Monday, April 1, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: I Don’t Always Write Erotica by Scott Bury

Scott Bury, Author

Welcome new-time erotica author Scott Bury, who today is launching his second novel ONE SHADE OF RED.  The journalist/novelist explains why he made the switch from historical fantasy to erotica!

I don’t always write erotica. But when I do, I write it in one shade of red.
The most interesting writer named Scott Bury in the world.

My second novel, ONE SHADE OF RED, launches today. As you may have guessed, it’s a spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey, the mild erotica that has broken all the records for a first-time novelist, for a book about sex, and in fact for almost any work of fiction in English. Evaluations of the book’s quality tend to the extreme — readers and reviewers either love it or hate it.

I decided last fall that I would write a novel that turns Fifty Shades on its head. Some of my readers expressed surprise on my turn to the erotic. My first novel, The Bones of the Earth, is an epic historical fantasy. I’ve also published a children’s short story, “Sam, the Strawb Part,” and a couple of short stories that could be termed “urban paranormal,” such as “Dark Clouds.”

My readers shouldn’t have been so surprised, though, that there would be a lot of sex in my new work. (And I really mean, a lot of sex.) One of the criticisms of The Bones of the Earth is that it has “too much sex” and that the frank depiction of sex made it unsuitable for the “young adult” market.

Here’s the blurb:

Women want the perfect man, so they can change him. But when university student Damian Serr discovers a rich, beautiful woman who’s voracious about sex, he doesn’t try to improve on perfection. It’s all that he can do to hold on for the ride.

Damian has always followed the rules, always tried to please others. At 20, he still dates the girl next door because his parents like her parents. When Nick, his university roommate, asks Damian to take over his pool-cleaning business so he can take an internship in London, Damian can't say no - especially to Nick's first and only client, a rich widow.

But widow Alexis Rosse is far from helpless or lonely. This beautiful financial genius is busy turning the markets upside-down, and she revels in sex wherever, whenever and with whomever she wants.

Over the summer, Alexis gives Damian an intense education. Day after day, she pushes him to his sexual limits. The only question he has is: will she break them?

Writing a book that describes sexual activity explicitly and to this extent did make me nervous. I was always conscious about staying on the right side of the fine line between erotica and porn. But to do that, I had to figure out where that line lay. 

I cannot claim to be any kind of expert on porn or erotica. This is my second attempt at writing about sex at this extent. But it seems to me that while the point of porn is to depict sex in enough detail to stimulate the audience, with erotica, the purpose is to explore this very important aspect of the human experience and how it affects all other parts of living with other humans.

In any other form of fiction, the focus is on the characters and the story. In my previous work, I never shied away from depicting sex when it makes sense for those characters at that part of the story.

I also had to keep in mind that ONE SHADE OF RED is supposed to be a parody, a spoof. That means that it has to be fun, as well. What’s more fun than sex? And really, what is funnier than sex? People get up to all sorts of hilarious antics pursuing, avoiding, thinking about and engaging in sex. No wonder there are so many books, movies, TV programs, photographs, paintings and every other kind of expression about sex.

Taking up the challenge

One of my strengths as a writer is my ability to describe situations, actions, emotions and sensations in detail. I’m not just bragging: reviews of my previous books have mentioned how they felt they were right in the action and about the detail and description.

The only way I could pull off this kind of book was to use all the tools I have: the existing story; my basic concept about a young man and a slightly older but vastly more experienced woman; and all my writing skills, experience and knowledge.

I wrote ONE SHADE OF RED as well as I could.  I also called upon the resources available through the authors’ cooperative, Independent Authors International (, for reaction, editing, proofreading, cover design and reviews. I also turned to the independent writing community through the Web and asked for help in raising the profile for my book in advance of its publication.

The community came through for me. I have to thank Gary Henry and my wife, Roxanne, for that first reaction to an early draft; Cinta Garcia de la Rosa for copy-editing; David C. Cassidy for a stunning cover; and Benjamin X. Wretlind and Bruce A. Blake for the final proofread.

As the launch date looms closer, I still feel nervous. I imagine that every writer does. Will readers like it? Will they understand the basic message I was trying to communicate? Will they find dozens (or more?) of typos and grammatical errors that my colleagues and I missed?

But ONE SHADE OF RED brings another level of trepidation: will I be relegated to one category, on genre? Worse, will my small-but-hopefully-growing audience turn away from any of my future writing because this book is such a departure from my previous work?

And yes, I am concerned that my friends and family will think I’m some kind of pervert

The story

The defence against the perverted writer charge is simply this: it’s a story. Every book is a story, and ONE SHADE OF RED is the most basic, oldest story of all: boy meets girl.

I have just tried to write it as honestly as I can, with some humour and some attempts at insight into what people like my characters in the situations I put my characters into would think, feel and act.

Did I succeed? Did I make a lot of mistakes? Is the writing just plain bad? Or have I described believable people with believable reactions?

You be the judge.

About Scott Bury

Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. His articles have appeared in magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia, including Macworld, the Financial Post, Applied Arts, the Globe and Mail and Graphic Arts Monthly.

ONE SHADE OF RED is his second novel to be published.

His first published novel is The Bones of the Earth, a fantasy set in the real time and place of eastern Europe of the sixth century. He has also published a short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and a paranormal story, Dark Clouds. His work in progress is tentatively titled Walking from the Soviet Union, and tells the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Red Army during the Second World War, his escape from a German POW camp and his journey home.

Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and the orangest cat in history.


Blog: Written Words 
Twitter @ScottTheWriter

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