Hello everyone! Welcome back for the newest edition of Pillow Talk Secrets! Today, Tamsin, Malin, and I—Jade, your host for the day—have merged our thoughts together to talk about…merging writing genres together! :) We had a lot to say in regards to genre crossovers and stories that blend vastly contrasting elements together, both in our own writing experiences, and in our reading, too. So, without further ado, we hope you enjoy…
Pillow Talk Secrets
Jade: Hello ladies! So nice to be back again. How are you both doing today?
Malin: Doing well! How about you, Jade? Tamsin?
Tamsin: Very well, thanks—and better for being here with you two! :)
J: Aw! I agree. And I’m well too, thank you. So…today we have a very interesting topic on hand—erotica crossovers and genre blending. Shall we get right to it?
M: Sounds great. I suspect we’ll have a lot to say.
J: I agree. Initially, I’d thrown this topic out as an option during our first year recap. Then, by random happenstance, we all ended up getting asked to join in on a special anthology that I know we’re all excited about! We’ll get to that in a bit, but for now—let’s start with the idea of erotica crossovers. What styles have you both blended so far? And how did you find it went for you?
T: I think by now, nearly everyone knows that I’ve written zombie erotica—and it’s probably one the most fun projects I’ve worked on. The obvious challenge being how to make something so totally squicky even remotely sexy!
M: The fact that you did make a zombie apocalypse a believably sexy scenario is a testament to your talent. It’s a high bar and you hit it!
J: I agree—and I think what was most interesting is that you really humanized a really inhuman being. Even though we wanted to squirm over the grotesqueness of the zombies, we ended up rooting for them in a few of those stories.
T: Wow! Thank you both. I think the challenge with any crossover is staying faithful to the essence of the two original genres but somehow making the sum even more than the two parts.
M: I agree. Most genres have a set of recognizable conventions. They’re sort of like markers for the reader. When you blend genres or write crossovers, you almost have to choose which conventions from each best serve the story you want to tell.
J: Right. And you also have to decide which convention needs to rule the tale. Is it more horror than erotica, or more erotica than horror, etc. For example, when we did the Coming Together: Among the Stars anthology, Malin, we did a merging of sci-fi and erotica in our stories. Did you feel you were writing more of a sci-fi story with erotic elements, or an erotic story with sci-fi elements? Or was the blend pretty equally split in your mind as you wrote it?
M: That’s an interesting question! To be honest, I’m not sure. I don’t tend to think in that way—I tend to have a story in mind and then I write it and see what it is. That story came out a pretty even mix of sci-fi and erotica. Weirdly, the elements that I consciously played with more than anything were the comedic ones. The sci-fi / erotic elements took care of themselves.
J: I would agree with that—there was some comedy that somehow needed to be added. I wonder if that’s sci-fi or just a coincidence that we both had the experience?
T: I’ve definitely found comedy to be useful in all the genre blending I’ve done. Maybe it acts like lube (snigger) in getting the two genres into bed with one another!
M: I like that idea of comedy acting as a kind of lube! For me, it depends on the genres being blended. When I blend literary and erotic, comedy doesn’t come out as much (unless it’s very black humor), but with sci-fi it was very natural. It may just depend on the story. Jeez. What an abstract answer!
T: I can see that—literary and comedy are pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum.
J: Absolutely. That is a pairing that doesn’t necessarily bode well for giggles. Speaking of giggles—have either of you tried an erotic comedy? I don’t even know if I’ve read something like that…
T: Some of my shorts have been fairly comedic but I’d count them as straight erotica rather than a genre blend.
M: Hm… I think I’m in the same boat as Tamsin there. I don’t think I’ve ever purposely blended comedy and erotica, though I have written erotic stories that were funny on purpose. It would be cool to try though. Play up the ridiculous while keeping it sexy…
J: I foresee a lot of bedroom accidents in that kind of story. :) To me, comedy has always seemed a little tricky, but it could be interesting to try.
T: I think it is tricky, particularly to sustain it to novel length, but it’s fun to do for short stories. “Shibari Girl,” actually, was a comedy-superhero-erotica mash-up that seemed to work quite well.
M: I was just thinking about “Shibari Girl”! But you also brought up a good point, Tamsin—the difference between sustaining certain elements over a short story vs. long form. I think of shorts as a great place to experiment and play with different blendings and styles, but there are a number of things that wouldn’t work as well over the full length of a novel.
T: Actually, I was trying to think of genre blends that you just never see, and why that might be.
J: Well, there’s erotic suspense, erotic mystery, horror, western, romance…and so many more. I think erotic comedy might be the hardest to find. Don’t you both think?
M: I do, now that you lay it out like that. I haven’t come across too many deliberate mash-ups of comedy and erotica. Though I could be wrong. There’s a ton out there I haven’t read.
T: I suspect that erotic comedy would come in at the porny end of the spectrum!
J: Possibly! Now, another one that we see less frequently—that we’re all about to be quite connected with—is erotic horror. Without saying too much just yet (and to keep you lovely readers guessing until the official announcement), we’re all delighted to be included in a super exciting forthcoming erotic horror anthology. What do you both think of the experience writing this (or planning this) so far?
T: Well, I’m revisiting the zombies, so it’s familiar ground—but I am going to be ramping up the horror quotient. And I’m excited to trying something that’s a little new for me in this way.
J: Malin, what about you?
M: I’m enjoying myself immensely! I’ve never written horror before, but I love gothic horror novels so a lot of those elements are creeping in…actually, “creepy” is a good word for the tone that’s developed. The fact that it’s set in an asylum doesn’t hurt. The whole tangle of sexuality and madness will hopefully turn the reader on while making them good and nervous.
J: Sounds delicious!
T: Jade, how are you finding it?
J: You know, I’ve actually found it a bit challenging! I’m visiting my old spec fic stomping grounds and bringing in a werewolf…except making it more horror than suspense is very new. It’s working okay so far, I suppose, but I definitely think swinging between scary and sexy is working my brain. Still, I’m having fun! :)
T: I’m sure it’ll be totally brilliant. I’m really looking forward to reading both your stories—and those from the other contributors.
M: I am as well—both of you always turn out top-notch work, so I have nothing but greedy anticipation regarding both of those pieces. And as for the rest of the authors involved, it definitely promises to be a very good read.
J: No kidding! I’m excited to devour (buah ah ah) both of your stories, and the roster itself is incredible!
T: Say no more! ;)
J: Right! [Zips lips.] So, moving on then…are there any erotic blends you both are dying to try in the future that you haven’t yet gone for?
T: Definitely. Once I finish with Alchemy and a few other commitments, I’ll be throwing myself into something very, very dark and gothic. So, a total change of gears for me and I’m already chomping at the bit to get going on it. It will be very different from anything I’ve done so far.
M: I’m chomping at the bit for you to get going on it too! I want to read it! ;)
T: Thank you, M!
J: Oh, me too, me too! I’m liking where you’ve been going on your blog, so I bet it’s going to be fabulous!
T: We’ll see… I’m also a little nervous about it too. But that’s what makes it all the more appealing—I’m going to be writing right out of my (and everybody else’s) comfort zone.
M: I think nerves are a good sign. Sounds like you’re going to push up against some boundaries and that’s exciting…and it can be a little nervous-making too. Means you’re doing something new!
T: Definitely. What about you two? Any genre blending in the works?
M: I’m actually loving the horror / erotica blend right now and I may play with it a bit more. I’d also love to work with blending fairy tales and erotic elements. It was done a ton a few years ago, but fairy tales (especially the darker, more gruesome ones) are still exciting territory for me. Mythology too. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up working with some of them down the line. What about you Jade?
J: Oh, you two both have me thrilled about your upcoming works! This is all very exciting territory, and, on what you both said earlier, I do think that scary territory is a good sign. Try something new, right? As for me, I think I’ll be trying erotic suspense in the future! The book I’m going to work on down the road has the right feel for it—dark, eerie, tense. So we’ll see how that goes. And way further down the line, I’ve got a more literary erotic novel in mind. This whole plan is still brewing though, and the book may end up more lit than erotic…but who knows. It’s on the list!
T: Ah, the list! I bet yours is as long as mine! [Remembers suddenly that there’s espionage erotica on the cards as well…]
M: I was going to ask about that espionage situation you’ve got brewing ;) The list is a hell of a task mistress. Kind of love it for that…
T: Yup, Honeytrap is actually next up after Alchemy…
J: Oh, yes! Honeytrap! See, I think we all have a bit of crossover happening in our futures now, and it’s exciting. I guess overall it’s a natural occurrence—writing in multiple fields, merging styles and all. Don’t you both think?
M: I do think it’s natural to play with all kinds of elements. Writers tend to be curious people and crossovers are a good way to keep things creatively fresh.
T: Well, I’m totally looking forward to reading all your mash-ups, girls! Bring ‘em on!
J: I think they’ll be fantastic! I can’t wait. And for now, perhaps we should wrap it up and get on with writing these new genre blendings we’ve got on our plates?
M: Probably a smart move—sounds like we’ve all got a lot in the works! In the meantime, though, I loved talking to you both, as always! It feels like an exciting time.
T: Yes, great chat. Now I must tear myself away to go and write some food erotica! ;) See you both soon!
J: [Snort.] Indeed! It’s been lovely, ladies! And thank you to our readers for joining us!
Jade, Malin, and Tamsin