Empress of the Erotic: An Interview with Lark Larson
In what ways has writing erotica empowered you or promoted your self-knowledge?
That’s a hard question to answer, but a lot of ways. The quality of my writing, my determination to take the story from where it started (two individual sex scenes between anonymous unnamed characters) and develop it into a believable plot with strong characters and realistic character development was huge for my self esteem. It always helps to finish a project, particularly one that I worked very hard on and took me a long time to complete. Also people seem to like it! My writing makes women wet and men hard. That’s flattering and helps reinforce the sense that my writing, informed by my sexuality, is powerful and effective. And of course, writing the dirtiest novel I’ve ever read was great for my sex life - I highly recommend it as a “marital aid” to couples and a masturbatory aid if you’re not!
What first inspired you towards sexual themes, and what impact did the writing process have on you?
I love writing sex (I’ve done it since college) and I love reading well-written sex, of which there is sadly little. When Fifty Shades of Crap came out I knew I could do better, and I did! As for the impact writing my novel had - well, there was a not insignificant amount of masturbation as a result, for me and many others.
The criticism we seem to hear time and again about the genre is that it’s formulaic, in content, and in style. What is your response to that?
My response is that whoever is saying that hasn’t read my book.
Besides writing to ‘arouse’ the reader, what else can erotica offer the reader?
Erotica is a giant genre and its impossible to generalize as to what an entire genre can offer. My book specifically offers the opportunity to experience (in the first person, if not firsthand) a strong, confident woman in her 40’s getting laid and loving it. Name another book that offers that kind of positive outlook and describes the powerful sexuality women over 40 can manifest... if you can... but I bet you can’t...
Which authors inspire you and in what ways?
Louise Erdrich is the greatest living author today. Her works are powerfully emotive and create a strong sense of character and place beautifully and subtly. I also love the work of Donna Tartt (The Secret History is set at a college, like my book is) and of course, James Baldwin, Anais Nin and DH Lawrence inspired me with their erotic works of art.
How far do you think publishers are risk-averse? While commercial success is the bottom-line, in what ways would you like to see publishers pushing boundaries?
Publishers are terrified of anything they can’t advertise, and thanks to the prevalence of Facebook, which doesn’t allow anything of a sexual nature to be advertised on their platform, most publishers won’t consider books of an erotic nature. The only reason Fifty Shades passed is because of how misogynistic it was. A 40 year old man initiating a 20 year old virgin into bdsm?! Yeah, nothing fucked up about that scenario. What you ask is impossible, because publishers care ONLY about the bottom line. If they can’t sell your book they’re not interested in it, and you’re better off doing what I did (self-publishing on the evil Amazon empire’s platform.)
You’re extremely open as a writer. Do you ever find yourself fielding disapproval because of that?
Yeah, but I am like my main character, Wren, in the sense that I don’t care about whether anyone “approves” or “disapproves” of me - because they’re not me, so why should I care what they think? I feel the same way about people who can’t keep their mouths shut and feel it’s their right to spew their disapproval as I feel about those who take issue with moms breastfeeding in public- if you don’t like it, DON’T LOOK. Or don’t read it. I don’t know about them, but I was taught if you can’t say something nice, keep your fucking mouth shut.
What do you want readers to take away from your work?
Lots of orgasms they wouldn’t have had otherwise, and if they’re women, hopefully a little more confidence in the bedroom and willingness to try new things with a trusted partner.
Can you share any future plans?
I am working on a sequel - stay tuned to see what Wren does next!!
End of Interview
Lark Larson is a citizen of the world. She was born and raised in the Midwest area of North America and now lives on the West Coast. She has one husband, one child and eleven tattoos (soon to be thirteen). A Time and a Place is her first novel. Be sure to follow her on Instagram.