With his first novel, Peeper, out in the big bad world, we thought it would be a good time to ask S.J. Smith a few questions. Here’s what he had to say 🙂
I always wrote stories, from being a kid, but it’s only comparatively recently I tried to get anything published with any seriousness. I’m still learning about what it is to be a professional writer, rather than a hobby writer.
How are you feeling about the release of your novel Peeper?
I’m completely blown away by it all. The idea of a book existing that I wrote is a lifelong dream.
Most people see erotica as female orientated. How did you start writing erotica and have you written in any other genre?
I don’t know why, but whatever I do normally ends up turning dirty. I learned how to use Photoshop by making pornographic birthday cards for my friends and knocking up fake web adverts for genital hygiene products. It’s the same with the writing – it always ends up going off at a sexual tangent. I used to worry that putting sex in my stories would cheapen them, so I tended to write it humorously with a sarcastic slant. Then I came up with the idea to embrace the dirtiness, rather than try to disguise it, and write stories that are unashamedly proud to be dirty. There’s still an element of humour in there, but my characters are allowed to have enjoyable sex nowadays without me inflicting some embarrassment or catastrophe on them.
We all know that writers spend a lot of time either on the computer or inside their own heads. How does your wife cope with being married to an author?
She’s a creative person herself, so she understands what it is to get totally ravelled up in something. Nowadays I do try to put a limit on the amount of time I spend pacing around the house, scowling and muttering to myself while I try to work out some element of a plot. I’ve figured out I can do it just as well lying on the sofa with my eyes closed, and now I’m almost a proper writer I have the added luxury of being able to claim I’m “working” when I’m in fact doing fuck all.
What are you currently working on?
Right at this moment I’m too excited about Peeper to do much writing. I’ve got a couple of novels on the back burner that I need to get on with, plus about a million other things to do. The next book I’m hoping to be able to get in good enough shape to submit to a publisher is a sort of dirty odyssey through the afterlife. It’s like a cross between Dungeons and Dragons, Tron and Ass Worship 3.
Where do you see your writing career in ten years from now?
I’m hoping I’ll get to have a career in writing – getting paid for making up stories is about as good as it gets. I’ll happily swap being a minimum wage writer for being a minimum wage support worker any day of the week.
Peeper is the type of novel that would generally be labelled ‘men’s erotica’ but it’s also had a very positive reaction from its female readers. Why do you think that is, and was its readership something you were conscious of while writing it?
The book is told from a man’s point of view, but it’s really a story about two women. Jenks bounces between them and reacts to all the craziness they put him through, but the focus is all on the girls. I suppose I was conscious of that while I was writing the book in so much as I didn’t really bother with too much of Jenks’ backstory – I removed a lot of detail about him from the first draft as I wanted him to be more like a camera whose eyes you were looking through, rather than the star of the show. The whole narrative is essentially him seeing stuff and reacting to it.
Is there anything about Peeper people should know before buying it?
It’s very dirty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Is there any sexual subject you wouldn’t be able to bring yourself to write about?
I’m really not into the idea of women getting hurt, so a lot of the BDSM stuff is out as far as I’m concerned. The odd spank of a bare bott is all well and good, but a lady getting off on being slugged in the chops wouldn’t be something I’d write about. I’ll leave that sort of novel to ladies who enjoy participating in it, as I reckon they’d have a far better understanding of it than I would.
Jenks is such a wonderful character. What are the chances of us seeing more of him in the future?
I tend to base a lot of stories in the same imaginary towns and villages, so characters do occasionally overlap. There’s a good chance of Jenks popping up somewhere else, but I don’t feel any great desire to write Peeper 2.
Do you have any other books available to buy?
I have another novel entitled ‘Leisure’ due to come out in the autumn through MuseitHot. It’s a lot dafter than Peeper, and is about a woman going to work in the world’s most fucked up leisure centre and the cast of bizarre characters she encounters there. There are also a couple of my short stories available – ‘The Dark Months’ and ‘Christmas with Virginia May’ in their own right, and ‘Filthy Mary’ is included in the Mammoth Book of Uniform Erotica.