The Secret Lives of Erotica Authors "Kinky Books" Features Cleis Press

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Slate featured a new project by photographer David Woolfall to capture the secret lives of erotica writers.

Slate recently featured photographer David Woolfall's new project titled "Kinky Books: Female Erotica Writers." Woolfall contacted several popular female erotica writers, including Kay Jaybee, Jaqueline Applebee, Victoria Blisse, Lucy Felthouse, KD Grace, Elizabeth Coldwell, and Lily Harlem, all of whom have contributed to various Cleis Press books such as Twice the Pleasure, Best Erotic Romance 2013, Big Book of Bondage, Only You, and Orgasmic.

Woolfall began the project to answer the question: "Who are the people behind erotic fiction?" A genre that had been dominated by men writing with female pseudonyms, is now mostly driven by female authors. Through this project, he also discovered that erotica writers are ordinary people. As he says in an article in The Independent, "They could be your mother, sister or girlfriend, the woman sitting next to you at church on a Sunday"

Some of the writers have their faces obscured because they have not "come out" to family or friends as erotica writers. Kay Jaybee, one of the writers photographed, stated: "Sadly, many people can't separate the art from the subject matter. So I largely write in secret and take a salacious pleasure from sitting in my favourite coffee shop, notebook in hand, writing down words I'd never ever say, about things I'd never do. Everyone just assumes I'm either studying, or planning a shopping list.”

Elizabeth Coldwell describes writing as a way to live out fantasies, "It enables me to live out all kinds of fantasies with the characters I create—I can be a rock star one week, a celebrity chef the next and a grubby, shirtless werewolf the next. And how many people can say that?"

The full project can be seen on David Wollfall's website.

Cleis Press publishes provocative, intelligent books across genres. Whether literary fiction, human rights, mystery, romance, erotica, LGBTQ studies, sex guides, pulp fiction, or memoir, you know that if it's outside the ordinary, it's Cleis Press.

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Brenda Knight
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