International woman of mystery and wearer of many hats, Elizabeth Silver is a writer, a nerd, and a self-proclaimed internet junkie. An avid reader all of her life, Elizabeth also began writing at an early age, and fell in instant, undeniable love. It’s been a long and wicked affair, but literature is damn good in bed with a cup of cocoa.
With her feet planted about halfway between New York and Philadelphia, Elizabeth has often been accused of having her head in the clouds, although what she’s really doing is just thinking really hard. Elizabeth can frequently be found at the local diners or coffee shops with internet access and bottomless refills, working on new story ideas on her own or with her close friend and co-author, Jenny Urban.
Their novellas Winner Takes All and Where the Heart Is are available in e-format from Loose Id.
1) How do you and your co-author, Jenny Urban, work together?
Jenny and work simultaneously in a Google Docs file, passing back and forth as we go. Each one of us assumes the “role” of certain characters, and so becomes responsible for all of his actions, whether the scene is in his POV or not. For example, in our most recent book, Where the Heart Is, I wrote for Chris (the artist) and Steve (the gym teacher), while Jenny wrote for Jason (the cop). We both take on the job of fleshing out and making the plot work, too. It sounds really complex and technical, but it’s actually a wonderfully organic process that we’ve developed over the years.
Also, it helps that we share a brain.
2) Do you have rules for how steamy you write your sex scenes?
I use whatever language and descriptions I think are most appropriate for those characters in that situation. I don’t like to draw the curtains on a perfectly good sex scene, because sex is fun and steamy and delicious… and awkward and angry and ill-informed. How we make love has a lot to do with who we are, and it shows a lot of where the character is. Does he spend a long time warming his partner up, or is it just hot and steamy kissing that goes right to torn clothes and rough coupling? It says what they want from each other right then, more than any conversation. As to using swear words or words that are otherwise considered “dirty,” sure, I use them. My characters use them, too, and they won’t suddenly start thinking of it as a “purple-headed warrior of love” just because they’ve got naked with someone.
3) Are you a fan of Marilyn Monroe? Or just a look-alike?
Oh, I wish I looked like her! No, actually, I’ve always been a bit of a fan. She was so shy, so fragile, and yet no one really had the time or the patience to allow her to just be. It’s tragic, really, because she was not only a very gifted actress (Some Like It Hot and The Misfits are amazing films, both shot when she was fast approaching the lowest point in her life), but she was also a very talented poet and known by her friends as deeply philosophical. I don’t have pictures of her up on the wall or anything, but I’ve always looked up to her as an example of what can happen when something truly beautiful becomes lost in a sea of loneliness.
This Vanity Fair article about her writings is says it a lot better than I could, but then again, they weren’t trying to fit her awesomeness into a single interview answer: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/features/2010/11/marilyn-monroe-201011
4) Do your family and friends know you write smut? 🙂
Actually, they do! My mother sometimes tries to encourage me to write “real books,” which leads into her being lectured by me. Really, she just wants to read something I’ve written and had published, and she’s never been a fan of romance novels. My father wants me to write het romances because he DOES read those, though, and his wife keeps trying to convince me that I really do need to tell her my pen name.
And my friends think it’s fantastic. Next year I’ll be the Best (Wo)Man in my friend’s wedding, and the bride has told all of her friends and family that her fiancé’s best friend writes dirty books, so there’s no need to worry about the fate of his stag night.
5) So, what kind of Life Threatening Allergies do you have? Do you often order Death Salad?
LOL. I’ve got the usual allergies (dust, mold, cats, etc), but my bad one is for walnuts and pecans. I can’t even have food that’s made on the same equipment because of cross-contamination. It makes ordering dessert interesting when we go out, though, because you’d be surprised how often walnuts wind up in everything, and if they touch my food, I have to send the whole thing back. So I’ve learned to read packages carefully, and not order things that sound suspicious. Sometimes I slip up and wind up with a lunch I can’t eat, though. Oopsie.
6) Thanks for continuing Choose Your Own Romance, No London Bride. I wish the other stories had caught on, but they seem to have fallen flat. Do you have any bright ideas how to re-ignite or re-invent the Choose-Your-Own idea?
Maybe get people to sign up beforehand that they’ll be participating, have them work together to write all the parts, then post at the same time, and just go live as an interactive reading experience? *hands* Not sure. It’s terribly complex, and I’d run screaming in the other direction if I had to run it. *tips hat*
7) Thank you for prompting #1k1hr on twitter. That often whips me back into the WIP when I’ve been distracted by social media. How much do you write each day?
#1k1hr is so much fun! It’s wonderful to have virtual company while I’m writing. Right now I’m averaging 1724 words a day for this month. I know, it sounds weird that I know the exact number, but I’m actually trying to finish a couple of projects and one of the progress spreadsheets I made tells me my words/day rate (I need 2k a day to meet my self-imposed mid-August deadline).
8) What can you tell me about the Dirty Birdies?
The Dirty Birdies is a group blog of erotica and erotic romance writers that all met via Twitter. The idea is that we all blog how we want. No filters, just honest thoughts that more often than not have to do with writing. We write contemporary, het, ménage, BDSM, m/m, f/f, paranormal, bisexual… anything that strikes our fancy. This month we’re talking about “multiples” as in multiple orgasms, partners, pronouns, story ideas, and more. It’s a really fun place to hang out!
9) What’s the “NoH8” twibbon on your profile picture?
The NOH8 campaign was started as a silent protest to counteract the passing of “Proposition 8” in California, which revoked the right to marry from same-sex couples. It has grown to encompass protest against similar anti-LGBTQ legislation all over the world. I keep that ribbon up as a reminder that we are all human beings, and we all love. Some of us just love differently than others, and that in no way makes us inferior. I still remember what it was like, being 13 years old and falling for girls just as often as boys and having no one to talk to, feeling so alienated and wrong because all the kids around me said that being gay or bi was something to be ashamed of. No one should ever feel that way for experiencing something so beautiful as love and affection.
For more information on the NOH8 campaign, visit their website: http://www.noh8campaign.com/
10) How much writing did you do before being published?
I wrote hundreds of thousands of words, but all for fun. It was a blast, and great practice. Jenny and I even wrote a couple of books that we never really finished, and we keep saying we should do something about that one day. But mostly I wrote a lot. My early stuff was really terrible, really, but then everyone’s is. No one will spring into writing, like Athena from Zeus’s head, with a full toolbox and all the knowledge in the world, after all.
11) What was your path to publication?
Jenny and I finished one of those books we’d been kicking around for fun, and I finally let her talk me into submitting it to Loose Id. We sent it in, and a couple months later received the contracts for Winner Takes All. It sounds terribly easy, but remember all those hundreds of thousands of words that we did before that, leading up to that one manuscript that we agreed was ready.
12) What social media do you use? Do you combine your personal and professional or keep them separate?
I’m on Twitter as @LizSilverWrites, and I blog around places (Dirty Birdies and my own website/blog, UrbanSilver.net, mostly). Since I spend more than enough time on the Internet as it is, I’ve been avoiding Facebook. Likewise, I’m waiting to see if Google+ sticks around or goes the way of Google Buzz.
Of course, I do have a personal FB account, under my non-writing name. But that’s so people who don’t know about my writing, like my 85-year old grandmother, don’t stumble on the wrong version of me. While it would be funny, it would still make for one hell of an awkward Thanksgiving.
13) What is your favorite electronic or digital writing tool?
My laptop. A lot of writers talk about their offices or their desks, but I don’t have either until I finish redecorating my house, so my workspace is a writer’s nest I’ve built in the living room. I have the couch, a table to put my feet on, my laptop, and room to spread out if need be. It’s a pain in the ass when I have company, but since all the important stuff is on my laptop (and my external hard drive backup), I can pick up and move my base of operations anywhere.
Plus, my lappy is red and pretty. The only thing I miss is having a nice and noisy keyboard, like they used to have on desktops back in the day, the kind that made you feel like you were using a typewriter.
14) What is your favorite non-electronic writing tool?
Typewriters. Old-fashioned typewriters. I covet them so.
15) What is the most persistent distraction from writing?
The Internet. I could blame my husband and his amazing ability to know when I’m mid-scene and thus choose that moment to interrupt me, but the Internet is ALWAYS there, even when he’s at work. And man, the variety of shiny objects it offers is GREAT!
16) When the day comes that you are on stage, accepting some prestigious award, who are you most likely to forget to thank?
The way I roll, it would probably be the most important, so that would be my husband. He has never, ever doubted that I could do anything I set my mind to. Fortunately, he knows me well enough to know it’s because I’m a spaz. I forget because I care, baby! Honest!
17) Did you really enter a costume contest as a Corellian Padawan?
Green outfit, Padawan braid, lightsaber and all. Several of the judges were actors from the original trilogy, and even a few from the prequels. I was awesome, but not nearly as cool as the wee baby dressed as an Ewok or the George Lucas look-alike.
18) Do you ever write fan fiction or SciFi?
Oh noes! The question! *grin* Yeah, I’ve written fan fiction before. I first started writing it almost 15 years ago. And it was terrible. But then we’re all bad when we first start out, aren’t we? So I kept writing, changed fandoms a few times, kept writing… I just liked telling stories about characters I loved. Something I still get to do now, only with my own characters. Cool, huh?
And, actually, the novella I’m writing now (which is threatening to become a novel) is a SciFi erotic romance. 😉
19) Can a self-professed celebrant of smut really like geeky stuff like Star Wars?
Totally. Geeks are kinky peeps if given half a chance.
20) Who shot first, Han or Greedo?
Han! We don’t need any of that revisionist history here! Han shot first, and YOU ALL KNOW IT.
Anyone up for the Kessel Run?
The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1qnT4-f9
Thank you so much for having me over, AmyBeth! I had so much fun answering your questions. 😀
Also, YAY for surprise!John Quinlan!
You’re welcome! I really enjoyed interviewing you.
And John just agreed to an interview too! 🙂
Great interview! A writing partner? Oh my God, how you do that I just can’t imagine. Whew.
Does Honeytoast count? A silent partner is still a partner…
Lots and lots of practice? Jenny and I have been friends for years, so it’s way easy for us to commit insane acts together.
Thanks for stopping by! YAY!
That was a really really good interview! I feel like I actually got to learn something about you and your processes. Thank you ever so much for such an interesting insight.
Hee! And thank you for coming by. This was a really fun interview, and I’m glad you enjoyed it, too. 🙂
I’m always impressed by writing partnerships. I think that I could love the experience with the right person, but in general I don’t know that I play well with others enough to pull it off. I’m anti-social despite always being on twitter for #1k1hr with you. 🙂
Great interview, thanks for letting me know about it. Excited to hear more about the erotic sci-fi romance.
Geek Love = True Love
If we were more social creatures, I imagine we’d have different professions than one that keeps us behind a computer all day. 😉 Jenny, my writing partner (and BFF), frequently tells me that she’s more than happy to let me be the outgoing one of the two of us. Which is great, because I get to meet people like you!
And one day (soon I hope), I will finish this scifi romance…
I’m glad everyone liked the interview!
I’m going to interview Liz’s writing partner, Jenny Urban, the week after John’s interview.
I might even see if Jenny has any real pictures of Liz lol!
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