Kristina Wright is an award winning author who lives in Virginia. She has been writing since the first grade. She holds a BA in English, an MA in Humanities and is currently working on a certificate in Women’s Studies. Through her career, she has written everything from greetings cards to book reviews. However, because she has been published in more than sixty print anthologies, it’s apparent that erotic fiction is an important part of her writing. Kristina has stories in each of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s two recent anthologies, Tasting Him and Tasting Her. She was kind enough to take the time from her busy schedule to answer one or two questions about her stories and her writing.
Ashley Lister:”Frosted” (in Tasting Him) is the story of a couple who find a new way to enjoy frosted cinnamon rolls. “Hold on I’m Coming” (in Tasting Her) is the story of a woman whose passion is fired by Motown music. These are vastly differing stories but written with your inimitable style and flair. Where do the ideas come from?
Kristina Wright: First of all, thank you for the lovely compliment! I’m a chronic insomniac, so most of my stories come from the Insomnia Fairy (also known as the muse) who visits me in the middle of the night while the rest of the world is sleeping and whispers stories in my ear. Or something like that.
My stories start with an image or a question. I’m intrigued by human nature and I love to people watch. I think there is some truth in all fiction and my writing is no different. I have a friend who is addicted to a particular brand of cinnamon rolls and will drive long distances to get them and from that “Frosted” was born. I’ve been listening to Motown since I was a kid and the lyrics always struck me as a little bit naughty, so I created a scenario in “Hold On, I’m Coming” where a couple could make the music part of their lovemaking. Sex and food, sex and music—these combinations seem to go together so well because they’re all about passion and the senses.
Ashley Lister: One of the things I enjoyed about “Hold on, I’m Coming” (apart from its superb denouement) was the way your writing conjured up the rhythms and lyrics of the Motown tracks. Why did you choose Motown as the genre for this story? Was it because the lyrics and titles of these songs are suggestive? Is it because there seems to be an inherent sensuality implied in the rhythm of the music? Or do you simply think there is something special about Motown music that makes it the ideal accoutrement to sexual passion?
Kristina Wright: I think all music is inherently sensual because it stirs the emotions. We remember where we were when we heard a particular song, who we were with, what we were doing. Music stays with us, like the memory of a lover’s kiss. I could have written an erotic story about the old standards or 1980s hair metal (both of which I love), but I was writing at my local Starbucks one afternoon when “Hold On, I’m Coming” started playing. I had this vivid mental image of a woman tossing her mop aside and saying to hell with the housework because she was grooving to Motown. It made sense to me—those songs are sexy as hell—and who wants to do housework, anyway?
Ashley Lister: The main theme of “Frosted,” aside from the sexual content, is that the couple in your story have a genuine passion for each other. In some ways this is almost as sweet as the frosting that is being used to add to their game. However, the love between your couple in this story is realistic without being sickly sweet. Do you find it easy to write stories with such a sex-positive focus? Do you think it’s important for erotic fiction authors to remember that not all sex is about conflict?
Kristina Wright: You’ve heard the old phrase, “write what you know.” I find it natural to write sex-positive stories because I believe sex is a positive (and essential) part of life. Sex rocks!
I agree that not all sex is about conflict, but I do think conflict is central to all fiction. Even in a romantic story like “Frosted,” there is conflict. It’s a sweet tease of a conflict—a woman trying to turn her man’s focus from his passion for cinnamon rolls into a passion for her. (I just can’t see a dark, tormented story about cinnamon rolls, can you?)
I’ve written some pretty edgy stories loaded with angst and pain—but the conflict in those stories arises out of the relationships between the characters or from some external source, not from the sex they’re having. I can’t recall ever writing a story where the sexual experience was portrayed in a negative light. In fact, it’s usually the sex that saves the day! Even if everything else is going to hell in a handbasket, I’m going to write about hot, passionate wonderful sex.
Ashley Lister: I should have mentioned in the introduction that you are an animal lover. According to your blog you have one dog, four cats, a conure, finches and fish. You’re also working as a student. I know that pets can be demanding, and I’m aware that the requirements of any college course can be time-consuming, so when do you find the time to write?
Kristina Wright: I’m incredibly lucky in that I have a very flexible schedule and a very supportive spouse. I teach college level English and Humanities and I’m a perpetual student, but neither of those pursuits is the kind of 9-5 grind that a lot of writers struggle with. I don’t feel like my other interests sap my creative energy. Most of the time, I feel like I’m a slacker who should be writing more than I do!
I’ve been an animal lover since I was old enough to carry a kitten home from school. I take in strays, nurse sick animals and feed the backyard wildlife (which includes, much to the amusement of others, a family of raccoons who are particularly fond of bananas). Right now, I have several aging pets that require a lot of time and energy (and money) to care for that I know many other people wouldn’t be able to give. I’m glad I’m able to do it and I can’t imagine a time when I would decide it was too much work to care for animals. I would appreciate it, though, if they’d learn to let me sleep at night!
Ashley Lister: As I mentioned in the introduction, you have a B.A. in English, an M.A. in Humanities, you’re currently working on a certificate in Women’s Studies and you’re considering a Ph.D.. Do you find that some of the insights given by this learning affects the way you think about characters, story and narrative development, particularly in regards to erotic fiction?
Kristina Wright: I’m an education junkie and, like many writers, know a little about a lot of subjects—most of which find their way into my writing at some point. I love learning new things and being immersed in academia. Studying literature makes me want to be a better writer. I love revisiting the classics and discovering something I missed in a previous reading. I kind of fell into the humanities and found that it was basically the study of all the things I enjoy learning about on my own—popular culture, philosophy, sociology, the arts. My interest in women’s studies is fuelled by my strong belief that there is more than one way to be a feminist. I enjoy writing women-centered, sex- positive erotica and I like to think my writing empowers women to explore and enjoy their own sexuality.
Ashley Lister: What are you currently working on? And when can we next expect to see something new from Kristina Wright?
Kristina Wright: I always seem to have a dozen projects I’m working on, and a dozen more in my head waiting to be unleashed. Right now, I have several erotica stories in various stages of completion for forthcoming anthology deadlines. I took a screenwriting class in the spring and fell in love with the format and storytelling style. I’m editing my first screenplay while outlining a second one. I am also writing a novel-length paranormal erotic romance.
I have stories forthcoming in about a dozen anthologies, but there are a couple in particular I would like to mention. My erotic romance novella “One Night in Winter” will be out in December in Bedding Down: A Collection of Winter Erotica, edited by the fabulous Rachel Kramer Bussel and published by Avon Red. I love working with Rachel and I’m very excited about the collection as this was my first novella! Another exciting moment for me was selling my first story to Adam Nevill at Black Lace (Virgin Books/Random House). “The Rancher’s Wife” is forthcoming in the erotic romance collection Seduction. I have been a fan of the Black Lace line for years so I’m delighted to be one of their new authors.
I just want to thank you, Ashley, for this opportunity to talk about my writing. The Erotica Readers and Writers Association has a very fond place in my heart and I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Adrienne Benedicks for her untiring promotion of the genre and providing tremendous support and community to authors.
I stumbled upon writing erotica by accident in 1999. I had just published my first romance novel with Silhouette and I was between novel proposals when I wrote a quirky little story called “Service Entrance.” It was about a woman who pays a man for the privilege of giving him a blowjob. I had no idea what to do with the story and would have filed it away forever if not for a newsletter called Jane’s ‘Net Sex Guide. The newsletter was put out by Jane Duvall, who still runs the well-known Jane’s Guide. The newsletter editor was Adrienne Benedicks and she featured a short story in each edition. I sent “Service Entrance” to Adrienne and she bought it within days, sending me a lovely, flattering note of encouragement. From there, I discovered Adrienne’s mailing list for erotica readers and writers and sent “Service Entrance” off to Marcy Sheiner a few months later for consideration in the inaugural 2000 edition of the Best Women’s Erotica series. Marcy bought the story and I haven’t looked back since. I have such appreciation and gratitude for Jane Duvall, Marcy Sheiner and—most of all—Adrienne Benedicks for starting my career as an erotica writer. Thank you, Adrienne!
Visit Kristina Wright at: kristinawright.com
“Between the Lines” © 2008 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.