(Originally posted on 5/22/2013)
Let’s give Annabel Joseph a warm (har har) welcome because she’s in The Hot Seat today! Annabel writes stories about real, flawed characters who fall in love and have intense relationships with lots of kinky sex. Annabel is one of my favorite authors and if you haven’t read her books, I think you’re missing out and you’re probably sad about this. But don’t worry! It’s easy to fix, just go forth and buy her books and you will be happy again – just see my review of Firebird or Disciplining the Duchess!
Without further adieu here is Annabel Joseph in The Hot Seat —
How did you come up with your pen name? Does it have special meaning to you or do you just like the sound?
Annabel – Well, I heard about this thing where you pair your best friend’s name with the name of the street you grew up on, and that’s your pen name. I never had a friend named Annabel—I just liked that name—but I did live on Joseph Street for a while as a child. I also lived on Inchon, Habersham, Sandy Creek, Maas, Oglethorpe, Celebration, and some others I can’t remember, but Annabel Oglethorpe just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
What’s your favorite food? Does it go with orange juice?
Annabel – I have sooo many favorite foods but my super fave is the fried zucchini at Carrabbas, and yeah, I could probably eat it with orange juice.
What would you tell your kids if they came across your novels?
Annabel – My kids know I’m a writer, but I’ve told them from the beginning that only grown ups can read my books because of “all the kissing.” They are okay with that and they have zero curiosity because they think kissing is disgusting. I picture them at school on the day the class is talking about careers: “Yes, my mom is a writer but you have to be eighteen or older to read her books.”
What was the last thing you wrote that made you cringe?
Annabel – I cringe the worst when I write something hokey. The sex can be nasty beyond belief and I’m cringe-free, but as soon as I realize I wrote something hokey or florid like “His cock pulsed as he slid it across her velvet heat” then I kinda want to go chop off my fingers. I also cringe a little when I write fantasies that I have, that I don’t think other people probably have. I try not to let it stop me though.
Which one of your characters do you identify with the most? Why?
Annabel – I identify a little bit with all of them, but I think the one that most closely resembles me is Kat in Fortune. I lifted an awful lot from my life to write her. I was definitely that aimless, sad, lonely, confused club girl for a long time, and I was quite slutty too.
What’s your favorite pair of undies? Describe or take a picture.
Annabel – Speaking of slutty, if you ever look at my Fetlife profile (Annabel_Joseph) I have posted all these photos of my panty collection, actually modeled on my butt. The perverts love it. I get a lot of guys leaving comments like “I would love to wear those panties.” Fetlife, gotta love it. My favorite is probably my rose-butt panties–the back is basically a big red rose made out of fabric. Definitely not something you could discreetly wear under clothes.
If you had a stalker, what song would he most likely hear you sing in the shower?
Annabel – Oh What a Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma. If not that, some other Broadway song. I’m a total theater nerd.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Annabel – It’s out of print now, but the book that affected me most as a developing writer was Binding Spell by Elizabeth Arthur. Everything about it touched me: the voice, subject matter, style, imagery, plot, and emotion. In the romance genre I’d choose Flowers from the Storm, The Shadow and the Star, or Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale. Literally, all three of them. I can’t narrow down.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend time with my family, I try to exercise (emphasis on try), and I read whenever I can. I lead a very comfortable, boring life but the reality is that I prefer it that way. I’m the opposite of an adrenaline junkie.
What are you working on now? When can we get our hands on the next Annabel Joseph masterpiece??
Annabel – Oh man, I’m always trying to write a masterpiece! I am hard at work editing Waking Kiss at the moment. It’s a BDSM romance set in the world of ballet, and is definitely a very deep emotional study as compared to a raunchy smex-fest. I mean, there’s sex but a lot of emotional plotline too. That’s something I try to provide in every book, so the stories stick around after the arousal wears off. In Waking Kiss I’m playing around with a lot of themes, like the metaphors of fairy tales, creating mirror events, the things we reveal in relationships versus the things we hide—and everyone hides stuff. It has been a very interesting experience writing it because it turned into much more than I expected. And I already have the sequel half- written too. So I’m on a roll!
Thanks for having me in the hot seat, Haydee. Here are some links for your readers if they’d like to look me up:
Click HERE and scroll down for 25 Fun Facts about Annabel
About the Author:
Annabel Joseph is a novelist who specializes in the romance of dominance and submission. Her stories celebrate the complexity of sensual power exchange in loving and sometimes complicated relationships.
You can email Annabel at firstname.lastname@example.org. She loves to hear from her readers.
She is always working on something new, so stay tuned!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Annabel Joseph your real name?
Q: Do you write under any other pen names?
A: I write vanilla (non-BDSM) erotic romance novels under the pen name Molly Joseph. You can learn more about Molly Joseph at http://mollyjosephnovels.com.
Q: Why are some of your books only $2.99 while others are more expensive? Are the $2.99 books shorter or worse in quality?
A: No. I would never put out a book at ANY price, even FREE, that I did not believe would live up to my readers’ expectations.
All my books (with the exception of Club Mephisto and Molly’s Lips: Club Mephisto Retold) are around 55-90K words and all of them have the same production values: professional editing, proofreading, and a clean e-copy free of formatting mistakes. The reason some are cheaper is because they are self-published under my indie imprint. I don’t have the same overhead costs as a large publisher and I retain a greater percentage of the royalties, and so I pass those savings on to you.
I also like to price my books inexpensively so people will be more likely to take a chance on my novels. I know they’re not for everyone but I hope at $2.99 people will give them a whirl. Finally, I price them inexpensively to discourage pirating. Pirating isn’t just a money loss for authors…it’s very emotionally debilitating for an author to see her hard work given away for free or for others’ profit. Please do not pirate ebooks and please urge others not to do so.
Q: Is it possible to get paper copies of your books?
A: All my books are available in paperback with the exception of Owning Wednesday and Fortune. They are unlikely to be stocked on your local bookstore shelves. Your best bet is to purchase them at Amazon.com.
Q. Why are there two different versions of Owning Wednesday? Which one should I buy?
A: Owning Wednesday is one of the first books I wrote. It was available through Lulu.com for a while, and then withdrawn from print to be revised and re-edited for release by Loose Id. The original was very emotionally raw (and very poorly edited.) The new version is sleeker and well-edited but lost a lot of the emotional underpinnings of the original (and about 20K words). Certain elements of the story and character details were also changed. I suppose the ideal version of Owning Wednesday would have been somewhere in the middle of the two, but the Loose Id version is as close as I could get the arrow to the mark.
As for which one to buy, Loose Id has sole rights to market their version for now. If you wanted to find the original version you would have to track down a very old bootleg from my Lulu days, and I imagine those are pretty hard to find. If you are not sure which version of Owning Wednesday you have, there is an easy way to tell, without giving too much of a spoiler. In the original version it is Daniel who paints the words on Wednesday’s walls. In the Loose Id version, it is Wednesday who does it. Also, the old version is in first person POV, and the new version is in third.
Q: Why do you only write Maledom/febsub books, and not femdom, m/m, f/f, paranormal, etc?
A: For me to write well, I find I need to have some emotional involvement in my writing. A lot of times my stories are coming from some personal place or some life experience I’ve had, or the experiences of friends. Since I identify as a female sub and have a lot of Maledom and femsub friends, that point of view has always just come most easily to me.
Q. Are you saying that the stuff in your books is all stuff that you’ve actually done?
A. Hell no!
Q. What type of BDSM can I expect to find in your books?
A. I have heard my work described as “emotionally intense power exchange.” I try not to write BDSM just for the sake of BDSM, with no underlying emotional resonance, because I find that pretty boring. You can have a Dom spout all the “lifestyle” terminology and use all the possible fetish hardware in the world, but without any emotional stakes, the scene can fall flat. Conversely, if the emotional groundwork is there, something so simple as a masterful look or a wrist grabbed with just the right amount of pressure can make you catch fire.
That’s not to say my books don’t have traditional BDSM elements. They have rope, cuffs, dildos, plugs, clamps, collars, leashes, blindfolds, gags, garter belts, leather, spanking implements, and all those things BDSM’ers use to play. But I like my books to read like romances, not BDSM how-to manuals, and that’s something I always keep in mind. As far as sado-masochism, I suppose my books skew to the middle. Every punishment is not for the sub’s pleasure, yet the Dom does not intentionally savage her either. There is a balance there. I do occasionally include mild elements of degradation/humiliation (name calling, sexual humiliation and such) but only because the heroine enjoys that type of play. You won’t find heavy sadism, edgeplay, non-consensual brutality, or mean-spirited humiliation in my books, because, of course, none of those lend themselves very well to romance.
The BDSM in my books is also closer to Dominance/submission than Master/slave. The distinction may not mean much to you unless you are heavily into the lifestyle, but my heroines are generally not completely surrendered in the way of a slave. Usually my heros and heroines practice BDSM as part of a larger, real-world relationship. I have written one series about a 24/7 Master/slave dynamic. I call these my Mephisto books. They are Club Mephisto, Molly’s Lips: Club Mephisto Retold, and Burn For You. I hope you’ll check them out!
Q. Do you practice BDSM in real life? How deeply?
A. Me and my husband are not exactly hardcore, but he is the Dom and I am the sub in our relationship. We are heavily into Domestic Discipline and 1950′s, only without me being good at cooking and housework (cause I’m NOT!) But I love a good lecture and a spanking, and you will sometimes notice my lecture fetish making its way into my books. We get out into the local scene occasionally but we don’t play in public or play outside our marriage.
Q. Who are your favorite authors? What kind of books do you like to read?
A: My favorite BDSM authors are definitely Molly Weatherfield and Anneke Jacob. As far as mainstream romance, Laura Kinsale is my absolute favorite. I have also been influenced by Flannery O’Connor, Elizabeth Arthur, Judith McNaught, and Alice Hoffman. I don’t read a lot in my own genre, but I am an avid reader of historical romance.
Q. Will you read my novel/manuscript/proposal and give me feedback/critique/advice?
A. Unfortunately I have very little time to do beta-reading or critique, so the answer to this will almost always be no. I am, however, always happy to chat generally about the publishers I’ve worked for, the publishing business in general, and/or the art of writing and networking. You can also check my Links page and sidebar for some of the blogs and writer’s boards I like to frequent.
Q. How did you get your work published? How can I?
A. In my case, I got published because a friend was an editor for a romance house and encouraged me to submit my work. If you are just starting out, the best thing to do is keep your ear to the ground and really become familiar with the houses that publish the stuff you’re writing. Check their submission requirements, lurk on author boards and figure out what they really want (and what they don’t want). When your work is ready and you know which publishers are interested in it, be brave and submit it! It’s free!
Q. You are self-published and e-published. Which is better?
A. Self-publishing is great if you’ve written something that doesn’t fit into those nice, neat guidelines publishers are looking for, or if you are one of those people who is very controlling about how your work is presented. I began publishing some of my books under the independent imprint “Scarlet Rose Press” for this reason. Self-publishing gives you maximum artistic control and freedom, but it comes with a lot of responsibility too. You have to be your own editor-in-chief and you have to do all the marketing yourself. Of course, you also keep all the royalties for yourself.
E-publishing is nice because you have a group of editors behind you catching story weaknesses and mistakes you might miss, and a website with built-in traffic. You definitely get a lot more publicity and respect, but you get a smaller cut. Even though the royalties are lower, I have found my e-publishing experiences quite rewarding. I have actually enjoyed both types of publishing and found success at both.