Ronnie Strong came to erotica relatively late in life, but he’s making up for lost time. He has three eBooks out, including Kate Gets Marks – the story of ‘a middle-aged woman exploring her sexual desires outside her marriage.’
How did you begin writing erotica?
Two years ago I was studying writing and editing at RMIT when an email was circulated by our teacher, the wonderful Kate Holden, inviting students to attend an event featuring erotica authors talking about their craft. I looked at the website for Pleasure Salon Melbourne and discovered it was a monthly forum where guest speakers discussed different sex-positive issues. I went along out of curiosity; half thinking I would write a non-fiction piece on this interesting meeting happening regularly in Melbourne.
As I listened to the authors talk about the genre, the audience, and their motivations I began thinking that I would like to give it a try. I had just finished researching and writing a historical analysis on serious public policy issues in Victoria and I really felt like a change. I had always wanted to write good fiction and writing erotica seemed like a good idea.
I started writing The Laundromat a few days later and found that I liked the process and had plenty of ideas. By cutting down on sleep and writing mainly late at night, I had soon written about thirty thousand words that I thought were fairly good, but I wasn’t entirely sure. I was exhausted too by working full time, studying and trying to do this writing as well. I decided to take a break and get feedback from some people on my writing. My readers were very positive so I picked up the writing again and finished and published my first erotic novel about six months after starting.
What’s your favourite type of erotic writing? Who are you reading at the moment?
I have read erotica on and off over the years and I think my influences are pretty apparent in my own writing. The first erotica I read was probably in an innovative Australian magazine called Forum, I think. Cyndi Darnell would know, and I think I remember her referring to it recently. My first purchase of erotica was a big Nancy Friday book, Women On Top. I found the diversity of women’s sexual fantasies quite compelling and looked for more books like this. Much later on I found the Australian collection by Ruth Ostrow, burning urges. Previous to that I had read a few books such as Eat Me by Linda Jaivin. A really big influence, despite my dislike for much of his philosophy and subject matter, has been the Marquis de Sade. His work is compellingly provocative, no matter what else you think about it.
Although I don’t really read a lot of erotica; when I do now, it is mainly the work of my contemporaries including Adrea Kore and the authors published by Little Raven. I have sampled other writers too but I find the quality of most erotica fairly disappointing. Maybe it is simply taste, but too much of the readily available content produced elsewhere seems poorly written to me. Clearly there is good stuff out there too; I just haven’t been reading much of it.
I think it is really great that there is this emerging coterie of erotica writers here in Melbourne. I think Little Raven has been very instrumental in developing this and can’t wait to see what might eventuate over the next few years.
What do you think compels us to write about sex?
I used to read for escapism, now I write to do the same. My prolonged studies and work have taken much of the joy in reading away from me as now I invariably feel guilty if I am reading purely for pleasure. It is really silly I know, but I can’t help but feeling I should be using the time to read something more serious.
I didn’t realise this at first; there is nowhere to hide writing erotica. I am being self-indulgent, and it seems self-revealing, but I do really enjoy the challenge of seriously writing about sexuality and pleasure to evoke pleasure. It is a bit silly, but I do derive intellectual pleasure from writing a good orgasm. This is where my life has led me to at this point. I hasten to add, I also enjoy having them, but I do try to keep the two different activities and pleasures separate.
How would describe your style?
I have been heavily influenced by my earliest readings and do always write from the first person perspective of the main female protagonist. I don’t completely understand why, but I like being able to explore the world view and experience of a sensuous woman. I think there are at least three different things going on with that. Firstly, it is a bit of an emotional safeguard for me so that I don’t get too caught up in the fantasy life of my protagonists. Clearly I am not a woman, and the character is not me, but she is a creation of my imagination. Secondly, I want to explore another way of being through my writing, and for my writing to challenge me by seeing if I can successfully imagine myself into another sexual identity. Finally, I recognise that the main readers of erotica are women in their thirties, forties and fifties, and I want to speak to these women directly by having a main character from that group, and dealing with issues that they might be experiencing for themselves. (Although not in Dolphin Heat, which is an exception to my usual fare).
Marquis de Sade often wrote this way and I have also modelled my writing to some extent on the Story of O. I want to write literary erotica that really explores characters attitudes and feelings, as well as exploring the social and cultural forces that are impacting upon the main characters actions, values and quandaries.
I also want it to be highly explicit and graphically detailed, but hopefully in a less phallocentric way than is typical in much of men’s writing. I am not sure that I always succeed, but I have always been encouraged by the feedback I get from women readers who say they really like the detailed and real-seeming hot-sex in my stories.
Tell us about ‘Kate gets Marks.’
This story took me a while to finish as I found it quite challenging, much more so than my previous work. It is part one of a story of a middle-aged woman exploring her sexual desires outside her marriage. Despite initial uncertainty she finds herself unable to resist her growing urges which she first explores through her dreams and thoughts. With her husband’s knowledge, she decides she cannot deny her desires, and pursues a kinky romantic encounter with the man stirring her passions. That description is pretty much my short blurb, I don’t want to give too many spoilers here, but there are longer descriptions and longish samples to read if people want to see for themselves.
Where did the idea come from?
Although completely fictional, it is based on some real life discussions and possibilities happening in my own life, and was directly inspired by my wife. My previous work, particularly The Laundromat, was of no interest to her at all. She found its detailed descriptions of sexual acts involving unusual objects and characters off-putting, and not at all to her taste. When we were discussing this one day my wife asked me to write something she would like, with more emphasis on a romantic encounters between a married woman and another man in her life. The difficulties I encountered in writing this story related both to the subject matter, and the question of authorial control. Eventually we resolved this issue by me writing the story and events that I thought appropriate, with my wife losing all editorial control. Once we decided upon that I was able to finish the first part of this fictional story. I am not sure how it ends, except I do prefer happily ever after for most of the characters.
What are you working on at the moment?
I really need to finish the sequel to Kate Gets Marks and will be getting onto that soon, but at the moment I am having a little break.
Where can people see you next?
I get about a bit, but not usually as Ronnie as my day job keeps me fairly busy. I would like to go abroad as Ronnie more, but it is necessary for me to maintain my public anonymity while I continue to work for a government body. It is a little strange when I do go to a Little Raven, Word Play or Pleasure Forum Australia event. I feel like I have to introduce myself twice, first using my real name, and then as Ronnie Strong.
Where can people buy the book?
Kate Gets Marks, Dolphin Heat and The Laundromat are all available at Kobo, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere. I am an indie author who publishes at Smashwords, and they push the eBooks to these other ebook sellers. I also separately publish at the Amazon Kindle Store but Dolphin Heat is not available there because its content breaches their editorial guidelines.
You can friend me on Facebook and you can visit my website. Google searches find me and my books fairly reliably. Here are some links to my eBooks:
Ronnie came to writing erotica relatively late in life. After growing up in East Doncaster during the sixties and seventies, Ronnie lived in student houses in Fitzroy during the 1980s. He gradually moved further north over the years, apart from an interlude in a country town and Melbourne’s inner western suburbs. He is now very settled with his young family in a little pocket of Reservoir near La Trobe University where he recently completed a PhD. Ronnie is a working parent with a partner and kids. His day job with a government body is a bit of a distraction, but does pay the bills. Ronnie loves music, likes going to the football, reading widely, and great movies and television series.
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