What is your book’s genre or category and what draws you to the genre?
It would fall into Lesbian Romance or Lesbian Erotica, I guess it’s a combination of the two; ‘steamy lesbian romance’. As a woman in a healthy long term relationship with another woman, I’m drawn to the genre but I wanted something I could relate to more; love and romance with hot and varied sex, all happening within a ‘normal’ relationship.
Can you describe the story in one or two sentences for our readers?
Single mom, Kaylee (28) moves to Boston and quickly embarks on a secret relationship with Alexis (32), her superior in work. Branding Her follows them as Kaylee lets go of her fears and insecurities, indulging in all Alexis has to offer. It gets a little ’50 Shades’ at times.
Tell us the story behind the story. What influenced you to write it and how long did it take you?
How long do we have? Just kidding. The short version is that I wasn’t able to find many books that were romantic and allowed me to get to know the characters but also contained good lesbian sex. Much of the erotica lacked romance (and I felt a lot of it was aimed at males) whilst the majority of lesbian romance was very tame, sexually. I wanted something that my partner and I could relate to; something that offered a relationship, love and variety of intimate scenes. I also really like being able to dip in or binge ‘Netflix-style’, so a series of bite-size episodes seemed the logical thing to do. I don’t tend to listen to audiobooks but in this case I wanted to use the format so couples could listen to the stories together and potentially get them in the mood; a form of see-what-happens foreplay.
I very much underestimated the workload, but I planned everything out and pretty much released the books as I wrote them. It took about 11 months in total; 13 episodes of about 10,000 words each and 5 short bonus stories bundled as 6 books. The last book in the series is set to release on Amazon July 3rd 2016. My next task is to go back through all the stories and improve them based on my learnings. I’ve just re-published book 1 with a few edits and tweaks.
Is there a part of you in any of the characters?
Yes, a lot. Somewhere between Kaylee and Alexis lies real me.
What is your favorite episode?
Probably episode 6 ‘Jealousy’ in book 3. Up until then, everything has been pretty rosy between Kaylee and Alex. Now we start to see some doubt and mistakes slipping in. Episode 12 ‘London’ is also pretty hot, actually book 6 is definitely the steamiest.
If you assigned an actor/actress to the characters in your novel, who would they be?
Hmm….based on ‘gay’ shows, Kaylee would probably be Laurel Holloman as she played Tina Kennard in season one of The L Word, although a slightly younger version. Alex would be Laura Prepon when she plays Alex Vause in Orange Is The New Black, also the season one version! Kaylee could also be played by Drew Barrymore, Isla Fisher or Nicole Kidman and Alex by Angelina Jolie, Neve Campbell or maybe even Kirsten Stewart.
Do you have a message in your books that you want your readers to grasp?
I wanted something that was empowering to women and inspired what I see as real lesbian sex; sometimes gentle and romantic, sometimes heavy and rarely just one or the other.
I guess the primary message, if there is such a thing, is for couples; keep things interesting. Don’t stop trying new things, keep flirting and going to the sex toy store. Read, listen or watch erotica and create desire in your relationship; ‘lesbian bed death’ does not exist any more than ‘straight bed death’, you just gotta keep things interesting.
Do you have a favorite book or art that inspires you?
The one I remember most from my childhood was Judy Bloom ‘forever’. I was about 11 or 12 when I read it and still remember the omg, excitement and blush on my cheeks. Recently I discovered WOMEN by Chloe Caldwell which I really enjoyed.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Only a year or so ago, although I’d been thinking about it for a lot longer. It’s still only a hobby at the moment.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I still see myself as an aspiring writer, but I’ll do my best. The great thing about digital is that it’s easy to get into. If you have the willpower to research and overcome the many frustrations, you can do it all yourself. There are also sites like Tablo and Wattpad where you can publish stories as you write them and get feedback from readers.
When you get on Amazon (or any site) pay attention to the T&Cs; I missed a deadline for a ‘pre-order’ and they immediately took the option to create pre-orders away from me – for a full year! The T&Cs weren’t obvious yet no amount of pleading worked. Rather harsh, but hey.
If you’re writing F/F or M/M romance or erotica one big piece of advice is to consider starting out in the ‘first person’. I didn’t and it does make life difficult not having gender differentiation eg. She touched her arm. Who’s arm? F/M is much easier to know who is being referred to eg She touched his arm. This doesn’t just apply to romance or erotica of course, but there tends to be a lot of character interaction in those genres.
How do you find the time to write?
It’s difficult. I was fortunate to take a few months off work to focus on writing (and learning to publish). I managed to get through nearly 4 Branding Her books (8 episodes & 4 bonus stories) during that time. What I really underestimated was how long it would take me once I went back to work. This was the main reason books 5&6 took a few months longer than anticipated. I find I prefer writing in long stints, so often the weekend works well, sometimes I’ll do marathon sessions into the early hours of the morning. Yet you can’t do that every week. Midweek, when I only maybe get an hour or two, I tend to do edits, planning and non-writing stuff.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve been working with a friend on a short bisexual erotic series that has a BDSM and polyamorous angle. It’s the first time I’ve worked with another author so closely. We’re approaching the half way point so hopefully it will be out this year, although I’ll be more cautious in terms of rushing to publish this time. Might even hold back til Amazon lift my pre-order ban! I’m also working with a few other writers on short lesbian stories which is interesting as there’s lots of variety from mystery and historical to sci-fi and contemporary, all with an erotic edge.
How can readers find you online?
My website has a mailing list which I use to let people find out about new books and often give away free copies. I use Facebook and Twitter a fair bit and am becoming more proactive on social media. Facebook has surprised me, every week or so I get a message from someone who has enjoyed a book, which is lovely!
Find all of Alex B Porter’s books on Amazon
Branding Her, book 1 (episodes 1&2) is available FREE on Amazon.
Branding Her, book 1 : http://alexbporter.com/to/branding-her-1-kindle/
Read an excerpt of Branding Her
“Suddenly, Alex was kissing her, slow but unyielding, in the middle of the street and in broad daylight. Kaylee closed her eyes, the rest of the world fading away until there was only Alex’s lips brushing against hers. She responded fervently, moving closer so that their bodies pressed together. When at last she broke the kiss, Alex smiled sweetly and continued walking, as if nothing at all had happened.”