Strong Women Characters Who Take Control: Interview with Richard Albion
Richard Albion has just published his 4th novel, Bodies in the Bay, a mystery/thriller with a side of kink, set in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
His first stand-alone novel after self-publishing a trilogy of contemporary, erotic, male-submissive love stories, Bodies involves the hi-tech industry and the BDSM and fem-dom scenes.
Albion describes himself as “a European melting pot and an exceptional cook.” He is also a clothing designer and artist living in San Mateo, California, with his wife, whom he says is the pillar that supports him. They have two grown children, out of the nest, and multiple rescued animals, “Making the nest better.” A graduate of both UK and US colleges, Albion enjoys travel, volunteering, and martial arts and says he cannot live too far from the ocean. “It’s genetic.”
The Household Series (Maid to Serve, Maid for Service, and Maid in Service) follows Izzy on his quest to find physical and psychological satisfaction, and most of all love. Albion says, “There may be more to come.”
In this interview, we discuss his new, inspired-by-San Francisco novel, his process, and writing about strong women having kinky sex.
Kristy Lin Billuni: After self-publishing four books, what advice do you have for other writers on a similar path?
Richard Albion: The best advice I have been given as a writer: get a professional coach, a professional editor, and a professional book cover designer. Oh, and I would add, never give up. If you believe in your story, so will others.
KLB: That’s great advice, and I’ve seen it really work for you. Tell me about who’s going to love Bodies in the Bay.
RA: I think anyone who enjoys being taken on a journey will love it.
KLB: A sexy journey?
RA: Oh yes there is sex in this story: BDSM, a dominant female, and a sexually submissive male.
KLB: Tell me about your approach to erotica.
RA: There is so much erotica that features strong men throwing blushing women on the bed and ravishing them—as they willingly want. That’s great, but I want to create strong women characters who take control of what they want sexually. I write honest, consensual kink.
KLB: And your characters?
RA: I like complicated personalities. I don’t think I have written any as complex as I want to—yet. But that’s a work in progress. I try to show that there are many sides to men and women, not just one-dimensional stereotypes.
KLB: What did you set out to achieve with Bodies in the Bay?
RA: I wanted to prove to myself I could produce a story that was different from the first three but in keeping with my core beliefs of entertaining, realistic, believable, arousing, and erotic fiction.
KLB: We both love San Francisco. I am so excited that your book is set here in the Bay Area and inspired by living here.
RA: Me too. My other books are non-specific locations, so it’s easy to create those environments from scratch.
KLB: And this project presented a different challenge?
RA: Yes. When you have a location as specific as San Francisco, it ties you to accuracy—in a good way.
KLB: Let’s talk a little more about process. What does it look like when you sit down to write?
RA: I write quickly to get it out, then re-read, review it, and re-write the parts that I was not happy with or that didn’t make sense.
KLB: Sounds like you have the composition step down.
RA: I’ve learned it is better to have something on the white page than nothing. With anything written, however poor, you have something to work with.
KLB: What do you do next?
RA: Next is the hard part. The actual writing part is the easiest for me. Review and rewriting, to me, are the hardest. I have to be happy with it, and I am never 100% satisfied.
KLB: It can be hard to do that kind of self-review without getting really self-critical.
RA: Exactly. There were a couple of days on this novel, where I just wanted to tear up the laptop. It was just rubbish.
KLB: But it was your rubbish!
RA: Right. And at least I had something to work with. And seeing that took the story in a slightly different direction, which worked out better, I think.
KLB: So you learned to go with the flow.
RA: Yes, I learned to be flexible, not force the story into what I thought or wanted it to be, but to let it tell me where to take it.
KLB: How much outlining did you do before you wrote this one?
RA: The only fixed points for me are the beginning and the end. Those I have to know. The middle part is where I get to play and have an adventure.
KLB: Any other fun tidbits about this book we should know?
RA: I really enjoyed and liked the style of the Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet books of the 1930s, so I blatantly used their surnames for my characters' names in the story.
KLB: What’s next for Richard Albion?
RA: I have so many novels planned and in various stages of completion! I've just completed The Mistress of O, a new take that flips the genders on the classic. I've finished Sirens Song, a different journey into male submission, but it needs re-writes. And I'm working on a short fem-dom story, "Breakfast in Bed," for an anthology. I’ve also begun sketching another fem-dom novel, Discipline, titled after the King Crimson album. And I'm planning one more, a sexy art heist revenge adventure story set in London and Paris, with, of course, some BDSM.
I want to inspire you, so I coax sexy writers like Richard Albion to reveal their creative secrets and processes in Sexy Grammar writer interviews:
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