VIP Interview Darren Michaels – Flipside Erotica!

I’d like to thank you for agreeing to this interview. I’m quite intrigued by your work. You’re an acclaimed erotic novelist having won an Independent Publisher Award in 2010, and you currently have two books to your series Flip Side Erotica. Now, in a world full of smut and erotic stories, your books are unique in the sense that you tell the same erotic story twice, once from the female perspective, and once from the male perspective. You get your inspiration for these stories from your own sexual adventures, as well as your own imagination, often concerning people you know, have met and detailing the wicked adventures that you’d like to have with them.

 

You’ve mentioned that you’d been writing erotic stories for some time before you decided to publish your book. Why did you start writing Erotica in the first place?

I always has a desire for a creative outlet, but I learned that I am a terrible artist even though my father excels at this sort of thing.  I did do some creative writing as far back as grade school but in a typical structured school environment I was not really given the right guidance at the right time.  It was something that I had to explore on my own at a later date in life instead of developing along the way early in life.

As the story goes, my first attempt at this stemmed from a bet with a former lover of mine.  We were very casual in our relationship, but the sexual chemistry was off the charts.  One night early in our pseudo-relationship she called me and asked what I was doing.  I was knee deep in the middle of nothing at the moment, and knew if she was calling me there was probably a specific reason and that I was going to like it.  She informed me she had recently gotten a romance novel that she wanted to read to me; I wasn’t terribly interested in a “Prince on white horse rescues Princess and makes love to her in a field of daisies kind of story”, but I figured there was sex in the near future so I went over to her place.

I was way off base; the story was not anything like I had imagined, it was a rough and hot sex scene.  It really was a turn on in general, but more so that she was reading it to me in that context.  The build-up, anticipation, and final act were well crafted and painted such a great picture it was downright artistic.  We tore each other apart after that, an amazing night of passionate sex fuelled by this one passage in this book.  Afterwards we were lying in bed together and I made some comment about how I would like to write stories like the one she had just read.  She laughed out loud at me; stating “you can’t just make stuff like this up, these people go to school to be writers.  You are kidding yourself.”  I took it as a challenge.   We made a bet (the details of which I have yet to reveal publicly) and I was given one week to write an erotic story.

I had never done anything like this, but I was determined to not only win the bet, but to become the artist I had always longed to be.  I sat down in front of my laptop and the words just flowed out of me; like a dam had broke.  I could barely type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.  It was a liberating and fulfilling experience in and of itself.  A week later I turned in my homework.

She read the story, which was about the two of us, without so much as a reaction throughout the pages.  I thought I had bombed.  Finally, she finished, and I was waiting uncomfortably for my C- grade.  However, when our eyes met it was clear I had hit my mark.  “Take off your clothes” was all she said to me…

From that moment on, I would write erotic stories.  I would share them with other women just to make sure I wasn’t being graded by a biased audience.  It was clear that women loved the idea that I could express myself in this manner, were very aroused at the prospect of having an experience similar to what they were reading.  I wasn’t some fictional character; I was the guy at the next cubicle over or who goes to the same gym as they do.  This in turn lead itself to more “adventures” and more material to write more stories, this cycle continued for nearly a decade.

Erotica From Both Perspectives
Erotic Flipside Fiction

You participated in an interview many years ago where you spoke about the difference between Erotica and Porn, where sensuality was mentioned, and you spoke about erotica being classier, and written with a broader audience, particularly women, in mind. With the mainstream uptake of books such as Fifty Shades of Grey – What are your personal thoughts on the differences between Erotica and Porn, and has your personal definitions changed over this time?

There are good and bad things about the story I am about to share.  It is my personal history, I don’t cast blame or believe this has had too many ill effects, but it not ideal for most people in most cases.  When I was 16, my parents went away for a long weekend, taking my sister with them.  It was my first weekend alone ever, and the warning I kept getting was “NO parties!”.  Little did they know what really was in store for that weekend.  For several years, my neighbour had always told me someday she was going to do me a huge favour.  As an awkward teenager I probably did nothing but giggle, not really knowing what she meant.  This was the weekend I would find out what that really meant.

I’ll spare the nitty gritty details, but suffice to say I spent a weekend going to school in the sexual realm.  She was a very patient and understanding of my lack of knowledge.  We talked, we experimented, she showed me exactly how to be an attentive lover by example.  I was very intimidated at the time, but I also knew that this was something that would have tremendous impact on my understanding of sex.  I remember her saying that every woman I am with in the future should write her a thank you note; I cannot disagree with that statement.  Far too many men learn about sex through porn and/or listening to other men bullshit and brag.  Neither is accurate or helpful.

 

What was the inspiration that led you to the idea – hey, I should share these stories I’ve written with the world?

It was a great creative outlet, and I wish it was as wholesome as that sounds, but I also found out it was a great way to have more sexual adventures.  It was as if I had cracked the code on how to turn on almost any woman I wanted to, if I presented the information appropriately.

 

Your books are based on the idea that they’re written from both a male and a female perspective at the same time, how do you go about writing a female perspective since you have a male body?

PiV intercourse might be seen as hard to describe and experience when you’re lacking that.I actually wrote the female perspective and then gave it to the woman who was involved in the story to edit for accuracy and proper representation of the experience.  On occasion I was off base, but for the most part the women who are comfortable enough with themselves to have a non-committed sex partner typically view the encounter in the same manner I did.

Podcast interview

What’s the creative process for writing a story from both perspectives, and what’s the requirements for the story being included in your book?

Originally the female perspective was a suggestion of someone who was reading my other stories; she said how cool it would be if you could hear the same story from both perspectives.  I gave it a shot, and apparently did a decent job with it.  I don’t consider the process much different than for the men’s side.

The main requirements for not too similar to any other story in the books; I want to not repeat the same process in simply a different setting.  I never went with anything too far from “mainstream” erotica; 50 Shades helped to expand that definition over the past few years.

 

When it comes to sex, many men are focused on their own pleasure. Reading, and surely through the process of writing, these stories it’s clear that that’s not the case for you. What are some of the challenges that you go through as you’re writing a female perspective, and how do you go about escaping the biasedness that might occur, if at all, as a result of the male ego towards creating pleasure for the women in your stories?

I think the same answer to the (two above) question posed earlier answers this as well.

 

Which is your favourite perspective to write from, and why?

I honestly do not have a preference; I would say the women’s perspective is more challenging, but I enjoy both equally.

 

What’s your go to comfort food?

No question, writing at Starbucks with a chai tea latte is a prerequisite.  Cheesy 70’s music in my headphones is a big help too

 

You state in one of your interviews that some of your stories are based on intimate encounters that you experienced a long time ago. How do you go about writing both perspectives in this situation?

I wrote both perspectives and then had the woman from the story edit her point of view for accuracy.  The book is a collection of 12 or 10 stories respectively from the first and second books, of which half of the stories are true and the other half are fabrications.  I never reveal which is which, partly adding to the overall mystery.

 

Between some of your first stories in erotica, to the ones that you write now, how would you say that you’ve changed?

I have grown as a writer, so I believe that the character development and the settings are better described.  Using the artist analogy again, my palate of descriptive adjectives and thoughts have expanded over the years of doing this.  Even though book 1 won the IPPY award, I think the stories in book2 are better

 

I have to ask, in many of the stories that you write, the male comes across as sensual, romantic, and intuitive. Is this you in real life as well, or have you creatively embellished just a little?

I like to think I portrayed myself as accurately as possible in the stories.  I am sure that is a biased answer however.  J

What would you like people to get out of reading your stories?

One of the things I hope is an obvious takeaway is that the women in the stories are very empowered and in control of their sexuality.  Some much opportunity is missed simply out of the fear of rejection or looking foolish, but there is so much to gain by taking a chance.  Also, I hope that it is clear that I do not use women for sex and toss them aside, that a friends with benefits relationship can work if both parties are adult and realistic about it.  Having the tough conversations in advance is so much better than dealing with the aftermath of two misaligned people.

 

Are there any plans to keep on writing, and what’s next for you?

I am working on a third book, but it is a little different slant.  I am not currently writing it in the Flipside fashion; it is from my perspective but I am going to explore the swinger/open relationship lifestyle.  In the book, I am the one with the insecurity issues with this arrangement, not the woman.  It has been an interesting exploration so far.

 

Final thoughts – what would your advice be for people wanting to write erotica?

Do it…just start writing and learn as you go.  Don’t write the book from start to finish; get started writing and organize it later.  Be creative first, and then later on worry about having it make linear sense.

 

I think this just about covers everything that we were looking at. I’d like to thank you for your time on this. I’m looking forward to hearing your answers on this, as I’m really interested in some of your perspectives on your writing. Thanks again!

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Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

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