Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, a place of words and of their magic. Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom.
Welcome to M. Keep, co-author with her partner J.E. Keep!
Please tell us a little about yourself. My partner and I are authors who have been writing for over 10 years but only publishing for the last year and a bit. When we’re not writing, we love the typical geeky fare – video games, Lovecraftian Horror, the Call of C’thulhu RPG, Forgotten Realms books, and a ton of movies and TV shows.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. We’re geeks who love fantasy and scifi games and movies, and hated that other books so often ‘faded to black’. So many authors indulge in gratuitous violence, but the sex and romance gets a handwave at best. We wanted all of the scifi/fantasy, and all of the sex, so that’s what we usually write! It’s usually very dark, like a lot of scifi/fantasy these days, and the sex is very explicit.
Where can readers find your book (s)? On most ebook retailers – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, AllRomance, Smashwords are the big ones.
How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write? Well, I’ve been personally writing since I was a kid. I got put in all these special writing classes when I was young and that really started me off. As for genre, we really did want more books to have explicit sex, but we also don’t like the limitations of contemporary. Fantasy and Scifi give you more freedom to write what you want without being bogged down by the truth.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences? I absolutely love how Elaine Cunningham and Lisa Smedman handled the Drow in Forgotten Realms. They were big inspirations for me in regards to world building. The woman I admire most for her writing prowess is definitely Margaret Atwood, especially the MaddAddam trilogy. She’s an amazing author. As for influences, we draw from all over the place, from all our entertainment. World of Warcraft was a big influence for a long time, and Lovecraft is the biggest influence for all our horror stories. Also of note are Joss Whedon’s universes, Battlestar Galactica, and Veronica Mars.
Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one? The first weekend of May we were keynote speakers for “Risque Sex Expo”, which is just what it sounds like! We gave speeches, and erotic readings, and it really boosted our confidence in our work and allowed us to meet some of our fans in person – and make a lot of new ones. It was an amazing experience to work beside my partner all day talking about our books. As for a negative one, well, I think censorship and the tumultuousness of erotica is the most negative thing happening right now.
Basically, Amazon and Barnes and Noble have been ‘suppressing’ erotic fiction from search results, so readers are unable to easily find what they’re searching for. There’s been no ‘safe search on/off’ switch added to either site, so people who want erotic books are having a harder time finding it, and it’s lowered people’s sales a lot.
It hasn’t affected us too badly, but the knowledge that someone has so much control over your income is hard to handle.
Though personally my partner would probably say a blog post he wrote some time ago. It got picked up by a majour website and completely misconstrued, even down to his gender. We were flooded with countless hate-mail and comments, some of which called him things like a “feminist harpy bitch”. It’s funny in retrospect, but it bothers him to have people still to this day making a fuss about a blog post which they obviously never even read.
As a writer of erotica have you encountered any prejudice? How have you dealt with it? Do you write under a pen name? We do, though we’re fairly open about it. We do public appearances, which isn’t something most erotic authors consider. Many romance authors do appearances, but less erotica authors. As for prejudice, we used to get a lot of it when we were writing fanfiction. We’d have people read our stories – in great quantity and depth – just to insult us for the kinks or whatever. In the end, though, they were reading them, and I think they were just lashing out because they liked them 😉
Where do you think the lines are drawn between romance, erotica and porn? Well, it varies from person to person, but I think most will agree that it will vary on how much the plot is the focus on how much sex is. Every book is different and sometimes it just goes along with the tone of the writing, but the more focus there is on sex, the closer to porn it becomes.
Erotica is not a new genre do you think it is becoming more accepted into mainstream reading? I think more people are admitting to reading it, and it’s becoming a bit more common to talk about it. With Romance novels from the 80s and 90s, for instance, everyone knew what was inside but it was considered polite not to bring it up. Now it’s a bit more in the open and that comes with the good and the bad. It seems like people are more eager to ‘pick a side’ on erotica, and that can lead to people discussing sex and sexuality in an open and honest way, or it will lead to knee jerk reactions and censorship.
It seems like it’s doing both right now.
With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? We will be putting all our novel length books (over 40,000 words) in print. There are still people who want them, and I do think it’s important to help consumers find what they want. Some people just like the feel or the smell of a book, and I’m in no position to argue with their wants! It’s a bit more work, but it’s worth it to make our fans happy.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? No TV, though sometimes I’ll listen to music. Sometimes it’s a soundtrack (like for the new Battlestar Galactica), or sometimes it’s rock/alternative/metal (like Rage Against the Machine or Mindless Self Indulgence). It depends on my mood and what the scene calls for.
Books are important, why is this the case? What can a book provide that say a video game cannot? Video games are constrained in a lot of ways, especially for dialogue and realistic romance plot lines. Part of this is just the length – you only have so much time to work on it, and usually story takes a backseat to gameplay. That’s perhaps just a part of the medium, though some developers are trying new and interesting things on that front!
Writing can also look at aspects of human nature that aren’t killing and combat that videogames and most sff movies shy away from. Things like romance and loss and grief aren’t often really explored in many meaningful ways in a lot of visual mediums. Personally, my partner and I are of the opinion that a movie does not have enough time to depict a genuine and authentic romance blossoming as simply a part of a greater plot.
As well, I think letting people visualize something rather than showing them can really help the reader immerse themselves in books in the way they can’t otherwise. It gives internal dialogue that’s usually missing, and explores the depths of human and inhuman emotions in a very unique way.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I’m 28 years old and still don’t know my left from right!
Connect with us:
The Keep | Blog | Facebook | Twitter @jmkeep/@jekeep | Mailing List | Goodreads | Amazon