As a reader, I love to get to know the person behind the story. As an author, there’s nothing more I like to do than reach out and get to know my readers. In this posting, you’ll get to know an author by the name of Ily Goyanes. I had the privilege of sharing emails (as it is often impossible to find a quiet moment to actually speak to anyone anymore, thanks to the terrible twos, plus being in two different time zones doesn’t exactly help matters). She was so gracious to take my list of questions and answer them for me, which is no small feat as Ms. Goyanes is a very busy woman.
How do you come up with your ideas?
That’s a hard question for me to answer, because inspiration comes to me in many forms. Sometimes a fellow editor is seeking submissions for an anthology and I will mull the concept over for a minute and a plot and characters just take shape in my mind. Sometimes I’ll hear, read, or see something that immediately sparks either a character or a plot and the rest just blooms from there.
How do you execute them in such a way that they take on lives of their own?
It’s a subconscious thing. Once I start typing, the characters don’t need any help from me. I don’t ‘think’ during ninety percent of my writing. Here and there I’ll get stuck or the characters want to take a nap or something, and that’s when my consciousness takes over and says, ‘Hey, what? What’s going on? Somebody need me?’
Do your characters ever take over your stories? If they do, how do you handle that?
Yes, they do, and I just let them. They speak and plot much better than I do.
How do you decide which ideas you want to go with?
I usually go with my gut. When an idea strikes me, I either fall in love with it or shrug. When I’m smitten I go with it.
Has there ever been a time in your writing career that you ever wanted to give up and why/why not? What made you overcome your ‘self-doubt’?
Hmmm. I’d say the only times I’ve considered chucking it, have been during really bleak financial times. I’m very fortunate in that I am able to make a living from writing, but that hasn’t always been the case – and even still – sometimes it can get very dry which makes the day to day difficult. I’ve held so many jobs you wouldn’t believe. It’s almost like I can’t function or thrive unless I’m writing. And this is coming from someone who made almost 60k a year in her twenties. I just can’t thrive intellectually and emotionally. It’s like I’m stunted if I’m in an office. So, once in a while, I think it would be nice to making a fat, steady paycheck again. But then I remember that no amount of money in the world is worth putting up with meaningless chit chat.
What was one character that you felt so emotionally attached to that you hated ‘hurting’ and why? How were you able to overcome that (if you were)?
The only characters I’ve hated hurting have been in real life.
You obviously enjoy what you do. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read, read, and then read some more. As an editor and publisher, one thing I’ve noticed, is how many ‘writers’ are out there, submitting work, and they don’t know how to use punctuation or spell check. There is no excuse for that. You can pick up a book and check out how dialogue is written. See? The quotation mark goes after the period, not before. Reading good lit elevates your writing ability. Not just the mechanics, but overall. Plain and simple.
If you couldn’t write another story (be a writer), what would you do with your life?
Funny, I was talking to a friend recently, and mentioned that the only job I miss is tending bar. I bartended at Churchill’s Pub, which is a gritty, dive bar — the first place Marilyn Manson ever played, I believe. It’s the CGBG of Miami and I loved tending bar there. It was a blast and rarely felt like work. If work feels like work, it’s time to do something else. I’d either bartend or become a professional pool player.
What kind of rituals do you use to write (ie, a special pen, paper, lighting, drink)?
I prefer to write in my home office with the door locked and the lights on. I write on a computer, can’t do pen and paper anymore. Technology has both spoiled and enslaved me.
Do you listen to music while you’re writing, and if so, what kind of music do you listen to?
The short answer is no, I don’t write with music on. I react physically to music, so when it’s playing, I get so into it that I’m pulled out of my writing. Occasionally, I’ll play something instrumental, preferably Monk or Coltrane, and that’ll work for thirty minutes or so before I start to get distracted. I hear about all these writers who write while listening to music and I wonder how they do it.
Which one of your characters to date do you relate to most and why?
The main character in “Come to Me” which appeared in Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 is most like me now. She is actually based on me (the entire story is based on a real experience) so her outlook, her sense of humor, all very much me. Thomas, a bisexual teen in my story “His & Hers” reminds me of myself as a teen. He’s very insolent, uses his intellect for evil instead of good, and gets it on with both men and women as much as he can. He’s a bit of a slut.
What made you choose the genre(s) you write?
I’d say I chose mystery, horror, and contemporary fiction because of my love for them. I was reading Dean Koontz, Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, and Clive Barker at eleven, twelve years old. Erotica chose me. I didn’t get into reading it until my late teens, maybe even early twenties, but it was never an obsessive thing — I think mainly because the quality of the writing wasn’t what is now. After years of trying to be a normal person with a normal job, I decided to get back into writing professionally and that usually means taking a low or no-paying job to build your portfolio, and I applied to be a national lgbt erotica columnist. I started reading all this wonderful stuff and meeting all these really talented authors and they inspired me. Before that my only erotica story had been a short I wrote for a writer’s group a friend and I had put together.
What inspires you?
It can be anything really. Sometimes a lyric in a song, a news story, a kid, a conversation.
What new things are you working on?
I’m working on a mystery novel based on a brother and sister team and I also have a few erotica anthologies in the works. I launched a small press this year, Ampersand Editions, which is keeping me almost too busy to write though, honestly.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you want to be a writer, study the craft. I see a lot of writers submitting stuff when they’re not ready. Go over your work a million times, take a week off, and then go over it a million more. If you can, hire a professional to proof your work and pay attention to the corrections so that you learn from your mistakes.
If you’re a reader, thank you. We couldn’t do it without you.
Author Bio: ILY GOYANES is a journalist, food blogger, culture critic, publisher, and a widely published erotic fiction writer. She writes the viral food column “Fuming Foodie” for the Miami New Times (Village Voice Media) and is editor-in-chief of Arketipo187 Magazine, a digital publication that covers news, culture, and lifestyle. You can sample her writing in Best Lesbian Erotica 2012, Lesbian Cops: Erotic Investigations, Spankalicious: Erotic Adventures in Spanking, Power Plays, and Girls Who Score: Hot Lesbian Erotica. Follow Ily on Twitter @realily and follow her publishing house @ampersanded.
I really enjoyed reading Ms. Goyanes’ responses to my questions, and am eagerly awaiting her August release of Girls Who Score (available for pre-order right now). I thank her for taking the time to answer them so graciously. If you have questions you’d like to ask an author, or if you’re an author that would want to be interviewed, please contact Konflickted@yahoo.com.