She has published two novellas, The Feel of Lace (Aphrodite’s Apples Press, 2007) and The Black Rose (LoveStruck Books, 2007) as well as a novel, Chamberlain’s Knight (Mystic Moon Press, 2006).
Her work has also been featured in anthologies that include Masquerade Vol. 1 (Aphrodite’s Apples Press, 2006); Christmas Candy Anthology (Whiskey Creek Press, 2006) and Diary of a House, 413 Remembrance Lane which will be released by Phaze Publishing in August 2007.
In a recent interview, Skyler Grey spoke about her concerns as a writer.
Do you write everyday?
Sadly no, I don’t write everyday although I’d love to. When I do dig in, I usually spend anywhere from three to four hours if not longer. It’s not uncommon for my hubby to get up around three or four in the morning and peek around the corner to ask me, “You coming to bed?”
But I do think it's important to write everyday because it's so easy to get busy and put off your writing for another time. Next thing you know, it's been a week or a month since you looked at your work. So if you can write a little each day then... awesome! If you can't, at least set a goal for yourself and try hard to stick to it.
I have a very busy life: six kids, five grandkids, karate classes, taxi, nurse, maid, teacher, babysitter... All the things most women have to deal with and it keeps me running constantly. Sometimes I'm so tired, at the end of the day, I can't even "create". When I do get to sit and write, I make sure I have NO distractions. Phone's off, door is closed and hubby takes over the house. It's usually easy once I start and hard when I try to stop. Ha... I get on a roll and sometimes I'll look over at the clock and it's suddenly three a.m. Yikes! But when I do stop, it's because my characters let me know it's time to stop.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I actually started writing stories at the age of nine because I had a teacher, when I lived in Arizona, who had the class write a composition piece every Friday and I loved creating my own stories. I was a huge horror fan... Creature Feature; Dark Shadows; Monster from the Swamp Lagoon... One of the stories from that period was about a witch on a hill.
I have also written several poems over the years, prior to my first novel, one in particular, "The Dying Children," was inspired by Choices of the Heart, a movie based on a true story and which stared Melissa Gilbert from Little House on the Prairie. The movie was about a mission group that went to help nurse and feed the innocents that were caught in the crossfire of war. The story touched me so deeply that I sat bawling while I wrote the poem.
Although I’ve always loved to write, I didn’t get serious about writing until I was in my early thirties. At that time I was a single mom and I had lots of little feet running around the house and it was hard to write as well as work a full-time job. When I did get serious, it involved me getting organized... I simply made it a priority to make time for myself and to write. It took me about six years to come up with my first novel and once I'd finished the novel, I bought The Writers Market from an online bookstore and submitted the novel to tons of publishers but it wasn't until I discovered the e-book world that I finally got my first break with LoveStruck Books.
Do you see a time when more writers will opt to publish ebooks as opposed to ‘the book’?
Yes, definitely. It's a great thing, especially for green writers and authors that might have never gotten their foot in the door otherwise. I have met several authors that love writing e-books as opposed to trade paperback. I think the turn around in getting published is much faster in the e-book industry as opposed to the traditional trade paperbacks. Plus, it doesn't take as long to write a short story or novella as it does to write an actual novel.
I don't think that e-books will ever be as popular as trade paperbacks because most people, including myself, love to hold a book in their hands while reading. But I do think that the e-book industry has come a long way. They're growing in leaps and bounds and are even becoming recognized with some of the bigger house publishers.
How would you describe the genre in which you now do most of your writing?
I love to write in several genres, contemporary, suspense, sci-fi, paranormal, westerns and historical... all erotica. I think this is because I have a wide imagination. I love all kinds of movies and books. So my mind just goes in all different directions constantly.
I've just finished a regency for Aphrodite's Apples that I really enjoyed writing. The one prior to that was a contemporary novella that received an awesome review from Kwips & Kritiques. I've also written a vamp story, a paranormal, a western, a suspense/thriller about a serial killer and am now working on a horror.
What motivated you to start writing in these genres?
I chose writing erotica because of the satisfaction I get by being allowed to go into greater detail. Also, I'm a woman who can't resist an alpha male. I adore a man that is all male but can be tamed by the right woman. I personally feel, incomplete when I read a soft romance. Not to say I don’t enjoy them, but I like to feel my hero’s dominance as well as his tender side.
Who is your target audience?
Definitely eighteen and older.
Although I've written two children’s stories, which I hope to have out soon, my main focus is the mature audience.
Given that you mainly write erotica, how do you think the children’s stories will be received? Won’t there be a ‘conflict of interest’?
No, I don't think there should be any conflict as I write under a pen name.
The two children's stories are similar to Dr. Suess in the sense that they rhyme throughout the story. They are a set. They have the same set of characters and are geared toward young children, from the age of three upwards. One is called The Rainbow's End and the other, A Gloomy Day. I have six children (could be the reason why I love erotica...) and I adore kids. I'll probably have a spot in heaven, in the nursery somewhere there, so I've been told.
Who would you say has influenced you the most?
Romance authors, my first being Johanna Lindsey and Rosemary Rogers. I love those ladies. They took my vision of romance to a whole new level at the age of fourteen. But it was Lucia St. Clair Robson and her book, Ride the Wind that took my breath away and clinched my writing desire forever. The writing was flawless and made me feel as if I was standing right in the middle of everything. My heart was carried away with every emotion the characters went through. To come across an author that can write so smoothly and encase your heart so intensely is a rare find.
How have your personal experiences influenced the direction of your writing?
I’ve lived a very colorful life, some of it not very pleasant.
I think the lessons we learn and experience throughout life influence the way we perceive ourselves, for me especially. Because I have experienced many things, I tend to let my emotions create a fantasy life that I pour out into my writing... which, I think, gives the writing the ability to transfer the emotions of my characters into the reader’s heart smoothly and with ease.
What are your main concerns as a writer?
Honestly I’d have to say, editing and finding a good publisher. Happily, I've been fortunate in both departments.
I’ve several publishers and they have all gone the distance for me and I've also been blessed with the opportunity of working alongside some wonderful authors in the publishing industry... Emma Wildes, Adra Steia, Kayleigh Jamison, Cheri Valmont and Stella Price, to name a few. As well as being fellow authors, they've also become good friends and have helped encourage, guide and gently critique anything I ask. Having friends like these wonderful ladies has been the best blessing in my writing career.
What are the biggest challenges that you face? And, how do you deal with them?
In my personal life... raising and teaching my children to be all they can be... to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them. In writing... creating that one story that has such an impact on people, they'll never forget it but will always keep it close, giving them a warm fuzzy feeling every time they think of it.
With my kids… I've always made sure I instilled confidence and pride in them at a very early age. Praising them in all they do, even when they fail. I teach them the importance of love and respect so that when they go out in life, they handle life’s obstacles with confidence and in a way they can be proud of.
In writing, I try to put such emotion into my characters that the reader feels the characters are a part of their lives, experiencing the emotions themselves as if they were one with the characters.
How easy or difficult is this?
It's sometimes very easy but other times it's very hard. I have to be careful. I have to be able to 'explain' the characters' emotions in such a way that my readers are drawn in gently and then consumed. Sometimes I write and have to rewrite because I know in my head what emotions I want to put out there but my readers don't. So if need be, I'll keep working an area until I feel it's perfect.
How long did it take you to write your latest book?
The Feel of Lace took me a bit longer than normal to write. About four months. I put it on the shelf and almost junked it. I’m glad I didn’t though. Aphrodite's Apples scooped it up and it just recieved one of the best reviews I've gotten yet. Four klovers from Kwips & Kritiques.
The novella is contemporary erotica about a woman, Lacy Kimbel, who just can’t seem to make the right choice when it comes to men. So Aaron, her hairdresser, best friend and roommate, decides to take matters into his own hands by contacting a cousin in Florida, challenging him to a bet. One that poor Lacy has no clue will involve her.
Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult?
Honestly, the one thing I seem to struggle with, are the names of my characters. If the name doesn’t fit, I tend to stumble and freeze up, unable to continue until I find a name that suits their personality perfectly. Some authors can breeze through writing and come up with their characters' names toward the middle to ending of their story. Not me. I have to know them on a first name basis right from the get go.
Which book did you enjoy writing the most?
I’d have to say, Chamberlain’s Knight. I got so attached to Rowan and Chamberlain. I hated letting them go because they were both a part of my life for many years. But now I’ve started another romance novel, a western... and I’m finding myself falling in love all over again with my new hero and heroine!
What sets Chamberlain’s Knight apart from the other things you've written?
It’s a novel for one. Plus, I have several characters I introduced in this book. I’m not a big fan of keeping a story about just the hero and heroine. I like a variety of personalities because I think it makes the book interesting and causes it to stand out among the rest. But when you write a short, it can sometimes be difficult because you’re allotted only a certain word count and I tend to become… well… long-winded.
In what way is it similar?
All my stories have a HEA, (happily ever after) endings.
What will your next book be about?
I have a historical circling the snobs of London’s famous society, the Ton, that's been picked up by Aphrodite's Apples for their, Regency Romp II series. I'm also currently working on two books. One is a western novel, who’s hero is a sexy rancher and half breed Sioux Indian that gets tangled up with a snotty, little English aristocrat. The other is a horror that is really not a romance as much as it is scary. This particular book will actually be a novel and a first non-romance for me.
Where and when is the Western set? And what makes the rancher a half-breed?
It’s set in the Black Hills of Dakota.
The Sioux Indians were one of the tribes that were well-known in that area. When a white man or woman had a child with an Indian , the child was referred to as a half-breed. Meaning their blood was mixed. It was a common name used for children or adults that were not fully white back in the day. Do you remember Cher’s song, "Halfbreed"? I used to LOVE that song.
What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer? And how did you get there?
The feeling of confidence that success brought into my life by doing something I’ve always dreamed of but wasn’t sure I could.
I never gave up. No matter what was thrown in my path, I never quit. Not to say that I didn’t think about it. But thanks to some very dear friends who encouraged me when I was feeling my lowest, I hung in there and am I so thankful I did!
This article first appeared on OhmyNews International