Mitzi Szereto

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Interview By: Tamazon

Date: July 14, 2011

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Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts | Cleis Press | Erotic Fiction/Romance; Historical Parody | July 2011

Imagine that Jane Austen had written the opening line of her satirical novel Pride and Prejudice this way: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a good romp and a good wife-although not necessarily from the same person or from the opposite sex." In Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, the entire cast of characters from Austen's classic is here, caught with their breeches unbuttoned and their skirts raised high in this rewrite that goes all the way - and then some! Mr. Darcy has never been more devilish and the seemingly chaste Elizabeth never more turned on.

In this no-holds-barred account, men are not necessarily the only dominating sex. This time Mr. Bingley and his sister both have designs on Mr. Darcy's manhood; Elizabeth's dear friend Charlotte marries their family's strange relation, discovering that her husband's pious nature extends to worship of a different sort; and, in this telling, Lady Catherine de Bourgh takes the disciplining of those in the parish very seriously. As for the handsome Mr. Wickham, he's wickeder than ever! And of course there's plenty of good old-fashioned bodice ripping that shows no pride or prejudice and reveals hot hidden lusts in every scandalous page-turning chapter. This is the book Jane Austen would have written, if only she'd had the nerve!

Please tell us your latest news!

I'm very excited about my new release Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. I had such good fun writing it, and I hope readers will have good fun reading it! The book was written in the spirit of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in that it's very over the top and outrageous. But rather than having zombie mayhem, we have sexual mayhem. Nothing and no one is sacrosanct. In addition, I have another book coming out in September, a short story anthology entitled Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance. It features several authors, myself included. The book takes its inspiration from the Gothic literary tradition and offers plenty of paranormal thrills, along with heaps of atmosphere and sensuality. As you can see, I like to do many different kinds of projects!

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I don't really have a favorite author. There are many authors whose work I enjoy, and they're usually quite different from each other. Just to name a handful, Arundhati Roy, Vladimir Nabokov, T.C. Boyle, Ruth Rendell, Margaret Atwood, and Alice Walker. I like to read authors who write in an interesting and engaging way and who produce work that has some substance to it, rather than being equivalent to a watered-down bowl of soup. There seems to be far too many watered-down bowls of soup around these days.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I've always written, even from a young age. I was quite artistic as a child, and could generally be found drawing, painting, and writing stories and poetry. I wrote my first novel at age ten - a gory murder mystery. It was quite sophisticated for my years, but then I was always very precocious!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Multi-task and be prepared to give up your life if you want to make a success of this. I think this business is best suited for people who are happy with their own company and don't need to have others around that much or need to be out partying left and right. You have to be able to focus on you, your work, and promoting your work. To manage that successfully, distractions should be kept to a minimum. I realize this isn't always feasible, especially if people have a family or a partner who just doesn't "get it," but hey, this isn't a nine to five job you can leave behind at the office. This is 24/7. You're investing in you. And if you don't do it, believe me, no one else will.

What main genre do you write in?

Multi-genre Fiction/Erotic fiction

Please describe your writing environment.

It's really anywhere I sit down with my laptop, which is generally nowhere too exciting. I'm either at my desk, on the sofa, or occasionally on the bed. Basically I need to be somewhere quiet and without a lot of distractions, so you definitely won't find me at any WiFi cafes! I like my solitude.

What's been the most challenging part of writing for you?

It's two-fold, really. First of all, it's getting through the endless line of people working for publishers and literary agencies who seem to know nothing about putting out books people might actually want to read. No, this isn't sour grapes. One only needs to see the amount of big budget flops to figure out that a lot of people in this business should probably be washing cars instead of dealing with books. The fact that indie publishing and self publishing are growing and becoming more lucrative for authors is clear evidence that some of the bigwigs in the traditional end of the publishing business are missing out on a lot of viable books. If they don't start waking up to the fact that their methods are no longer working, we'll be seeing even more imprints shutting down, with readers moving increasingly toward the indies to seek out unique and interesting content.

The second answer to your question is actually finding the time to write. There are just so many other things a writer must do in order to be noticed and have some manner of success with a book. By that I mean promotion, social networking, etc. This sucks up a hell of a lot of time. But these things are important. You can't be some airy-fairy author anymore. That is not reality. You have to be a business person, a publicity person, and a personality that people will hopefully be interested in. Unless you're one of the lucky few who sell way into the millions of copies, you've got to put in the time and effort to get your work noticed, because there's a lot of competition out there. Unfortunately, all this time and effort takes away from the writing time. It's a daily struggle to keep up with all that needs doing.

Do you have any other author names? If so, what are they and what's different about what you write under each name.

As a matter of fact, when I first started out I wrote under the name M. S. Valentine. These were erotic novels of a certain type, so M. S. Valentine was really more of a brand name. The books were quite popular and still are, but after a handful of novels I felt it was time to move more into the mainstream and expand my literary horizons, at which point I discontinued using the pseudonym and went on to write other kinds of works.

Do you like to mix genres?

I'm always mixing genres. In fact, I prefer to be classified as an author and editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction, since it's a more accurate category. Many of my books are a mix of genres, and the labels on them aren't necessarily fully definitive of the contents. Take my new novel Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. It fits into many categories, such as erotica, historical romance, and comedy/parody/satire. In Sleeping Beauty's Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales is erotica and fantasy/folklore, with some humor and non-fiction analysis included in the mix. Getting Even: Revenge Stories features crime fiction as well as a bit of fantasy fiction. Dying for It: Tales of Sex and Death includes erotic, crime, horror, romance, fantasy, and literary fiction. And the upcoming Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance mixes the erotic with the Gothic, paranormal and romance genres.

Do you have any animals? Do they influence your writing?

I have a bear, the famous Teddy Tedaloo. He's become quite a celebrity now, what with Mitzi TV and his presence on Facebook, and he wields a lot of influence, not just with me. In fact, we're collaborating on something as we speak! And the really great thing is, he understands about this business and what one needs to put into it. He's a very astute bear.

If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?

The last time I was asked this question, I said Bill Clinton. Despite the poor decisions he made in his private life, I have a lot of admiration for him as a political figure, humanitarian and thinker. Having said that, if you're only giving me one chance to have dinner with someone, then I'll have to stand Bill up in favor of Ian Somerhalder. I find Ian very appealing as a man and as a person. That's a combination I rarely find. Funnily enough, I've based a character on him (or rather on a character he plays) in the short story I wrote for Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance. However, you'll have to read the book to find out more!

Signing Off: Mitzi Szereto

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