I WROTE A PORNO
OSCAR DOWN UNDER IS A SEMIAUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SEX-PLOSION OF ANTIPODEAN PASSION. AUTHOR, JACK LADD TELLS DNA ABOUT THE CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF WRITING WITH A DIRTY MIND!
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.
JACK LADD: “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.”