Hi! 🙂 Is it too early to ask you about your new book, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Vol. 4? Could you tell us a bit about your story?
Hi! Not too early at all! BWE 4 is coming out December 11 – that’s in four weeks! AAAaaaah I’m so excited!!!!
For a number of reasons, my story “Aftershock” is a very personal story, even though Tessa, the heroine, is quite different from myself (apart from the fact that we’re both German). Tessa is in a long distance relationship with Hector, a Mexican doctor, and arrives in Mexico for a visit just as the earthquake hits Mexico City in September 2017. Her flight is redirected, leaving her stranded far away from her lover in a country she doesn’t know and of which she doesn’t speak the language, and with no possibility to reach him. So what is she going to do? Take a flight home, like the airline offers, or embark on a risky journey to find Hector?
I’ve never been in a long distance relationship, and I don’t know what I would have done in Tessa’s situation. I’m too scared to board an airplane to begin with. So, why is this story so personal if pretty much everything is so different from my own life?
While I was writing Tessa’s story, my sister was living with me. She’s the most important person in my life, my person, to put it in Christina Yang’s words. She’s also a German woman married to a Mexican man, who just had her first baby in a long distance relationship. She lived with my family for three months, waiting to return to Mexico City with my baby niece. Tessa’s story was born one morning when we sat in the kitchen, remembering the fear and impotence we (both, but she more than I, of course) felt when the 2017 earthquake hit while she was an ocean away from her husband. And we laughed when she told me that he had slept through it, because his apartment building is built on different substrate and barely shook at all.
It’s weird to have personal stakes in a catastrophe happening on the other side of the world, and being unable to do ANYTHING – besides feeling guilty for also being glad you (and your person) weren’t there when it happened. But we wondered: what would my sister have done, had she arrived for the first time just as it happened? Mexico City Airport was closed and evacuated, flights were redirected. And when my sister visited her then boyfriend for the first time, she had nothing but a mobile number – and there was no cellular network directly after the earthquake, so how would she have reached him? And how would I reach my sister if another strong earthquake were to happen now, while she’s there? I hope I would be like Tessa, who finds the strength to go on a quest in search of her lover.
Tessa’s story is one of romantic love, but it’s not that different from the deep, absolute love I have for my sister. In the end, it’s love that offers us the strength to cross into the unknown, to take risks and get out to help the people who need us, and save the ones we can. “Aftershock” is such a personal story because I, too, would move heaven and earth to find my sister.
You can preorder Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Vol. 4 here:
https://www.bweoftheyear.com/bwe-of-the-year-4 (Universal buy links)
The year is coming to a close. 2017 passed in a rush of panic, and I won’t miss it one bit. I started this year with goals I hoped to achieve, but as so often, I missed them by quite the distance.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably noticed me posting a lot of pictures of yarn or knitting projects lately – not exactly what you’d expect from an erotica author, and probably not what I should be posting either. But to hell with all the should dos and the don’ts.
I’m human. I’m more than just my professional self. I write. I draw. I spin and dye and knit and crochet. And I battle depression.
The last one is more prominent lately, resulting in less writing and more binge watching of series on Netflix and Sky (OMG I love love love Babylon Berlin. German thing, so sorry to all of you elsewhere on the planet). Judging by my Twitter feed, that’s a global phenomenon. The public discourse around sexual harrassment has been everywhere; it’s necessary and it’s time for it to happen, but it’s also triggering to many of us. I retreated into silence.
My goals for this year (and every year before that) were simple: More writing, more publishing. I didn’t quite manage the “more” part, but I take consistency too, in terms of writing and publishing.
Professionally, however, I made considerable progress. I submitted stories to four submission calls this year (which is a 400% increase to last year, when I didn’t submit anything anywhere outside my bedroom.) One submission got rejected, one is still pending. Two got accepted, and that is amazing.
The first story getting accepted was The Black Orchid, a story I’m ridiculously proud of. It appeared in the Sinful Pleasures anthology published by Sinful Press. The second story that got accepted is going to appear in The Big Book of Submission 2, coming out on December 19.
I actually screamed when I opened the proof copy of this one, as my story is right next to one of the amazing Malin James (author of the sublime Roadhouse Blues collection of short stories. Remember my fangirling?).
And there are so many more cool and amazing authors in this anthology! Rachel Kramer Bussel does a brilliant job editing these anthologies. In a way, I owe my new professional journey to her, not only because “Words” was the first story I submitted this year. It all began with a podcast featuring Rachel (sadly I don’t remember which one because I listen to a lot of them. I think it was Sex Out Loud?). After listening to her talk, I looked her up. I found the submission call for BBOS2 a week or so before the deadline.
I want to say the rest is history. After all, being included in this anthology is huge for me. It literally made my year.
But the year doesn’t end there, and because I’m more than a word machine (wonky on the best of days), life caught up with me.
For a while now, my word machine has been broken. There’s a special sense of irony in the fact that a year starting with a story titled “Words” ends with a complete lack thereof. Often, I wonder why I chose this genre for my writing, if I keep struggling with it’s implications.
It comes back to this: because I love it. I love writing about sex. About people figuring out their way and themselves, about pursuing the things they want even if they seem wrong and shameful.
“Words” is exactly about that: a woman figuring out how she wants to fuck, and putting it into words for her partner. She’s making herself an object by verbalising how she wants to be fucked – but in doing so, she’s the subject in this interaction, the one making the choice. She’s at the center of her story, not as object, but as subject, as the one shaping her world.
Words are an integral part of negotiating, inside and out of the bedroom. Every relationship needs negotiating, not just the kinky ones. Sometimes it’s about things like taking the trash out, and sometimes it’s about how hard you want to be spanked and where (or if you want to spank your partner at all). Negotiation is the language of love, and loving is to listen.
I’m glad that my year started and ends with this story; it reminds me of the good things, of the gift I’m given. Even if I don’t write a lot at the moment, I’ll always find consolation and courage in words: in books, stories, in blogs and articles and podcasts.
By Gail Williams
Take inspiration where you find it, that is. There is inspiration everywhere, and sometimes it comes in the form of an open submission from a publisher. And sometimes it’s a left of field inspiration too, and for me that’s what a call for Sinful Press was.
See, erotica isn’t something I usually write. When I started writing for publication, I was a big reader of Mills & Boon and so I wrote a lot about romance. But those novels kept being rejected because – and this is an actual quote from a Mills and Boon rejection letter – they said I gave the books “too much plot.” Immediately after that, I tried removing the plot and just writing the sex. It seemed logical at the time. Had no luck there either. To be fair I think that was because I was being too ‘romantic’ about it, and I was probably too young, not experienced enough to pop my porn writing cherry at that point. Continue Reading