Time for something I haven't done before...I am interviewing the author of an erotic novel. I am pleased to introduce Drake Collins and his novel HARDSHIP TROOPERS.
1. How did you become interested in writing?
I've been writing since I was very young. I was always interested in fiction in all mediums, from film, to animation, to comic books, to video games and books. I started writing my own stories in grade school. I read comics at an early age which boosted my vocabulary skills and gave me an urge to create my own worlds and characters, which I've done ever since.
2. Tell us about your novel.
Hardship Troopers is the story of a young human male named Cam who lives several centuries in the future. Cam works as an office manager and corporate liaison aboard a space station orbiting an Earth-like planet dozens of light-years from the human home world. After one of his co-workers get a promotion and is transferred out, a new hire comes aboard. She's a young human female named Maximillia just recently released from a correctional facility on a nearby planet. Cam is congenial and personable whereas Maximillia is brash, but undeniably effective at her job. He finds her fascinating and disturbingly alluring. Their seemingly improbable chemistry builds into an unlikely romance.
3. Why did you choose to write an erotic novel?
I was actually motivated to write an erotic novel after playing through a video game. The game was a science fiction role-playing game and gave you the opportunity to spark a romance with a non-player character, which I did. I imagined a drawn-out romance under circumstances and in environments similar to the game and decided to embark upon an adventure to write a story!
I really wanted to explore the intricacies of intimate relationships, not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically. But I also wanted to do all of this in front of the backdrop of a unique science fiction universe. I wanted to delve into how sexual relations might work between alien species and how the existence of aliens could potentially exponentially complicate sexual relationships.
In the end, though, it did narrow down to a simple story about a slightly timid, but loving and kind-hearted fellow whose heart is captured by an icy goddess. They end up learning from one another, growing as human beings and becoming closer, both physically and emotionally.
4. The cover is great! Who did the artwork?
The original photography was done by a Russian artist who went under a pen name that I unfortunately can't recall. After an exhaustive search to find a stock photo that I could use as the basis for my cover, I found the gallery of a talented photographer who lives in St. Petersburg, if I remember correctly. We spoke on and off for over a week about my project and she was happy to lend her photo to my work. I offered to compensate her for the license but, surprisingly, she turned down my offer, stating she was just happy that someone liked the photo.
5. What have you learned from becoming a published author?
I've learned that the book-buying public are fickle. I really did pour my heart and soul into the book and spent over a year writing it but the initial release was tepid at best and barely found an audience. I've written subsequent short stories that are fictional, but realistic in nature, which have sold far better, but were lazily written by my own admission. I think that erotic novel readers are more interested in action than ideas and Hardship Troopers was a hearty mix of science fiction concepts and torrid smut, which may have turned some off."