I caught up with author of The Vacation Lodge to discuss her first foray into the world of erotic writing. We spoke about why erotica is such a popular genre, developing writing styles, synthetic imagination and much more.
Read on for an in depth and honest insight into the amazing world of DJ Walker!
Hi DJ, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today, how are you?
I’m still going so I can’t complain. Thank you for asking.
Before we tuck into details about your recent erotic thriller, let’s get to know you a bit better.
When did you first discover you had a passion for writing?
It was only 4 years ago that I discovered I had a passion for writing. At the time, I was using writing as a form of self expression so I spent most of my time writing poetry and journaling. I realised how easy it was to channel my thoughts when they were written down and that’s when I truly discovered the power behind choosing the right word. It was quite liberating as I realised that I could tell stories between the lines as well as on them.
How did that develop into erotic writing?
I wrote whenever I had the spare time or whenever I wanted to fill time. One day, I found myself writing a short story out of boredom. It was based around two characters and it was full of sexual innuendos but, it was left it unfinished because I was only writing to fill the time. A few years later, I stumbled across the story on my laptop and it made me laugh out loud. So as you do in this day and age, I sent it to a few of my friends to share what had tickled me. It was one of my cousins who got really excited, telling me that she wanted to know what happened next. She told me that I reminded her of her favourite author, Eric Jerome Dickey and I should consider writing. At the time, I didn’t know who the author was but it excited me that she was so enthusiastic about my writing. I immediately started researching authors and developing my short prose. It was the sheer joy from writing in innuendos and subliminal messages that The Vacation Lodge fell into the category of Erotica.
Is there a knack to telling an erotic story in your opinion?
Everybody has their own writing style and I am forever in the process of developing my own. I always try to write the type of story that I would like to read. I believe that each chapter should be either exciting or build up to excitement as it keeps the buzz going. I believe that the sexual encounters should happen between the main storyline rather than the other way around. Each story is loosely planned but it is the description that leads the character from one place to another. In essence, I aim to create a movie in the reader’s head through the words chosen as I want them to build up a relationship with the characters.
In your opinion, is there a stigma that comes with erotic writing?
I believe there is a stigma around sexual ideologies in general. So to create work where the realms of sex and sexuality are explored in detail, it’s bound to come with stigma. There are so many layers to the realm of erotica and it is not always openly discussed. Sex is a very intimate thing which is usually enjoyed in private. And sometimes it is done but not enjoyed. The act involves parts of our body that we are taught to cover up in public so I understand why the idea comes with shame. Nonetheless, many people still enjoy the act of sex, so I understand why they enjoy reading about it also. But due to the way society has encouraged us to view the idea of sex and sexuality, reading about it is bound to come with stigma and that’s why most people enjoy covertly reading this genre.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process
Before I write, I always have the end in mind. I build up a loose plan to follow how the characters get themselves from the beginning to the end. I ensure that the character is challenged throughout because the path of life never runs smooth, unfortunately. However, there are times when the plan changes throughout the writing process as the character’s decisions can alter the course of the writing. I aim to write 3000 words a week until completion so it can take around 7 months for a first draft to be ready.
How much do you believe your personal qualifications in sociology ad criminology impacts the way you write….if at all?
There is no doubt that my sociology studies affect my view on life so they are bound to affect my style of writing. In fact, I am more in tune with the characters because of it, especially in terms of empathy. I’ve been trained to analyse how social situations can affect human behaviour and vice versa so I definitely believe this seeps through in the actions and reactions of my characters.
So, The Vacation Lodge. This is your debut novel isn’t it?
Without giving too much away, what is it about and what can we expect from it?
The Vacation Lodge is my debut novel and tells the tale of a single, lonely holiday maker looking for an adventure to remember. But as she meets her love interest and discovers more about him, she finds it hard to admit that she’s bitten off more than she can chew. This novel explores all of the emotions and behaviours that come with love, passion, seduction and deception so I would definitely say expect the unexpected.
Are any of the characters/scenarios based wholly or loosely on personal experiences/social interactions?
I create using synthetic imagination. This means that some inspiration comes from things I’ve seen, heard or experienced first or second hand. So my imagination can develop stories that haven’t already happened but they are based on my exposure via movies watched, stories heard from others or indeed personal experiences. However, I also have the power to empathise and that is why I am able to get in the head of the characters. At the end of the day, you do not have to hit your own head into a brick wall to know how it feels.
If you had to rewrite and go through the whole process of creating The Vacation Lodge, what would you do differently?
This is a really hard question; mainly because I am really proud of the work that I was able to produce in my first attempt at writing a novel. What I have noticed from writing my second novel is that I am less caught up on the idea of following the every movement of each character. Each chapter is a new scene and they do not have to explain every single thing that has happened in between the chapters. I’ve also grown more comfortable with the idea of erotica so a lot of the language used is a lot less subliminal at points and more black and white.
What have you learned along the way?
I’ve learnt to trust my instincts. A lot of the content that I shared with people before my novel was released was doubted. But I stuck with it anyway because I liked it and I have received nothing but good reviews from the readers. I’ve learnt not to waste money on paid adverts on social media. A lot of the time, they were shown to people that I already followed and made no direct impact on the exposure of my novel. Last but not least, I’ve learnt to keep going, even when I feel like giving up. It’s my consistency that allows me to keep connecting with new people every day.
What would you like the readers of The Vacation Lodge to take away from this novel?
Life does not always go to plan, even when you want it to. And all experiences, both good and bad shape who you are. Also, erotica written by melanated authors does not always have to be ghetto and focused on crime and gangs. The world is changing and melanated characters do not always have to conform to societies expectations of class and wealth.
Will there be a follow up the Vacation Lodge?
The Vacation Lodge is actually the first in a trilogy and The Vacation Lodge II is in the process of making its way to the shelves by February 2019.
OK DJ, let’s find out a bit more about you….
How do you feel about the comparison between erotic writing and pornography?
In my opinion, erotica is how pornography should be. It is the exploration of sex entwined with a good storyline.
Do you believe eroticism is liberating?
Erotica is definitely mentally liberating. It exposes you to a whole new world of risk and enjoyment.
Do you tend to read erotic stories and novels by others?
In all honesty, I read erotica for critical assessment. I find it hard to just enjoy a fictional novel these days. My mind is constantly thinking, how could this have been written in a better way to connect with the audience? So at current, reading erotica is part of my course of study to develop my own writing style.
Who is your favourite author?
Dr Seuss. I love the way he is able to transmit hard hitting messages through the use of rhyme and nonsense words.
Who/what inspires you and why?
My current situation inspires me the most. Knowing that I’m not where I want to be mentally, physically and financially keeps me going even when I don’t want to. I know that I have a unique writing style that is yet to be discovered and enjoyed by a wide audience and I will keep pushing until that is recognised.
If you had to spend the day with any character from any book you’ve read, who would it be and why?
I would definitely choose Raven from The Vacation Lodge because she has had some wild experiences both good and bad. It would be interesting to get a first hand view of some of her good experiences whilst being a shoulder to cry on for her bad experiences. And Raven is definitely in need of a good companion.
What would be the worst piece of advice any new author could receive (in your opinion)?
The worst piece of advice you could give to a new author is to stop writing because it doesn’t pay well. Writing is a liberating experience and that alone is enough to keep you going. You never know when the perfect opportunity will come up for your talent to be exposed to a wider audience so I would always encourage people to follow their passion.
How do you deal with any negativity towards you or the genre you choose to write for?
Luckily, I haven’t experienced much negativity at all but I’ve found that the belief in my own talent and the people that recognise and appreciate it are enough to outweigh any negativity.
What’s next for you creatively?
I am in the process of writing the sequel to The Vacation Lodge. After which, I have two more novels in the pipeline that I’m dying to get stuck into.
Wow! Busy but exciting times ahead.
DJ, thank you once again and good luck with the writing and all that’s destined to come.