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Interview with D.L. King

D. L. King lives somewhere between the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island and the Chrysler Building and spends an inordinate amount of time reading and writing smut in her apartment and postage stamp-sized garden. She is a Lambda Literary Award winner (The Harder She Comes: Butch/Femme Erotica), two-time IPPY gold medalist (Carnal Machines: Steampunk Erotica and The Harder She Comes), two-time IPPY silver medalist (Under Her Thumb: Erotic Stories of Female Domination and The Big Book of Domination) and Lambda finalist (Where the Girls Are: Urban Lesbian Erotica). Her short stories have also garnered awards, including the NLA-International John Preston Short Fiction Award. She was honored to have been chosen to edit the 2017 edition of Best Lesbian Erotica, from Cleis Press. D. L. King is currently editing her 15th anthology.

The author of over a hundred completely filthy short stories, her work can be found in various editions of Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Women's Erotica, Best Bondage Erotica, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica as well as anthologies such as Begging for It, Yes, Ma'am, Please, Ma'am, Luscious, Sweet Love, Fast Girls, Sex in the City: New York and Gotta Have It, among many others. She is the author of Her Wish is Your Command, a collection of stories of female domination and male submission and two novels of the same genre, The Melinoe Project and The Art of Melinoe as well as a few fem dom and lesbian novellas.


 What's the story behind your latest book?

A Scarlet Christmas is loosely, or not so loosely based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s set in today’s New York City (because that’s my town) and because it’s from me, has a fem dom theme… go figure! This particular theme may not be what Dickens had in mind, but it works ever so well.


What are your five favorite books, and why?

I’m going to go with some books and some series. 

Harry Potter (all of them)

The Mortal Instruments (all of them)

Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series

Debora Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy

Laurel K Hamilton’s Anita Blake books


All of these books have strong characters, and though they are all fantasy books, they allow you to immerse yourself in their worlds and suspend any disbelief you might have. It’s the quality of the writing. When a book is beautifully written it allows you to become a part of it and that’s what I look for in my reading. It’s also what I strive to present to you, as an author.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Music. Yes, I know, a lot of writers talk about their playlists for certain books or stories. I can’t write with music or any distraction. No music, no TV, no talking. I can’t read that way either.


What is the one thing you want your readers to know about your books?

All my books and short stories are pieces of me. That’s not to say they are all true, because they aren’t—they’re fiction. But they have me at their core. If you read my work, you get a little glimpse into my life, my neighborhood, the way I view the world, my beliefs, my character, my soul.

Who’s your book boyfriend or secret book crush? 

That’s easy: Jayce Herondale

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Which other authors have most influenced or inspired your writing?

I’d have to say Stephen King is probably my biggest influence, not in subject matter, but in his naturalistic style. In terms of erotica writers of influence, I always point to G. C. Scott. 


What is the first book that made you cry?

I can’t tell you the first book, but I can tell you an awful lot of them have. I often find myself weeping on the train to work or at home. Every single one of the books/series mentioned above have made me cry, some of them copiously.


What do you read for pleasure?

Mostly fantasy. I really enjoy YA books. You don’t have to be young to like them, all you have to be is someone who likes a good adventure with intense emotional content.


Describe your desk

It’s a complete mess! All right, it isn’t always a mess, but right now it is. I have a glass and steel L-shaped desk. I sit facing my big Mac screen and type away. To my left is my printer, on which are several Walking Dead action figures! I also have a “Notorious RBG” figure, a Dia De Los Muertos sexy figure, Thoth (Egyptian god of arts and letters), a lot of art glass and other detritus.


Describe your writing process

I don’t know if there is anything particularly special to my writing process. I pretty-much sit down and start typing away. I don’t do outlines—I tried once but felt like I’d finished the book when I finished the outline. I start from the beginning of the story and work in a linear way. I’m not good at writing chapters out of order. I do keep a file of interesting thoughts and false starts and sometimes, when I don’t have any ideas, I’ll read over them and something will click. I listen to the characters in my head and write their story. I let them take me on their journey. If I try to force something on them, or lead them along a different path, it doesn’t work. So I let them tell me their story and I write it down.

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