DNA Magazine - - CONTENT -

Os­car Down Un­der is a semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal sex-plo­sion of An­tipodean pas­sions. Au­thor, Jack Ladd tells DNA about writ­ing with a dirty mind!

DNA: Briefly describe the sce­nario in your book, Os­car Down Un­der: Part One.

Jack Ladd: In a nut­shell, Os­car Down Un­der is the first in my se­ries of erotic tales fol­low­ing a hot but jaded party boy called Os­car as he be­comes a bet­ter per­son by mak­ing mis­takes and learn­ing from them. Set in Syd­ney, it’s pretty damn steamy and, while there are ups and downs, twists and turns, love even­tu­ally pre­vails.

The book seems semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal… Are the en­coun­ters de­scribed based on real life ex­pe­ri­ences or imag­ined ones?

All the sex in Os­car Down Un­der is based on real life ex­pe­ri­ences, which is one of the rea­sons I be­gan writ­ing erot­ica. The big­gest is­sue I found read­ing a lot of the books out there is that too many writ­ers don’t seem to – or phys­i­cally can’t have done – the things they’re de­scrib­ing. For ex­am­ple, I have noth­ing against shifter or sci-fi erot­ica – what­ever floats your boat – but I want my read­ers to feel the scratch of a man’s beard or taste and smell the sweet salti­ness of his body, like I did. How­ever, this isn’t to say Os­car Down Un­der is an ex­act ac­count of my life: it’s fic­tion, af­ter all. But, the sex scenes are one-hun­dred-per­cent gen­uine. Syd­ney read­ers will recog­nise the lo­ca­tions; if they read be­tween the lines is there any chance they may also recog­nise some of the char­ac­ters? Good ques­tion. My friends who’ve known me since I first moved to Syd­ney from the UK might recog­nise one or two of the char­ac­ters but, on the whole, (pun in­tended), it’s too early in the se­ries for more ob­vi­ous Syd­ney per­son­al­i­ties to shine through. That’s not to say they won’t, of course. DNA pool party, per­haps?

What do you call this genre of writ­ing? Erot­ica, sex fic­tion, pornog­ra­phy, one-handed read­ing? A lot of the blogs and sites on LGBTI ro­mance and erot­ica like Queero­mance Ink, Nifty and Ro­mance Re­views, might clas­sify my style as con­tem­po­rary, which is a story based in re­al­ity that doesn’t have

The chal­lenge is keep­ing the de­scrip­tions ex­cit­ing with­out re­peat­ing the words cock, cum, load or arse over and over.

a mag­i­cal or su­per­nat­u­ral el­e­ment to it. Per­son­ally, I like to call it erotic lit­er­a­ture, as I as­pire to write sto­ries that have erotic el­e­ments but are pre­dom­i­nantly a (hope­fully) de­cent read. Now I’m go­ing to call it noth­ing but one-handed read­ing, though. That’s ge­nius.

As a lit­er­ary genre, it would be hard to adapt Os­car to TV or film, wouldn’t it?

To be hon­est, at this stage, I would be in­clined to agree as his first tale is set over just a few days. But ask me again when books three and four are out. The ad­ven­tures Os­car’s go­ing to em­bark on as he ex­plores and grows and learns should make ex­cel­lent view­ing. Es­pe­cially if the aim is to show­case Syd­ney’s weird­est, most won­der­ful and sex­i­est sights and scenes.

What was the big­gest chal­lenge in writ­ing in this style?

By far the big­gest chal­lenge was try­ing to keep the de­scrip­tions ex­cit­ing with­out re­peat­ing the word cock or cum or load or arse over and over. That and try­ing to stay fo­cused on a par­tic­u­larly hot scene with­out need­ing to wank my­self into a fury.

Is that how you know when the writ­ing is work­ing? Is it a case of “if it makes me hard I must be do­ing some­thing right”?

One of the trick­i­est as­pects about writ­ing erot­ica is that what turns me on might not get the slight­est rise out of the next guy: we all have dif­fer­ent tastes. But, I would be ly­ing if I said a rag­ing boner wasn’t what I was go­ing for. And, for­tu­nately, bas­ing my sex scenes on per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence al­lows me to pick and choose my favourite, most cock­hard­en­ing mem­o­ries.

Writ­ers of­ten ask their friends to test read their works in progress – who did you show Os­car to along the way?

Any­one who was re­motely in­ter­ested. Se­ri­ously. I be­lieve that, as a writer, one of the most im­por­tant as­pects of cre­at­ing any­thing is open and hon­est feed­back so I can de­velop my style and con­tinue to learn. Testers in­cluded writ­ing and pub­lish­ing friends all the way to my mum (who proudly asked to keep my first draft man­u­script). At the end of the day, I’m not ashamed or em­bar­rassed about what I write, and it’s meant to be read.

Os­car a slow burner un­til chap­ter six, where the ac­tion gets un­be­liev­ably hot… then there’s a twist! How do you get the porn-to-plot ra­tio right? Ev­ery writer is dif­fer­ent but I have three rules. The first, like real life, is don’t give ev­ery­thing away at once: you need the reader to want more. Flirt a lit­tle. Al­lude. The se­cond, when you are ex­plicit, smother it in de­scrip­tion. Make sure the scene is a sen­sory jour­ney so it’s im­printed on the reader’s mind. And, fi­nally, it can’t all be about sex. Too much fo­cus on get­ting sweaty takes the ex­cite­ment and mys­tery out of it. Your char­ac­ters are hu­man af­ter all, not ma­chines.

There’s a hi­lar­i­ous pod­cast called My Dad Wrote A Porno where a guy and his friends read an em­bar­rass­ingly bad porn story aloud. You must be aware that de­scrib­ing a hot sex scene could go hor­ri­ble wrong!

Very aware! There’s noth­ing like an awk­ward sex scene to strip a story of cred­i­bil­ity. Say­ing that, I couldn’t be more pleased about the suc­cess of My Dad Wrote A Porno. It might just in­spire peo­ple to go out and look for some­thing with a lit­tle more sub­stance.

You’re sell­ing the book dig­i­tally; do you think there’s a mar­ket for it in hard­back?

Yes, I reckon there’s a mar­ket for hard­back: peo­ple will al­ways love hav­ing some­thing thick and real they can hold in their hands. This is why my cover, de­signed by Thomas Fethers, is a cock­a­too wing rather than the usual ripped male mod­els. If I go to print my read­ers could po­ten­tially take Os­car any­where.

What are the ad­van­tages of sell­ing di­rect to read­ers through dig­i­tal?

To­day, I think, dig­i­tal is the first route any writer should try as you can build a more di­rect re­la­tion­ship with your read­ers and still go on to ap­proach tra­di­tional pub­lish­ers if self-pub­lish­ing isn’t for you.

Are you com­mit­ted to erotic fic­tion in the near fu­ture while you tell Os­car’s dirty tales? Ab­so­lutely. This is the first part in, hope­fully, a six- or seven-book se­ries fol­low­ing Os­car around Aus­tralia as he grows into the man we know he’s des­tined to be. I also have a pre­quel story out called Os­car, which fol­lows him at 18. I wrote that chap­ter by chap­ter ev­ery fort­night and had it pub­lished on­line to build a read­er­ship while I wrote Os­car Down Un­der #1. I’m cur­rently do­ing the same with a story called Os­car, Bach­e­lor Of Arts, set at uni­ver­sity, which I pub­lish ev­ery three weeks on my web­site as I write book two in the Down Un­der se­ries. Ba­si­cally, I write two books at a time to ap­pease my filthy mind!

Is Jack Ladd your real name?

Jack is, but Ladd isn’t. Sim­ply be­cause one day I may want to write in a dif­fer­ent genre and, while I have no qualms about be­ing an erotic au­thor, the sad truth is I can’t say the same about all po­ten­tial fu­ture em­ploy­ers or pub­lish­ers, es­pe­cially if one day I want to write a kid’s book, for ex­am­ple.

You don’t show your face ei­ther. Are you try­ing to dis­tance your per­sonal life from your pro­fes­sional?

You might think that’s true, as not show­ing my face and us­ing a pseu­do­nym con­tra­dicts my ap­par­ently unashamed at­ti­tude about be­ing an erotic writer, but I as­sure you it’s not. Erotic lit­er­a­ture is a fan­tasy that gives read­ers an es­cape so, I be­lieve, that if I bla­tantly iden­tify my­self [I take away] read­ers’ room to fan­ta­sise and they might not be as in­ter­ested. I’m for­tu­nate enough to have never been called ugly but it would be pig-headed to think I’m ev­ery­one’s cup of tea. Say­ing that, on my In­sta­gram and web­site, I do use pic­tures of my­self, I just hide my face.


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