Look who we've got for you today - the one and only Jacob Louder, talking author identities.
I've been lucky enough to work with lovely Jacob on the wonderful Chemical [se]X book.
What a joy!
Take it away Mr Louder...
Angela, Jacob, and A.J. Walk Into a Bar: The Erotic Art of Author Reinvention
Just how many pen names does one writer need?
Three years ago or so, I said, “Never! I will never, ever use a pen name!” all righteous and stuff. The words in those stories were mine, right? Why pass them off onto some “false identity” who’d get all the credit?
Then I started writing “literary pornography.” I like to write in the style of Penthouse Variations (“porn”), but with stronger character development (literary, sort of). I like to write really graphic sex where everyone’s a stallion in the sack and has great respect for one another. It was freeing for me, a sometimes “literary” writer. My constant attempt for perfectionism seemed to fall by the wayside when writing erotica/lit porn.
That’s when I picked this pen name: Jacob Louder. Hi there.
I created Jacob to keep our two writing careers separate, but also—let’s be honest—to keep my literary pornography out of the hands of family members.
It was freeing, becoming Jacob, and experiencing writing without the usual pressure I typically brought with it. It turned out, actually, that Jacob wasn’t even in the slightest bit “false.” Jacob had always been a part of me, but a part I kept silent because I was (1) a “literary” writer and (2) not born with a cock attached to my body. As a bio-cockless person, it would be sort of weird to write as this queer dude, right? It would be weird, though, wouldn’t it—divulging to the world my sexual thoughts and fantasies as someone who I am not, but really, really want to be, if I could?
Oh, I was so ignorant three years or so ago!
Jacob started writing, and since Jacob co-runs Go Deeper Press with Lana Fox [see Lana's Brit Babes guest post here], guess what? Jacob got published! A few times, actually, and then Jacob submitted to other publishers’ anthologies and got published there, too.
But very, very slowly, my usual quest for perfectionism started seeping into poor old Jacob. Jacob got very hypersensitive to his ability to craft realistic characters respectfully, write scenes that conveyed proper emotion, and so on and so on. His productivity slowed significantly, just like it had with the other me, the “non-Jacob.” How could I let this happen to him! He was my freedom, my false but true identity who had broken the chains after years of writing in one genre where everything had to be quiet, poignant, visceral.
Meet A.J. Armstrong.
A stands for Angela and J stands for Jacob and Armstrong is the maiden name of my wife.
A.J. isn’t that different from Jacob, who really isn’t that different from me. A.J.’s writing is really very, very porny, but guess what? A.J. has no hang-ups. A.J. can write for hours, mostly uninterrupted, seldom stopping to cut and “correct.” Even Jacob couldn’t accomplish this!
I imagine A.J. with grease-stained hands, writing on my laptop, topless and in knee-torn jeans, while Jacob, in his new J. Crew colorblock sweatshirt, watches over A.J.’s shoulder, quipping, “That’s ‘to whom,’ not ‘to who,’ Armstrong.” That bastard.
There’s something to be said for constantly reinventing yourself as a writer, even if that reinvention requires the creation of another “personality.” Because what’s more important: keeping the number of your pen names low, or making a “new you” to beat self-judgment and that dreaded, creeping feeling of The Block?
Jacob Louder is sometimes J.T. Louder, but both these Louders write queer porn and hope you really like it. Jacob’s stories have appeared in Chemical [se]X (which was edited by Oleander Plume) [see Oleander's Brit Babes guest post here], Dirty Little Numbers (Go Deeper Press), as well as in Mammoth Book of Uniform Erotica and Best Women’s Erotica 2015 (as J.T.). Jacob’s ongoing queer/poly novella series, First, is published by Go Deeper Press. Jacob would totally lose to A.J. Armstrong in a fistfight. You can say hi if you want at jtlouder.com or @jtlouder on Twitter.
Thank you so much Jacob - I absolutely LOVE this post! I adore the image of Jacob giving grammar quips over A.J.'s shoulder. Brilliant - thanks for being our guest today x x x