Pollygraph (interviews with erotica authors): Willsin Rowe

Consummate Therapy box-setTell us about your writing. What kinds of erotica do you write?
On my own, I tend to write stuff that’s romantic without actually being Romance. So there’s often an element of the melancholy or the tragic in amongst it all. A little bit gritty on occasion, too. My collaborative writing with Katie Salidas is often more romantic. There are more happy endings, for one thing! But we always have more going on than just the sex. Phobias, challenges, assumptions and, in the case of our Consummate Therapy series, extreme bitchiness in our main character!

Why erotica?
Why not? But seriously…sex (when done right) is such a visceral interaction. It’s difficult to hide yourself when you’re both physically and emotionally exposed. I think written sex is a wonderful way to reveal character.

How did you get into it?
I entered a contest and won! The prize was to get my winning story published. That was back in 2005-2006. While my output has been intermittent since then, recently I discovered that by using Write or Die I could actually churn out great wads of text that I didn’t hate! So my output is growing rapidly.

Tell us about your experiences as an erotica author. What have the big challenges and successes been?
Allowing myself time to write has been tough. I have two sons, the elder of whom is pretty severely intellectually-impaired. He needs a decent amount of attention every day when he’s home. And my wife works a busy job as well as running a business (and doing the books for all my ventures as well!). So it often feels like taking an hour away from the family is self-indulgent. But I take great comfort in the fact that my stories, when I do finish and submit them, are rarely rejected.

Do the people around you know what you write? How have they reacted, or how would they react?
Most of my family and my in-laws know. As far as I’m aware, none of them really give a hoot! My mother was a little shocked way back when my first story came out, but I think she just puts her fingers in her ears now and says “la la la la can’t hear you la la la…”

You write with Katie Salidas: how does collaboration work for you? Does collaboration on erotica add something extra?
Collaborating with Katie was, and is, simply the easiest thing to do. We’ve been reading each other’s work critically for years, having first “met” in 2009. We each found we had unfinished stories, or stories we’d finished and didn’t feel we’d truly nailed. So we kind of made a slush pile and picked out the ones that we felt we could work on.

I think in our case, collaboration has worked extremely well. It’s given us both more impetus to write, and expanded our methods of thinking (not to mention our international knowledge).

Tell us about your most recent titles.
I haven’t released a solo title since March 2012. So my recent releases have both been short stories in anthologies. One of those was a paranormal erotic romance, called “Indigo”. It appeared in the “Scarlet Sins” anthology, and combined vampires, sex and music. That was a lot of fun to write!

The other story was called “Vanilla”, and it appeared in the Edible Delights Volume III anthology – an all-Aussie affair!

Do you have a favourite, or favourites, among your stories?
I still have a soft spot for my story “The Three-Day Hump”. It was my third published story, and my first with Excessica, though I’ve removed it from sale now. It’s a story of sexual obsession and addiction. The title refers not to the act of “humping”, but to the urban myth that three days of abstinence from an addiction means you’re over “the three-day hump”. It was the first story I needed to do actual research for, and it changed style and point-of-view several times before I was happy with it. A great learning process.

As well as your writing, you’ve also become something of a turn-to guy for erotica authors looking for slick covers. How did you get into cover design?
And I’m also a bass-player in a swampy blues-folk band! But I digress…

Cover art came about through Excessica (my main publisher). They were looking for people to try their hand at various tasks, and cover art was the one I was best suited to. At that point I’d been using Photoshop and Illustrator for well over 15 years, all within the graphic design industry (though not actually AS a graphic designer). The work I did seemed to resonate well with authors, and Selena Kitt (Excessica head-guru) suggested I should whore myself around. She may have used slightly different words than that…but essentially, that’s what I did!

Would you like to share some examples of covers you’re most proud of?
Sure! Here’s a selection from various genres.

Blind Attraction_480 Dark Salvation_480 His Go-To Girl_480 Occ Therapy_480 Lost Girls_480 Gritty Cover_480 Wanderlust_480 Devil's Icebox_480 Sterling_480

 

What are the key ingredients of top-notch art covers?
Very often (but by no means always!) it’s simplicity. Striking a balance between what absolutely needs to be on there, and what treatment you give it so the important parts stand out. Sometimes it’s making sure to put the text somewhere that it won’t interfere with the image. Sometimes it’s essential to use the text to intentionally block the image! Especially where nipples are involved.

Do you have any favourite erotica authors, either to work with or read?
For reading only, I’d say Krissy Kneen and Tobsha Learner top my list. For working with, there are soooo many! Katie, of course, but I’ve already covered her! Selena Kitt, Kenn Dahll, Michelle Fawkes, and J.E. Taylor are all excellent to work with. I’d also like to give an honorable mention to both Jason Halstead and Mark O’Neal – non-erotic authors who I’ve worked with many times and I feel like I gel with them very well. (Jason does have a couple of erotic titles, but he’s predominantly sci-fi/fantasy/thriller.)

And lastly, there are those who fit both categories – love to work with them, love to read them. Top of that list is the amazing Sommer Marsden, who seems to have a bottomless well of excellent heart-wrenching stories that keep pouring out of her! And what’s more, she’s a complete sweetheart as well.

And finally, in no more than 140 characters, tell readers about Consummate Therapy.
Consummate Therapy flips 50 Shades around – a despotic female billionaire learning the art of true submission at the hands of a steely Dom.


More from Willsin Rowe:

3 Comments

  1. Comment by Willsin Rowe:

    Thank you so much for having me here today, Polly. I greatly appreciate the opportunity!

  2. Comment by Victoria Black:

    Great interview, Willsin. I’m going to google Write or Die in a second. I need something like that!

  3. Comment by Kez:

    Great interview, just the right dose of questions and fantastic answers. I enjoy Mr Rowe’s books and read Ms Salidas as well. I am a great fan. I hope he does well in his writing endeavours. If talent accounts for success. Willsin Rowe will go far.

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