This interview was just published by Fiona McVie on her blog authorsinterviews.
Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
LOLA: Hi, my name is Lola Down. I’m in my mid-twenties. My man, H.H., the author, is in his mid-fifties.
Fiona: Where are you from?
LOLA: We’re both from the U.S. The North East to be more specific. But that’s about as specific as we get.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
LOLA: We’re both well educated with graduate degrees. My family background is rather tattered and filled with pain. His is all American Apple Pie, so far as I can tell, but I’m sure that there’s lots beneath the surface. He doesn’t talk much about it, so it’s a bit of a mystery to me. We met when he was my art history professor. I was a freshman and 18. He was in his late forties.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
LOLA: Latest news is that soon we will be publishing the third book in our series of Match, Cinder & Spark. The first volume, subtitled “Nymphomania and the Single Girl,” included a lot of stories about me when I was single. The second volume, subtitled “MORE!” included more stories. The third volume, subtitled “Writing Under Cover,” included a story about living a double life: of normal folks by day, and sexplorers by night. The next volume is subtitled “Sexy Shorts” and will only be two-three page stories.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
H.H.: I began writing in high school. Short stories, mostly of a sci-fi genre. In college I tried a bit more, but it wasn’t very good. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties, early thirties and going through some very tough times in my personal and professional life that I turned to writing as a form of escape, release, or therapy. That’s when it began to go much better.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
H.H.: I never really felt like a writer and certainly never introduced my self as such because it seemed so pretentious and false. But at a certain point I just had written so damn much that it was undeniable that that was what I was. A tiny fraction of it had been published, but it wasn’t until starting the blog, mysexlifewithlola.com, that I really felt like a writer. That’s when our readership just went up and up and people from all over the world began writing to us saying how much the writing (and Lola) inspired them. That felt great!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
H.H.: After a few years of regularly writing and publishing for the blog, the manuscript of stories was into the hundreds of thousands of words. Currently, as of today, the word count of only the published stories is 476,472. That doesn’t include the words in the hopper ready for publishing on the blog, or the notes that have incomplete stories and fragments. So, even though the stores didn’t have a narrative arc, and they were mostly a collection of stories with two main characters in each story, I thought, this is a good way to make access to the stories easier for people. The blog navigation can be as confusing as it is easy, if that makes sense. I didn’t spent time shopping the manuscript around since we already had a built-in fan base of over many thousands. Unfortunately, the first volume, Match, Cinder & Spark: Nymphomania and the Single Girl, was rather lengthy and, in the hard-copy, we included a lot of high-quality, glossy photos. That shot the price really high. I didn’t realize how expensive it would be until the project was finished. By that time, after all that work, I decided that I was just going to publish it as is, let the buyer pay for the book. It is a collector’s item, after all. And, with some more work, I could publish an e-book version and sell it for literally 1/70 the price. Unfortunately, at the time, the technology was not available for the photos to be included in the e-book, but that also meant that people all over the world could safely read it in public places, like the subway or on a plane or the airport, without fear that Lola’s pussy would suddenly pop up on the screen. And if they wanted to see Lola’s va-jay-jay, they could always just do a Google search of mysexlifewithlola.com.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Lola: Match, Cinder & Spark — He’s the “cinder,” that is, the fire that has passed its prime. I’m the “spark”; the catalyst that sets things aflame. Together, we’re a match. I won’t say a perfect match, but one that is highly combustible. . . and hot!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
H.H.: The writing usually comes very easy. It’s mostly quasi-autobiographical. Lo provides the inspiration and a lot of the raw material for the stories and then I just take artistic liberties to craft it into a story that has some form. But every once in a while I try to switch it up by trying out a new narrative style. I once wrote a story called “Fuck Noir” and I tried, not too successfully, to adopt a detective novel narrative voice. I was particularly fond of the last line, but that was all Lola’s doing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
H.H.: Like I said, almost all of the book is based upon something in our lives, either individually or together. We take pains to protect the innocent as well as the guilty, and I use poetic license to intersperse scenes out of sequence in order to tell a better story, but there’s very little there that didn’t actually happen.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
H.H.: Travel provides great material. There has never been a trip that we have gone on, either separately or together, that hasn’t produced at least one fun story.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
H.H.: I once wrote a story called “How My Girlfriend Became an Amateur Internet Porn Star” which is all about the design of the cover of our first book, Match, Cinder & Spark: Nymphomania and the Single Girl. I had chosen some stock photo for the cover and when Lo saw it, she freaked. “I go on the cover. No one else. Me.” Well, from then on, I knew that any promo for the book or the blog had to be of Lo. It meant a lot of photo taking by me (and some sexy selfies), but it’s truly a labor of love.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
H.H.: Love yourself. Love the one you’re with. Love each other. And if you’re single: Love yourself and love our blog and books.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
H.H.: There are a lot of bloggers in our blogging community whose work I really love. Too many to name them all, but a small sample includes: Cara Thereon of CaraThereon.com, Hyacinth of adissolutelifemeans.com, Nilla of Vanilla Mom’s Blog, just to name a few.
Lola: Also, lately I’ve really enjoyed TJ of The Lustful Empress, Nero Black and his eponymous blog, and lots of writers on Medium.com, most especially MyErotica run by Rose, and the columns by Madelaine Hanson.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Lola: Actually, none of our family members know about this blog. But I’d say that Medium.com has done the most in that they pay their member authors for the content they create based upon some mysterious formula. I’m sure that they somehow make far more than the authors, but it’s more than other platforms provide.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
H.H.: Outside of the erotica that I write, I have a whole host of other works under my real name. One day, maybe after I’m dead, the truth will out and then it will become the unenviable task of others to reconcile the “legit” writing with the “scurrilous” works. That is, of course, if anyone cares.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
H.H.: Well the latest book is just on the cusp of being published and so I’m trying to insure that it will be the best yet.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
H.H.: I learned how much I love Lola, not because she’s so incredibly sexy, so dirty in her thoughts, but because she is so incredibly funny. Writing dialogue with her is so easy because our day-to-day lives together are full of amusing banter. We like to think of ourselves as like Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man movies.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
H.H.: Jeremy Irons. I think he is wonderful in the remake 1997 of Lolita. But he’s probably a bit old for the part now (though he’s in great shape). Maybe Jeff Goldblum.
Lola: Amanda (Donaghey) George. She looks just like me. Or maybe Sasha Grey, because she looks a bit like me and is willing to do anything.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
H.H.: Never take advice from a fellow writer. They’re all full of shit.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
H.H. & Lola: Thank you!!!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
H.H.: John Gardner’s On Moral Fiction.
Lola: Match, Cinder & Spark, Volume IV: Sexy Shorts.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
H.H.: Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying. I stole it from the library and read all the sexy parts under the covers with a flashlight.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
H.H.: The Marquis de Sade. He was absolutely versatile as a writer and a genius.
Lola: Brad Pitt because he has a huge cock and a great bod.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Lola: Beach Volleyball.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
H.H.: We both love “Broad City.”
Lola: Magic Mike.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
H.H.: Lola has really expanded my pallet.
Lola: I eat anything that casts a shadow. Favorite color: right now, turquoise. Favorite music: local folk music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
H.H.: I think Hemingway got it right.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
H.H.: With Lola.
Lola: With H.H. and a room full of naked, sexy men and women fucking.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Lola: “Look on my body of work, you beauties, and despair.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
H.H. & Lola: mysexlifewithlola.com