Hello Readers and Writers!
Today we want to introduce you to an author with a filthy mind. We'd also consider her an intelligent, level headed, and receptive creator. Starting with free erotica sites to test her chops, she moved on to indie publishing and has made her release a study in characters, using them to drive the story. With cliffhangers and a theme of sexual awakening intertwined, her books are a joyride with sexy twists and turns. Debauchery with development!
Introducing Alexa Sommers!
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
AS: While I have been writing for most of my life, I just made the leap to publishing my erotic stories for sale earlier this year. I played with the idea for some time prior to doing so. I had a number of short stories posted to free erotica sites and was receiving a lot of positive feedback and that really helped push me to make the decision. I began drafting Level Up in late December and published the first book, Level One: Headshot, on February 1st. The response to that series and my writing has been overwhelming.
RL: What's your current work in progress?
AS: Having just finalized the Level Up series, I am currently working on a paranormal romantic romance with a touch of horror. It is a little darker than my debut series but, as always, it’s mine so it will be chock full of geek, wit, and ‘probably’ a sappy love story in and amongst the darkness. This will likely be a 2-3 part series. Drafting on Spiritual Awakening – Ghosted Book 1 is moving well and I hope to have it available by mid to late May.
RL: You write Erotic. What lead you to that genre?
AS: My filthy mind. No matter what stories I dream up, be they mysteries, suspense, or romance, love is always a factor and I am a strong believer that love and romance will have a sexual element. I can’t say that erotica will always be my primary genre but I know that my books will always have an erotic aspect to them. Level Up was, at its core, a romance, however, to get there Dillon first had to have his sexual awakening. He needed to find his path. That sexual awakening was a catalyst for the story and to tell that properly the story needed to be explicit and tantalizing.
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo in your genre?
AS: I like to think my books are first and foremost an exploration of the characters. The characters drive the story and while that story may be sexual it is not necessarily about sexuality. It’s about the journey and growth of the characters involved. It’s porn with plot, debauchery with development.
With Level Up, I have also taken on a sub-genre that is not often touched upon in erotica (geek and gaming culture) and I have explored the sexual awakening of a Beta male without making him a cuckhold or resorting to some type of Alpha shift. This is something not often seen in the genre and I felt that if it were done well it could find a niche market.
RL: Your Level Up books have intended "untraditional endings". How have readers responded to that break in tradition?
AS: I made the decision early on in development to release Level Up as a series of novellas with cliffhanger endings. It was a risk because it has the potential to turn readers off if you leave them hanging for too long but it allowed me to stagger releases only a few weeks apart. Part of that decision was story-based and part of it was marketing. The story as a whole is really long for a single romance, from a marketing perspective, quick releases and new novellas helped to build that early readership and allowed people to get to know me and my writing without a huge investment in time or money. In the end the strategy worked well and Level Up has been a very successful project.
RL: Do you have any plans to write outside of your current genre?
AS: I don’t have any firm plans at the moment but would not be opposed to it. I could see myself branching into a traditional romance or even some form of erotic mystery.
RL: How hard is it as a female to write a male lead character in an erotic work?
AS: It was a little difficult and at times I struggled with Dillon’s reactions. I drew off a number of friends and family to try and hit the right note and tone. Honestly, the male antagonist was harder to write, I struggled with making him believable while avoiding too many clichés. The female leads were much easier to write and each of them has a unique piece of me to their personality.
RL: How do you beat writer's block?
AS: I step away instead of trying to fight through it. I find that if I can move away from the story and find something unrelated but still creative to focus on, then the breakthrough will come. I don’t overly plot out my stories or characters, they tell me their story and I am simply the conduit to the page. When they aren’t talking I simply need to give them time. They always come back to me.
RL: Many erotic authors are choosing pen names and are masking their image. What decision did you make on anonymity and why?
AS: Alexa Sommers is a pen name and I put a lot of thought into whether or not to use it. In the end a number of horror stories convinced me that anonymity was probably the safest choice. For anyone working in a sexually related industry there is an inherent risk and there are plenty of stories about creeps, of all sexes and genders, who look to take advantage or exploit those who put themselves out there.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
AS: My path was pretty straight forward. I knew from the onset that I was not going to be looking to a traditional publisher. Erotica is picked up occasionally but it is a tough road to plow and I really just wanted to get my work out there. I decided to set up my own Imprint and self publish. It’s not an easy road and I try to ensure that my work is a professional as possible by bringing in the proper experts along the way.
RL: What advice would you give to an author who is interested in writing erotic stories for publication?
AS: First and foremost… write your story. Whether you publish it or not write it because that is where the joy lies. If you are new to the genre, get feedback before you decide to publish, be that a number of beta readers, or free erotica sites. That feedback will help you grow and prepare you for what is to come. One thing I have found is that paid readership and free readership are two very different things. Paid readership expects far more and are more critical in what you provide. Sharpen your teeth on the free readers but be prepared when you make the jump.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going in the future?
AS: I am hoping to continue the pace I have been working at, build my readership, and continue to get my work in people’s hands. The ultimate goal is to make this my primary living but only time will tell if that is possible. In the meantime I intend to enjoy the ride and continue writing my tales so that the voices in my head will stop screaming them out to me.
RL: What are you reading now?
AS: At the moment I am reading Adam’s Witness by J. C. Paulson. It is the first book in a series of romantic mysteries. I have just started the first book and I can already tell that J. C. and I are going to be spending the next couple weeks together as I devour the rest of her work.
RL: What can readers expect from you in the future?
The plans continue to grow, for now, I am focused on the Ghosted series and hoping to finalize it in the next couple of months. I have Audiobooks for the Level Up series in production with my amazing narrator Sharmila Devar (of Star Wars Rebels and Scandal) My readership has expressed interest in a story about a cosplay dominatrix which I have been teasing and I also have some plans to further explore some of the side characters from my Level Up series. The only thing I can guarantee is that I will continue to write and hopefully my readers will enjoy the stories I have to tell.