A literotica author speaks candidly about writing about SEX for a living.
Carol Taylor writes erotica. She started as an editor in the publishing industry and eventually put out a book of her own called "Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction." From there she's become a luminary in the world of erotic fiction in general and black erotica specifically. So, how has becoming a sexpert changed her own love life? Not much, she draws some part of her fiction and the rest is, well, fiction. Get all the details in this Q&A.
1. How did you get into the field?
I've been in the writing business for over 12 years: As a book editor at Random House, then as an editorial consultant and a writer. My first book was Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction published by Viking/Penguin. It became a best seller that spawned a 4-book series. I then published Wanderlust a travel themed erotic collection. The success of my books have made me a "sexpert," the go-to person for all things erotic.
2. Have you always thought of yourself as a sexually adventurous/open person? Or does writing erotica come from a different place—more of a cerebral one?
Before writing erotica, I wouldn't have thought of myself as overly sexually adventurous, probably average. I'm willing though, to try anything, at least once. I'm a private person but in my writing I'm quite open. Writing in general is cerebral; that's writers are so internal. Writing erotica, or any fiction, comes from somewhere outside of yourself, or actually somewhere deeper inside. Ultimately, writing gives you the freedom to be anyone or do any thing.
3. Were you self-conscious initially to have others read your work? Or was it freeing?
Both actually. My erotic stories are extremely sexy and sexual, and because I write in the first person: "I" and "me", instead of "her" or "you"—it can seem like I'm writing about my life, in a sense I am. But half is fact and half is fiction. The reader has to guess which is which.
Ultimately I'm a writer with a good imagination. Sometimes the reader forgets this and confuses me with my characters or with what I write. This has presented interesting situations with men I'm dating. When they find out what I write they can become insecure. I usually having to explain they're stories, that I make them up.
4. How do you get inspiration? Do you brainstorm or collaborate with other writers?
I find it easier to write what I know. I use my own experiences then embellish them. This makes it easier to tell a story because I get the details right and it's more believable. Whenever I'm stuck for an opening to a story, I start with my own experiences and then edit myself out to where there's more fiction than fact. Writing from my experiences or things I know, helps my story and characters to seem more realistic, because they are.
5. Are any stories inspired from your real-life romps, or those of her friends?
Both, but strangely enough, reality is far stranger than fiction, especially when you live in New York. I use my experiences, and those of my friends. It makes it easier to start a story and easier to get the details right. I’ve written about going to Amsterdam, Paris, England, Jamaica and meeting great guys there.
I've been to all those places and because of that I get the details of the cities and the people right. But half of what I write is fact and the other half is fiction. I never use real names but I often use real descriptions and situations. The rest, I make up.
6. How do you research for your stories to keep them current? You mentioned receiving sex toys—do you try to incorporate new toys, positions, etc. in to your writing?
A lot of my stories come from my personal experiences coupled with research and current events. I always keep a journal of places I visit, and literature I've gathered: such as tourist information, magazines, and newspapers, even flyers. I've never written a personal piece about places I haven't been to, or things I haven't done.
It just doesn't ring true to me, and it's a lot harder to write. I just embellish. Because of what I do I have a deep reservoir of experiences from which to draw from and I absolutely do. It makes my writing and my sex life richer and more satisfying.