Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat: #Interview with @lb_shaw

Today I’d like to welcome LB Shaw to Erotic Satisficition.  This is the official Sunday Morning Chat and I'm pleased that LB was gracious enough to be my first interviewee for this. She’s quite a talented author, but she’s so much more than that.

John Satisfy:  Can you please tell us a little about yourself and what kinds of works you write?

LB Shaw: I am an artist, continually exploring different ways of expressing creativity through writing and sculpting. I grew up in the south in a very religious home and consequently spent a great deal of my childhood wanting to rebel against everything. But that little voice inside my head kept me on the straight and narrow which prevented me from screwing up too much. Unfortunately, that same little voice served as a ruse at times, tricking me into believing I'm not who I think I am, and I'm not capable of succeeding. I think most of us can identify with that voice. I'm learning to embrace and encourage that inner child who has been buried for so long, reprogramming her to believe in herself and no longer deny all that she is and all that she can be.

Though I've been journaling since I was five years old and writing little stories here and there, I began writing fiction with the intention to self-publish about a year ago. My first was a two-part, erotic romantic suspense series called Trust In Me. My third book, Little Sinner, was inspired by a wee little priest fetish of mine and has elements of BDSM. It's certainly not a story that will cater to everyone's tastes, but it was a lot of fun to write and served as somewhat of a mental masturbation for me. I currently have two books I'm working on, though one of them, Becoming Stone, is on a slow simmer. It's a dark romance with elements of domination and submission and has been difficult to write because the characters are so "angsty", but I'll get it finished someday, someway. The other, which is the one I'm actively working on, is a time-travel romance novella scheduled to be published this spring.

Over the past month, I've noticed a shift in what I feel pulled to write. Subsequently, I've discovered a passion for flash fiction. For those who don't know, flash fiction can be thought of as a story of extreme brevity and is typically anywhere from 300-3000 words. I like to use pictures as visual prompts, as I'm a highly visual person. If you visit my blog, you will see some of my current flash fiction pieces with the pictures attached to the posts. I like to incorporate elements of romance or love in these pieces, but some of them are quite painful as well. I'm not sure exactly where my writing will take me from here, but I feel excited about the possibilities. I've always been drawn to the dark and macabre, so it's not surprising that I would ultimately explore this in my writing.

JS: Sounds like you're really busy with quite a few different irons in the fire at once.  Does that make it difficult for you to keep focus?  Is that part of why you are finding flash fiction so rewarding, you finish one piece quickly and can then move on to the next?

LB:  You know, I hadn't thought of it like that, John, but I suppose it IS one reason why I love flash fiction.  It's an immediate purge, and since I tend to be an instant gratification type of person, the short pieces are an instant reward that feeds that 'beast' in me.

I do have trouble focusing at times, but I work hard at committing myself to working on one piece per day. Since I sculpt as well, I try and save writing for days that I don't have my hands in clay. It's sometimes difficult for me to make the transition from creating something visual (a sculpture) to putting my thoughts down in words.

JS: It's interesting that you're both a sculptor and author.  Do you find that one influences another?  Something you notice while working the clay becomes a detail in your writing?  Or do you try to sculpt detail from your story?

LB:  I haven't merged the two yet, although I was recently struck with the idea to write a flash fiction piece for each sculpture once finished. It's so natural to want to breathe life into the things we create, no matter what form that takes. As a fellow writer, you can certainly relate to how our stories take on a life of their own. The characters become real to us. We feel every emotion that they do. I believe EVERY piece of art tells a story, whether that piece of art is a painting, a sculpture, a photograph, or a book.

JS:  Earlier you mentioned that you grew up in a very religious home and were a little rebellious.  How do you think that shaped the stories that you like to tell?

LB: It certainly played a role in shaping my priest/religion fetish. I don't remember exactly how or when it started, but at some point, I became bored with sitting still for an hour, listening to recitation after recitation of scripture. My grandfather was a southern Baptist preacher, and as a little girl, I was enthralled with the passion he poured into his sermons. His face would turn crimson red as he stood at the pulpit and spoke God's word. But as I got older, it seemed as though I defaulted to tuning it out and fantasizing about sex instead. So that was my Sunday every week, sitting in the pew, deviant sexual acts dancing through my head. Nice, huh? :) Last year, I took that fetish and wrote a short story, called Little Sinner.

As far as my rebellious nature, I think that has more to do with my personality, right down to my core. I believe a lot of it is rooted in Freudian theory and ideas, and I could probably write a book on how my relationship with my father has shaped how I relate to the men in my life, which definitely gets filtered into the stories I tell. Rebelling against authority yet craving those boundaries is just who I am. I'm drawn to authority figures and tend to gravitate towards writing about conflicted women who are drawn to them as well. Readers will see a lot of my own traits in my female characters, though they either make much better decisions than I did, or they spiral completely out of control.

I'm also a masochist, so I like to write stories with a lot of pain. Writing about spanking and BDSM are fantastic ways to relieve some of that pressure and live vicariously through my characters. However, I know readers want that happy ending, and I'm happy to give it.

JS:  It's kind of amazing how our pasts really shape how we are, as much as most of us try to get away from it.  If there was one thing about your writing style you'd change, what would it be?

LB: I think every writer has a list of things they would love to improve about their writing. If I had to pick one thing, I would limit the info-dumping I do at the beginning. I have a tendency to want to reveal everything about my characters at the outset. Sometimes it's simply a matter of going back and cutting out unnecessary information. Like Stephen King once wrote, sometimes you have to "kill your darlings." Usually, I just need to reorganize my work, sprinkling little bits of information throughout the storyline. It's important for your readers to always have that little bit of mystery, wondering what's going on and why something is happening in order to hold their interest in the plot.

JS:  Yes, I think we are all looking to improve.  I find that reading books helps me to see how other people write and then I can try to learn from others.  Are there any authors you really admire for their writing style?

LB: Absolutely! There are many authors I admire, and I agree that it's important to read a LOT if you want to write. For the sake of brevity, I'll list my top favorite indies as Tiffany Reisz and Selena Kitt (though I believe Tiffany has been snatched up by a publisher), and the well-known Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Edgar Allan Poe.

JS:  That is quite the list of influences.  As people read your books, what would you hope they notice about your writing style?

LB:  I suppose it depends on what I'm writing. In other words, if I'm trying to infuse humor or if I'm writing erotic prose, I want my reader to be entertained or aroused, respectively, particularly with the works I've released so far. As I grow as a writer, I'd like my voice and my writing style to be perceived as unique. I don't expect to be like William Faulkner or win the Pulitzer Prize, but it would be nice to hear, "Yep, that sounds like something LB would write!"

JS:  Such a good goal.  It's always a fine line of having that, yeah that seems like author "x", and then the reaction, yeah, it's just author "x" writing the same type of thing again.

If someone would like to read some of your flash fiction, where can they find it?

LB:  You can find all of my works on my blog. Also feel free to friend me on Facebook and follow me on twitter. That way readers and fellow authors can keep up with new releases and any flash fiction I post to my blog.  And don't forget to find my books on Amazon.

JS:  Is there anything else you'd like to let people know about?

LB:  Keep reading and supporting your favorite indie authors by leaving honest reviews, comments, etc. We love to get feedback from our followers and readers!

JS:  Wonderful advice, I know that every review and comment really helps me feel like I'm not shouting into the wind.

I want to thank you so much for your time and I really enjoyed this conversation.  Let me know when your next book is available and we can make sure to let my readers know.  If my readers have any questions, then please leave them in the comments and I'll either pass them a long or save them for our next interview.

LB: Thank you so much, John. I've enjoyed this as well, and I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me and offer your continued support.

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  1. Wow, LB. I never would have guessed you had such a religious background. Your dark mind is well noticed and well received in the things I've seen you post on facebook, You find some awesome dark images.
    I too tend to fancy the lure of darkness in an authors writing. King is among my favorites as well.
    I don't believe I've gotten to see any of your work on your blog, thanks for the link, I'll be checking it out soon.
    I really like your interviews here, John. It gives us a little taste and tease of who the author really is.

    1. Thank you so much, LA! I'm glad my love of the dark is noticed and hope that this transition into the darker genre is well-received by others :) Yes, King is an amazing writer. Thanks for reading!

      And thanks John for letting me be your first interviewee. It was so much fun!

    2. LA: Yes, I've been lucky with all these authors really opening up for me. I've got some really great interviews coming up.

      LB: You are so welcome. It was great and I'm glad you could help christen this new weekly feature.

    3. John, you are so clever :-) Can't wait to see more interviews from you!

  2. I recently purchased Little Sinner because I wanted to sample LB's wares and support a fellow author. I've got a TBR list that's longer than my *#&@, but after reading this interview, Little Sinner has just jumped to the top of the list.

    Good job John and oh naughty Little Sinner you. Muah ;-)

    1. Glad to hear that my interviews make you more excited about LB's works. I'm excited to share Suzy Ayers with everyone on Sunday.

  3. @John -- As long as Suzy gives her consent to be shared.