Interesting interview by Nick Wale at Novel Reads, includes some good advice for authors starting out, as well as advice on marketing. Enjoy!
Rigel Madsong is an enigma. A writer of erotica who has raised the benchmark for all writers of all genres. Rigel is what I would call a “writers writer,” the kind of writer you look up to and learn from. When I first met Rigel, I was amazed by his drive and ambition. A book is only as good as the writer writing it. Rigel Madsong is as good as a writer gets. “The Taste of a Woman” is classy, erotic to the core and has those wonderful, sticky pages that keep you reading over and over again.
I know everyone is telling you their book is “amazing,” but Rigel Madsong really is a cut above. Get “The Taste of a Woman,” and if it doesn’t turn you on, let me know… I want to know what’s wrong with you.
Q) Rigel, as an erotic author I have to ask– what is erotic to you?
A) Whatever turns me on. I know that it’s different for different folk. For me it has to have an element of beauty to it, if only in the harsh truth it reveals. But also risking something against the impositions of society to suppress what is natural about our emotional core. Like poetry, erotic literature is about the body. You take it in through the eyes and brain, but you feel it throughout the extent of your physical being. That’s what makes it so exciting. In images I look for something spiritual, something that knocks my socks off. I don’t have to explain it to myself. If it’s right, I respond with my intellect nodding its head and emotions churning.
Q) Do you, as a writer and as a reader, believe the erotic book world needs more literature and less fluff?
A) Absolutely! Erotic literature has at its command perhaps the most precious moment of any human life: intimacy. This little treasure has to be treated with complete respect, bringing the best we have to offer in the way of literary training, psychological insight, astonishing imagery, the music of well chosen words. . . I could go on. The main point is, when given a gift make the effort worth it!
Q) How do you like to write? Are you a daytime writer? A coffee slurping morning writer or a late night typer?
A) I write all the time. If not at my desk. then in my head. If not there. then in my unconscious. When I start a piece–maybe only a few sentences to lock in the entry point–when I return a few hours later, three or four paragraphs hit the page almost instantly, indicating that my unconscious has been at work. This means I put words on the page whenever, between tasks of the day, late at night when the house is quiet, riding on a train. . . once bitten by the bug, the machine is in the on switch position with cylinders popping.
Q) How did you approach the idea of writing an erotic novel? Was it at all threatening for you?
A) Not threatening, exciting. I jumped at the chance. Writers always have to overcome their inhibitions to write anything worth a damn. If it’s not dangerous, then there’s no guts to it. That’s why it has to be taken seriously, but always courageously. If the writer doesn’t put him/herself on the page, spill the guts without being solipsistic about it, then there’s no bloodshed. Blood on the page makes for great stories.
Q) Of all the characters in “The Taste of a Woman,” who is your favorite and why?
A) Oh, my God! I love them all in their own way: the jazz bassman boppin’ his way through a sweet sexual encounter; poor Allye, so inhibited, finally finding a path to her own sensuality; the comic fellow who thought he had lost his MoJo only to find it with the help of his deceased best friend’s turned-on wife. I get excited just talking about these folks.
Q) Which nicely leads me to my next question! One of the stories in “The Taste of a Woman” is based around a jazz combo. Are you a jazz listener, and if so, did your interest in jazz music influence the story?
A) Absolutely! Listener and player. I love what jazz does to bring rhythm, intellect and the body together in one place. It was a natural for me to create the jazz-bass character and speak through his mouth, even to the point of expressing his humility, his shock at being in the focal point of a sexual triangle, all the time wailing out on his axe. Every experience I have had in my life informs my writing. Inspiration comes partly from fantasy and partly from the experience of knowing what comes from leading a full life.
Q) Where do you get your ideas from? Do you base them on things you’ve actually tried yourself, things you’ve heard your friends talk about, or just stuff you’ve thought up yourself?
A) All of the above and more. The writer always has his/her antennae up. Always listening. Always paying attention. Eudora Welty said that the saddest thing about losing her hearing was that she could no longer eavesdrop. My ideas are collected as they arrive through my antennae—things that fascinate me, hearing a conversation on a bus, picking up on someone else’s desire/dreams, spinning off from an image I find that evokes erotic feelings, people I know who have hang-ups that need fixing, failures of my own at love and the fantasies I have had to try and fix them.
Q) What did you get out of writing “The Taste of a Woman?” What really satisfied you about inking these stories?
A) Everytime I write I go deeper in to my consciousness. The writer better damn well be willing to examine his/her own life or the writing pales. What that does is to expand the narrow world we live in to incorporate a broader terrain of that great gift of consciousness we are given. I am a deeper person for having become a writer, mostly, I believe, because it calls you to lead the examined life. That’s a long way of saying I got a lot out of writing The Taste Of A Woman. As for satisfaction: Yeats said something about the sensation one has reaching the perfect end of a story you are writing as being like the click at the closing of a box. That “click” is worth more than publication, prizes, notoriety, financial explosions. . . at two o’ clock in the morning after writing long hours when you are so into it you don’t feel the passing of time, it’s actually pretty close to orgasm.
Q) Rigel, did you ever believe you would be writing an erotic novel?
A) I’ve learned not to limit my beliefs. Otherwise, I would never have done half the crazy things I‘ve done in my life, loving them each and all.
Q) How have reviews been for “The Taste of a Woman” so far?
A) Astonishingly good. Fabulous. All 5-Star so far. I mean, I felt I was writing good stuff, stories that had the possibility of connecting with other folk, diving into their sexual wheelhouse, if you will. But I have to say I didn’t expect it to be this good.
Q) How do you approach marketing? Do you think marketing an erotic novel is easier, than say, a thriller?
A) I approach marketing by finding someone who knows what the hell they’re doing. You don’t want a watchmaker doing your brain surgery, good as he may be with his hands. My guess is that even if the book has something of a hook to it, even if it is the best damn book ever written, it still has to be pushed to get anyone’s attention.
Q) What really makes you excited about writing? Do you believe it’s possible for an Indie author to become a bestseller?
A) Totally possible. Been done. It would seem the tide is turning. Large publishing houses with all their power are like large ships in a complicated harbor. Indie houses are finding intelligent, smart ways of making their produce available. The Internet is playing a HUGE role in the process, so much so that one would be foolish to ignore it.
Q) Can you describe “The Taste of a Woman” in two sentences?
A) I’ll unabashedly do it in one sentence fragment: Great literature with a smart sensual core to it.