SLP: Birth is always a good place to start, Amanda. When and where were you born?
AF: I was born in 1968 (the year “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel won best record at the Grammy’s) in Cambridge (then known as Galt), Ontario. It’s about an hour south of Toronto.
SLP: And where were you raised?
AF: Until I was eighteen, I lived in that one spot.
SLP: Where were you educated?
AF: I went to various universities across Ontario (surprise, surprise) including Western, The University of Guelph, Carleton, and most recently, the University of Ottawa.
SLP: Where do you currently reside?
AF: I live with my family in Ottawa, our nation’s capital and home to the world’s largest skating rink – The Rideau Canal Skateway.
SLP: Other than writing, what is your principal occupation?
AF: I’ve worked in the fitness industry for almost fifteen years and I love it, though I will say that my job as mother to my three children is, and always has been, my primary occupation.
SLP: What genres appeal to you as both a writer and a reader?
AF: That’s easy. I enjoy reading and writing about anything involving romance and sex. I particularly enjoy stories that focus on a lustful connection between people.
SLP: Do you write primarily at home?
AF: I write mostly in my kitchen (next to a big window), but I’ve also been known to write in the dance studio or in the bleachers at the football and soccer field (wherever I have to wait for an extended period for my kids).
SLP: When do you write?
AF: I try to set aside a couple of hours every afternoon to write, but I’ll take what I can get. I also write when the mood strikes, and sometimes that’s at 11:30 at night.
SLP: If possible, would you like to write full time or do you have other overriding interests?
AF: I don’t think I could ever write full time. It’s hard for me to sit still that long. The way things are set up right now – me working two, half-time jobs – is perfect.
SLP: Do you feel compelled to write or is it a hobby?
AF: When I started writing seriously about three years ago, I needed to do it. It was an outlet for my crazy life. Come to think of it, things haven’t changed much.
SLP: Do you have any other creative outlets such as music, dance or graphic arts?
AF: It’s actually funny that I write now, because I started off studying fine art at university, having been an art nerd all the way through high school. I even studied architecture for a few years at a very art-based school. I always thought I would end up doing that instead.
SLP: Do you write primarily on a computer?
AF: Ah, yes – my trusted MacBook. I couldn’t live without her.
SLP: Do you have a daily goal as to how much you write?
AF: Not really. My husband’s job is insanely busy so I try not to stress too much by setting deadlines. One of us has to stay sane.
SLP: How do you deal with writer’s block?
AF: I don’t really get writer’s block and I think it’s because I don’t write all the time. I am always taking breaks – ten minutes here and there, an hour, a day, a week, whatever. The ideas build up in my head more than anything. It’s really a matter of getting it all out.
SLP: How much do you read?
AF: My husband laughs when people ask me this because I always say that I don’t like to read. And I don’t – not really. It’s weird too because both of my parents were teacher-librarians so I was always around books. My biggest problem I think is that I am too hyper. I can’t concentrate on anything for very long and I get bored easily.
So while I may not be the most prolific reader, I am a really good “skimmer”. No doubt, I have “skimmed” my way through many a novel. I do like to read magazines and children’s books though, probably because I can finish them quickly. Even with a gun to my head, I could never get through Anna Karenina.
SLP: What are a few of your favorite authors?
AF: Ummm, I like Colin Channer (a lot), Susan Johnson, Thea Divine, Kat Martin, Toni Morrison, Eric Jerome Dickey, Bill Peet, Kevin Henkes, and William Steig, just to name a few.
SLP: What are you currently reading?
AF: My girlfriend just lent me some books from her collection. Right now I’m reading Atonement. I loved the movie, so we’ll see about the book.
SLP: When discovering a book you’ve begun isn’t to your liking, do you feel compelled to finish it?
AF: Hell no! I can barely get through the ones I do like!
SLP: Based on a review of the stories and articles on your blog, you’re obviously an accomplished writer fully capable of handling a range of genres. Why did you select erotica as your main thrust?
AF: I am constantly thinking about relationships, love and sex, and how each affects the others. Writing is a way for me to sort out these thoughts.
SLP: In your short stories “Twenty Questions” and “Trouble No Set Like Rain,” both male characters are Black. The same is true of the two blog articles I read. Do these stories reflect your own fantasies, or were they aimed at a particular segment of your readership?
AF: I think there is a definite market out there for stories and essays having to do with interracial relationships and interracial sex. And if you look at the statistics, black men with white women is one of the most common interracial couplings occurring in North America today.
Besides, when I first started reading erotica, I was always looking for something that reflected my own relationship. Since I could never find much, I thought, “Hey, I’ve been in an interracial relationship for twenty years. I can write my this stuff.”
SLP: Is interracial sex a growing trend in erotica?
AF: By virtue of the fact that interracial relationships are on the rise, I believe that there will be (if there isn’t already) a corresponding demand for that kind of erotica as well.
SLP: What are some of the taboo themes in today’s erotica?
AF: It’s pretty open these days, but people don’t generally want to read or publish stories involving kids, animals, or sex with dead people. Brown and golden showers (peeing and pooping for those not familiar with the terms) are not usually acceptable either.
SLP: Are the stories entirely products of imagination, or are they based on real events?
AF: It’s like this. When it comes to making art, I like to do collage. I like to take bits and pieces of things that are already made, and mix it with stuff I’ve crafted (or drawn or painted) myself. When I write, I use a similar technique such that I take bits and pieces of real people and events, and I mix that with stuff fresh from my imagination, thus creating a whole new character or scenario.
SLP: Are your blog entries largely true or are the incidents mostly imaginary?
AF: Same thing. It’s a mix. The great thing about writing is that you can pretend as much or as little as you want. No one ever knows but me, and maybe my husband.
SLP: Does it often happen during the writing of your stories that the characters seem to dictate the action?
AF: For me, the characters always dictate the action. In fact, I start with the characters. Then I imagine how they would interact with each other. In essence, I try to “be” my characters as much as possible, asking what they would do or say in a given situation.
SLP: Do you foresee writing more mainstream fiction, or do you see erotica as a continuing specialty?
AF: Who knows what the future holds. For now, I’ll stick with what I’m doing.
SLP: Do you typically have your stories fully plotted, including the ending, before beginning?
AF: My brain doesn’t work that way. Sometimes I only know a piece of a story and I go from there. Lots of times I’ve written the middle before I even know how the story will begin or end. Thank goodness for word processing. If I were writing in the days of typewriters, I would be doomed.
SLP: What do you find most difficult in writing your stories? Do they come easily or do you frequently struggle with them?
AF: For me, writing takes time and the hardest part is trying to make things coherent. I have lots of ideas, but my head is a jumbled mess. I can be tricky to get things down so that they make sense.
SLP: What is your next writing project?
AF: As you might expect, I have a whole bunch of different projects on the go right now – another novel, a few short stories and about a half dozen blog pieces. Every time I sit down to work, I switch back and forth between two or three of them.
SLP: What do you believe will be the short- and long-term impact of ebooks on the publishing industry?
AF: I think ebooks are a great. It makes it easier for people like me to get their stuff out there. It makes things more accessible for sure. You don’t have to go all the way to the library anymore. I don’t know however that the written word will (or should) ever be replaced. Some things are sacred.
SLP: Does being Canadian present any particular problems for writers?
AF: It is taking a bit more ingenuity on my part to figure out how to sell my work on sites like Amazon. Most stuff is pretty equal though.
SLP: What are some of your personal quirks?
AF: Wow. Good question. My husband would say that I’m one big quirk. While I don’t think that I’m quite that bad, I do have this thing about wearing pajamas to bed. Like sleeping naked is almost painful for me. And even though I am not clothing optional in this respect, I do hate wearing socks, which means I go around barefoot most of the time. In Ottawa – where we have six long months of winter – this habit can be downright dangerous.
One other thing that might count as a quirk is that I absolutely have to eat oatmeal (slow-cooked not packaged) every morning for breakfast. My whole day (and my intestinal tract) is thrown off otherwise.
SLP: What types of music do you prefer and who are some of your favorite performers?
AF: I live for music, and I’m a bit ashamed to say it (especially on a literary website such as this), but I like music better than I like books, probably because my body requires a lot of movement and because music is a good outlet for that. Remember, ADHD?
I listen to lots of different stuff. I love Neil Diamond, Vybz Kartel, The Rolling Stones, The Roots, Mos Def, Alicia Keys, Lauren Hill, Wyclef Jean, Bob Marley, AC/DC, Anthony Hamilton, Carly Simon, The BeeGees, Beres Hammond, Chris Brown, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Lutan Fyah… I could go on forever.
SLP: Can you share any personal anecdotes?
AF: Oh gosh. Let’s see. As I’ve been typing answers to these questions, my daughter has called me from school to say that she needs to have steak stir-fry for dinner tonight otherwise she is going to die.
My oldest son has called me from school as well to inform me that he found a nugget of cat poop in his bed this morning. He wants to know if I could completely strip and wash all of his blankets before tonight because (being eighteen) he just isn’t capable of doing such a task.
My sixteen-year-old son has just come home with three of his friends, and they are currently standing in front of my refrigerator. Yeah, another trip to the grocery store! I’d better get some steak.
And right now – like right this very second – my cell phone is ringing. Hang on. It’s my husband. He says that his (brand new) car won’t start, and could I please pick him up from the garage in about twenty minutes. So I guess that’s it. I gotta go…
SLP: Amanda has a soon to be released ebook based novel entitled The Albatross And The Mermaid due for release later in the year. Here’s tantalizing blurb:
After a devastating fire at the age of eleven, the smoldering images of a dead mother and sister live in the faces of every black woman that Adrian Moreaux ever meets. One failed relationship has our Caribbean-American man also convinced that white women aren’t for him either. Plagued by the nightmares of his past, Adrian thus resigns himself to a life of sex without love until the day an enchanting flaxen-haired beauty comes along.
Intelligent yet naïve, a broken-hearted Isabelle Weston spends most of her time either studying or working. Fate has other plans for our self-proclaimed Virgo however, and one day she spies a man who looks achingly familiar. He is an updated and improved version of her first true love with one obvious difference – the new guy is black.
Sometimes you get another chance at yesterday and Adrian and Isabelle are more than ready for it. Happily, their whirlwind romance takes off, but love is never easy, especially for two people from completely different backgrounds.
Meanwhile, you can test the water, so to speak, by visiting her exceptionally well written blog Foxtales.