1. What made you decide to be a writer?
It was one of those things that evolved rather organically, like much of mylife. Seldom have I ever sat down and thought, “Right. Now I’m going to be a writer/runner/bad but enthusiastic cook.” They just happened. I fell into travel writing by a string of coincidences, and that rekindled the joy of creating something that has its own life on paper. I was regularly reading the very wonderful on-line magazine Clean Sheets and I thought, “I wonder if I can do this?”
Turns out that I could, and my first story, “Shadow Child” was accepted by Clean Sheets. That was nearly ten years ago, and I’m still going.
2. What do you write
I write erotica and love stories under the names Cheyenne Blue, Maggie Kinsella and Charles LeDuc. Most of my stories are short – under 10,000 words. I have a leaning toward lesbian fiction, but I also write heterosexual and gay stories.
3. Why do you write what you write? And what’s your favorite type of story to write?
I write sex as I see it as a metaphor for life. Most of my stories are character-centric. Writing about someone having sex is like writing a little nutshell of their life. My approach to writing often mirrors my approach to life (and cooking): start with the basics (an interesting character, a bag of rocket and a can of tuna), put them in a pot, stir around a bit and see what comes out. I’m not a planner and I let the story take me where it will. The stories that evolve and wind their way to a conclusion are my favorite sort to write.
“The Other Side of the Rockies” (in Rode Hard, Put Away Wet: Lesbian Cowboy Erotica, eds. Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia) worked out like that. It’s a story of a battered wife who flees to a ranch and falls for a station hand. Suddenly, the ending happened, surprising me with its suddenness. But I think (hope) it works.
4. If someone was going to read just one thing that you’d written, what would you advise them to read and why?
I’m one of those writers who looks back on their earlier work, shudders, and has a compulsive need to edit, which of course isn’t usually possible. I feel (hope!) I’m getting better as I progress in my craft. So on that basis, I’d advise someone to read a more recent story of mine. A couple I’m proud of include “Wing Walker”, a story about a sexual encounter on the wing of a bi-plane (in The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel, published by Cleis) and “Flannel and Fleece”, a lesbian coming-out story set in a mountain town in the Colorado high country (in Girl Crazy, ed. Sacchi Green, published by Cleis). An older story I’m still fond of is “Marathon Woman”, which you can read for free on the awesome Clean Sheets at http://www.cleansheets.com/fiction/blue_04.02.08.shtml . The character, Vinnie, is the runner I am in my dreams (the reality is somewhat different and many minutes a mile slower).
5. What do you like to read/ who do you like to read?
I’m fairly omnivorous when it comes to reading. If the back of a cereal packet is stationary for long enough, I’ll read it. But when I choose a book to purchase, I’m fairly picky. I prefer literary and character-based stories with good emotional resonance. When I find a writer I love, I tend to read their whole catalog. I’ve recently read everything by Haruki Murakami; now I’m moving onto Jeanette Winterson, and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
In erotica, my favorite writers are ones who say so much in the spaces between their words. Shanna Germain is right up there along with Lynne Jamneck, Jean Roberta, Nikki Magennis, and a writer I’ve recently discovered, Allison Wonderland.
6. Tell us some odd or quirky things about you.
I once caused a logjam of a line at the newsstand at Denver International Airport when I asked the checkout girl for a receipt for the copy of “Playgirl” I was purchasing. She placed both hands flat on the counter, stared me in the face and asked why I wanted a receipt. I told her it was a tax deduction. “How come?” she screamed at what sounded like the top of her voice. “What sort of job do you have that you can tax-deduct ‘Playgirl’?” She wouldn’t let me leave until I’d explained.
I’m completely unfazed by snakes, spiders, scorpions, cockroaches, rats, or anything else in the creepy department, but show me one tiny looping leech and I become a hysterical, screaming wreck.