1. When and why did you begin writing?
When? I'd like to say forever, but most consciously was after being told by my year 5 teacher (so I was about 11 or 12) that a piece I'd written was one of the best she'd ever read by a student. A nice boost to one's confidence! It hadn't occurred to me to be a writer before then, and that pretty much decided it then and there. As to the why - well, as much as I wanted to be ever after that, I realised later on that it was just what I had to do; the stories and characters don't stop coming, and I've learned recently that you should listen to those voices that won't shut up. ;)
2. How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My upbringing was slightly unusual; my early childhood was spent in ex-patriot communities in Indonesia and Singapore, my teenage years on the north-east coast of NSW, Australia, and my university years in Sydney. If anything it's given me perspective on how very different people's lives can be - in Indonesia, the people around me, who weren't locals, had vast experiences of international travel, while back in Oz, I was at school with kids who had barely left their home town, let alone the state or country. So how you're background influences perspective I suppose has become something I like to explore with characters.
3. What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Sitting down and making yourself do it! That's been a big challenge for me, one I've worked through and struggled with, but I've gotten much better at it. The biggest thing for me now is finishing stories, either long or short pieces.
4. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I'm currently working on an m/m longer work (probably novel length) about a man invovled in illegal cage fights and a doctor. That's all I'll say for the moment, but here are the opening lines that I do hope will stay in the final version! ;)
Paul found him collapsed between the roses and the apple tree, his leather jacket catching on the thorns, one arm dangling on a lower branch of the tree, and blood the colour of the petals and the fruit streaked down his cheek. In the fading twilight, the man seemed dead, until Paul placed his fingers underneath his chin and found a pulse.
5. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
See question one for writing as a specific act, but beyond that...as I said, the stories have always been there. My imagination has always been something of a comfort, though sometimes a curse. The writing gets things out of my head and onto paper.
6. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
In my own writing, in terms of the craft and technique - I find word choice a challenge; I struggle with really wanting to sound erudite (that comes from placing a high premium in wanting to be intelligent and clever) but also recognising the need for clarity. In terms of content I toss between - again, those intellectual pretensions - wanting to write something deep and meaningful, but have a great fondess for the more populist, genre kind of stories. I do recognise you can have both, but damn, that ain't easy!
7. How do you develop your plots and characters?
In the half hour walk home from work! I'm serious; I'll a germ of an idea at work - often character situation, I usually begin with characters and then setting soon after - and then by the time I'm home I have a decent thread of a plot. It's hard to say how exactly because plotting often feels relatively instinctive and natural. The trick then is to make sure that plot is character and character is plot, that their wants and needs are what is driving the plot forward. Learning that helped me immensely in developing plot better.
8. Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?
I read widely across all genres, and have recently finished Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses, an intense and harrowing examination of racism in an alternative universe, and Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's graphic novel Lost Girls, which I think is well-worth a look for any one invovled in erotica or pornography or sex writing, because in typical Moore fashion, it's highly meta and among other things, explore the distinction between fiction, fantasy, and reality. My bookmark is currrently in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, whose writing is just so eloquent and funny.
9. What do you do to unwind and relax?
Pub with friends; going for a walk; watching a current episode of a favourite TV series. I'd love to say reading but that tends to feel more like a writerly 'must do' rather than a relaxing activitiy per se, but of course I do enjoy it.
10. What dreams have been realised as a result of your writing?
Oooh, that's tough. As the result of making the commitment to write I've created a sense of freedom that I didn't really feel I had before. More in terms of the act of getting work published - seeing your name in print is pretty awesome.
11. What do you find sexy in your characters?
If I'm writing a character whose meant to be sexy to the other character, I'll try make them physically interesting - I don't tend to write male characters who are obviously or conventionally attractive, but a little quirky perhaps - I rarely go into raptures about character looks. I tend to find what they do, how they regard the world, and particularly how they regard their love interest, sexy.
12. What topics do you enjoy most writing about? Is there anything that you won't write?
You mean apart from sex? ;) Ok, seriously - I like writing relationships because I like writing dialogue, and within that...well, no topic is reall vorboeten to me. I like exploring aspects of life that the characters approach from a different perspective, and that can be anything from the way they view their sexuality, to how they have sex, to what they eat for breakfast and the decisions they've made about their jobs. If I don't write about something it's less that I don't want to and more that it hasn't occured to me do it. That said, I baulk a little at 'why don't you try' or worse, 'you should try', because I have enough ideas cluttering my head and hard drive thank you!
13. Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor?
There is someone whose a very dear friend of mine who gave me some of the best, most critical feedback I needed when I was about 18. Thanks to her I broke a lot of bad habits picked up as a teenager when I hadn't had much guidance. We're still friends, though I'd say the writing relationship has changed somewhat.
14. Do you ever include any of your life experiences in the plot?
I've included snatches of things that have happened, but nothing really extensive from my own life. It is something I'd like to try more - not necessarily making a plot out of my life but trying to lend some reality to the fiction.
15. And last but not least, the question I ask everyone I interview: if you were a plant in the next life, what would you be and why?
What I'd like to be; daffodil - I just love them so much, bright and always cheerful. But this is not me so much, so I'd probably be something a bit quirkier like, I dunno, a snapdragon. ;)
“It’s Gonna Hurt”, My First Spanking, Ravenous Romance, 2012
Edited by Cassandra Park.
For sex. For discipline. For revenge. For money … For curiosity’s sake. There are many reasons and ways to give and take a spanking, and in this erotic collection edited by Cassandra Park, 13 authors write about their first spanking-the way it happened or the way they dreamed it had happened.
“My First Spanking” recalls younger, slightly more innocent days, days when we knew what we wanted, or had an idea, but were afraid to say the word. Days of meeting potential partners in quiet corners of restaurants, keeping our voices low. Days spent longing to find the person who knew how to take charge, and the nervous excitement when we knew it was about to happen at last.
The characters in this collection are not all lovers, and the spankings are not always delivered with love. But there’s always compassion, love, or at the very least lust between spanker and spankee. And in just about every case, they know that their first spanking is definitely not going to be their last.
Buy it: here
Jacqueline Brocker is an Australian writer living in the UK. She has had her short erotic fiction published by Filament Magazine, Every Night Erotica, by Freaky Fountain Press in the anthology Erotica Apocrypha, and by Ravenous Romance in the anthology My First Spanking. Her other writing includes historically tinged fantasy and she also dabbles in crime fiction.
Her website is: http://jacquelinebrocker.esquinx.net and her twitter is: http://www.twitter.com/ms_jacquelineb