Pollygraph (interviews with erotica writers): Brad Vance

Sam's Reluctant SubmissionWhy erotica?
I’m a writer, so I’m a very verbal person when it comes to sex, so…it made sense to start transcribing some of my fantasies 🙂

How did you get into it?
Aubrey Watt did an AMA on Reddit about being a smut writer.  I thought, hmm, I bet I can do this.  I sent her a sample and she said, yeah, you should totally do it!  That was a year ago and I’ve written dozens of stories since.

What kinds of erotica do you write?
I like it kinky and rough, so there’s very little vanilla sexin’ in my stories.  I write a lot of straight-to-gay stuff, where straight guys discover their gay side.  Wish fulfillment, I suppose! I’ve done some in historical settings (see next item), and I’m looking to do more of those.  I have an idea for a series set during the Hundred Years’ War, with a repressed English knight taken hostage by a libertine French knight…should be fun…

What’s the appeal of barbarians and Vikings in erotica? Do you aim for historical accuracy, or is it more a mood and setting thing?
I’m all about historical accuracy.  Doing the research is half the fun, and to me, the more the setting feels real, the more convincing the fantasy that goes with it.  I think that barbarians and Vikings are appealing partly because they were sexually uninhibited during times of sexual repression – I didn’t know until I did my research how comfortable the Northmen were (they were only “Vikings” when they went raiding) with homosexuality, at least as the “tops.”  As long as you were the top, nothing wrong with stickin’ it in there!  And of course that wild animal spirit is something that’s been suppressed in our day and age – you can only get away with that in stories today if you put it into a shifter or werewolf – having a guy who’s just a beastly man won’t cut it.

Tell us about your experiences as an erotica author. What have the big challenges and successes been?
Well, as we all know, the current challenge is the prudery and censorship that keeps the ground shifting beneath us.  Something that’s lucrative one day can be banned or blocked or filtered the next.  My “Sam’s Reluctant Submission” stories about a former Special Forces guy and his adventures was making me bank one day, then Amazon put the adult filter on them and poof! There went the sales.  Just this month, my “Luke’s Brutal Abduction” series (the “brutal abduction” is actually a willing victim’s kidnap for hire) was blocked on Amazon, so there went another nice income stream.  So you have to be constantly adapting.  It’s been good for me as a person, to have to be resilient – to scream and cry and rage, sure, about the injustice of it all, but then to turn around and say, okay, now I’ll start writing long form erotic romances instead.

As far as success, well, I’ve made more on my writing in the last year than I have in my life, and I’ve been a professional writer for (cough) years!

Do you write in other genres, too?
I do, under other names.  My sister Angelina Vance (WINK!) is working on a “heteromcom” called Curse of the Tenth Muse, about a woman who becomes a romance writer by accident…and then, after a night with a mysterious cover model she meets at a convention, she finds that while she can suddenly mint money with her writing, she can write nothing but romance, no matter how hard she tries.  And that, after a year of insane success, she’ll never write again, unless she can track down the model and have him remove the “curse,” with the help of the sexy photographer who takes the mystery man’s pictures…  I’m really hoping to get a mainstream contract for that one.

Do the people around you know what you write? How have they reacted, or how would they react?
Well, not my day job coworkers, of course!  But my friends know, and my mom knows.  She doesn’t know the details, other than that it’s “smut.”  When I told her about my new career, after I realized I’d be making money at it and it would be a going thing, she shook her head and said, “Sure are a lot of weirdos out there.”

Tell us about your most recent titles.
My most recent is a novella, “A Little Too Broken,” about two guys who both have physical disabilities they’re concealing from the world, and how they find each other.  It was a scary subject for me, because I knew how tasteless and awkward the whole thing could turn out to be, but I’m really happy with the result.

Colum's Viking Captivity by Brad VanceDo you have a favourite, or favourites, among your stories?
I’d say the “Colum’s Viking Captivity” stories, about an Irish monk kidnapped by a sexy Viking named Viggo, because the picture in my head was of Colin Farrell being ravished by Viggo Mortensen!  I loved doing the research and I love the characters.  I’m just not working on shorts right now because of the uncertain market, but I do want to get back to their adventures at some point.

How do you normally go about writing an erotic story? Is there much, ahem, research involved…?
Heh.  Yeah, a combination of research and fantasy.  For me, I can’t write to the market as much as I should, because I have to be turned on by what I write.  The guys have to get me hard when I’m writing their scenes, or why bother?  For “Sam’s Reluctant Submission,” I read “Chosen Soldier” and “Inside Delta Force” and the Army SERE manual (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape).  That was fun!

Do you have any favourite erotica authors?
Honestly, for me some of the most erotic stuff I read isn’t “erotica.”  Andrew Holleran’s “Dancer From The Dance” doesn’t have one sex scene in it, but it’s still the hottest book I ever read.  I love reading about gay life in the 70s, Edmund White and Mapplethorpe and all that.  I thought about writing a Gay 70s epic but then, it’s been done, and the standard for competing with that is pretty high.

And finally, what can we expect to see from you soon?
Right now, I’m nearly finished with “Given the Circumstances,” a novel about two athletes who meet in college and their trials and tribulations as they go pro and have to hide their relationship.  That one will be on the shelves in November.  Then “Angelina” will have control of the keyboard to work on “Curse of the Tenth Muse”!

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