I'd like to welcome author Jean Roberta to my blog.
1. How long have you been writing?
Most of my life! I was thrilled to win a major award for a short story I entered in the Canada Permanent Trust Student Writing contest in my last year of high school, many years ago. (There were nine winners from different provinces. One of them was chosen as the national winner.) After I graduated, I applied for a typing job with the company that had sponsored the contest, and got turned down. My five minutes of fame hadn’t launched me into a career of any kind, so I went to university instead.
In 1988, I had a book of lesbian stories published by a one-woman publisher, and I attended the Third International Feminist Book Fair in Montreal, partly to flog my book. There I saw a call-for-submissions for lesbian erotica. How edgy was that! I wrote three stories, feeling very daring, sent them in, and got a letter in the mail saying that all three were accepted! Soon afterward, the small press that had posted the call went bust, so my stories gathered dust for a few years.
In 1998, my sweetie and I acquired our first computer, and I joined the Erotic Readers Association, which put me in touch with a writing community and up-to-date calls-for-submissions. About a year after I began sending out stories and getting no response, one of them was accepted for Best Lesbian Erotica, then I had four stories in two Black Lace anthologies. I was finally launched as a writer with a steady stream of publications.
2. What is your favorite genre to write?
Fiction that focuses on desire, whether it is sexually explicit or not. Desire is the emotion that moves plots forward.
3. What are you working on now?
Several stories to submit for anthologies. I also have regular blog posts to write. I post something on the 26 th of every month here: www.erotica-readers.blogspot.com and every other Friday here: www.ohgetagrip.blogspot.com I also have a bigger project in mind: a book about erotica, feminism and censorship in Canada in the 1980s and 1990s, focusing on my own experiences. The local university press is interested, and I have a collection of contemporary articles (by me and by other people) to draw on.
4. When you begin a story, do you start with character or plot?
When I write for myself, I usually start with a character: someone I have met in a dream, or who haunts my mind in some way. When I write in response to a call-for-submissions, the theme usually suggests a plot, and then the characters follow.
Tell us about your latest/upcoming release.
What inspired it? My latest story is “Shelter,” and it appears in Forbidden Fruit: unwise stories of lesbian desire, which was launched on September 6, 2014.
Here is the opening scene:
“I didn’t intend to open my door for anyone at 1:00 a.m., but I couldn’t resist looking through the peep-hole to see who was there.
Cheekbones, long nose, full lips, short dark hair, direct gaze, evil grin. Unmistakably Renee Sharp.”
Anna, the narrator, is a fairly naïve young woman from a middle-class family who first met Renee, the “bad girl,” in elementary school. As a neglected ten-year-old foster child, Renee seemed to embody the phrase “at-risk.” She followed a predictable path by dropping out of high school and entering a life of crime while Anna was keeping up her grades, then attending university. Anna and Renee are both attracted to each other, but by the time they meet again as adults, there is an almost unbridgeable culture gap between them. This story was inspired by my experiences with people who are different from me in various ways. Even when there are some good intentions on both sides, mutual acceptance doesn’t always seem possible.
Forbidden Fruit is available directly from the publisher: or from ladylit
Bio: Jean Roberta teaches English in a Canadian university and writes in several genres. Over one hundred of her stories (mostly erotic) have appeared in print anthologies. Recent publications include The Flight of the Black Swan: A Bawdy Novella (soon to be launched as an audiobook) and The Princess and the Outlaw: Tales of the Torrid Past (both from Lethe Press). More here: www.JeanRoberta.com.