Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Darker Side of Lust: The Lost Interview

In August 2010, I was contacted by XI Magazine for an interview and book review for their Se-XI section. A few months after the piece went live, XI Magazine had server issues and lost tons of data, the interview and review included. Although the full piece is somewhere out there in cyberspace, I do have the interview portion.

In an email blast I sent to my mailing list, I included this quote from Managing Editor, Okema T. Moore:

Exploring various taboos like mulitiple partners, homosexuality and religion with regard to sex…the book has something for everyone! It’s well written, intriguing and a page turner. It explores lust and passion and even a little love, all while drawing you in deeper and deeper with the vivid language and very detailed descriptions of characters, positions and possibilities. I felt like a voyeur as I read it, because I could clearly see each scenario play out in my mind’s eye.

It takes a talented writer and an expansive amount of liberation and imagination to come up with something that is more sexy and passionate than raunchy and overtly extra. Abigail Ekue is all of that and more in my opinion.

And now, the interview where I discuss my loves, my lusts and my writing (September 2010):

Who are you and what do you do? 

I am a writer. Before I wrote "The Darker Side of Lust", I had numerous health, fitness & nutrition articles published in print and online. I am an NATA Athletic Trainer and have a BS in Sports Sciences. When I stopped practicing, I used my degree, certification and experience to get those writing assignments. I blog semi-regularly - personal essays, rants & social commentaries. I still have the goal to get a feature article in a glossy. I also love photography. I got into it in 2005. Did a project called "Self Portraitry" and "New York City through a camera phone". I had my first solo photo exhibit last year, “Man. Toy.”. I've also done nude modeling since 2006. I haven't done much recently. But I do still shoot self-portraits and my hope is to have another gallery exhibit in 2011, this time using human male models. I also co-produce and curate Mo Beasley's UrbanErotika™. I'm an artist. When I was first designing my website, I had to come up with a logo and I settled on "The Native Creative New Yorker". It was only supposed to be a placeholder but it's stuck. 

When did you first fall in love with the written word? 

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. My love of writing was definitely sparked by reading. Both my parents were teachers, so it was always important to "read your books." Before I learned how to type "the right way", I would peck away at my parent's old typewriter, making up mystery stories. I went to Harlem School of the Arts from 2nd grade to 9th grade. I was awarded Most Outstanding Student in Creative Writing a few times. The writing lead to drama. I took drama class for a few years at HSA too. In college, I took an elective, Women's Voices in Drama, and that sparked my screenwriting binge. Before that class, I was working on a teleplay.  

When did you discover that erotica was your preferred genre, given that you write along many lines…or is it? 

While working on my novel a few years ago. It's chick-lit and there are sex scenes. The response to those scenes was amazing and there was an ease writing them. The way sex is a part of life, it became part of my writing. I didn't write an erotic short story till a few years later when I wanted to be published on I realized then that a sex scene, that erotic energy could carry an entire story. I just share all the lurid, naughty thoughts that swirl around in our heads on the page. Out of fiction genres, I would say erotica is my preferred genre, or erotica prefers me. I love to write anything that's character-driven.

What inspired you to write "The Darker Side of Lust?" 

I had the stories. So the question was what to do with them. I was a regular at UrbanErotika™ and each time I would read, I wanted to read something different so I would write a new story. So I started to build up a collection of stories. Since I was still in that erotic, creative, state of mind, I would give myself assignments to write an erotic story about a different type of relationship, or in a different voice. Once I decided I was going to put my stories together, I realized I didn't have that many so I went back to rework some of the old stories and I wrote new ones specifically for the collection.

How important is it to you, to be open-minded regarding sex and sensuality? 

Very. Sex isn't going to be good unless you're open-minded about it, honest, respectful and comfortable. Open-mindedness doesn't mean you have to try everything; you may not be into certain fetishes or acts, but being aware that they exist goes a long way to keeping dialogue open. Who you are sexually at 25 can be different from your 45 year-old sexual self. That evolution takes place through being open-minded to different experiences.

You explored many things that would be considered "taboo"…what is taboo to YOU…if anything? 

Animals. Children. Excrement. I don't find those things to be sexually appealing or arousing. I am drawn to those topics because of my desire to understand the way the mind works. I've seen scat and bestiality videos and I find my head cocked sideways trying to figure out how did that horse's penis fit? What about urine and feces is arousing? What must that room smell like? What about infections with all the fecal matter getting into mouths and vaginas? I find nothing sexual about that. I've never seen child pornography. No desire to. I also consider necrophilia taboo. I kind of understand the appeal though, I've read some really well-written erotica that deals with it, but again, that's not for me.

How many experiences that you write about in your collection of stories are inspired by actual events in your own sex life? 

I get this question a lot. It's more telling to answer with what I haven't done -- never had a threesome, seduced a priest, been with a woman, wasn't in a sexless marriage, never had "loud neighbors" although I have cooked chicken parmigiana before, never been in an abusive relationship, never dated a younger man or had rooftop sex and believe it or not, never had sex in a car. But... there is a lot of "me" in the collection. There are certain moments that I fictionalized and turned into a completely different story from what actually happened. People I've met have become characters or I'll give my characters some of the traits of real-life people; I do draw inspiration from people I meet. I also put my thoughts into the heads of some of my characters. Most recently, I was asked a similar question at a book reading. I was with a male friend. He went to the bar leaving me alone for a few moments. A woman approached and asked if he was my husband and if the excerpt I had just finished reading was true. I told her "no" and she was shocked because it felt so real, my descriptions were so accurate and she had a physical response to it. The next question should be which of the experiences I wrote about do I want to be actual events... (ha!)

Many people, men especially, fantasize about multiple partner experiences…do you think that they can ruin a relationship? 

The fantasy doesn't necessarily ruin a relationship. An obsession with fulfilling that fantasy and not considering your partner's feelings can. Going outside of a monogamous relationship to have a multiple partner experience can ruin a relationship. On the flip side there are couples who regularly engage in threesomes or foursomes or more and they are perfectly happy. It works when there is honesty about both the positive and negative feelings you have. Men certainly aren't the only ones who have those fantasies. Feeling like you're corrupt or depraved for having the fantasy can lead to the deceit and that's what ruins relationships.  

What is the sexiest part of a man to you? 

This is a hard one. I don't know about one particular (physical) part but there are things a man does with his parts that are sexy. Sitting in that "come here" posture with their knees falling open. The way they arch their eyebrows in anger or confusion or interest. His eyes too. I will melt if I look into the right pair of eyes. And a wink. If you can wink, I'm sold. Legs. I love a man's legs. Hands and fingernails - I've had instant fantasies about a man's hands/fingers; long, strong, clean, trimmed nails. Long fingernails make me squeeze my knees together thinking about it, like that can't possibly be comfortable or hygienic. I also think facial hair is sexy. It signals a high level of testosterone, which means “masculine”, which I find sexy.

What is the sexiest part of a woman in your opinion? 

Hmm... well based on the women I've had girl-crushes on, I think a woman's shape is sexy. Not necessarily her size, but her shape. I prefer brunettes over blondes. And a throaty or deep voice. But what do I think is sexiest part of a woman? Her thighs. Her lap.

What is the difference to you between lust and love? 

Both are powerful and sudden and euphoric, but love slows you down. I don't think, we think when we're in lust.

What is the most interesting sexual experience that you have had and did it make the book? 

I've had interesting experiences with people that weren't necessarily good. It's the emotional or mental interaction that may have made it interesting. Or the non-sexual part of the experience. There’s no way I can name the most interesting. That being said, I did have similar experiences to the ones in "The Right Wrong Number" and "Lay Your Hands on Me".

Will we see more work from you in novel form, or will you stick to short stories? 

That's the plan. I decided recently to start working on the novel I started a few years ago. I'm 20 chapters in. So I need to complete the first draft of the manuscript and take it from there. While writing, "The Darker Side of Lust", I did take a story out of the collection entitled, "Human Preservation". My plan is to develop it into a novel or at least a novella. It'll be a challenge for me because there are horror elements to it and that's new territory for me. That doesn't mean I'll stop writing short stories though. I work on tackling different topics, character voices and step out of my comfort zone. There's always a way to push yourself.

You are a bit reminiscent of Zane…what do you think of her work and what she's done for the erotic genre of fiction? 

I've only read one work from Zane, "Addicted", years before I thought about writing erotica. What I remember is that I really didn't like the ending. It was too "clean" and tidy. I'm actually a writer who doesn't read much. I really have to change that.

Who is Abigail beyond the sexy stories…Abigail the woman? 

I'm actually pretty low-key. I love food. I need my sleep. I love to laugh. I can be pretty traditional when it comes to certain gender roles. I'm not your typical clingy, possessive Scorpio. I'm also not as freaky as you may think. I am sensual. But not everyone gets to see that side to me. I like people and I study them all the time. It's not even something I'm conscious of at times. I end up taking on the energy of others and that's when I retreat to center myself again. I'm comfortable with solitude and silence. I can be very stubborn and opinionated. I love music.

What is next for you? 

Travel. I need to take my art to other parts of the world. I also know that the travel will help my art evolve. The world I know I refer to in my work is what I get from 2nd and 3rd-hand sources. I need to live it myself. So yeah, travel and more art about the human experience. More writing. More photography.

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