Interview with erotic blogger and writer Jennifer Lassalle Edwards
Can you tell us a little bit about you? What kind of girl where you growing up?
Jennifer Lassalle Edwards: I was a very shy child, and sort of a loner growing up. My whole world revolved around books, music, and animals. I was close to thirty when I broke out of my shell. I began going to burlesque shows, and eventually became a dancer for about five or six years. I was in roller derby, then began competing in Fitness and Physique. I began to travel, many times alone. Basically, anything that I found interesting or exciting, I began to just go for it.
At one of the book signings I attended last year, I was body painted before by a well-known artist who was on the competition show Skin Wars. I signed books for the four hours topless and just covered in paint! I figured when would I have a chance to do that again?
How did you become a blogger? What first made you to decide to create your blog?
JLE: I have actually been blogging since 2008. I think I began it as a record of everything that I was doing at the time, burlesque & roller derby were my main activities at the time. I still post on that blog as well, Red Lips & Ass. It's more of a lifestyle blog. Candy & Kink began when I began self-publishing my erotic novels. I wanted it to be my author blog but found it more fun to write posts reviewing products, talking about intimacy, sex, life, and movies. For me, it's almost like keeping diaries. I hope to look back on them when I am ancient and remember that I lived a vibrant life.
Tell us a little about your work as a writer?
JLE: I have always written since I could string sentences together. My mom still has boxes of stories that I used to write when I was growing up. For a bit, I wrote for a music site in New Orleans. I used to do band reviews and interviews. My husband and I enjoyed it; he would take pictures and I wrote articles. I never did quit writing fiction either. It was my husband that stumbled on stories that I had stored on floppy discs, and he pulled them off and backed them up.
When I began to self-publish, I was also doing a bit of proofreading for a few other indie authors. One of them was kind enough to read the first chapters of a story that I was toying with, and it was he that encouraged me to just do it. The rest, I guess, is history!
How many books did you write?
JLE: So far, I have written and published four novels and one short story that was included in an anthology.
Why the sexual topic? Why BDSM?
JLE: It's not all sex, although there is more in there than your normal mainstream romances. I grew up with Danielle Steele, Julie Garwood, Anne Rice (the Sleeping Beauty trilogy was incredibly S&M themed), De Sade was in my early reading as well. I loved romances of all kinds and horror novels. I'm a huge horror fan. You'd be surprised at the kink in many different genres, or the hint at it.
I've been to fetish events, was acquainted with a woman who is a paid Dominatrix, been around the underground scene for well over a decade. And let's just say that I'm not one who does not have experience with it, lol. There may be a huge collection of implements in my home obviously, as I blog about it, hahaha.
As for my books, I wanted to tell stories with real people. And with strong female leads. Perhaps show that normal people can have amazing sex lives, and spice them up in different ways. Play in the bedroom can be as varied and exciting as we want it to be, plus fun! There's also always life lessons, and that fairy tales can exist; we can make them happen.
What was the first story you ever wrote, and what happened to it?
JLE: The first story that I remember writing was when I was probably in fourth or fifth grade. I remember being at my grandmother and grandfather's house. I stayed up late into the night writing pages and pages by hand. This was well before computers were available. It had to do with a dream lover that turned out to be a demon...I keep thinking that I should rewrite it. My mom actually still has it packed away! I should ask her to send it to me.
Can you tell us about some of your books?
JLE: "Ripped & Twisted" was my first one, so I have a special place in my heart for it. It's a menage M/F/M. I, myself, was competing and spent a great deal of time in the gym daily. I found myself making up stories in my head while I was running on the treadmill, then typing notes. Eventually, it evolved into the book following a bunch of gym rats and their relationships. This one is a darker read, secrets, and danger.
Here's a little blurb:
".... Faith Dumont is a witty, confident, fiery fitness competitor, or so she appears to everyone else. Yet no one knows the horrors that she's endured and escaped to create this seemingly perfect life. No one knows the battle of self-loathing and deviant urges Faith battles daily.
She keeps her demons under control by her regimented, disciplined lifestyle. Faith has also implemented “rules” into her life, specifically a “no dating” rule. This rule was made to protect her heart. Life in the gym keeps her sane, to an extent, however, just because there is no dating does not mean there is not a bit of kink.
Slade is smoking hot physique competitor who works with Faith in the gym. Not only is Slade a co-worker, he is Faith's only friend and a kin of the kink. He has always willingly followed Faith’s conditions... that is until tattooed trainer Ty enters their lives throwing all that Faith has created into a tailspin. When Slade sees Faith falling for Ty's seduction, he decides to refuse Faith's rules and introduce her to his.
With her normalcy crumbling around her, Faith is slammed by the carnal and emotional enticement of both men. Can they make their triad of passion work or will Faith’s past come back to decimate any spark of hope for love that she ever had?
"Candy & Kink" was inspired by my burlesque years and my association with exotic dancers. I wanted there to be lots of food play, puns, and funny. I also wanted a more mature alpha male character that would do anything for his woman.
"... Claudette, an exotic dancer with the stage name Candy, is a girl with voracious sweet tooth who has become jaded by her illustrious career. She has always loved the notion of living the fairy tale, happy endings and all, but the men who frequent the club have crushed that fantasy. After all, who really wants a real relationship with a stripper?
Tired of meaningless flings, she has made her life an endless cycle of working and hanging out with her friends, Z and Britt, at their favorite dive bar until the wee hours of the morning keeping her mind occupied and away from romantic dreams. Besides, candy and desserts are far better than sex anyway. That’s what Claudette keeps telling herself.
But things are not always as they seem, and Z and Britt see that. Will Claudette heed their advice? Will she go back to her comfortable ways to forget it all? Or just maybe, Claudette will be surprised by the unexpected and find that her fairy tale is even better than she ever could have imagined, proving that sex, and maybe love can be oh so sweet including candy and kink.
The Perchance To Dream duet grew from my belief that there is a part in most of us that feel lonely, unattractive, and unworthy. Perhaps, our past still haunts us. Sometimes, we hide the real us from the world, and it can be uncovered by a special person. Daydreams can become reality...."
The Surrender of Luella: Perchance to Dream Book One
"... My daydreams are the web I weave to deceive my brain, and ultimately, escape my reality. After all, isn’t happiness the lies we create to make it through life? – Luella Parker
Disappointed by people her whole life, shy and introverted Luella Parker prefers the company of her dreams and books instead.
Stuck in a dead-end job with a boss who resented her presence, Luella longed for an escape from her solitary reality. Her wild fantasies provided her that exodus.
A dropped book on a bench changes everything. After a stranger tries to return the book she left behind, Fletcher Stevens approaches her for more. He offers her a life-altering proposition.
Fletcher’s proposal would allow her to bring all of her wicked desires to live. As Fletcher and Luella explore her kinky wishes through their arrangement.
Could this be all of her dreams coming true, becoming a My Fair Lady of Kink?.."
Illusions: Perchance to Dream Book Two
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” -Albert Einstein
"... The truth can shatter our illusions, but what is the truth? Often times, one person’s truth is another person’s lie.
Luella Parker doesn’t know what is real anymore after Fletcher Stevens betrays her trust, and crushes her heart. Arthur Ross is there to help her pick up the pieces, teaching her that each person’s reality is their own, and theirs alone to create. With his help, Luella pursues a dream that can become a concrete actuality – that has nothing to do with her heart.
Luella learns to look at her perception of life in a new way, living in the present moment, and she comes to see that there is more to truths than meets the eye...."
Do you write under a pseudonym?
JLE: Nope, this is my real name. Jennifer Lassalle Edwards.
I notice you have a free short story on your blog, and it seems that more and more indie writers are incorporating some free content as part of their overall strategy. Has it hooked you more readers?
JLE: I think it can definitely help introduce readers to your style. I think it has helped bring in readers who may be hesitant to make a commitment to a full book.
Do you think sex sells?
JLE: Of course! Magazines, commercials, music videos, movies all show that to be true. There's nothing wrong with being proud of is or embracing it. I also think it's not always a necessary component either. My book covers tend to be pretty tame, usually with objects on them rather than bare torsos. I like both, but I also like to be different from everyone else.
What is the best part of your work? What is most challenging about it?
JLE: I absolutely love telling stories, bringing fantasies to the paper. I love when a reader sends me a message telling me how a book touched them, how they related to a certain part, or even how they have had something that I have written about actually occur in their life. It's amazing!
It is definitely challenging to find the time I would like to spend writing, actually getting to write. I have a job, home, and family, so I am not able to devote as much time as I would like to writing...or marketing. Marketing yourself is hard stuff with all of the other books out there as well.
Where can you see yourself going in the next couple of years?
JLE: I would love to be able to put out more than one book a year. I see myself expanding into different genres too. I love romance and erotica but have an obsession with horror. I would love to put a horror novel out there. I won't lie, I'd love to be picked up by a traditional publisher for at least one story. It's been a dream of mine since I was very young.
What next? Are you in time of writing a new book?
JLE: Currently, I am working on two different books simultaneously. One is a spin-off of a character that I introduced in Illusions. It will be erotica. Another is going to be a little more traditional romance with an eccentric and out there heroine.
Finally, what advice would you give to a writer starting out on the self-publishing path? What do you wish you did differently, or what advice do you wish you had received?
JLE: It's rough out there since the self-publishing world has increased tremendously in the past few years. If you really want to do it, don't give up. Have a few trusted people who will tell you the truth and give honest critiques.
I cannot stress enough to have your work proof-read and edited. There's always going to be a typo or two that gets overlooked. No big deal, even the big names have it happen in their books, but you don't want to put your work out riddled with mistakes. It gets noticed.
Honestly, I wish I would have had the guts to pursue this earlier. The market is really saturated, and it takes a lot of time and work to make connections and get seen out there. It's hard, but worth it. Try not to take the rejections personally. And always, always show appreciation to those who love you and help promote you. They are priceless friends, readers, and bloggers, that make up your whole support system.
You can find more information about Jennifer Lassalle Edwards and her books on her website and social media accounts.