Q&A: An Interview by AllAuthor.com
Where have you spent most of your childhood?
On a little tropical island in the Strait of Malacca, growing up in a family of 3 brothers and 7 sisters. I am the youngest, No.11, a spoiled brat according to my siblings.
How did you chance upon writing as a career?
Not as a career, only as a hobby, as a ‘bucket-list’ project. I have one story I have always wanted to read but no one would tell it, so I took it upon myself to write it, for my consumption. I wasn’t sure that I could write fiction in English, which is not my mother tongue; I learned English as a second language in school.
What was the first piece of work you ever wrote that you felt happy with?
An Immoral Erotic Parable of American Eve & African Adam. It was a “What If” piece of work, touching on biblical fantasy, albeit erotica. It was not a long story, but it became readable only after I broke it up into 34 short chapters, each one ending with a tease for what happens next.
Why did you choose to write erotic romance?
I’ve always been a fan of erotic fiction. Love without lust is a missed opportunity to tell emotional, very human stories. My epigraph says it well, “To lust is human. To love is divine.”
Also, I think the world is more permissive now, not like in the ’80s when D. H. Lawrence’s seminal work “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was once condemned as being obscene. We can now write c- and f-words without reproach, for they have become everyday vocabulary.
From where (or whom) do you get the inspiration for your characters?
I based my FMC character on a TV drama “Vikings” personality. I borrowed her age and her look, but I made my FMC 3 inches taller without heels. The MMC was incidental, not inspired by anyone. I have often wondered when I’m writing, who could act in my movies? Which actress would be perfect for this or that role? But the story comes first, then the characters get defined & refined.
We realize fiction is usually all made up, but we find ourselves wondering whether there is some truth from the author imbibed in it. Is that so with your books as well?
My stories are all made up, but they can happen in real time. I wish they were real, haha, for I’d like to be friends with my characters. It’s my purpose to make them full-body and realistic. I have described places I’d like to visit, like The Ocean House in Rhode Island, Park Slope in Brooklyn, or Atlanta GA, yet I have never set foot in the United States; I am based in Sydney, Australia. I write in American English; you see. My knowledge comes from copious research and TV and movies.
Some writers describe people they have met. I describe people I would like to meet. Most stories have remnants of the writers’ life experiences; mine are no exception.
What gave you the idea behind, “Lust2love”?
It’s a sequel to my first debut book, “An Immoral Erotic Parable” which to my surprise had ranked up to #1 Best Seller in Urban Erotica and #1 New Release in Romantic Erotica,
and I owed it to my readers to follow up on what happens to the FMC Katheryn Kellington. It’s meant to be some sort of closure. But, as they say, the story never really ends.
Katheryn Kellington is one fantasy woman I have no chance to love, but I can write lovingly about her in my story. Surely, she is too damn hot a sexual woman to stay married to one man; she needs to be divorced, set free, and have financial independence ($3,750,000) to indulge in constant orgasmic pursuits with a sexy giant negro buck or two. It will be a shame if she, a fuckable vixen, cannot be appreciated by other worthy men, albeit her favorite color is now black.
What is the best review you have received?
Five stars and an encouraging long review by Gardy Harp, an Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer, who deems my work pornographic but very entertaining and who wonders if I might continue with my writing project, which I did answer his challenge with “Lust2Love” of which he also reviewed & rated 5 stars.
What is your favorite book—something that no matter how many times you read, you still get the chills and the emotions from it?
Sorry, I don’t have a favorite. I read widely, but prefer assassin thrillers by the late Vince Flynn, or detective stories by Michael Connelly. I seldom read horror but I’m a fan of Stephen King whose non-fiction work “On Writing” is a ‘bible’ that I refer to now & then. If I have to pick a memorable one, it will be “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo.
Have you experienced writer’s block? If yes, how do you cope with it?
I have never been pressured to finish my work. Being a self-publisher, I just let my mind dictate what story to write and when to write it. I do not have a set routine, like a quota of word counts to finish each day. My first work took me more than a year, but that was because I did not intend to publish it in the first instance; it was supposed to be a hobby. The second work took only a few months. I didn’t have an outline; I just created it as I went along. The surprise was, I didn’t know I could tell another story after the first book, and the same Amazon reviewer said my writing was more elegant the second time around, with beautiful prose and constructions.
I often would sleep on an idea and let my sublimely subconscious work while I was busy doing something else. The results always surprise me. Time solves most problems.
I’d like to quote Lee Child who regarded himself not as an author but as a book writer. He said, “You ever hear of truck-driver’s block? (Writer’s block) was just ‘a fancy name for not wanting to go to work that day’.”
Where do you think your strength and weakness lies, pertaining to books that you have published so far?
I think my weakness in writing is not having a plot or an outline. I tend to string it along like Lee Child did, solving the problem as it arises. That’s bad for writing to market. Not thinking about how to capitalize on the first impression that can be gained from Amazon’s “Look Inside” preview feature.
My strength, I think, is my adequate command of English. I can write with poetic justice, and humor, with good enough vocabulary and grammar to not bore the readers. I am also careful with my spelling and word choices.
What is the major obstacle that you faced while writing your book, An Immoral Erotic Parable of American Eve & African Adam?
There were two.
First, it was supposed to be a product of a conversation between Lucifer the Devil and God in the early days of Great Creation but then happened in the present days. So how could I tell the story? By using a prologue. And since I started with a prologue, I needed to close it with an Epilogue. These devices are no longer trendy, I’m afraid. They say most readers skip Prologues and Epilogues. But I like them, for their unique purposes, if the stories warrant them.
Second, it was a porn movie setting and I wanted to introduce film script writing in the story (movie scripts were invaluably typed in Courier New font), but Amazon Kindle would not allow 2 fonts and it mainly uses its Bookery font styles. My solution is to set the script in Bold but smaller point size, to distinguish it from the body text. I have no problem with the paperback or hardcover versions which use Courier New for the script and Dante fonts for the body text.
What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to young writers in the world?
I will give the same advice Stephen King gave me in his book, “to be able to write well, you have to read more.”
I’d add, in editing, listen to what you’ve written. I use Microsoft Word Read-Aloud feature to detect subtle errors and similar-sounding words that the spelling checker passed (e.g. “and” vs “an”), and in dialogues to use contractions to speak naturally (e.g. “I’ve…” rather than “I have…”, “hasn’t” vs “has not”) and so on.
Are you working on a new book?
I won’t say it’s a book, but a collection of erotica shorts. No plan to finish it yet. I still don’t know how to continue the Katheryn Kellington stories or expand the Zen & the Art of Interracial Love series. Any idea?
How about this? Some readers are asking:
Will Katheryn marry Massai to help him get his marriage green card? What if their license application failed for one obvious reason, what’d happen to them both? Did she get her divorce settlement, and if so, how much? Did Kasey get to help her daughter tame the Massive virile African beast? And if so, will she also become obsessed? And how would the mother and daughter manage their relationship thereafter? What is the story of Jolene, of Scarlett, or of Howard? There are so many ideas that I truly wouldn’t know where to begin.
How different are your two published books?
The most obvious difference is the length of their titles and subtitles. AIEP has an unconventionally overlong 10-word main title and an equally lengthy 15-word subtitle (I was naïve). L2L has a simpler 3-word title and a short 5-word subtitle. These are two extremes, a nice diversity, don’t you think? Haha.
The story pacing is also different. Main actions in AIEP were compressed over 5 days; it’s like, Go Go Go. Whereas L2L leisurely walked over many weeks; it’s more relaxed, taking the time to enjoy the ambiance, deeply, slowly, and reflect on important things. Besides, the landscape is wide in L2L with New York street & ocean views. AIEP is mainly indoor until the MCs had to get some Vit.D (i.e. Sun).
I was late in realizing AIEP is overly narrative and has very little dialogue. Therefore, I corrected this by writing more dialogues in L2L. Truth be told, a good dialogue is deceptively difficult to write; it has to sound real. I agree that well-written dialogues allow the readers to better understand and feel the characters.
In AIEP, Katheryn was transforming.
In L2L, she was fully transformed. It was, after all, her journey.
In AIEP, the focus was on Katheryn and Massai. The chauffeur and the slave girl actor had no names. The husband and the parents were also unnamed until the sequel. In L2L, more characters came into focus. First is the cousin Jolene Johanson. Then in quick succession: the mother Kasey Wilkingsen and her lover Andre Abram and his wife Talisha, Kasey’s twin Cortney, the massage therapist Scarlett, then Howard the lawyer dad. I had a blast inventing names.
Did you write the blurbs yourself or did someone help?
I did them myself, following good online advice (there are plenty). They are not easy to write, though. They force me to think what my books are all about. Each blurb is a synopsis, yet not revealing too much; it’s a tease, really. I had to be creative with the choice of keywords to aid the Amazon algorithm for searches. Then, revised, revised, and revised. I know they have worked when the reviewers quoted them.
How do you sum up your publishing experience so far?
Gratifying. Fun. I get to create something out of nothing. I get to enjoy my humble labor of love and have a guilty pleasure.
I am glad I am invested in Kindle Select because my genre Erotica has a small niche market. Amazon KDP is a gift to indie authors like me. It is so easy to publish my work. All the tools are there: templates, instructions, and support. I do have to get my eBook manuscripts formatted, and book covers done externally. There are heaps of “how-to” resources online, free and paid. One setback is that I have to do my marketing and promotion because the Amazon Ad service will not allow adults 18+ content. But I can use their free A+ content promotion features on my book pages (see above). Fantastic. A+ makes me look like a major publisher.
To think that I can write would be laughable a few years ago. And here I am, typing away on my laptop. This is from someone whose mother tongue is not English. I learned English in school and I learned my Engineering trade in university.
Of course, I am no Stephen King who wrote the authoritative memoir and teaching book On Writing. I learned a lot from that book. Stephen said to be able to write well we have to read more. How true. That’s why I am certain anyone can write. If you have a story to tell, you can find ways to put the words on (digital) paper. But what can you write about?
I am going to write about life choices and happiness.
If you choose to be happy, no one can make you sad unless you let it. I read an interview by Charlie Munger (the right-hand man of famous investor Warren Buffett) and he said happiness is having a low expectation. “The first rule of a happy life is low expectations. If you have unrealistic expectations, you’re going to be miserable all your life. Also, when you get reverses, if you just suck it up and cope, that helps more than if you just fretfully stew yourself into a lot of misery.” He also argued that most people wouldn’t be significantly happier if they were richer or much more miserable if they were poorer.
I choose to be happy. I am grateful for the air that I breathe, the provisions God Almighty blesses me with, freedom to write what I am comfortable with expressing. I have published two erotic novels – An Immoral Erotic Parable of American Eve and African Adam, and then Lust2Love. The debut book AIEP had gone to #1 Best Sellers chart and #1 New Releases in its first month of publication.
The books have new covers now.
What is the purpose of publishing the books? Money is nice but not my ulterior motive. I am retired and have enough to enjoy. I want to share my thoughts, however racy and dirty they are, with people. I don’t force people to read my work. It will be their choice to pick my books. Loved them or hated them, I enjoyed their feedback. They help me grow.
Charlie also talked about Lifelong Learning. “When people gave me a good idea, I quickly mastered it and started using it and just used it for the rest of my life. It’s such a simple idea. Without the method of learning, you’re like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.”
So what have I learned from self-publishing?
Well, it is not free. Incidental costs are like investing in apps and software to help with the mechanics of polishing a novel, such as Grammarly for proofing, hiring an HTML formatting helper from Fiverr, paying for a domain name for the author’s website (to be hosted free on Google Cloud platform), and buying an appropriate template for WordPress. Not all of these are essential but I find them helpful.
I use Microsoft Word for all my writing. I search for synonyms and replacement words to add variety to my work. It has “Rewrite Suggestions” and “search” the web for your word(s). These are handy tools for writers.
Then, rewrite and rewrite, over and over. Some ideas for editing came while resting, or reading self-help guides. Usually, it is cutting away the fluff, trimming not adding. Less is more. I had also revised my book titles and sub-titles many times, too numerous to count. It boils down to clarity. The simple idea made plain.
So, I have written some 600 words, in one sitting. Not too bad, is it?
What is your experience? Have you done any writing lately? Share your thoughts.
How I came to write the #1 Best Seller “An Immoral Erotic Parable”?
Many years ago, I came across several plantation-porn books, such as Mandingo by Kyle Onstott, Caribee by Christopher Nicole, Sabrehill by Raymond Giles, The Plantation by George McNeill, Dragonard by Rupert Gilchrist, Chane by Norman Gant, Blackoaks by Ashley Carter (Harry Whittington), and the list goes on and on.
The genre is about prim and proper white ladies fucking black slaves in the 18th century. They did this without their husbands’ knowledge. The slaves always sported monster cocks that these ladies craved uncontrollably. All hells broke loose when the husbands found out.
There was one book that I would now & then refer to. I think the central character was a mistress named Kitty Black (I cannot recall her name and am guessing it now), a stunningly attractive widow. Her son was running the plantation together with his brother-in-law. This mistress and her blonde daughter-in-law became lesbian lovers in secret. In the book, one negro boy was brutally punished for mentioning that the master “has got himself a big-titted wife.”
Anyway, halfway through the book, the master and his brother-in-law argued over white women’s sexual attraction to male negro slaves. The brother-in-law wagered with the master that given a chance all white women would go to the dark side. The bet was on, the brother-in-law cheated, and the master lost. These two women – the master’s buxom wife and his widow mother – were eventually fucked consensually & deliciously by the big black slave, aided by the brother-in-law.
I have lost that paperback and have tried very hard without success to get another copy, but I cannot recall its title. I liked especially one passage about the widow entering the slave quarter to spy on the big black brute that her son had just bought and that everyone was talking about. She was sexually aroused watching the brute fucking a slave girl. She then interrupted their sex act and came close to inspect the brute, handling his engrossed huge cock and testing his nut sacks.
I found that passage extremely exciting and wanted to revisit the actual text. But try as much as I did, I could not find that book again. In my mind, I could visualize how sexually excited they became. And I often wonder what if the book is turned into a porn movie. Who could be the ideal actress for the role of the widow? Who could be the slave?
I enjoy interracial sex stories, the black-man-and-white-woman kind. I surfed the web for these stories at sites such as Literotic.com, asstr.org, luststories.com, etc. But, I cannot find one story that comes close to the draw of my missing book.
I also enjoy interracial porn. There are so many freely available online. I find the imagery of white versus black enchanting. I am captivated by the strong contrast of black and white colors. For instance, the imagery of Darth Vader and his white stormtroopers, a blonde in a two-toned dress, or a pair of interracial pornstars.
So, one day, I decided to write one story for myself. I named the mistress Kitty and the slave Brutus. Then I converted the tale of Kitty vs Brutus into a porn project starring Katheryn Kellington and Massai Mobuku. And here they are, in my book, in explicit detail.
It didn’t happen overnight. No, no, it took a few years. I wrote it as a hobby; I didn’t mean to publish it as a book. Then my best friend from University asked what I had been doing since retirement, and I said, “I’m writing an interracial erotica book.” He said he’d like to read it. So I sent him a few chapters, but he didn’t acknowledge it. I don’t know if he was offended by it (I doubt that since he is very naughty and is inclined towards sexual stuff) or was too busy to read it.
Heck, since the cat was out of my bag, I decided to self-publish it the KDP way.
There were several steps and iterations.
First, I subscribed to Grammarly Premium to correct and polish my text. I also used the free ProWritingAid to get a summary report on style, structure, and readability.
I rewrote and rewrote over several months. Pretty relaxed over it. No pressure to rush publication.
In between, I surfed the web for help in self-publishing. The most helpful sites are justpublishingadvice.com, kindlepreneur.com, and reedsy.com. I also subscribed to their newsletters and have read their free books on advertising, marketing, etc. I also enrolled in Kindle Unlimited for $4.99 for two months and borrowed self-help books 10 at a time.
Since I am proficient in Photoshop, I designed the book cover myself, observing all the pointers about cover design. It was fun. The models featured in my cover and inserts were created using A.I. software FaceApp. I wanted my models to represent no one in particular (I don’t want to be sued). If there is an interest in this FaceApp topic, I may describe it in a later blog.
Although I had formatted my Microsoft Word file with my favorite font Dante and sized it to a paperback 6”x9” trim size, I decided to hire the level-2 Fiverr designer Accuracy4sure to format my ebook because she could embed my font. Initially, I had wanted two fonts, Dante for normal text and Courier New for the screenplay (movie scripts almost always use Courier for some reason.) Someone corrected me saying Kindle ebook can only have one font and it would invaluably be Kindle’s native Bookery font. So I solved the one-font problem by setting the screenplay text in Bold and in reduced font size. After a few tweaks, Accuracy4sure had produced what I wanted, a beautiful epub file. Why didn’t I ask for mobi format? It seems epub is a better format to upload to KDP, and it works. Altogether I paid her US$90 plus a 15% tip. Money well spent. I also used the free app Magic to fine-tune my epub before uploading.
Self-publishing is fun, but also scary. There are so many things to learn. You definitely cannot do it for free. There are incidental costs, like Grammarly subscription (albeit for one month), Fiverr hire for HTML formatting, budget for advertising, and promotion. Unless you are cash-poor, the adventure is worth it.