Working Dog. They’re the very definition of Aussie humour. “Jousting sticks? How much does he want for them? // $450 // $450? Tell ‘im he’s dreaming.”
Which of your stories seemed to write itself most rapidly?
Oh, definitely the first one, The Headmaster’s Office. 10K words, and it just fell out of me in about three writing sessions. Everything since has felt like a 3-day labour, although each one has its little sprints in the middle.
Do you have a special writing ‘place’ or do you put your muse into a headlock wherever you happen to be?
I write mainly at lunchtime (such as right now!), so I do a lot of work in the type of cafes that don’t mind you sitting around for an hour without ordering much.
It’s hard to write a whole story in one-hour snatches though, so I generally fit in the occasional longer session on the weekend. Especially useful to bash through a tough scene.
I use an ultrabook laptop and can write just about anywhere. My only real requirement is relative screen-privacy. I get embarrassed by the idea of someone looking over my shoulder and reading the smut that pours from my fingertips.
How do you handle writer’s block? Or are you one of those peculiar souls who just don’t seem to get afflicted by it?
I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. Not having my livelihood depend on writing probably plays a big part. I do love to sell a story, but I’m not (yet) so serious about it that I let it drive my writing. I think that helps. It means I can write the stories that interest me. Sadly, it does limit my audience when nobody else is turned on by semi-reformed stoners and naïve nuns.
I wouldn’t say that – your semi-reformed stoner is hugely endearing 😉 But, conversely, how do you cope with a glut of ideas? Do you round up those plot bunnies and play with them one at a time (like a strict, self-disciplined soul) or do you flit between projects as the mood takes you?
It was awful until I created my Ideas Folder, which is just a Word document full of story ideas. I used to let one new idea interrupt another. While I was writing Goodbye, Miss Granger, I knocked out two more short stories in the process. It was the same for the other long stories I wrote in those first two years.
Now, when my muse insists, I just take a few hours off and add a plot summary to the ideas folder. That usually cools her jets and lets me get on with finishing a project.
Legend says that you have a talent for buying entirely the wrong shoes. I don’t know if you’ve ever come across the word, but ‘griving’ is a motional verb, describing the movement of someone walking in brand new shoes. It combines grimacing and jiving. How much of your life do you reckon you spend griving?
Not enough!!! Mangled, mis-shapen feet are a badge of honour—a sign of ultimate opulence. A woman who can both afford and tolerate that kind of permanent pain is not to be trifled with. Those bulging bunions and twisted toes are like tigers’ piss for marking your territory. See these feet? I’m the alpha-bitch around here, Toots, and don’t you forget it. <hobbles back to her lair>
That’s me told! I’m a wimp – I live in trainers, you see. Which of the following super-powers would you want
- Spontaneous, superbly effective marketing?
Well clearly, spontaneous and superbly effective marketing. Marketing is a constant drain on my writing, but the only thing worse for a writer is obscurity. Every story that bombs is a little piece of my heart, so I do what I can to send them into the world with the best chance of survival.
Telekinesis? To move heavy stuff? Isn’t that what a man is for? And flight? If it comes with weightlessness, then maybe. But have you seen those birds with shitty wing-to-body-weight ratios like pelicans and puffins? Screw that. I’ll walk.
Realistically though. I’d take invisibility. For obvious reasons and comic consequences.
Finally, tell us about Broken Vows in your own words, and hit us with the buy links 😊
Well Sam, I’m glad you asked, but I can do better than that. I’ve got a free audiobook chapter, exclusive to your readers (haven’t even released this to my own mailing list yet). Read on.
The original title was Sisters of Grace Sperm Bank, which give you the title and synopsis in one neat package.
I don’t quite remember how the idea came about. I’ve rounded up a few plot bunnies from the Literotica Story Ideas board, but I don’t think this was one of them. To the best of my knowledge, the idea just presented to me: what if a sperm bank offered “full service” collection? The obvious question, though—why? Possibly as a sneaky work-around for prostitution laws? Or … OR! What if, right? What if it’s the nuns trying to get men to stop masturbating, because it’s a sin?
The rest writes itself, pretty much.
Mother Mary Benedicta was maybe the most fun I’ve had with a character. (Yer not a Presbyterian, are ye? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I do love a good comic-relief bit-part.
So we have a wanker, a pretty nun, and a bit of awkward fun that goes further than either of them imagined. No problem so far. The only bit I struggled with was tying up the story with a satisfying resolution. Sending a guy to a nun-run sperm bank has a pretty obvious outcome, so I needed something to step it up from the levels of stroke-book to a hopefully fulfilling story-line. God came to the rescue—almost literally. I do hope readers enjoy the result.
Broken Vows. It’s out now on Amazon for just $2.99 // £1.99 // $0 Kindle Unlimited. Try before you buy? Listen in to the Free Audiobook Chapter on my web site, courtesy of my treacle-lipped narrator, Nikki. Tip: You might want to use headphones … and for the gentlemen, tissues.
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Belinda LaPage lives and works in Sydney, Australia. She loves scorching erotica about adventurous, curious women in new situations. Her first time (and his first time!) are favourites, but exciting new experiences like F/F discovery and beginners light bondage are a big turn on. In Belinda’s world, safety is never an issue; most of all she loves her heroine’s first experience of the explosive heat that floods her core when he finishes inside. Find her on the Web, Twitter, or grab a hot, sexy read on Amazon.