Interview by Rita Arens
BlogHer: You were a Russian linguist for U.S. Army Military Intelligence. That sounds fascinating, but also very different from writing erotic fiction. How did you switch from that career to one in writing?
Sylvia Day: I’ve wanted to be a romance author since I was twelve years old, so I really view my time as a Russian linguist as a detour that adds flavor to my books.
BlogHer: You’ve found an extraordinary amount of success with your Crossfire series, but you’ve been publishing books since 2005. Why do you think erotic fiction has experienced a sudden surge in popularity?
Sylvia Day: Erotic fiction has been popular for a long time, but recent media attention has put it in the spotlight. Journalists have covered the topic so much over the last several months that it’s spurred the question: “What’s everyone talking about?” We’ve seen surges like this in the past with erotic fiction, as recently as 2006-07.
BlogHer: What advice would you offer to writers who are considering writing erotic fiction?
Sylvia Day: Don’t ever forget that the most important aspect of erotic fiction is the reader’s emotional connection to the characters. If a reader wants one-handed reading, they’ll read porn, which is very different from erotic fiction. Tab A into Slot B sex scenes are repetitive and leave the reader disengaged. We need to care about the characters in order to care about them having sex.
BlogHer: You’ve published books using pseudonyms in the past. I know it not an uncommon practice when people write in different genres. Given the amount of success you’ve received with the Crossfire series, would you publish with a pseudonym in the future?
Sylvia Day: I use pseudonyms to let my longtime readers know that a book is different in some way from my signature style, that way they go into the read without the usual expectations. For example, I use “S. J. Day” on novels that don’t fall neatly into the romance genre, so readers know that the book may have less romance than my usual books or end without a Happily Ever After. So, yes, if I write future books that fit the above examples, I’ll use a pseudonym to convey that difference.
BlogHer: On your website you discuss the difference between porn, erotica, erotic romance and sexy romance. We’ve been discussing these various labels as it seems in publishing there are very definite rules about what is what. Can you elaborate on why these labels are important for our readers who are just discovering they enjoy romance novels?
Sylvia Day: It’s important for the same reason I use pseudonyms -— so readers aren’t disappointed with a read because they were expecting something else. Still, it’s important for readers to do their homework first and to understand that erotic romance is a very particular type of romance novel unlike erotic literature or even sexy romance.
BlogHer: You’ve won an impressive amount of awards for your writing. Which one meant the most?
Sylvia Day: Fellow authors decide some awards, readers decide others, and booksellers and librarians judge award panels as well. They’re all wonderful recognition and I’m grateful for each one.
BlogHer: You’ve written so much in such a relatively short amount of time. Do you find it difficult to keep so many storylines straight? Do you use any tools to do so?
Sylvia Day: If there’s a large gap between books in a series, I may have to go back and reread the first installments. I have a series bible for some of my more complicated paranormal worlds, but I don’t have one for all my series. I really just view myself as a narrator rather than a creator. The characters tell me what to write and I try to type fast enough!
BlogHer: Do you like Eva or Gideon better, in your heart of hearts?
Sylvia Day: Probably Eva. She’s someone I’d love to have as a friend (although I’d totally envy her for having Gideon!). Gideon shines because of her and her effect on him. He wouldn’t be the man we all love if he didn’t have her.
Sylvia June Day is an American writer. She also writes under the pseudonyms S.J. Day and Livia Dare.
Day is the author of the internationally bestselling erotic new adult Crossfire series, which has four million English-language copies in print and international rights licensed in thirty-four territories as of October 2012. The first book in the series, Bared to You, was declared Penguin UK’s “fastest selling paperback for a decade” and Penguin Group (USA) reports that Bared to You is Berkley’s biggest breakout book of 2012.
The digital edition of Reflected in You, the second book in the series, released on October 2, 2012 and sold 286,000 digital copies in the United States its first week of sales.Reflected in You debuted on The New York Times bestseller list at #1 on both the ebook fiction list and the combined print/ebook fiction list. In the United Kingdom, Reflected in You had digital pre-orders of 75,000, making it Penguin UK’s “most successful ever e-book in terms of weekly sales.” The paperback edition of Reflected in You released in the United States on October 23, 2012 with a 630,000 initial print run and sold 100,000 paperback copies in the first week alone. In the United Kingdom, the paperback edition of Reflected in You debuted at #1 on the bestseller lists “with one of the biggest first-week sales from a novel since official sales records began.”
In December 2012, Amazon.com announced that Bared to You was #4 on the e-tailer’s list of top 10 best-selling books of 2012 overall (print and Kindle combined), Apple announced that Bared to You was #5 on iTunes’ Top Ten Books of the Year,and Nielsen announced that Bared to You was #7 on Bookscan’s Top 10 Print Book Sales of 2012 – Adult Fiction.