Interview with Linzi Basset
Many people know Linzi. I verified this by checking how many people Amazon search her name each month and the number is staggering. After reading two of her books, I can see why readers are hooked on this writer who I’ve taken to calling the Vladimir Nabokov of erotica. Read the interview to see why! A quick note about the formatting, Linzi’s answers are in italics, my questions are in regular text. Enjoy!
First, let’s get some basics on the table. Tell us the name of your latest book and what genre it is considered.
This is the final book in the Club Alpha Cove BDSM club series but it’s written as a complete standalone. This one came about by demand from my readers and it’s the story about the children of the couple in, ‘His Defiant Sub’, book 8 in the series – seven years later.
Now, straight to the hardest and most profound question of them all, why do you write?
This is the question we always have to think about, isn’t it? For me, it boils down to what Vincent Van Gogh once expressed: “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” That’s why I write. To express the deep well of passion that lives in my soul which is the part of me that I keep secreted away from my day to day existence. It’s a part of me that had been suppressed for a long time primarily due to a very conservative upbringing. It was part of my familial and cultural heritage and what was expected of me. Now, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m able to liberate myself and share my passion with others. Blossoming out of what once was the genesis of my own confined existence! Passion is what drives my creativity. Passion is what allows me to ‘see’ and express my own sensuality through the medium of the written word; to be able to draw from that deep well to define the beauty of eroticism and all that it encompasses. I want to share what I feel with others.
Isn’t it a universal truth that it’s our singular experiences and passion, for whatever thing or things that it may be, that molds us all into the individuals that we become? Whether it’s hidden in the depths of our soul or exposed for all to see?
How would you describe your writing style?
Now that’s a question I’ve never considered and the honest answer is that I really don’t know. I guess you could say I shoot from the hip…lol!
If I had to define it, I’d have to say that it’s somewhat stream-of-consciousness, descriptive, emotional. It’s what makes me tick. Every book starts out with just an outline of sorts of who the main characters will be and how the ‘theme’ of the book might be woven into the fabric of their lives. Then I sit down in front of my laptop, I type Chapter One … and off I go. The plot and character development and slowly emerge. I come alive within every story. When I write, I become the character, I live each and every scene. A part of me is engrained in every story that I write…hahaha …no, MJ, I won’t tell you which part! Does it always work? I hope it does. I made some mistakes in the first few books of the Club Alpha Cove series, which is why I did some rewrites. I do a lot of research, factual research, logistical research etc., but ultimately, of course, the story and the characters have to “work” for me. If I don’t feel connected with either one, I’ll ditch it and begin anew because it won’t feel authentic. It’ll lack the depth and the passion I “live” into my writing.
Unfortunately, there are flaws and facets in and of ourselves that we don’t necessarily like. When I read my own writing, I cringe at some of the things that I don’t like about myself and my style. I’m not saying that you scream out your own name in absolute horror, but surely there are a few spots you wish you could strengthen. What are they? What would you say is the weakest part of your writing?
That’s a tough one, a difficult question to answer and one that I’ll come back to later …so off I go to the next question for now!
Okay, I’m back. Let me start by saying this, and it may come as a surprise to many people, but English is not my first language. When I started writing again a few years ago, I struggled with the enormous versatility of American English. All my stories are American-based, so I obviously needed to ensure that they would appeal to the American people. It was a massive struggle until I found an American editor that “Americanized” my writing!
The one thing that I battle with that needs constant work and attention is the passive voice…ahh!…and when I get a script back from my editor with notes indicating where I need to correct it. I do actually scream. And why…why does English have so many tenses? Good heavens! Why can’t everything just be in past, present and future? Why do we need past present, future present, past perfect…or is it perfect past…geez!!
What I’m saying is, don’t let anything stand in the way of your dream to be a writer. I’ve grown so much over the past year and have confidence in every story that I produce, but it’s hard work. Even though my thoughts, my words and my stories flow easily, I have to work on each and every sentence I write because no matter that I “think” in English, there is still a basic interpretation of my thoughts from my mother tongue to not just English, but American English in all of its formal and idiomatic shapes. It can be absolutely daunting at times, extremely so, but I refuse to let it faze me. I approach it with just as much passion as I do with the stories I write.
Many writers might simply get some kind of bot, load it with links to their books, and set it on BLAST. As I gain experience in this genre, I’m realizing there are better ways to get your voice heard.
You have quite a loyal following actively searching for your work to the tune of eight hundred plus people per month typing your name into Amazon. What kind of publicity do you (or those around you) do for your books? How did you start out? What advice can you offer newbies?
Oh dear…another question I’ll have to come back to…off to the next question!
I am sad to say that I haven’t done much as far as publicity is concerned. I have a very demanding full time job, therefore to find the time to properly market and promote my books is a challenge. I do make use of Twitter to promote my work and I’ve developed a more “social” profile on Facebook to connect with followers. Most of the promotional marketing aspects of my work is generated by its very own popularity and that’s the best kind there is. Word of mouth. You can’t buy that. I’m amazed at the number of readers that tell me that someone told them about me which got them interested in reading my books.
I’m starting to do book trailers and the odd teasers, but not enough. Most of my followers connect with me via my website. I do direct mail shots to them and the responses I receive are a clear indication of how much the personal connection I make means to them. I personally respond to every email I receive from fans. For 2016, I plan to start a blog page as soon as someone can tell me how to stretch time to slot it in with everything else!
This advice is not just for others, but for myself as well. You have to create a ‘presence’ in your work, of yourself as an author. Decide in advance what that presence and profile should be and make sure it’s the right one for you and for the type of books that you write. When you market and promote your work, mix it up, don’t get caught in a rut by doing the same thing over and over. It’s something we all tend to forget and I have to admit that I have, too, on occasion forgotten to take my own advice. Join other groups of authors who share the same interest and love of the genre that inspires you. Do guest blogs, interviews and be honest about mistakes you’ve made. Help others and mentor them by way of short articles that might address their concerns. Above all else, never harbor doubt in your ability to write and never give you power away to negativity.
I’m curious to know what other writers like in the same way maybe that musicians share among themselves what other songs they like to cover. It says something about both artists. What’s your favorite line of somebody else’s writing?
Considering the genre I write in, most of you will find this amusing, but this line has stuck with me throughout my life. It’s what has informed my life in a way. It’s what has driven many life changing decisions that I’ve made recently and something I believe that ultimately guides all of us…helping us to decide the path of our own destiny. My good friend RB O’Brien will love this.
It’s from William Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven stages.”
With which writer would you secretly trade places?
John Grisham. I just love his writing. I’ve read a variety of genres, but I have to say that I greatly favor legal suspense and thrillers.
Lastly, I really love your writing style. I find that you have an incredible way with words. How did you become such an incredible writer? Any tips for us newbies and lackeys that can help us improve?
Thank you, MJ. That’s high praise coming from someone who has the prodigious talent to be able to paint a canvas with words the way you do.
I believe that telling stories in my own voice, driven by my own passion is what motivates me and that is the very essence that gets insinuated into each and every one of my stories. It’s a distillation of who and what inhabits my being. I truly experience and live each and every scene. I feel every touch, every kiss, every harsh word uttered and that to me is the key. I write from the inside out. My stories are me. I live them. I couldn’t imagine writing a story looking in from the outside to try to describe something that I cannot see or feel. When I feel myself laboring unnecessarily to write a scene that I can’t connect to, I know it’s going to come out wrong. My editor always tells me to leave some things to the reader’s imagination, because I become so involved with describing what I see and feel.
It may be that my advice to the writer in you, whoever you are, might sound overly simplistic, but it’s essentially the discovery over time of listening to your own singular voice and the application of it, through hard work and passion to speak through the medium of the written word. Be comfortable within yourself. Write every story as if it’s your own, your dirty little secrets that you’re telling…and yes…maybe some of them are mine…lol! Find your voice with the words that truly express what you think and what you feel and it will flow into your story, make each one stand out, make each chapter shine and make each scene come alive in every reader’s mind. Let your passion come through and connect and your words will have the power to transport the reader into the story as a voyeur, or better yet, as a participant. You really want them to read your erotica books with just one hand….wink*wink!
Thank you, Linzi, for taking the time to answer these questions and the many that led to this interview taking place. It’s a pleasure to be in the company of someone who commands the English language in such a powerful way. You really are like Nabokov in that regard. English wasn’t his native language and he has penned one of the most powerful voices in the literary canon. You, my dear, are most definitely erotica’s Nabokov. Best of luck with For Amy – Their Beloved Sub. As of posting this, For Amy was #5 on Amazon’s bestseller’s list for Suspense.
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