When did you start writing stories?
I fell in love with words in kindergarten, when I learned to read. I remember coming home, so proud I had learned to spell ‘dinosaur’ and ‘hospital.’ And we had a work station at school where you could make a little book. I can’t remember now whether there were pictures and you had to write the story or whether the story was written and you had to draw the pictures, but I do remember thinking, when I was done, that I had just written a book. A momentous occasion, to be sure. 😉
I started reading vampire stories in my teens and DEVOURED all the YA vampire books I could find – Christopher Pike’s The Last Vampire series, L. J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries (waaaay before the TV show came out), The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause…eventually Anne Rice’s vampire series, and many others, too. (I wrote a blog post a while ago about some of my favorite, lesser-known vampire literature – both books and film.)
When I was in high school I bought an ankh and wore it every day, hoping a vampire would see it and turn me into a vampire. (I can’t remember now why I thought an ankh was a symbol that would appeal to a vampire. It must have been in something I read.)
But it was only recently (within the last couple of years) that I began to ask myself, “Why am I so drawn to vampires?” Answers: they’re attractive, rich, super strong. Eternally young. They’re hard to kill. They don’t need to work for food/housing. They live decadent, hedonistic lives. What a lot of this pointed toward was that being a vampire meant security and safety. If I were a vampire I wouldn’t have to worry about starving to death because food was everywhere. I wouldn’t have to worry about growing old. I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone hurting me because I would be stronger than everyone else. I wouldn’t have to be careful about which streets I walked down. No part of the world would be closed to me; I could go anywhere and do anything I wanted. (Except, perhaps, enjoy the sunshine, but I’d never much cared for sunshine anyway. And then the Twilight series suggested that vampires can go out in sunlight anyway, so problem solved.)
So I decided to write a story wherein the main character was drawn to vampirism because she wanted—more than anything in the world—to feel safe. And Lilly was born.
I like reading romances, but there’s too much adherence to gender norms and mainstream lifestyles to suit me. There’s more freedom in erotica. You can have heroes that aren’t super masculine and heroines that aren’t super feminine; the people can be more like people and less like stereotypes. Your main characters don’t have to be heterosexual monogamists; they can be bisexual, pansexual, or homosexual, and they can be into open relationships or polyamory. In erotica the story doesn’t have to be a love story (though ultimately Lilly’s and Torren’s story is); it can be a story about anything that happens to have sex in it. And you don’t have to have happy endings.
Why did you choose to self-publish?
Honestly? Probably because I’m an impatient person. To be published traditionally, I’d have likely had to send out query letters for years, and even then there’s no guarantee the Lilly Frank series would have ever seen daylight. This way, I get to publish when I think it’s done, and this way I get to keep a larger percentage of the profits.
But also I hate the idea of having to be accepted by some elite group of people who hold the keys to the traditional publishing world. I hate the idea of working with a publisher who would try to make my books more mainstream to fit their idea of target audience.
On the other hand, it would’ve been nice to have worked with an editor who could’ve helped me see where and how to flesh out the books into full-length novels. I have a hard time seeing that stuff on my own.
Then again, maybe it’s good that Awakening and Awakening 2 are novellas. I know I get grumpy when I can’t finish reading a book in one afternoon. 🙂
**I finished it in a couple of hours. I was hooked and couldn’t put it down until it was done!**
What’s next? What can we expect from you?
At this point the only thing I know for sure is that Awakening 3 will be released Summer 2014.
But I also hope to be writing and publishing more short erotica, like “Crouch” and “Turning Point,” and I have two more novels I’ve started that I’m excited about: a contemporary romance about a romance novelist who reconnects with an old flame and a historical pirate romance tentatively titled The Pirate Queen.
About the Author
Jeanie Grey is a feminist reader and writer of romance and erotica who lives in Portland, Oregon. Her short stories have been published on deadlyeverafter.com and thedarkerhalf.com. For more about her work and her views on writing romance and erotica, please visit her website at http://jeaniegrey.blogspot.com You can also connect with her on Twitter (@jeaniegrey) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org