A few weeks back we posted our review of Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades, a collection offering up fifty different perspectives on the 50 Shades phenomenon. Today we bring you 20 questions with erotica author Rachel Kenley. Her piece “Porn Writer on the PTA” takes a look at how 50 Shades has changed the interactions she has with other women in her community and the ways the dynamic has shifted since they started reading the series.
1. How (and when) did you get started writing erotica/writing about?
I started reading erotica and erotic romance in my 20s and my tastes have gotten better and my requirements higher. I submitted my first erotic romance in early 2007 and it was published later that year by Ellora’s Cave (I was writing as Rowan West then). I love exploring the physical aspects of a growing relationship and how that effects the individuals involved.
2. If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
You mean another job? I can’t imagine. I had dreams of being on the stage when I was younger, but this is the work that suits me best – writing, working and coaching writers, speaking at conferences. I love it all.
3. What’s the best thing you’ve learned or best advice you’ve received from the erotic industry?
There is someone for everything and everyone’s likes and desires are different. And that’s something to be celebrated! There’s not even a consensus in the vanilla hetero world. If it makes you feel good and if it doesn’t hurt anyone else – explore it, enjoy it, and you’ll probably find someone else who enjoys it too.
4. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened while working in erotica?
Probably the faces of some of my extended family when they learned what I write about. It’s as if they are worried that writing erotic romance gives me some kind of insight into their sexual thoughts. I do love how many friends, however, are willing to ask me questions. Women need someone they can talk to about these things.
5. What do you think is the biggest misconception about women in the industry?
In the porn industry? Probably that they are brainless and can’t get work anywhere else. I don’t think people realize that this industry (in movies and in books) can also be way for us to take charge and control of our sexuality, our pleasure – and our bank accounts.
6. What did you do today?
Home-schooled my children, made dinner, did laundry, wrote about 1,000 words, and tried to save the PC from the blue screen of death (I needed to call in back up for that).
7. What would you rather have done today?
Have someone else do the cooking and cleaning for me while I sit in a perfectly decorated writing room with lots of space and light. My coffee is always hot and there’s chocolate on hand. And someone to give me a massage when I need it later.
8. If you could do a movie with anyone (living or brought back from the dead) who would it be?
OMG – I would *totally* love to meet Mae West. I’d love to write for her, talk to her and have her over for dinner. She’s an inspiration and a role model. I’d also like Anais Nin to join us, but she never made a movie to my knowledge.
9. Who is your favorite adult performer?
Okay, this is a strange question for a writer to answer, but I have to admit I love watching what Randy Spears can do with his tongue. He always looks like he is enjoying what he’s doing – and so does his partner. And having seen her on several HBO specials – I get a real kick out of Katie Morgan.
10. You’ve got 20 bucks left to your name; what would you do with it?
You mean after I panic and call my friends? I will always spend money on books, good food, and great costume jewelry.
11. If you were president, what’s the first thing you’d change?
I’d work to make sure everyone had the civil rights and equality they deserved. Marriage for all who want it. And I think our education system needs some serious attention.
12. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
My list of things that I’ve done which are foolish or dumb is much longer (you can ask my brother about the time I locked my keys in a Honda with the engine running – he loves to tell that story), but I think breast feeding in front of my in-laws ranks up there. It cleared the room. 🙂
13. Which is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey has been wonderful from the moment I first started writing my essay. I’d have to add the first anthology I edited which was called Spellbound a collection of erotically retold fairy tales. I love those stories and all the things you can do with them.
14. If you could have 1 superpower what would it be?
I hate having to choose only one (did I mention I’m a Libra?), but I’ve always wanted to fly!
15. Meat or veggie?
Meat! Veggies on the side, please.
16. What is your favorite book?
Too many to list and I’d have to go through all the different genres I enjoy, but in the erotica genre, I will read anything Laura Antoniou and Joey W. Hill write. They never disappoint.
17. What is your biggest pet peeve?
That there are always dishes in the sink and laundry to be done. I also hate having to say things more then once. I don’t love the sound of my own voice that much.
18. What is your best piece of sex advice for women?
Learn what you love and then get comfortable telling your partner what you want! Being sexual power is a vital part of being fully empowered.
19. What is your favorite adult movie?
Dogma by Kevin Smith. Oh, that’s not what you meant?
20. Tell me one thing you’ve never told anyone else.
I think I would have made (and loved being) a great courtesan back in the age when they were celebrated.