You caught us. We’re big nerds about the writing/publishing process, or How It Really Gets Made: Book Edition, so when we heard Begging For It was going to be an Erotica anthology written for all kinds of women, by women, we had to get just a touch serious. It’s a collection that’s immediately dear to our hearts and we’re so lucky to get a brief peek into the mind of its editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel. So we probed a little about the editing process along with our usual never-ending grill about Romance favorites and snack choices (because we’re still us). Love the glimpse from our Q&A? Lucky you, Begging For It is out right now!
What’s the most exciting part of putting together an Erotic Romance collection (besides the obvious)?
I always look for the sweet spot in terms of variety so my readers remain interested. I want them to find the book something greater than the sum of its parts, where the stories do somewhat speak to each other in some way without repeating scenarios.
What’s the most difficult part?
It’s always tough to have to turn down stories, but I was really impressed with how the authors I did include tackled the concept of “fantasy.” That was the main theme but they took it and ran with it, so I think the final book has sexual fantasies readers have likely considered before, or possibly shared, and plenty readers haven’t.
Were there stories/authors that you found yourself gravitating toward?
I really loved “Apple Thighs” by Jade A. Waters. It touches on body image, something that’s such a concern for so many women, including myself, but made it both empowering and erotic with some exhibitionism thrown in. She wrote about it here and explained that it’s partly based on her own body image issues around having “apple thighs.”
What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?
I love this indie lesbian movie Chutney Popcorn, and whether it’s officially a romance or not, I am a sucker for Desperately Seeking Susan and will always watch that any chance I get.
Describe your favorite scene from each one (you can include a Youtube clip if you want as well).
There’s an indie movie called The Fluffer I adore. I haven’t seen it in a while, but basically a straight guy is having sex with men as a “gay for pay” porn star, and the guy who is crushed out on him goes and sees the gay for pay guy’s girlfriend stripping. He gets a lap dance, even though he’s not into women, and asks her to describe her fantasy guy. As she does, they are both getting hot and bothered over the same scene. There are so many layers of sex appeal and fantasy and desire to that scene and it’s one I’ve thought of often.
Did you have any of these scenes in mind when writing scenes from your latest release?
They didn’t consciously factor into my editing choices but I did look for stories that were similarly layered, where the fantasy scenario might seem like it was going in one direction and then changed course and became even hotter.
If you could only read five books for the rest of your life, what five books would they be, and why?
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Herotica edited by Susie Bright
FIRST ROMANCE (AKA My First Time):
What was the first romance novel you read?
One of Danielle Steel’s novels. I’m not sure which one, but I definitely remember reading The Promise, which was also a movie.
What do you remember about it?
I remember that, as with many of her novels, I cried. I’m a sucker for a book that makes me cry, whether they are happy or sad tears.
What did you like most about it?
It immediately engrossed me and made me feel part of the characters’ lives.
Have you ever reread it? If you did, how do you feel about it now?
I haven’t reread it but I should.
Sunrise or sunset?
Angst or humor?
Tea or coffee?
Wine or beer?
I don’t drink alcohol so I’ll say seltzer.
Cake or pie?
Scruff, beard, or clean-shaven?
Jeans or a suit?
Car or motorcycle?
About Begging For It:
What would you give – or give up – to fulfill your most cherished sex fantasy? In this Cleis Press collection, erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel brings us femme fatales and shy women, women on a mission and women opening up to new worlds of discovery: women who know what they want and are not afraid to beg for it! Let yourself go with these twenty-one tantalizing tales of tortuous longing and release.
Rachel Kramer Bussel regularly contributes to Refinery 29, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan, and hosts readings around the country. A prolific erotica editor, as well as a much-in-demand sex educator, her titles include Come Agaon: Sex Toy Erotica, Spanked, He’s on Top, She’s on Top, Passion and Do Not Disturb. She lives in New Jersey.
Rachel can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Instagram, and RachelKramerBussel.com.