Ottawa’s very own vampire erotica novelist, Patricia McCarthy, has been shaking things up in the literary community with her steamy Crimson series.
McCarthy recently sat down with Xtra’s Kandace Blaker to speak about her new book, sexuality and the creative process.
Xtra: Your writing genre is quite unique; what inspired you to write these kinds of novels?
Patricia McCarthy: Vampires chose me. I was writing erotic poetry and short stories when along came a magazine editor based in Roswell, Georgia. He asked if I would be interested in writing vampire stories. I took the leap; he bought my stories and I discovered that writing fang fiction was highly stimulating. When the first novel came into existence, I realized the characters had more to offer. Novel two followed, then three, four and now five.
What did your friends/family think about your work in the beginning?
Some family members wondered about me in the beginning. I’m grateful that my brother has always been a staunch supporter, as have my dear friends, some of whom are now part of the Crimson vampire saga. You know what they say: be careful about having a writer for a friend — you might end up as their next character.
What has been the most challenging aspect of writing the Crimson series?
The Crimson series has a life of its own; the characters are eccentric, conflicted, sexual, at times amoral. Readers can live vicariously through them, as it should be. Like all artists, the most challenging element of writing is working to support my craft, when I would much rather devote my time exclusively to writing.
How does the fifth novel differ from others in the series?
Novel five, The Crimson Crimes: A Vampire Revenge, is decidedly a little dark. There is still plenty of humour, though, but I needed to write a different novel from the previous four. The one constant in the series is the city of Ottawa; each novel highlights various familiar locations. In novel five I place particular emphasis on the Rideau Canal.
What is your creative process?
I begin a new novel with plan, but when I actually sit down to write, the good ol’ organic process rears its head. Before I know it, the characters take me on a journey and I abandon my carefully constructed plot. Writers must learn flexibility and patience. Characters, however, have the luxury of being unruly, rude and unforgiving.
Why is it important for you to write?
The act of creating fuels my brain. Every writer expresses themselves differently when they write. I let it all hang out. For me, fiction is all about escapism — a fantasy, by nature, should be fantastic.
What has been the most rewarding part of your writing career thus far?
I am blessed. The rewards keep coming. Last summer, one client declared, ‘I bought one of your novels and it was the most shocking thing I’ve ever read,’ before buying the next in the series. For every writer, connecting with readers is immensely satisfying.
Were you ever insecure about your own sexuality?
Never. Everyone fantasizes. If you are honest with yourself, your fantasies are a reflection of your sexuality. I say embrace the inner kinky and give your imagination permission to have a mind of its own. Fiction can take you on that wild ride.
Your novels have the tendency to make people blush; what would you say to those of us who are shy about this kind of literature?
Believe it or not, I suffered from shyness as a young girl. Life cured me of that. Vampire fiction will cure anyone of shyness. I recommend to my readers, pour yourself some liberation, kick up your feet and forget your troubles — they’ll still be there tomorrow.