Today the Brit Babes are delighted to welcome the ladies of Pillow Talk—Jade A Waters, Malin James and Tamsin Flowers—here to tell us a little about the Pillow Talk blog, and about themselves and their writing.
Q. First of all, for the readers that might not have come across you yet, can you tell us, what exactly is Pillow Talk?
Tamsin: Ah, where to start? First and foremost, Pillow Talk is a blog the three of us run under the banner of ‘erotica writers talking dirty’, and it’s pretty much just that. We get together once every few months to talk about erotica, sex and books—and we let our readers listen in on the conversation. It’s always terrific fun for us and, we hope, for them too. And we pretty much set the erotica world to rights every time!
Q. So how did you come up with idea to get together like this? And how did it then develop from just the germ of an idea into a fully-fledged blog?
Jade: Well, I’d had the pleasure of befriending the lovely Tamsin on Twitter over a pair of sexy boots (because...boots!). Shortly after, I met the fantastic Malin at a reading for The Big Book of Orgasms, and I kept telling the two of them the other was fabulous, so they started talking. We were all swift friends, and, knowing we all had such great and wild chats (about erotica and not erotica, as well), the idea just popped in my head that we should share our conversations publicly. I suggested it to Malin at lunch one day, and she liked the idea. So we bounced it off Tamsin, and boom—Pillow Talk arrived!
Malin: I think the idea for making it a fully fledged blog came out of some Skypes we had after Jade came up with the idea. We just kept coming up with possibilities and things to talk about. We also liked the idea of having Pillow Talk as a kind of public partnership, wherein the three of us could help support and promote each other’s work. It all naturally led to setting up a site for it.
Q. The idea of listening in to a bunch of erotica writers talking dirty is irresistible! Tell us about the sort of topics you like to discuss on Pillow Talk?
Jade: Sex acts.
Tamsin: Dirty books we love...
Tamsin: One of our most fun posts was All About the Dirty Deeds, in which we discussed which are our favorite erotic scenes and deeds to write. It turned out that Malin loves writing m/m/f scenes (and is currently hard at work on a secret m/m/f project!), kissing scenes were popular with all of us, while Jade adores nothing more than to write hot going down scenes. And as for me? I like to get my heroines bent over something and taken from behind!
Malin: I also love the post we did on details and description in erotica. There are a lot of different opinions about how much...em, shall we say, physical description is required for ultimate sexiness. Do you lay it all out for the reader or do you let them fill in the gaps? While all three of us generally subscribe to a “less-is-more” approach, our emphases are a bit different, so it was cool to discuss.
Jade: Those are both great ones. I’m a big fan of our most recent one, Discussing the Darker Side of Erotica. There’s just so much to say there, so much controversy and so many interesting ideas that we probably could have gone on about for days. It’s fascinating how much taboo exists in our genre (despite the fact that it’s fiction) and how fired up people get about reading these “taboos”—so it was great to get to touch on these topics.
Q. When you’re not sitting around together drinking martinis and discussing sex, each of you is a hard-working erotica writer. Can you each tell us a little about what you write?
Malin: Hmm. I’m all over the map. I started writing short stories for anthologies and only recently began branching out into longer work. In fact, my first novella-length project, an m/m story called “The Master”, will be coming out in a collection for Sweetmeats Press at the end of August. As far as other projects go, I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire—a novel set in Victorian England and a collection of contemporary erotic short stories set in a nameless town in the U.S. (See? Totally all over the map.) I also write a lot of essays and nonfiction. I’m never, ever bored.
Jade: I’d have to say I’m all over, too. I started in spec fic, but occasionally penned an erotica short. The problem was, all my non-erotic work kept getting too titillating. Wait. Sorry. Did I say “problem”? It wasn’t a problem. I just figured out erotica was the way I really wanted to go...and from there I wrote a bounty of shorts, then tried my hand at a full-length—an edgy erotic romance called The Assignment that I’m working with an agent on marketing. In the meantime, I’m in the middle of several projects—a slightly darker full-length novel and a mix of short stories. I also write occasional erotic non-fiction on my blog, and quite a bit of erotic poetry.
Tamsin: I started out my erotica writing career by submitting lots of short stories to lots of anthologies. It was a great way to get a feel for the market and gradually build my confidence. At a certain point it felt natural to move on to novellas and then full-length novels. Now, I’m in the middle of writing an epic BDSM series, Alchemy xii, which is releasing a novella a month through 2015!
Q. What do you have in common as writers and what are the differences between you?
Malin: As far as what we have in common, I’d say that we all have a pretty big commitment to plot and narrative, meaning that, even if we’re writing a fun, sexy romp, there’s usually a story in place. Not that there’s anything wrong with sexy scenes and porn—we each just tend to write with a narrative arc, in addition to tons of hot sex (because yay hot sex).
Tamsin: I definitely feel that our writing has distinctly different styles. Malin’s prose is lean and elegant, and her characters are so sharply drawn that they simply spring to life from the page. She writes with searing intelligence—I really can’t get enough of her work. Jade’s stories are hot, salty and earthy, with huge gusts of emotion that can blow the reader away and leave them breathless and begging for more. I love the depth of feeling she captures as her characters explore their own sexuality. My work, while still being hot and sexy (I hope!), tends to be a little lighter, with irascible protagonists who delight in their own naughtiness and in winding each other up!
Q. Is there anything that has surprised you about your collaboration?
Jade: You know, at first, I thought it would be a light and fluffy popcorn friendship on view for all, where we just talked about subtle erotica things. But in time—I think because our friendships also morphed in depth on the sidelines—our conversations have gotten much more intriguing and detailed. Our behind-the-scenes collaboration has also been incredible. I have two great friends AND fabulous beta readers, at the same time. I’m not sure what I’d do without these two and their insights!
Malin: One thing that has surprised me is how in sync we tend to be. We definitely have differences of opinion as all three of us have strong personalities, but on the whole, we seem to be able to compromise and maintain a natural flexibility, which kind of amazing given the fact that we are, as individuals, pretty opinionated!
Tamsin: What has surprised me is just how much I absolutely love and rely on the support these two give me. Prior to forming a bond with Jade and Malin, I pretty much plowed my own furrow and kept my own council—but having these girls to bounce ideas off and to lean on when things are tough is really valuable beyond measure. It’s not an exaggeration to say I absolutely adore Jade and Malin!
Q. You just celebrated your one year blogiversary as Pillow Talk! Congratulations! Do you feel like you’ve hit a comfortable groove? And is there anything you’d especially like to tackle in the coming year?
Tamsin: I definitely think we’ve hit our stride and we’re having so much fun doing it. As for anything else...on a personal note, we’d all love to get together face to face—but as I’m in London and my partners in crime are in San Francisco, it’s not too easy...I’m just going to have to keep saving my pennies for that air fare!
Malin: I agree with Tamsin. It feels like we’ve settled in, so we can enjoy the ride at this point. There are so many things to talk about that we keep a running list, so I suspect we’ll be hitting everything from oral sex to the genre itself (and who knows what else!). On my own personal note, I’m grateful to be working with a pair of writers whom I respect and am fortunate enough to call two of my closest friends. That’s a rare thing and I love that Pillow Talk is a natural extension of that.
Jade: And I agree with the both of them! Writing is such a solitary thing, and having this camaraderie is empowering. We share a lot of ideas, market insight, and of course, great conversations. We’ve worked out the kinks (heh) of how we like to work together, and every session has thus become a real pleasure. I feel jazzed every time we finish one, and am always looking forward to the next! As for the coming year—more dirty talk, naturally! And we do hope you’ll come and join us. :) A giant thank you to the Brit Babes for inviting us here!
Jade, Malin and Tamsin
You can find the ladies of Pillow Talk on their website, on Twitter, and also on their own websites: Malin James, Jade A Waters and Tamsin Flowers.