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'11 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
From Inspiration to Publication
Writing the First Draft
Seduce Your Reader
Be a Real Writer
Sexy Writing Partnerships

Kill Electrons, Not Trees
by William Gaius
What Does It Mean...?
The Decision to Self-Publish
The Decision To Self-Publish, 2
Printing ... for Self-Publishers
A Copyright Primer
How to POD, free (almost) Part 1
How to POD, free (almost) Part 2

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Three Top Tips...
Not Writing Erotica
The Importance of Being Colin
Dream Writing
To Boldly Go
The Unforgivable Taboo
Managing Multiple Projects
Doing it in Public
Nil Bastardum Carborundum
Workshop Insights

Assorted Attractions

Meet Robert Buckley
Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister

Between the Lines

Ashley Lister talks with Robert Buckley


Coming Together Presents Robert Buckley

Regular visitors to ERWA will be familiar with the name of fiction editor Bob Buckley.  Boston-based, wise and witty, Bob Buckley has a background in journalism and a list of respectable publishing credits within the genre of erotic fiction that include The Mammoth Best New Erotica series, Bite of the Apple, Cream, Desires, Slip of the Lip, and, of course, ERWA’s Erotica Gallery.

This month Bob’s collection of short fiction is released as the latest title in Lisabet Sarai’s series Coming Together Presents Robert Buckley.  As with all the Coming Together titles, proceeds from the book benefit a worthy cause. Robert Buckley's chosen charity is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Ashley Lister: What first drew you to write erotic fiction? Who are your favourite authors within the genre?

Robert Buckley:  I wrote my first erotic story, quite simply, because I wanted to see if I could. A friend had revealed to me that he was writing a serialized story along the lines of Terry Southern’s Candy for a pay Web site and that he had realized a modest but steady income from the venture. “You’re kidding!” I said, and immediately insisted, “I bet I could do that.” The story was formulaic, based on the kind of story I read in lurid little paperbacks that came into the hands of boyhood friends and fell to pieces from being passed around. The kinds of books with titles like Mary’s Painful Journey. It was a hoot to write, but when I read it back to myself I thought, “This isn’t half bad; in fact, it’s pretty good.”

It was sort of an epiphany. I got serious about writing erotica. Thankfully, I discovered ERWA and the opportunity to present my work to a forum of strangers for critique – strangers who quickly became some of the best friends I never met.

I had read a lot of classic erotica, Victorian era stuff, Lawrence, Nin – I loved The Story of O. But most of the erotic and sensual passages that remained in my mind over the years were from mainstream novels and short stories, not necessarily from erotic works. J.G. Ballard’s stories for example. The most sensual passage I think I ever read didn’t even have anything to do with sex. It described a man’s pleasure and joy at eating a roasted yam drizzled with melted brown sugar that he had bought from a street vendor in Harlem. That was in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

Ashley Lister: Erotica seems to lend itself to the medium of short fiction.  Do you find it’s easier to contain explicit interludes within short stories rather than the fuller context of a novel?

Robert Buckley: I haven’t written a novel … yet. I enjoy the short story form and I think it often gets – no pun intended – short shrift. A lot of erotic short stories are little more than a sex scene and can be pretty much summed up as: A wants to have sex, B wants to have sex, so A & B get together and have sex. I’ve been lectured on occasion by critics who told me that is the essence of erotica, a story solely about the seeking and obtaining of sexual release. But that bores the hell out of me. I prefer to hang the sex on the story, rather than make the story entirely about sex. I like character-driven stories, with a plot that may not have anything to do with sex, but when sex occurs in the story, it’s important to the tale rather than just insinuated.

Ashley Lister: The Coming Together titles invariably support a charitable institution that the author has personally selected.  Which charity have you picked and why is this one so important to you personally?

Robert Buckley:  I chose the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation for very personal reasons. My daughter, now 29, was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago. Everything I know about MS I learned the day my girl broke the news to me. No one in the family had ever had anything like it. It’s an auto-immune disease in which the body attacks its own nervous system. It has nothing to do with heredity. You determine someone has MS by eliminating everything else. My girl was lucky in a way, except for a couple of scary manifestations; she’s been leading a normal life with the aid of medication. The younger you are when the disease appears, the more likely you are to lead a normal life. People who get it later in life are the ones who usually experience its most devastating effects.

Ashley Lister: Do you have a favourite story within this collection? Could you tell us a little about the piece?

Robert Buckley: This is a collection of erotic noir with the addition of one story that, while noirish, leans into the realm of the supernatural. They range from historical settings to contemporary, and for the most part they involve average people who find themselves in extraordinary situations – another favorite theme of mine. But I suppose my favorite is a story called “An Excess of Light.” It’s a detective story set in the late 19th century in an unnamed city some might guess is New York and involves an American Civil War veteran who suffers from guilt stemming from his role in the war – a sniper. Today we might say he has a form of post-traumatic stress syndrome. He is retained by a wealthy man to retrieve his daughter-in-law from the clutches of a notorious white slaver whom our hero used to work for. Of course, it’s noir, so things are not what they seem; there are twists and revelations. It’s a type of story I’ve tried to craft that, while obviously a short story, reads and delivers like a novel. I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide if I’ve pulled off that trick.

Ashley Lister: I know that Lisabet Sarai has been editing the most recent series of Coming Together anthologies and she seems to have selected writers who are eminently respected in the world of erotic fiction.  The current (and forthcoming) titles include collections from M Christian, Remittance Girl, C Sanchez-Garcia, Shanna Germain and yourself.  Is Lisabet an easy editor to work with?  Have you encountered any unexpected problems in compiling an anthology of your short fiction?

Robert Buckley:  I’m putty in her hands. She’s the prettiest girl in school – you know, the one you used to daydream about. My previous experience with Lisabet was when she put together the ERWA collection Cream. She has excellent editorial instincts. And, not to flog a … comely lass too much, but she’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve never met. Sigh …

Ashley Lister: What are you working on next and where else would readers be able to find more of your fiction?

Robert Buckley: Trying to get my new dog to behave... Oh, you meant what literary projects I might have in the works. Nothing specific at the moment, just writing, writing, writing. ERWA keeps me busy, and I’ve been looking into creating not a novel as such, but a collection of linked short stories.

Ashley Lister
March 2011

"Between the Lines" © 2011 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, Swingers: True Confessions from Today's Modern Swinging Scene (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753511355), a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his first title published under his own name.
Ashley's non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica.  Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto.  He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.
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