Interview with Jo B. Hayve

I adore social media at times. It was all down to a chance connection on my Twitter feed that I connected with Jo B. Hayve, author of the amazing novel, Inside Charlotte. You can read my own review of this book here.

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Snappy book cover for Inside Charlotte!

She has been very kind and agreed to do an interview for me, which is very exciting. Read on to find out more about this enigmatic lady…

 How long have you been writing generally, and in the erotica genre in particular?

Apparently I’ve always been a story teller. Even in first grade, I’ve been told, I would make up elaborate tales for the class. I’ve been actually writing stuff down since the fourth grade, when I tried to write a play from an old fable–I think it had an elephant and an ant. I used to write, at least in my head, sequels to movies I liked, and sometimes to movies I hated, to fix them. But I was never good at rewriting, and hated the whole submissions process, so I never tried to make a living at it. And I was never satisfied with what I wrote–I always felt like I was trying to write to other people’s standards rather than my own. Then about three and a half years ago I was deep in a long writer’s block, like seven years long, and couldn’t write more than a sentence or two. So one day I was visiting my parents, and they had left me in the car while they delivered pet medicine to a friend of theirs (yes, just like the opening scene in Charlotte), and I pulled out my IPad and started writing a story I’d had in mind a long time, about a twelve year old named Charlotte, who had magical powers. Within a sentence or two she had transformed into a 37 year old going through a sexual identity crisis, and I kept writing, happy that I could write anything. The story turned into the whole Charlotte saga. I had never even read erotica before, and I think that helped motivate me, because I wasn’t all tied up over how it was supposed to be written. I was just enjoying what I was writing. So I just started brainstorming. Then for a while, I wrote this story in every spare moment I had, until finally I just ran out of story and left it. A year later I reread it, liked it, and decided to self-publish it. By the time I had finished rewriting it I had other stories in mind. So I’ve been writing erotica ever since. Basically about a year now.

 What inspires you to write your stories, and about feminism especially?

Feminism I’ve long been inspired about. All forms of equality have always inspired me. I think that comes from growing up in the US South, in Mississippi, and watching how people were. Both sides, really. I could see how frightened some people were of changing, and how that fear came out as hate, or as a need to control the people they were afraid of. Right now in the US Muslims and Latino immigrants are bearing that burden. So a big part of why I’ve always wanted to write was to correct inequality, to make people understand differences and not be afraid of them. Erotica lets me do that in a playful, hopefully sometimes touching, way. The specific stories, I don’t know what inspires them. I just come up with an idea, and sometimes daydream it out, and other times just start writing and let the story come as I write it. I’m into the idea now that sex is the root of sexism, and attitudes towards sexual propriety and morals are the way women are controlled by the system. So my stories tend to be about breaking the taboos of the system. I don’t mean the big taboos, like incest or bestiality. I mean the more general taboos about sexually active women, monogamy, affairs within a marriage. And of course homosexuality. Although when I started writing Charlotte, that was a bigger taboo than now. It’s astounding and amazingly hopeful how much that one issue changed in just a few years.

 What kind of research, if any, do you do for your work?

Oh, the usual. I try things out when I can. When that isn’t enough, I ask other people, or just listen to them. When that fails I use the Internet. I have a fear that a crime will happen one day and my computer will be seized, and my search history will be used to demonstrate how obsessed with sex I am. Oh yeah, and porn helps. That will be used against me, too. Porn is a problematic resource. Some of it is so horrifically sexist and objectifying that I can’t stomach it. Some is fun, though.

What is your daily writing routine like? Do you have any rituals?

No, I have no routine, or ritual. If I get a moment, I write. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, grab my laptop, and hide out in the bathroom to write. Sometimes I let my writing override my other responsibilities, but that catches up with me, and I have to leave writing alone for a while. I’d like to get to where I write all day long, but so far life doesn’t allow that.

 Pen and paper, or straight-to-keyboard writing?

Keyboard. Now and then I find paper useful. I’m such a slow writer that it helps me write tighter, because I don’t want to waste extra pen strokes. But that is rarer and rarer. I hate transcribing back to the computer, too. On a keyboard I can fly.

 Why did you choose to self-publish?

It’s quicker, and easier, and no one can tell me what to publish. I can finish a story to say what I want it to say, put it online, and move on. That just fits the way my mind works better.

 Do you believe there is still a place for traditional publishing these days?

Probably. They are good marketers and distributors. They can provide huge advances to free a writer up to write and rewrite. I think people still trust traditional publishers to turn out consistently high-quality stuff, too. A lot of Indie work is rife with bad writing and typos, so readers are cautious with a new Indie writer. On the other hand, Indie writers can go against the trends, take risks, avoid constricting editorial standards, and generally be more innovative and impulsive. Also, we can charge less because we have fewer expenses. So, I think readers with time constraints might favor traditional publishers, because they expect a generally higher consistency for the limited number of books they can read, but readers with voracious habits do better with Indies, because they can read a lot of stories for less, and because they can hear different voices without the identity-stealing filter of editors and publishers.

 Fifteen Fabulous Favourites:
1. Colour

Blue

2. Food

Don’t know, but I’m vegetarian, so it isn’t bacon.

3. Fruit

Blueberries

4. Day of the week

Whatever day it is. I don’t always pay attention.

5. Film

Amadeus

6. Erotica author

Anais Nin.

7. Restaurant

It’s in Austin. El Naranjo. It’s a Oaxacan cuisine.

8. Drink – non-alcoholic

Coke, sadly.

9. Drink – alcoholic

Sazerac

10. Celebrity

Willie Nelson.

11. Holiday destination

The beach. Especially a Caribbean beach. Puerto Rico, maybe.

12. Biscuits

Too much of an oceanic language barrier there for me to answer that. Here a biscuit is a specific food, not a type. 🙂

*after a helpful hint…*

Peanut butter cookies are my favourite.

13. Car

Prius. Used to be Saab, but they stopped making them.

14. Fictional Heroine

Lisbeth Salander

15. Fictional Hero

Jean Valjean.

 What ís next for you, writing-wise?

A couple of ideas. I have a series going now that I like, called Complex Erotica. There are a few more stories there to work with, though they are shorter fiction (about 12,000 words a story). The other is a sequel to Charlotte, based on the character of Bridget (who shows up first in Into Charlotte), a few years after the Charlotte series.

List your social media links here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jobhayve/?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoBHayve

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13987175.Jo_B_Hayve

And my own web page: http://jobhayve.com/

Review: Inside Charlotte by Jo B. Hayve

I adore reading about strong female characters, women who take charge of their own destiny rather than expecting their men to forge a path for them to follow.

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In Charlotte Bannon, Jo B. Hayve has created just such a woman who craves freedom from what she considers the conventional norms of marriage.

Inside Charlotte explores how Charlotte turns from a happily-married thirty-something mum into a sexual animal, checking out almost every human being she lays eyes on.

Her exploits are well written: the erotic elements of the story are fantastically horny and really turned me on.

I loved the way the author explores Charlotte’s sexuality too, like a flower gently unfolding her petals towards the sunlight. (Yes, that is very much an intended euphemism!)

Her awakenings will resonate with many female readers who may have wondered what it’s like to sleep with another woman and whether or not it feels different than sleeping with a man.

I shall certainly be reading the next book in the series soon!

Oh, and stay tuned for an interview with the author appearing RIGHT HERE shortly…

 

Why read erotic fiction?

So, today we’re trying to get to the bottom of you, the readers…. In the sense that I’ve been looking for research behind the mahoosive explosion in this genre over recent years. Why are we all so interested in reading sexy stories?

Writing about sex is nothing new. Some of Chaucer’s work in the Canterbury Tales is filthy (14th century), and Shakespeare doesn’t exactly shy away from it either.

More recently, D.H.Lawrence spoke eloquently of it in his classic, Lady Chatterley’s Lover:

“His body was urgent against her, and she didn’t have the heart anymore to fight…He too had bared the front part of his body and she felt his naked flesh against her as he came into her. For a moment he was still inside her, turgid there and quivering. Then as he began to move, in the sudden helpless orgasm, there awoke in her new strange thrills rippling inside her. Rippling, rippling, rippling, like a flapping overlapping of soft flames, soft as feathers, running to points of brilliance, exquisite and melting her all molten inside… She clung to him unconscious in passion, and he never quite slipped from her, and she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring, and strange rhythms flushing up into her with a strange rhythmic growing motion, swelling and swelling til it filled all her cleaving consciousness, and then began again the unspeakable motion that was not really motion, but pure deepening whirlpools of sensation swirling deeper and deeper through all her tissue and consciousness, til she was one perfect concentric fluid of feeling, and she lay there crying in unconscious inarticulate cries.”

Ahhhh….. Beautiful.

But back in the days when I started buying erotic fiction, you had to walk right to the back of the bookshop (yes, this was pre-Kindle territory), right among the LGBT literature, to find anything juicy. Nowadays, you can see it atop the bestsellers, right at the front of the shop. When did that happen?

Obviously, there has been a huge cultural shift towards liberalism, starting in the 1960s and continuing today. Thankfully, we can now no longer be ashamed, as women, of being sexual creatures. We can grab that book from the bookshelf and proudly march to the cashier and say, “I’ll have this please,” without blushing from head to toe and trying to hide our choice under The Times Book of Crosswords: Volume 132.

But there’s another reason too. Let’s talk about escapism.

I found a great blog post by Lexi Maxxwell (see here) which discusses the honesty of erotic language. Readers want to read about their sexual fantasies, the things they wish they could do but can’t because of work commitments, children, and the general banality of Life.

More and more these days, women are expected to be everything. We have more equality in the workplace than ever before, but we still have to be the main child rearer at home, as well as provide food and a clean, tidy house. If you’re not part of the clique that’s into entertaining friends as well, consider yourself lucky.

Erotica allows us, just for a few pleasurable, mind-blowing- earth-moving moments, to be the version of ourselves that we really want to be.

As usual, I welcome your comments.