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JL INTERVIEW

It's been four years since we last talked with JL, which does make me wonder where the time goes. Although, with fifty-eight stories in the ES library, it's not hard to guess how he's spent the intervening period. One of the most consistent, prolific writers around, in fact, it's no surprise to learn that he's now looking to stretch even further.

JL: My day job involves a lot of writing. I'm fortunate to work at home most days, so I do a lot of my ES writing here. I go to the office a few days a week, where I try not to get caught fantasizing about some of my hot co-workers or checking out their butts (sigh). Over the years, several of them have provided inspiration for a few tales here.

Otherwise, I've been working on some mainstream writing and trying to get published the traditional route. I keep toying with the idea of publishing my twenty-part epic, "Like Daughter, Like Mother" as an online book, and I'm wondering about your experience with online self-publishing?

NM: Go for it! I've done a few books now... actually, more than a few; and while there's been a couple of turkeys, others have really taken off--surprisingly so. "The Nympho Librarian," which really didn't do that well as a short story on ES, completely exploded when I expanded it into a series of related tales, and published it... it even got a review in "Atlantic Review," which astonished me, and I think so long as you can get a handle on the publicity side of things (which, to be honest, is not my strongest point), it can work really well.

JL: I'd have to do it under the radar, since I doubt if my spouse would really support it. And I don't know how to handle illustrations or artwork, which would certainly liven up the story even more. Because pictures of naked people make everything better, right? How have you handled stuff like that?

NM: I've not... I've thought about it a few times, but I'm neither an artist or a photographer, so much as I'd like to include pictures, I never have. But most self-publishing systems are set up for illustrations, so it should be okay. The only thing I'd warn you about is... Amazon recently had a purge of erotic book titles that they considered "dubious," after they were caught selling some seriously twisted stuff. And swept up in it, I'm guessing because the title could imply sex between family members, was my own "Cousin Tom's Motorbike." Which, as anyone who's actually read it could tell you...

JL: ...has nothing to do with that. I've had to be careful with that subject as well; for example, I published a story called "My Sister's Orgy" on Literotica, under the name August Dare, because it's a story that's not allowed on Erotic Stories. Also a Star Trek: Voyager story, "Seven of Nine's First Orgasm" is there as well, because Literotica has a well-established section for stories like that.

NM: Which is another area we have to be careful of here. Although it's funny, here we are discussing sex between family members, but when I think about your work, I usually think of the more-than-one on-one categories... exhibitionism, voyeurism, threesomes. What is the fascination?

JL: Well, with the group sex stories, I just find it easier to keep things lively if more than two people are involved. I mean, I do get turned on by the thought of being at an orgy full of beautiful women or having a threesome with two hot babes or what have you, but on a practical writing level, I find there's only so much description I can put into a scene with just two people. Although, obviously, I do write about that all the time. But adding a third or a fourth person, even if they're just watching, adds an extra dimension that I can explore.

NM: How about the exhibitionism stories?

JL: They mostly come from the simple fact that... well, I like nudity. Naked babes. Bare bodies. Skin in the sunlight. I'm just fascinated (and turned on) by the whole thing, the full monty, complete nakedness. Images of half-dressed models, or amateurs who just pull up their shirt or yank their pants down? They just look stupid to me. So, I enjoy thinking about situations where relatively normal people--women mostly--can be completely naked all the time, at home, outside, even at work.

It's kind of a voyeur thing, probably associated to my first glimpses of naked women in my father's Playboys. Just the words "naked" and "nude" kind of get me going.

NM: You know, that's something that has always bugged me. A guy wants to see a naked girl, he just runs down to the newstand and buys a magazine full. And all of them look ready and willing for anything. A girl wants to see a naked man in a similar state... okay, I'm talking about before the internet came along... there was Playgirl, but that was a joke. Softies all the way. For most women who grew up even in the 80s and early 90s, and for all the years before that, if we wanted to see a proper hard cock, we had to wait for the real thing to come along. It's really unfair.

JL: So I probably shouldn't tell you that I'm imagining you naked while you read my responses, and it's kind of turning me on. I want to see YOU completely naked, Naughty Miranda!

NM: Only if you have something to show me in return, haha. Okay, before my next question, can I ask how old you are?

JL: I'm in my fifties.

NM: Good. I'm younger than you. Because I was going to say, I really enjoy the way you handle older woman stories. Again what is the fascination for you?

JL: Thanks! I think the main thing is that I like to write about people who are sexually confident, mostly because I can get to the action quicker. Older, experienced women can be shown as less hesitant about getting what they want. A character who's been around can be more forthright. In my "Ms. Keller" series, for example, I liked the idea of working with a mature female character who finally feels free enough to indulge her desires--and does it with lots of young men and women.

I'm also just not that interested in skinny anorexic teen girls or anything like that. In porn, I enjoy images of woman who are busty and healthy, who look like they're enjoying themselves whatever they're doing, instead of starving themselves to fit into a size two. Also, being in my fifties, I probably have a better feel for the mature point of view than the teenage one, although I can still feel like a horny sex-obsessed teenager sometimes.

NM: And, of course, sex is one of those areas where we can feel like teenagers again. I was reading your story "Reverend Joan" last night and--you describe her as "an older woman in her forties." And I felt ever so slightly depressed, because I'm heading in that direction myself. But by the time I reached the end, it felt as though Joan had lost a good few years in the course of her adventure. That she was suddenly "a much younger woman, still in her forties."

JL: Well, a forty-year-old woman is a younger woman to me. But I was writing that story from the viewpoint of someone even younger than her. I do like to show that people can be attractive and feel sexy at any age. Like you, for instance. Ultimately, though, I hope my portrayals of women at any age are interesting and realistic. Do you think there's anything that male writers should know when writing about sex from a woman's perspective?

NM: That's tricky, because all women are different. I've known girls who... they talk about sex, they make most guys sound like lightweights. But I think the thing a lot of men forget, whether they're writing about women or as women is... we do enjoy the things we do! There's so many stereotypes... and some of the biggest ones involve things like blowjobs and anal. Yes, there are women who hate them, and won't do them. Or, who'll do it, but not because they want to. But there are others, and I think we're in the majority, who do these things because we enjoy them so much, and our partner's pleasure is almost a bonus. A lot of guys get that twisted around, and actually seem surprised if a girl genuinely wants to suck their cock....

JL: My stories are generally about people of all ages enjoying sex in all its forms. People like Reverend Joan and Natalie Keller aren't hung up about how old they are, and their younger partners don't care either. But I try to write about people who treat each other with respect at any age--even when they're fucking and cumming.

NM: Tell us about your early experiences writing erotica... We all have our own reasons for writing our first stories, what were yours?

JL: My first story on ES was "Lori's Legs." It was inspired by a long-legged co-worker of mine who I thought was sexy, and I wrote a couple of stories about her. Never saw the real Lori naked in real life, damn it.

I remember looking at the stats when it was first put online, and thinking, "I write a bunch of business articles every day, but no one has ever jacked off to THOSE." It gave me a positive feeling to think that people were deriving some real pleasure from my work. I got several good comments, too, and that's one thing that tells me whether I should continue a story or start something new. "Lori's Legs" was going to be a one-off (I'm not sure I planned to write anything else for the site, ever), but the response made me keep thinking of different things to do with the characters.

NM: You mentioned that some of your workmates have inspired storylines....

JL: A lot of my stories start off as fantasies about co-workers or people I know, ideas that I can't get out of my head until I write them down. "Kiss," an early story, was about a time when I wanted to kiss a co-worker at a work-related cocktail party (but didn't). "Garden Walk" is about a neighbor of mine with a similar garden in her backyard that she liked to show off. She was mature, and hot, and she had a similarly hot adult daughter. "In Bikinis" came from two young girls who lived next door--sort of like the "Brat" stories, about another young neighbor.

On the other hand, "Like Daughter, Like Mother" just came out of the opening line: "My mother really needs to get laid, my girlfriend said." (Or something like that.) Not based on anything in my real life. And "How high" is strictly fantasy--never happened to me in college.

What happens is I get an idea, think about it for a while, and wait to see if it grabs me. I've started dozens of stories and then dropped them because the initial idea got boring as I was writing them. Or the characters got boring, and I just didn't care if they got laid or not.

NM: That's one of the reasons I like to write in the first person, because I know what I would do in any given situation, or I have a good idea, so if any difficulties arrive, I can write through them using my own experiences and initiatives. With third person stories, I never know what the characters are going to do.

For example, my story "The Girl In The Doorway." I actually thought of the characters, Rob and Flora, first; brought them together, then just sat back to see what would happen. And it was the strangest thing, because I knew that they were attracted to one another. But I could not get them into bed. He was so worried about offending her, and she was just so prickly and untrusting. Which isn't surprising, giving her background as a homeless woman freezing in a doorway in downtown Philadelphia. But I remember saying to my boyfriend, I love these people, but they're driving me crazy! Why can't they just fuck and get it over with?

And then when they did, and I thought the story was finished, I realized--and a lot of people wrote to tell me--that I was really only halfway through, and there was a lot more to say about them both. Hence part two.

JL: It's the characters that really keep a story or a series going for me, as well. Which sounds a little bizarre, because I'm not really trying to develop realistic flesh-and-blood human beings; just characters who just like to have sex a lot and are fairly uninhibited about taking off their clothes and fucking.

What kept "Like Daughter, Like Mother" going, for example, was that I sort of liked the three characters and I kept thinking of interesting situations for them, based on their relationship and the world I'd created. I could see different things happening to them as their lives went on, at least for a while.

Other stories are written just because a single idea grabbed me, but I can't see dragging it out beyond that ("Pretend I'm Her," for example). I've tried that and it just doesn't hold my interest after a while. I've dropped a few series because they just stopped presenting anything new to me. As a writer, I always want to move on to something new.

So what's your process like? Are your stories based on real-life events in any form, or do they just spring from your wild imagination?

NM: I'd say the majority of my stories, the first person Chrissie ones, are autobiographical, at least to some extent. The written Chrissie is a lot wilder than I am, I think, although there's definitely a few stories I haven't told where I could probably give her a run for her money. But "Bumpy Roads Are Best" is written more or less as it happened. "Back To Nature," as well. "Brick Dust." "Access All Areas," up to a point. And then different degrees in different stories, although I do shift them to more interesting places or situations. Or what I think are more interesting places.

Someone once said to me... someone at ES, who I've been writing back and forth to for a few years now, what I'm trying to do with my writing is capture the look, the feel and the taste of a cock on paper. Which, after I'd thought about it for a while, is exactly what I'm doing. Which got me wondering, do other writers have a "Holy Grail," a mood or a sensation they are trying to capture that forever remains just out of reach? And what would they do if they ever actually reached it?

JL: (laughing) Not me. What I'm mostly going for is to make my readers want to, er, gratify themselves to my words. Not much beyond that. I suppose if it makes someone see how to treat people, men and women, with kindness and respect whether they're having sex or not, that would be a plus. But I'm really just going for the orgasm.

NM: Have you ever written a story that you wish would really happen to you?

JL: All of them. Except, okay, if I have to be realistic . . . the story from "The watcher and the watched," where a high school student sees his crush get fucked by her boyfriend on a field trip, and then meets her at home for sex.

It's based on a girl in high school I had a huge crush on for about two years. At the end of our senior year the teacher of our biology class took us out to a forest preserve one morning to wander around. The rest of the story is pure fantasy, of course. I never saw this girl naked. I never even got laid in high school. That's probably why I have such a vivid fantasy life now . . .

NM: So what do you think "good erotica" actually entails?

JL: When I'm reading it, I'm looking for something that starts reasonably quickly and has a good level of detail and isn't over too soon. I don't like anything relating to humiliation or denigration. I sort of hate stories where the man calls a woman "slut" and "bitch" and "whore" and loudly demands that she suck his cock while he's yelling at her or slapping her.

Not every woman has to have huge breasts, and not even guy has to have an 11-inch cock. I don't want an endless build-up, and I like stories that start right off with sex (as lots of mine do), but I do enjoy some attention to the personalities of the people involved, and a scenario that's not too ridiculous (or that doesn't take itself too seriously).

When I'm writing it, I want readers to enjoy the scenario and feel aroused by the words and the images I hopefully generate in your fevered, horny minds. I've got a few quirks when I'm writing: I no longer have people cry "Oh god!" or "Christ, that's good!" Not that I'm particularly religious, but for some reason I'm uncomfortable with bringing religious vocabulary into a sex scene. I also never use the c-word to describe a woman's pussy (except in a few specific cases), even though other writers do, including women.

NM: Including me!

JL: I just don't like the word. I never write about anal sex because that doesn't appeal to me. I don't write male characters who slap women around or seem to punish them for enjoying sex, and for the most part I don't write about women demanding hard, brutal pounding that hurts them. I want my stories to be easy and pleasant for men and women alike to read and "enjoy" any way they want.

NM: What is your relationship with readers? Do you aim stories at what you know your own fan club will enjoy? Or do you write first, then worry about what people will think afterwards?

JL: I have some regular readers whose comments I look forward to and enjoy. But in general, I write for myself, and hope that people will respond to the story. It's always interesting to see which stories get lots of comments and which don't, and I'm sometimes surprised when a story I think was particularly creative gets a minimal response ,and one I dashed off quickly without much thought gets half a dozen comments or more.

One thing that's interesting about "How High," for instance, is the comments I got in which readers actually told stories about their own experience in similar situations. That doesn't happen often (enough). A lot of comments are more along the lines of "Great story--is there more?" Which is fine. When I see that a couple of hundred people have at least looked at a story without commenting, each actual comment gives me a real boost.

NM: You mentioned earlier that it's the characters that sustain a serial for you. But how about reader response as well?

JL: I'm more likely to continue a story if I get lots of comments (whether readers request a sequel or not), so my "fans" definitely have an impact on what I write. I try NOT to pay a lot of attention to my score, although I do notice it, and I'll keep track of it in the "Top Stories" section. Still hoping to get one of my stories in the Hall of Fame someday. I imagine you get lots of feedback. Do any letters stand out? Do you pay much attention to your scores?

NM: Only the bad ones. Or the ones that feel "political." A couple of times, I've had a story rolling along really nicely, the votes are consistent, the comments are positive, and then suddenly there'll be a run of really low votes, all "anonymous," and most of them new members. It's hard not to feel suspicious....

JL: I've rarely gotten negative feedback, though in my experience, most people don't go out of the way to tell a writer they didn't like their story, they just stop reading it and go on to something else. One I remember was something along the lines of: "This story started out good, but then it just turned into just another stroke story." To which I could only think: "Well, duh, it's a porn site!"

NM: Oh I get those a lot. Someone once asked "why are all your stories about blowjobs?"--ummm, because they're all in the oral sex section? Someone else went through a phase of voting fairly low, then e-mailing and saying "you write really well, but I don't like your subject matter." And again... it's in the oral sex section, what did you think it was going to be about?

But it's not only readers who are like that. A few times, I've submitted stories to anthologies, and had them sent back for "revision" because the editor doesn't like... fisting was one. Vaginal, not anal. And it wasn't more than a sentence. But because she didn't approve of it, it had to go. And I was like... I've read your stuff, you've written some of the most violent anal poundings I've ever read. And you don't like someone sticking his whole hand into a pussy and bouncing it around a bit?

JL: Most comments I receive are nice, and they help to keep me going. I love seeing that yellow banner across the top of the page that tell me I have mail.

NM: Oh, that's one of the highlights of my online day as well. In fact, I'll often break away from work, just to see if anyone's e-mailed. So, everyone who's reading this, make a couple of writers happy, please, and send us a note just to say hello!

Thanks to JL for taking part in this; please go read his stories, and if he's not already one of your favorite authors, then click the link on his profile, and he will be. And look out for another conversation soon!

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