When you hear the name Rhonda Ryde, you might automatically think biker babe, ski instructor, snow boarder, surfer, exotic dancer, porn star, or maybe even mixed martial arts expert, as in Ronda Rousey, the undefeated champ. As it turns out, Rhonda Ryde is all those things and more. She’s a fiction author which means she can create any world, any fantasy, any reality she wants. Specifically, Ms. Ryde writes erotica, and she’s Australian which somehow makes the whole thing that much spicier. Although her debut novel is not yet complete, I can already see her name in bold letters at the bottom of a steamy looking book cover. I’ve never interviewed an erotica author before and have, in fact, never even read anything in that genre. I am what I suppose you could call a literary virgin. I thank Rhonda not only for taking time to talk to me but for being so gentle. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need a cigarette.
And incidentally, Rhonda really is a surfer, a biker babe and, of all things, an interpreter.
Q: You write erotica and I must admit that’s a literary genre I know very little about. Are there differences between erotica and romance? If so, how would you explain those differences?
A: In my opinion, the main difference would be the amount of sex and the amount of detail in the sex scenes. Erotica generally is more descriptive and the story is based primarily around the sexual journey of the primary characters.
Q: What made you decide to become a fiction author?
A: I didn’t choose to become a writer of fiction. It chose me. I had a story inside me that wanted to come out. What started as ‘just jotting a few thoughts down,’ grew into a 150k word beast, which I’m now trying to tame into a semblance of something publishable.
Q: You’re an indie author trying to break into one of the most lucrative but also competitive literary genres. Is that more exciting or terrifying?
A: Definitely exciting! It will be such a sense of accomplishment to have my work out there. The fact that it’s such a competitive market doesn’t really bother me because I have no real expectations for my novel. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it to take off and do really well, and I’m going to do my best to make that happen, but it’s been the creative aspect that I’ve enjoyed so much.
Q: What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about erotica and/or erotica authors?
A: Hmmm … I’m not really sure about this one. I’m guessing that we all live a life of total and utter debauchery with sex dungeons in the basement
*Reader’s note: I couldn’t help noticing that she didn’t deny it.
Q: One of the most common questions asked of any author is where they get their ideas. I certainly can’t let you off the hook on that one so let’s have it. What is your biggest source of inspiration?
A: My biggest source of inspiration is my own life. My novel is based loosely on my own personal love story – albeit very embellished.
*Second Reader’s note: I’ll definitely need to read that book!
Q: How would you describe your writing technique? Are you more of an outliner, a discovery writer, or do you fall somewhere in between?
A: I’m definitely not an outliner – though the whole story is already in my head. My general writing technique is: I sit down, read where I last left off and continue on. I love it when my characters take me on unexpected and exciting tangents.
Q: What would you say are your biggest strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
A: My biggest strength is – I don’t know what I’m doing, so everything is fresh and raw. My biggest weakness is – I don’t know what I’m doing, so this could all be totally f–ked up!
Q: You said you had the idea for the story in your head before you started writing. Would you be willing to give a brief synopsis?
A: It’s the typical romance – boy meets girl of course. Naïve girl who grew up in a popular, religious cult, meets confident, business mogul with dark secrets. He introduces her to an entirely new world where she finds herself breaking all the rules. It comes to the point where she has to make a decision: Him, or her religious affiliation which includes her family and friends. Is she willing to give it all up for a guy she has fallen for, but has secrets he’s not yet prepared to reveal? Or, will the decision be out of her hands and she winds up banished from the cult and losing it all?
Q: Do you have a timetable in mind for completing and publication?
A: As soon as possible! I thought I would have had it already published by now, but real life as a wife and mother tends to get in the way. Hopefully not too much longer now. I’d like to think within the next three months or so.
Q: Have you given any thought to promotion, marketing, or any of the other things indie authors have to do to try to get noticed? If so, what do you have in mind?
A: I’ve been using Twitter to build my platform. I mostly tweet writing related posts at the moment, but once my book is published, I’ll be hammering my book. Some of my followers are book bloggers and reviewers who have offered to do reviews once I’m published. Some of them are erotica specific, so I hope to break into the field that way. I also have a friend who has a massive website and following for cult survivors, so I’ll advertise through his site as well to pick up on readers who might not be in it for the erotica, but for the ‘story’ side of it. (The kicks will be for free)
Q: What are your goals beyond publication of your first novel? Do you have other stories waiting to be told? Do you see this first book as the beginning of a series?
A: This book is the first in a three part series. It ends on a bit of a cliff hanger, so I hope to trap my readers into getting excited about the next book.
Q: As I’ve said, I have little familiarity with romance or erotica. Are book series as popular in those genres as they are in mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, etc?
A: There are of course stand alone novels, but it does seem erotica tends to be popular in series. The ones I’ve enjoyed the most have been a series.
Q: As I understand it, one of the more common voices for erotica is first person present tense. That’s not the case with most other popular genres. Did you find it challenging to write in a style that’s very different from the way people typically write and speak? If so, how have you managed that challenge?
A: Being the first novel I’ve ever written, and inspired by all the erotica I’d been reading, I found it quite natural. It was the way it just came to me. I never really gave it a second thought until it was raised as a negative at my writing group. One member even re-wrote my entire first chapter in past tense in an effort to convince me to change tense. And I did try to change. I believed they knew better and since I was just a novice, I must be wrong. But after struggling along for a while, I gave up and decided to stick to my guns – and my first person, present tense style. I’ve learnt along the way that there’s probably a lot of things about my writing that a lot of people won’t like, but it’s me and how I write and I feel very comfortable with that.
You can visit Rhonda Ryde on Twitter @RKRyde and look for her debut erotica novel, hopefully coming soon!
If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book reviews blog. You can also visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook, and on Twitter @Micsova. Please pick up a copy of A SHOT AT REDEMPTION, my debut mystery novel.