Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
My official biography reads: Jaz Monday is a writer of erotic fiction from deepest, darkest Florida. His time is divided between an unremarkable day job, a quite remarkable family, and the characters that inhabit the universe of his erotic yarns. His stories explore the themes of interracial sex, multiple partner experiences, exploring emotional and physical boundaries, and the power of sexual obsession. He's particularly fond of women with large posteriors and has happily adopted the designation of Butt Man. He holds an advanced degree in Education but doesn't particularly want to use it forever. That pretty much sums me up. I write as often as I can, lately every night, and try to squeeze this in between a day job and my family. One day I hope to graduate to writing full-time. Until then, I play part-time (but have immense fun at it).
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
I've only published one novel, although I'm about to deliver the second to my editor "any day now," so I'm somewhat limited for choice. I suppose there are elements in all of my characters that I can at least relate to and in some ways feel drawn to. If I had to choose one to be, however, I'd say it would have to be Dr. Cooper Corbis from The Lab Assistant. What a position to be in: a successful researcher, university professor, and the unlikely object of affection for a hot young coed. There are worse lives to have, for sure. And that their relationship was deeper than a fling is something I feel very strongly about. It's a beautiful position to find yourself in.
I remember as an undergrad many years ago feeling as if the world was my oyster, as if I could do anything. This underlying feeling is what drove the creative process on The Lab Assistant and what planted the seed for the Cooper Corbis character.
What's your favorite genre to read?
It really depends on my mood, which I realize may seem like a copout answer. But, it's true. Of course, I'm just about always in the mood for erotica. Often, though, I'm in the mood for memoirs or biographies, medical histories, and contemporary literature. Really, I like anything that's written well and that engages me, steals me away, and shows me something unexpected. In my younger days, I was very much into science fiction and horror, but lately less fantastic fiction has become more my speed. I'm now more interested in having a laugh or being drawn into someone's internal struggles. In terms of erotica, taboos interest me the most: multiple partners, cheating partners, bondage, edge play, anything that pushes beyond the vanilla.
Who or what influences you when you write?
Two things primarily drive my writing, which is currently firmly planted in the erotic literature genre: my love of all things sex and my aspiration to be like my writing heroes.
In terms of sex, I just love everything about it. I love thinking about it, writing about it, doing it. What's that old urban legend, men think about sex every seven seconds? Well, it's not quite that bad, but just about. There's really nothing about the process that I don't enjoy, so writing about it is as natural as having it.
In terms of my writing heroes, there are definitely a number of writers, of fiction as well as non-fiction, that I find inspirational and hugely entertaining. At the moment, in the erotica genre, there are Claire Thompson, Emma Holly, J.W. McKenna, etc. I also love Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris for their memoirs. There's also Christopher Moore, who I find hilarious. Lately, I've gone off on a Japanophile trip, too, and have rediscovered Haruki Murakami and Ryu Murakami (no relation).
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
I rarely have writer's block, luckily, but I've certainly got a bit of the lazy streak in me. After a rough day at work, it's sometimes difficult to get into the mood or the correct frame of mind to write. When I find myself in these situations, I just sit myself down in front of the computer and force myself to do something, anything (related to my books). Typically, this would involve editing or re-reading sections of the book to "jumpstart" my muse. Sometimes, this means pushing on with the writing even though at the time things may not "feel" right. Usually, when I re-read what I've written the following day, the following week, I'm surprised that it's better than I'd thought it was. Usually, I don't have to rewrite as much as I would have thought. The key, for me, is to just write, no matter what.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I'm finishing up my second erotic novel at the moment. It's not a sequel or follow-up to The Lab Assistant, but it's in the same vain of sexual exploration and discovery. Some of the themes are carried a bit further and the story, while really heavy on the sex, focuses quite a bit on the psychological impact the events have on the main character. I'm very excited about the book and hope to have it out and available for readers in the first half of 2008.
After that, I have the next two or three novels pretty much completely outlined. I also have a large file of probably 20 to 30 solid story ideas with varying levels of detail, some of which have almost complete outlines. The key for me, or at the very least what I aspire to, is to say something new with each book. I don't want the sex, motivations, or characters to become stale or redundant or overly familiar between books. There's a psychological opportunity cost for my characters with each pushing of the envelope, and I want to be sure that each book is relevant and true to that goal.
Beyond erotica, I've got two contemporary stories that I'm working on that I'll keep under wraps for a while. I'm having so much fun with the erotica that it may be a while before I turn my full attention to these "regular" novels. We'll see what happens.
What do you do for inspiration?
Primarily, experience life. Looking around at the world, there's inspiration everywhere. Specific to writing, I read quite a bit, to see how other authors craft their stories and to see where the art is moving. Specific to erotica, well, I have sex as much as I can, and porn is an amazing mental playground. Exploring fantasies, boundaries, and the limits of what is and isn't taboo, for instance, is hugely interesting and exciting to me. This all feeds my muse and ultimately resurfaces in my novels.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
A little of both, actually. My workflow is more of a hybrid process. I generally start with a scene in my mind, or a vague "feeling" for the story I want to tell. I then begin writing, to create backstory, to fill in some of the blanks in my mind, and to learn more about my characters. Once I have a solid sense of the emotions and colors of the story, I'll step back slightly and work up a general outline of the major plot points. Sometimes this is only a framework; sometimes it's fairly close to the final product. With The Lab Assistant, the story was essentially complete once I'd outlined it. I changed very little as I wrote the finished story because all of the points I'd imagined in the outline kept their relevance and weight. This doesn't always happen, of course, and sometimes things just stop working and have to be adjusted.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
The Lab Assistant, which was published in October 2007 by Carnal Desires Publishing. It's available on Lulu.com as a print-on-demand softcover. Currently, it's only available as an e-book or as POD. I'm shopping the print rights around, however, so hopefully sometime in 2008 it'll be available as a trade paperback.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
The best way for readers to contact me would be through my website, http://www.jazmonday.com. I have a blog, which at the moment I use mainly to update fans. As I get the time, I'll be adding more content to the site. Thank you for this opportunity!
Interviewed by Tammie King