Suz deMello is the author of seventeen erotic novels plus a number of short stories and articles on writing. Her latest, Sherlock’s Scandal, is a sensual homage to everyone’s favorite consulting detective. I recently had a chance to ask her a few questions about her writing process and literary influences. Here’s what she had to say.
How long have you been writing erotica, and what inspired you to get into this genre?
I’ve been writing erotica for about ten years, and was propelled into the subgenre when my line at Harlequin, Silhouette Romance, was eliminated. I also had a hellacious case of writers’ block which made slipping into another slot at HQuin more difficult. Fortunately, my good friends Lisa Marie Rice and Vanessa Hart told me that they’d been writing erotic romance for the online market and doing well, so I decided to give it a try!
What gave you the idea for your latest book?
My latest story, Sherlock’s Scandal, is a Sherlock Holmes fanfic, and was inspired, of course, by Holmes. He was my first crush, as odd as that sounds. I’ve always been attracted to brainy, aloof men. The brainy part is good; the aloof part, not so smart.
Who are some of your favorite erotica writers or other literary inspirations?
I love Lisa Marie Rice’s writing – it’s so emotional and sensual. I love the way Portia DaCosta handles D/s relationships – too often, writers confuse Alpha and asshole, but she never does. Natalie Dae is another writer whose work I admire. I used to edit her over at Totally Bound – what a privilege.
Describe your typical writing routine. Where do you usually write?
LOL, a routine???
My primary job is taking care of my mom, who’s in her 80s and has Alzheimer’s. She’s pretty high functioning, but also time-consuming, though in a happy, fulfilling way. So I try to squeeze in the writing when I can. I’ve also never quite gotten over the writers’ block, though it’s not as bad as it used to be.
How many words or pages do you write per day? Do you keep set hours? What does your workspace look like?
So no, no set hours or daily page count. Here’s a pic of my workspace. I tidied my desk a bit last night so it’s neater than usual.
Do you have any favorite foods or beverages that help keep your creativity flowing?
Darjeeling tea, dark chocolate, and red wine.
Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals when starting a new book?
Yeah, I sit at my desk, open my computer and start to write.
What do you think makes for a good erotic story?
Interesting, likable characters and powerful emotional conflicts always make a good book. Erotica is no different, except that it has to include a lot of well-written lovemaking in scenes that contribute to the story rather than distract.
What’s your favorite euphemism for genitalia?
People don’t like the c-word, but I don’t care. Cock and cunt work for me.