With winter chills looming on the horizon, the days may be getting colder, but the stories just keep getting hotter. Today, we have Alessia Brio joining us to talk about a new release, Coming Together, another offering in a series to benefit various charities, this time The American Red Cross disaster relief efforts. Welcome to Coffee Time Romance and thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to join us, Alessia.
Thanks, Charissa. It's my pleasure, especially given our topic.
To start things off, could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
This is, for me, the most difficult question to answer, and it always seems to come at the beginning of an interview (when I'm all tense-like). Labels kinda bug me. I could tell you that I'm a 40-something work-from-home mother of 3, but what does that really tell you about me as a person? *grin* I'm far more comfortable talking about my work.
Each of the Coming Together anthologies benefits a charitable organization. Where did this concept come from and how did you gather so many wonderful stories for each collection?
A couple years ago, some writer friends & I were tossing around ideas for bundling our short stories and poetry into a self-published print anthology. At the time, none of us were professionally published. We hammered out the details, but we got bogged down when the discussion turned to money and how to handle the distribution of the proceeds.
That's when the suggestion was made to donate the proceeds to charity. We realized that the sales income, once divided 15 or 20 ways, was never going to amount to much. But, if we came together, we could do some good AND get a wider audience for our work.
The first volume of Coming Together hit the cyber-shelves of CafePress in June of 2005. Three months later, a second volume followed. Then, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, and we decided that we needed to come together for another cause!
In all, there are 5 volumes of Coming Together currently available (4 in print, 1 electronically). Readers can check 'em out at www.eroticanthology.com
Outside of your assembly of these anthologies, you've written or co-written works as well. Can you tell the readers about those and how easy or difficult is it to have a co-writer?
Actually, it was my work on the first volume of Coming Together that prompted me to collect my own short stories and poetry into an anthology. At first, I simply intended to self-publish a single copy as a gift to a friend, but once I had the manuscript pieced together, I figured I had nothing to lose by sending it off to a publisher. fine flickering hungers was contracted by Phaze just a couple months later.
I joined the Phaze family in the summer of 2005, just as its first round of themed HeatSheets (Sparklers) were being released. When the call was made for the second round (Shivers), I knew I wanted to be involved. I nearly drowned in the research for Erotique, but it was worth it. The story is part of the Shivers line, and it has inspired several more tales co-written with Will Belegon. We have Switch, which is a Surge, and Amichu, which is a Samba, and we're just finishing a fourth story called Closing Arguments, which will be bundled with the other three in an anthology called ArtiFactual. It will be released by Phaze early in 2007. February, I believe.
As for the ease or difficulty of having a co-writer, I'd say it all depends on communication. Will & I work remarkably well together, complementing one another's strengths and compensating for one another's weaknesses. I prefer it to working solo, although I do continue to write solo & will have a couple more solo releases in 2007.
Every author has a best and worst part of the writing process. What is your favorite aspect and what do you like the least?
This depends on whether I'm writing solo or with a partner. I love plotting with Will—hammering out the story line and building the characters. My least favorite part of collaborative writing is editing it. I'm always afraid I'll overstep my bounds and create friction.
On my own, my favorite aspect is weaving the words together into a symphony of sensation. I love the craft—down to minutiae of a perfectly executed phrase. Least favorite, at the moment, is the challenge I face in producing longer works. I have two novels in progress that are currently collecting dust while I meet some deadlines. I'm tempted to just resign myself to the fact that I'm primarily a short-story writer, but ... nah!
Have you ever wondered what it would be to live the life of one of your characters? If so, which one and why?
Who says I don't already? *wink* Hrm, I suppose "wondered" is not the word I'd choose. Certainly I've projected myself into some roles—lived vicariously through a character for a scene or a chapter or even an entire work. Which character and which story really depends on my mood du jour. There is a little (and in some instances, perhaps, a LOT) of me in each of my characters.
What passions motivate you to get up and face each day?
The ultimate motivator for me is injustice. I will move mountains—and have—to right a wrong. I can't stand bigotry and intolerance. Discrimination makes my skin crawl. Until I began writing erotica and poetry a few years ago, all of my writing consisted of editorials and narrative non-fiction with a civil/human rights focus.
Do you have a single book or author who inspired you to put your own imagination to paper?
No, not really. My writing inspiration simply stems from a passion for... passion. However, I was undoubtedly influenced by those authors who filled my days and nights with their books as I was growing up: Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, Stephen King, Peter Straub, John Irving, Leon Uris, John LeCarre, Lawrence Sanders, Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice, Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkein.
How that influence manifests itself, though, is a matter of opinion.
If you could spend one day with the person who has inspired you most, what would you plan?
To enact the scene from... Well, perhaps I'd better just take the Fifth on this one.
The world of erotica and erotic fiction is growing by leaps and bounds, becoming more mainstream and well embraced. Do you see it as just a passing trend or something here to stay?
Sex cannot be suppressed, and attempts to do so always fail—eventually. What we're witnessing of late is the dying gasps of another such failure. Digital publication is a boon for the author of erotic fiction because it's discreet. Your visiting pastor might notice what's on your bookshelves, but what's on your hard drive or eReader is not that evident. I look forward to the day when sex is not perceived as shameful... but I'm not holding my breath. Until then, I'll just be the delightfully perverted purveyor of erotic tales.
On your website, you mention another Coming Together anthology on the horizon. Could you share a few details about that and let our readers know what's coming up for you?
Ah, yes. Thanks for asking. Phaze is currently accepting submissions for a volume of Coming Together to benefit breast cancer research. As with the Special Hurricane Relief Edition, I'll be its editor. Submissions of erotic fiction up to 15K words will be accepted through June 1, 2007. Digital release is planned for August 2007 and print release following in October 2007. Please see the submission guidelines at www.phaze.com for details.
Thanks for the chance to talk about this project, Charissa. It means a great deal to me. Happy Holidays to you & yours... and to all the Coffee Time Romance readers out there!
peace & passion,~ Alessia
On behalf of Coffee Time Romance want to Thank Ms. Brio for taking the time to stop by and chat with us today. Thank you Mrs. Brio