|Place of Birth||Macomb, Illinois|
BioThe place where the flesh and psyche meet – I think this is what I’ve always wanted to find. This is why I’ve been writing erotica for close to twenty years, possibly longer. I recorded my first, nascent fantasies in early diaries; I acted out erotic impulses in solitary rituals. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, when I made a commitment to being a writer, that I found a model to contain those creative desires.
I’ve always felt that the word “erotica” is an inadequate term to describe the process of translating sexual experience into words. “Erotica” sounds more like a quaint pastime, a private peccadillo, the literary version of bric-a-brac. It’s certainly not big enough to contain the desires of Walt Whitman, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Pauline Réage, and it’s way too confining for the voices of Patrick Califia, Susie Bright, Angela Carter. But the fact that erotica has been traditionally marginalised as a genre gave me a certain creative freedom when I started out as a writer. I began to write about the desires and acts that fascinated me, first inspired by the Marquis de Sade and Pauline Réage in graduate school. When the tropes of BDSM began to feel artificial, I moved on to characters and scenarios that felt more real and immediate to me. Eventually I realised that what I was trying to do with erotic short stories – bringing fictional characters to the point where flesh and psyche meet – was the same place I’d tried to reach as a child, through moments when sensual pleasure became so acute that my sensory experience was transformed into something that a mystic might call “ecstasy”. In those rare, joyous moments, the union, or reunion, of matter and spirit seemed complete.
My career as a published writer began on the internet. I posted my first efforts at erotic fiction on the internet in the early 1990s, on forums like alt.sex.stories and rec.arts.erotica. Two of those short stories, “Dharma” and “Snakefruit,” were later published in print, and they remain among my favourites. I went on to publish fiction on various web journals, such as CleanSheets and Scarlet Letters, and these were later anthologised. In 2001 my first erotic novel, Hard Blue Midnight, was published as part of Virgin Books’ Black Lace line. I’ve since written three more erotica titles for Black Lace, and four romantica titles for Virgin’s Cheek line.
I’ve led a number of different lives while trying to support myself financially. I’ve worked in publishing, in software engineering, and most recently, in the medical field. I suppose that if there’s any thread connecting these careers with my writing, it’s a love of language and imagery combined with a fascination with the human body. Maybe the place I’ve really been trying to reach would be more accurately described as the meeting point of flesh, psyche, and language, the point where sensual experience, erotic imagery and words combine to transcend the ordinary. I’ve always believed that this place is accessible to all persons at all phases of life or states of health, and conventional ideals of physical beauty and sex appeal have never held much interest for me. I’m much more attracted to the quirks, idiosyncrasies, flaws and failures that make sexuality a real part of daily life, while offering a vehicle to access the sublime.
Contributions to SomethingDark
short fiction: “Into the Squat by Anne Tourney”
nonfiction: “Beautiful failures: why I write fetish fiction”
short fiction: “Stepsister”
interview: “Anne Tourney: SDk interviews one of America’s most evocative writers of dark erotica”
2003–08 Virgin Books commissions for the writing of erotic novels and novellas (Black Lace, and Cheek imprints).
2007 Erotica Author Panel, Virgin Books. Romance Writers of America: Dallas, Texas.
Education & Training
2005 BSci (Summa cum laude), Nursing: Regis University, Denver, Colorado.
1988 BA (Summa cum laude), French Literature: University of California, Santa Barbara.