Interview with Joey Hill

SR: How did you get started writing?

Joey: I started writing in the fifth grade. I was an avid reader; my mother taught me to read long before I started school, so I was always reading books several grades ahead. By the time I reached fifth grade, I was digesting equal doses of romance and fantasy. For the former, I gobbled up Harlequin-type series romances 1-2/week. For the latter, I delved into Lloyd Alexander and C.S. Lewis books. Malory's King Arthur and Howard Pyle's Robin Hood were also favorites. These stories were so vivid and inspiring, and my friends and I created stories and characters to act out along similar romantic and heroic plot lines. I loathed public school with a passion bordering on physical illness, so it was easy to slip into writing stories at my desk based on our playacting. Stephen King implied in his book, On Writing, that writers don't really know where their ideas come from or what inspires us to attempt to transcribe them in a meaningful way. I can tell you the when and some of the contributing factors of the "why", but the actual why is a bit elusive, even to myself. I just have to write; I don't have much say in the matter, until the Muse decides she's done with me.

SR: How long did you write before you were published?

Joey: If dating from fifth grade, and not counting news articles, editorials and short stories for contests and the "kid section" of the paper, it would have been twenty years, because I was first published and paid for my work right when I turned thirty. Dating it from when I started seriously pursuing the idea of a writing career, it was about seven years.

SR: You started out in fantasy, right? How did you end up writing MAKE HER DREAMS COME TRUE?

Joey: Really just the luck of timing. There was fertile ground in my imagination for both fantasy and erotic/romance story lines to emerge. My work can vacillate on the spectrum from pure fantasy to pure romance, and even though I can categorize each piece of work as one genre or the other, sometimes it has elements of both. It just happened that the plot for Make Her Dreams Come True bloomed in my mind after I had harvested Guardian of the Continuum.

SR: What made you decide to set MAKE HER DREAMS COME TRUE in a more realistic contemporary setting dealing with real life questions rather than a fantasy setting?

Joey: I do not actually have a great deal of control over my story ideas. Meg and Daniel pretty much leaped into the forefront of my mind as fully fleshed out, contemporary characters, and they brought the mall with them.

SR: MAKE HER DREAMS COME TRUE provides the reader with an interesting perspective of dominance/submission that is far from the traditional stereotype. What made you decide to make d/s such an integral part of your story?

Joey: To me, the "traditional" D/s stereotype is not very stereotypical. People think "whips and chains", but the actual allure of D/s is far more emotional in nature, having to do with issues of trust and control buried deep within us, beyond the reach of "political correctness" and connecting to far less civilized needs. To communicate it well to those who love the D/s sub-genre, you do not need all those stereotypical trappings. A Dom issuing a softly worded command with a stern, tender gaze is enough to make a submissive's knees weak. Having read romance since elementary school, I know that a great deal of the success of mainstream romance rests on the essence of D/s relationships, and has done so for decades. The alpha male "conquering" the heroine without breaking her spirit or losing sight of who she is, is that essence. We don't recognize it as such because so many think of D/s as "whips and chains".

SR: MAKE HER DREAMS COME TRUE, while incredibly erotic, has very little actual sex. How difficult was this as a writer, and what made you decide to focus more on the sensual side of erotica?

Joey: For women, sex is not about penetration. How often do we think, "Goodness, could he just keep doing THAT for awhile longer?" (Don't raise hands here, we'll protect the innocent.) Sex is far more about sensory stimulation to women than consummation, though of course the consummation, after the senses have been well and thoroughly stimulated, is the most satisfying sexual experience of all. MHDCT focused on the sensory input, and only brought the sex into it when our heroine was writhing and begging for it with every nerve of her body (and hopefully the reader as well!).

SR: Could you tell us a bit about MAKE HER DREAMS COME TRUE?

Joey: Certainly. The central character of the book is Meg, who has been through a painful divorce, that resulted in a nervous breakdown for her. Her husband's gentle but relentless decision to leave her undermined many preconceived notions she had about herself and relationships. She is doubting herself as a woman and a person, and she feels unlovable, unworthy of love, and cast adrift. She is attempting to shop for a card in a mall, when her eye gets caught by a dress in a window. The dress entrances her at the same time it makes her hurt, because she wants to be like that dress again; shimmering, magical, flowing. Daniel comes up behind her, a stranger to her, and convinces her to try it on. After she tries it on, he is able to talk her into submitting to his will for the remainder of the day, within the safe confines of the mall. He takes her from place to place, reintroducing her to her own sensuality. This includes a visit to an exclusive styling salon, a shoe fitting, an erotic interlude with ice cream, and an unforgettable confrontation between them in a back storeroom where he gets her to face her fears, before he turns the tables and lets her be "Master" over him for awhile. The book was offered by Dreams Unlimited until they shut down earlier this year, and so it is now offered for purchase on my site (www.storywitch.com) or through Bookaholics (www.bookaholics.com) until its transition to LTDBooks is complete (www.ltdbooks.com).

SR: Could you tell us a bit about your other fantasy stories?

Joey: GUARDIAN OF THE CONTINUUM is epic/contemporary fantasy, and currently offered at Atlantic Bridge Publishing (www.atlanticbridge.net). The book centers around the spiritual leader from another world, Adam, who is posing as a student at a Virginia college in order to find two missing priestesses. In the course of his investigation, he discovers their disappearance is linked to a plan to destroy Earth, cutting it off from the Continuum, which is the source of magic and spirituality. Characterization to me, as a reader and a writer, is the most important part of a story, and this book brims with it. Adam was an incredible character to write, struggling between his birthright as spiritual leader of Aegis and his firm determination to define himself. He enlists the aid of his roommate, Rob, who is the son of a Georgia senator and a computer hacker, who introduces Adam to the concept of friendship. Adam also develops a bond with Correen, a reclusive student at the school with healing powers so potent they will figure into whether or not the trio is successful in saving Earth.

SR: What are you working on at the moment?

Joey: I'm working on several projects. The one on the front burner is the sequel to Guardian of the Continuum, called Legacy of the Raven. It is set in the Golden Age of Piracy, the late sixteen hundreds, and throughout the course of the story, elements of fantasy intertwine with history and bring the main characters in contact with the characters of Guardian of the Continuum. That book is written and is currently going through the editing phase before being marketed. The project that will receive attention after that is another women's erotica called Holding the Cards. The first draft has been written and it just needs to be put into the computer and cleaned up. It is another D/s erotica, but in this one it is the woman who takes the upper hand (or seems to - the joy of D/s - there is actually often a question as to who is in control of WHOM). Her friend has offered her lodging in her guest home on a secluded island that is a haven for a small handful of artists. The island is deserted this time of year except for the shy caretaker, Josh, and his more outgoing and urbane visiting friend, Marcus. Marcus facilitates the action between Josh and Lauren. Before long, Lauren is learning what it means to have a gorgeous and enigmatic man willing to do her bidding. I also have a handful of short stories, some romance, some fantasy, which I continue to market and enter into contests. I tend to write longer short stories (10,000-15,000 words), so their marketing potential is limited, but I enjoy writing them.

SR: In the future, do you plan to continue writing both fantasy and erotica? Could you possibly give us a glimpse of what readers might expect from you in future years?

Joey: I hope so, as long as I enjoy writing them as much as I do now. Guardian of the Continuum will have five books in the series, and so that will certainly lay out my writing schedule for the next few years, but I expect, like Make Her Dreams Come True and Holding the Cards, other story lines will present themselves to provide "breaks" between the fantasy story lines. I think fantasy could be likened to my "meals", whereas the erotica and romance are the wine I sip between courses to cleanse the palate, so I fully expect to continue producing both.

SR: Finally, is there anything else that you'd like to add?

Joey: MAKE HER DREAMS COME TRUE and GUARDIAN OF THE CONTINUUM are currently available in electronic format. While I continue to seek a print market to enable wider distribution of the books, it is my fervent hope that electronic publishing and handheld readers will catch on to the extent we can save a few hundred million trees every year.


 
 
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