When I was working with Ana Vitsky on her latest Blushing title, Desire in Any Language, I wasn’t the only one giving advice. For a new author, she is delightfully outspoken, and questioned why our pre-publication questionnaires only included spaces for “hero” and “heroine.” She believed such a presumption of gender roles sent the wrong message, since spanking fiction may just as easily feature hero and hero or heroine and heroine.
“How about Leading Character One and Leading Character Two?” she suggested.
Point taken, Ms Vitsky. Point taken.
Some editors may bristle at having a writer so eager to tell them how to word their forms. But for me, writers like Ana are a breath of fresh air. Ana Vitsky reminds us that in the genre of spanking erotica, it’s not always about a dominant man spanking his submissive female partner. And while same sex spanking fiction is nothing new, Ana represents a new breed of writers who bring a certain dedication to their pairings, and break the mold with fiction that’s as unique as it is sexy.
Her latest book is a sexy, seductive read featuring a young woman in a foreign country who enters into an unusual disciplinary relationship with her female tutor. It’s a deeply touching story that beautifully charts the evolution of a young woman who must sort through her dual desires for loving correction and a love that she fears may not work out.
The book, like its writer, is intense and – we think you’ll agree – insightful.
Blushing Books: You’re relatively new to writing, but you’ve done an amazing job of self-promotion, networking and managing production of a string of titles that have readers talking. It’s clear that you put a lot of thought into writing as a career and not just a hobby. Am I right? And if I am, what finally prompted you to become an author? And why did you choose F/F?
First of all, I need to thank Blushing for not strangling this upstart author who has an opinion about everything and loves to tell it! I am honored to be interviewed and thank you for your wonderful, insightful questions.
I’ve always been an impetuous, enthusiastic, jump-off-a-cliff sort of person when it comes to what is dearest to my heart. I started a blog a few months ago to post some of my spanking stories just for fun. I was getting over 1000 hits a day, and this was a brand-new blog! A blogger found me and said, “These are great! Why don’t you try to publish?” I assured her that my stories were neither explicit sex scenes nor M/F romances, and that I didn’t want to change my stories to fit a publisher’s expectations. Imagine my surprise when I was offered not one but six book contracts within the next five months! I’m even getting notice from unusual places. My first book, The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, will be cited in a new edition of Sherri Szeman’s writing handbook, Mastering Point of View.
I am still in a daze. All of my life, writing has been my guilty secret pleasure stolen from moments that should belong to my “real” job. That I can possibly turn this into a career is my hope, and for the first time I am allowing myself to begin hoping for real.
Blushing Books: With the advent of e-readers, erotica of all kinds is booming. And love it or hate it, Fifty Shades of Grey has made spanking fiction especially hot. Everyone wants to write the next big spanking novel. But so many run the risk of offering up the same formulaic book – man meets woman, conflict/tension ensues, man spanks woman and they living in spanking happiness ever after. And there’s a place for that kind of fiction. But for those looking for something different, your latest novel, “Desire in Any Language, not only breaks that mold, but does it beautifully. is this by design?
Desire in Any Language almost became re-written as a conventional romance because well-meaning people tried to convince me to make it “marketable,” whatever that means. The completed manuscript languished for several months before an artist friend said to me, “Ana, the more you talk about changing your story the more I hear you say that you like it the way it is.” I trusted her. Because I was lucky enough to be connected with an editor who believed in the story even more than I did, Desire in Any Language will be published in its original form. Wow!
Most of my books begin with a sentence, an idea, or an image. With Desire in Any Language, I had the image of a young girl bent over her tutor’s desk to receive a punishment spanking. I was absolutely committed, however, to make this story as realistic as possible. So Mira struggles with the feelings that arise for her tutor, and she struggles with the pleasure she feels in being spanked by this woman who is her professional mentor but only a few years older. I wanted a story rooted in love, and I wanted Mira’s emotions and experiences to ring true.
Blushing Books: As a new author, what do you consider the biggest obstacles to your endeavors? You are very active on Facebook and have a popular blog; do you rely on the support and feedback of other writers to encourage you? How important do you consider networking with other authors?
Remember when your mom told you not to hate spinach before giving it a try? I’d love for more people to give F/F a try instead of thinking, “It’s not my thing”, and I’d love to see more stories that break out of the stereotypical mother/governess F/F stories. There are plenty of wonderful mother/governess stories, but F/F encompasses an enormous range from sweet to sexy to platonic. I’d love to see more people writing, reading, reviewing, and publishing F/F spanking fiction of all flavors because I truly believe this is a genre that will create something new and wonderful.
And while I may be the only F/F domestic discipline author in my immediate circle, I would not be here if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to connect with the the most generous spanking fiction authors in the universe. I am spoiled shamelessly by a wealth of friends, acquaintances, readers, and supporters. One has even called himself the “godfather” ofThe Vengeance of Mrs. Claus. Another friend asks to read each scene as I write it, and she cheers me on.
Too many authors discount the power of networking or misunderstand it as “ME! ME! ME!” There are several million authors all hoping to get noticed, and their endless circuits of “Buy my book!” get old. The authors who offer advice, cheer me up when things aren’t going well, or even prod me to write instead of playing on Facebook have become wonderful friends. If I have a question about writing, researching, promoting, publishing, or any of the assorted tasks that we need to do, I always have at least one writer-reader-supporter-acquaintance who will have the information.
People sometimes ask me how I get to know people. I tell them simply, “I’m lucky.” I ran a spanking-fiction Advent Calendar promoting 34 books written by 18 authors last month, and I’m coordinating the Spanking Fiction Authors’ Group “Love Spanks” event February 9-10th. Every week, I offer a Monday Morning Fika interview or guest post from an author or figure of the spanking community. (F/F authors are always welcome, by the way!) I do things like this because they are fun and I get to meet new friends, but mainly I enjoy giving back to the community that has nurtured me. No one owes me anything, and to receive any advice or help is a gift. I cherish these gifts and the people who offer them to me, and Fika is my small way of saying “Thank you”.
Blushing Books: How much do you identify with your characters? Is there one you consider your favorite? What have you learned from them?
My favorite character is usually the one I am writing currently! Minelle from The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus is a compassionate but feisty disciplined wife who pulls at my heartstrings with her love and wisdom. Even her bratty daughter Claire, someone I originally wrote as a throwaway character, appeals to me with her innocence and confusion at what it will mean for her to submit to her future spouse.
Mira from Desire in Any Language is special to me because she is caught at that moment when a girl comes of age, and she feels so ashamed of her desires that she gets herself into a great deal of trouble and even danger. I love Mira because she makes wrong choices for all the right reasons, and I can identify with her struggle to be all right with who she is. Most of us, no matter what our personal history, have had to work at accepting ourselves for who we are.
Blushing Books: Do you have a writing philosophy? If so, what is it?
Be real, be honest, and be true.
The stories that we shape, the characters that we create, and the plots that we develop are mirrors of ourselves that we hold up to the world. Too often I will read a story detailing unmitigated nastiness, selfishness, or cynicism. Those are not the characters I want to see spanked. I want depth, and I want to care for the characters as spanking relationships help them to become better people.
Even if what we write is “only” spanking fiction, the stories of a spanking relationship carry intimate power to change lives. We are often most passionate about this desire to spank and be spanked because we have had to keep it secret from so many people for so long. For that reason, we must be real, honest, and true.
I’d love to become a bestselling author just as much as the next person, but more than that I want my readers to walk away from my books feeling that this world might be a little better of a place. Every time I finish a story, I hope that I’ve created something that will make this world shine just a tiny bit more brightly.
Blushing Books: What plans do you have for future projects?
Inspired by the wonderful encounter with my new editor, I am nearly finished writing a story about an author who behaves badly and the editor who must deal with her. Contrary to popular opinion, this story is NOT autobiographical! My main character is a curmudgeon who does whatever she likes no matter what the cost, and the writing has been wish fulfillment of every bad behavior I’ve wanted to do but didn’t dare. I love writing this story because as an author myself, I know exactly how an author could make her editor’s life miserable. (Disclaimer to my editor: I am a sweet angel who will never do that to you, I swear! Please don’t fire me!)
I recently completed a sequel to The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, tentatively titled Daughter of Discipline. It narrates Claire’s indecision whether to accept her family’s traditions of domestic discipline. I have several ideas for future installments of what I call the “Vennie” series, but I have at least three other writing projects to finish first.
In addition, I have two other books scheduled for publication with Lazy Day Publishing, The Way Home (affectionately known on my blog as the “Kat and Natalie stories”) on March 6th and Simple Gifts in April. The Way Home tells the story of two college roommates who end up in a ten-year off-and-on-again domestic discipline relationship, a spanky version of Beaches. Simple Gifts tells the story of a classical violinist, Leila Feran, who injures her wrist with overwork and moves in with her childhood best friend who becomes her disciplinarian.
Also in the works are the sequel to The Way Home and a top-secret surprise project that will be announced publicly on January 25th.