Freya Duquesne Interview

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with author Freya Duquesne. Thanks for being here today Freya and welcome to FAR!
Thank you! It's great to be here.

To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current release By Her Own Hand, the first book in your Order of Lilith series?
It's a paranormal erotic romance novel about a succubus and incubus in a world of dreams and night. These guys aren't the demons you usually think of-at least not yet. They work together to create erotic healing dreams for their human assignments, and they also have to fight off the Maron-the incubi and succubi who have become demons. At the same time, they're trying to avoid becoming Maron themselves.

Kamari, the succubus, is a recent graduate of a 1000 years of training to do dream work. She's paired up with Daegal, the incubus, who has a notorious history of killing his previous partner rather than letting her become a Maron. He's probably the sexiest incubus ever, and at his hands, Kamari experiences the most pleasure she's ever known (which is saying a lot for a succubus!). But she discovers his past has created some very deep problems for him that have serious and dangerous implications as they work together.

Their first assignment is an unconventional young English woman during the Regency period who has fallen deeply in love with the local parish rector. He barely notices her. Her unrequited love is creating problems in Kamari and Daegal's world, so they are sent to try to straighten things out. Dream work is quite dangerous, as the Maron are always searching for them in dreams, waiting to attack. Daegal's struggle with his past is making them all especially vulnerable, and it's up to Kamari to not just solve her human's problem, but also help Daegal come to terms with the tragedy of his past.

Since you wrote this book envisioning a series, did you do anything special to set up the future books?
Yes. I have a general story arc in mind for the entire series, though I don't know yet how many books it will end up being. But even from the prologue, that story arc is being set. The prologue is actually set at the end of the story, and the entire series is like a giant flashback of how my main character, a succubus named Kamari, ended up in her current predicament. I envision the series as sort of like a television drama, where each book is a short (short for a novel, anyway) episode that moves the entire storyline forward. I think it will be a very entertaining way to experience the story.

What is the most challenging things for you as an author in creating and continuing on with a series?
I am always challenging myself to keep the stories fresh and original, even though they all have a similar layout and main characters/story world.

Do you have any stand-alone novels planned for the future?
No stand-alones planned at this time, but if a great idea for one popped into my head, I'd go for it. That's the great thing about being an indie author-total control!

As a newly published author, is there any advice you feel was instrumental in keeping you going?
I'm not actually new to publishing itself-I have several traditionally published books under a different name. But this is my first experience with self-publishing an ebook. However, the advice I received as a new writer is much the same as it is now-be persistent, get the damn book written. And the other piece of advice I've found most helpful is Always Be Teachable. Even now, as an experienced author, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my craft. I always want to work on my trouble areas and become a better writer. And I want to always be learning more about the publishing world. It is a constantly changing thing, so as writers we have to constantly be willing to learn so we're staying up-to-date on the industry we are part of.

Was there any one person or event in your life that finally inspired you to sit down and write your first book?
Learning to read! I am not kidding-from my earliest memory, I have been obsessed with words and books. I started writing my first book when I was about eight years old. I don't know quite where this writing addiction came from, but I'd like to thank whichever ancestor provided me with the gene because I love it.

What books have most influenced your life?
This may sound odd from an erotica author, but I have to say the Bible has had an enormous influence in my life. The more I wrestle with it and try to understand it, the more insight I've gained into humanity, spirituality, and faith. It has shaped my ethics and world view in that I believe strongly that every human being is special and worthy of respect, that love is real and sacrificial, that justice is more often forgiveness and healing than it is revenge, and that our relationships with each other (and with God, if that's what you believe) are the most important thing in this life.

Those beliefs shape and inform my writing-even the sexual content.

When did you become interested in writing erotic fiction? Was By Her Own Hand the first thing you wrote?
By Her Own Hand is the first erotic piece I've written. As I mentioned before, I've been published in other genres as well. I have always enjoyed steamier romances. I've never claimed to be the type to "skip over those parts." Skip over? What is the fun in that, I ask you? No, I read them and studied them carefully. They were quite educational!

I decided to write erotic fiction because I went looking for erotica that was emotionally explicit as well as sexually explicit, and I wasn't finding a lot. There's a lack of erotic books that portray sex as beautiful and include real emotional intimacy as well. So my goal is to fill that niche with explicit and elegant stories that will resonate on an emotional as well as physical level with readers.

What has surprised you most about the publishing business and why?
At the beginning, I think what surprised me most is how much of a BUSINESS it really is. In pre-published days, I had this idea that publishers were art connoisseurs committed to finding quality work and offering it to grateful readers. But it's not like that at all. I love publishing and always will, but I'm much more realistic now. Publishers and readers and authors all care about the bottom line, about sales, about marketing. We have to, because we are selling entertainment. Some of the most wonderful people I've met are in the publishing world, so it's not like we're all a bunch of ruthless sharks. Publishing is a hard business. It can break your heart, or it can the most thrilling ride in the world. Sometimes, both.

If you could go back and do one thing over, what would it be and why?
In publishing or personally? Publishing: I would take more time to figure out who I was as a writer before trying to get published. The whole branding thing has been much more complicated for me because I didn't think through what I wanted when the contract for my first book arrived.

Personally, I think I would take more risks. When I was younger, whether it was choosing colleges or career paths, I played it safe, didn't challenge, didn't rock the boat. I wouldn't want to go back and be reckless, but I do think that I missed out on some great opportunities by being too cautious. So now, I'm choosing more risk-like self-publishing in erotica. It's a bit scary and uncertain, but I am truly enjoying the ride so far!

What is the one thing you've always wanted to do but never had the courage/opportunity to try?
I think I might be doing it right now-writing elegant, emotionally rich erotica! And doing it myself, without a publisher. I always wondered if I could write sexy, and I'm discovering that indeed, I can.

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming works?
The second book in the Order of Lilith series is Dress Rehearsal. Kamari and Daegal are assigned to a modern-day actress in San Francisco who has walked away from her promising career rather than do a nude scene with her best friend and fellow actor. The actress is convinced that bringing sex into her friendship is going to ruin it, but what she doesn't know (and Kamari and Daegal do) is that her decision will eventually cost her not just a friendship, but her life.

The third book is currently untitled, and I don't have it fleshed out very well yet (pun sort of intended). But it will be set in an alternative steampunk Victorian world. I love steampunk and am very excited to write a book featuring it.

Now for a bit of fun. Please finish the following sentences:

My favorite place in the world is…

wherever my friends are.

The first thing I do in the morning is…
try to sleep longer.

The best present I ever got was…
a memory book of a retreat with some of my closest friends.

I'd love to meet…
J.K. Rowling.

The last thing I do at night is…
snuggle with my partner, Bear.

Is there anything else you would like to add today?
Sure. I'd like people reading this to know that they are special and amazing, and their sexuality is beautiful and good. And if they want more of that kind of affirmation or to read more about my stories, they should check out my website and follow me on Twitter: FreyaDuquesne. Thanks for having me on your site!

Thank you so much Freya for spending time with us today!
It's been a pleasure, darling.

Interviewed by: Tammy