When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and playing with graphic design. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you.
She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours penciling naughty, sexy illustrations in her secret notebooks.
Brantwijn has two romance series currently in-progress with Champagne Books. She’s also had short stories published in several small press anthologies. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work.
Her short stories and audio readings occasionally pop up along with her artwork on her website, www.brantwijn.com.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The first romance I wrote—Lotus Petals—was in part motivated by the first erotic novel I ever read. I won’t say ‘inspired’, because I already had the characters, plot, and setting in mind… but what spurred me to actually knuckle down and write it was reading an erotic novel with a similar setting, and being blown away by how bad it was. The author claimed to be an expert in geisha culture and the setting of Japan, and yet the plot and characters were just… just awful. I wanted to write something both erotic and beautiful, both salacious and sexually charged but founded in a strong story and compelling conflict. I just wanted to show that erotica and good storytelling were not mutually exclusive.
Was it easy to tell your friends and family that you were writing romance? What was their reaction?
It was awkward at first, and I sort of threw out “scandalous” details to warn them and give them a chance to turn down reading it. You know…fair warning, ahead thar be naughty words and erotic situations. My parents insist on being encouraging and supportive anyway. Even grandma. They brag about me and my lesbian erotic stories to their friends. It’s downright embarrassing.
How did you react to having to edit or make changes to your “baby”?
I actually honestly believed my editor would be struck dumb by the sheer awesomeness and professional polish of my work. I expected glowing praise and stunned awe. It, uh…it didn’t work out quite that way. In fact, the editor assigned to me—Jayne Wolfe—turned out to be pretty ruthless. I was the one who was stunned. But I’ll tell you something. I was Absolutely thrilled! Jayne really made me work for every scene, every chapter. She put me through my paces and she never held back. I honestly feel the book’s true shine comes from working with an editor who wasn’t afraid to be brutal.
What is the hardest part of being published for you?
There is an element of being “always on”, I think. Not like I’m always playing a role, but like I’ve always got to be selling myself. Indie authors and small presses have an uphill battle and the market gets tougher every day. I’ve already gone through the closing of one house I belonged to and feel like as a house author, I let them down. If I go a day or two without having done some sort of self-promotion, suddenly every missed sale, every day without a bump in my numbers, feels like a falling back in a race while all the other runners speed on ahead. It can be daunting. I’ve always held onto the idea that I’m in this to tell stories, to share fantasy and adventure with other lovers of good fiction, and that’s what’s important, but there’s still pressure to make sales numbers for the publisher, keep the lifeblood flowing to the small and indie market.
What is your least favourite part of the whole process of writing, editing, publishing and promoting a book? Why is that and how do you deal with it?
I loathe writing blurbs. Trying to boil down my story into a 100-word sales pitch just…just kills me. I’m not saying it’s useless. I understand the purpose of it, and the necessity, and I understand how it helps readers make a decision. I would never argue that authors shouldn’t write blurbs…I just don’t like doing it! I turn to my editors for help. Both editors I’ve worked with are exceptionally helpful, taking my raw words and finessing them into something resembling sensible copy. I’d be lost without them.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
I always, always advise aspiring writers to take a creative writing course. One where you interact with other students. Share your work with the group. Take critique. Give critique. I’ve heard published authors brag that they’ve never taken a class, but honestly, they should have and their writing reflects it. You can do good work without formal instruction. Having that instruction to help shape and hone your skills, though, can take good work, and make it great.
If you weren’t a writer, what other artistic outlet do you think you’d have?
I’d like to think I could make a living in art. I love all sorts of artistic expression. I’ve recently branched into cover art and graphic design, but I love sketching, painting, crafting, small-scale sculpture… Hopefully I could find some way to make a decent wage at it.
Do you have a secret skill that you can share with us?
I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. I can also apparently rap. I didn’t even know I could do that.
What has been the strangest place that inspiration has struck and how did you deal with it?
In the middle of a Swedish massage. My first massage, actually. The result—written years later—is actually the massage sequence in Lotus Petals between Rhiannon and Aijyn. I still get inspiration during massages, actually…currently I have ideas stewing for one of my fantasy novels involving the preparation of a queen for coronation.
What is the strangest thing you have ever done while researching your story or characters?
I always enjoy a trip to the Erotic Heritage Museum when I’m in Las Vegas, and while I’m never entirely sure what I’ll find there, it’s always good research for my erotica and romance stories. On my first visit—I only randomly found the place while driving around off the strip, behind the casinos—I spent a couple of minutes watching unique pornographic films in their circular theatre. One of the films was reportedly the first known pornographic film, a black-and-white silent film from 1915. Another was shot in thermal cam. That one was really neat.
A submissive pain slut receives a tattoo as a reward for years of selfless service. A man’s body is used to deliver a very different kind of message to a domineering masochist. An exotic teahouse on an alien planet where one woman explores her submissiveness with a set of shapeshifting twins.
These and other sizzling stories take you to the places where kink meets ink and leave you indelibly marked.
Word Count: 71,000
Kink Level: D/s, BDSM and voyeurism featuring M/f, F/m, F/f and M/M/f pairings
ISBN 978-1-988233-19-2 (physical)
ISBN 978-1-988233-20-8 (electronic)
Inkarnate by Mara Malins is about an artist who tries tattooing from a place of desperation and discovers not only a new career but a whole new world and a side of herself she hadn’t known existed. (M/f)
The Courier by Danielle Davis takes place in a world where paper is a precious commodity and so messages are often tattooed onto courier’s bodies. When one courier delivers a message the recipient wants to read over and over things it has a profound impact on his life. (F/m)
Through Glass a Stranger by Renee Dominick is about what happens when the man Liliya has been watching from afar decides to change the rules of their game. (Voyeur)
In For the Occasion by Brantwijn Serrah a lucky pain slut is gifted a brand new nipple tattoo by her mistress. (F/f)
Sae-ri by Nicole Blackwood features not one, but two sexy werewolf — and did I mention that they are twins? They’ve claimed Zoe as their own, but it’ll all be for nought if she doesn’t claim them in return. (M/M/f)
Kayla left her dominant partner, Mark, and got engaged to another man in Ink and Ocean by Meredith Dark. But soon after that engagement falls apart Kayla finds herself back in Mark’s apartment, teased and tempted by the past… (M/f)
Painted Red by Sara Dobie Bauer features a leading man with an interesting fetish — Ben loves tattoos. Like, he really, really loves tattoos. Will Angie’s issues keep her and Ben from being together or will he break down her defenses so they can find happiness together? (m/f)