Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Dying in Pleasure by Lady Ristretto + Interview

Dying in Pleasure
by Lady Ristretto

Genre: Paranormal/Historical Erotica

Publisher: Lady Ristretto

Number of pages: 385

Cover Artist: Ebooks Covers Design

Lucia, the daughter of the richest family in Pompeii, disappears one night. The mystery goes unsolved and life moves on. The lives of Pompeii's citizens intertwine: Ibis, a prostitute running the whorehouse owned by the Aedile, a city official, gets murdered by his wife Lucy. Lucy falls in love with Narcissus, the most treasured gladiator in Pompeii. The Aedile's daughter, Julia, marries Rust, the man suspected to have murdered Lucia. Maro, Lucia's slave, holds the families together and eventually discovers Lucia when she reappears in Pompeii twenty years later, and as a witch.

The events in Pompeii converged and lead to its ultimate, inevitable destruction. Only Lucia can help the city and save lives. In a ceremony requiring possession by a god, murder, and necromancy, Lucia discovers what is going to happen. But not everyone manages to get away.

Dying in Pleasure brings to life the long dead city of Pompeii, showing its citizens as vibrant, eccentric pleasure seekers. History, pain, violence and ritual blend in a pansexual orgy that is both exciting and extreme from beginning to end.

Find it on Goodreads
Available for Nook and Kindle

Lady Ristretto spent the beginning of her career writing under her real name and as a playwright. She has a BA in English from UCLA and an MFA in playwriting from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her plays were produced in Illinois and Texas, and her most popular work, Wonderland in Alice: The Uncertainty Principle was produced in New York off off off Broadway.

Her first book, Dying in Pleasure, had been a full length play that was rejected as her thesis play: the professors on her committee felt it was too misogynistic and violent for undergraduates to stage. Always stubborn and obsessed, Lady Ristretto spent years rewriting the play into a novel and has recently published it as an ebook on Amazon and Nook. Lady has recently become obsessed with cricket and deeply wishes America would form a formidable team which is worthy to compete in the World Cup. 

Q & A with Lady Ristretto

1. Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
I think my main characters are all desperate, lonely people who are afraid of expressing their needs. But then again, who wouldn't be afraid to express such things?

Lucia Holconia Polla is the main character, in my opinion. She's a witch, ugly, powerful, charismatic, selfish, cruel, and in a sadomasochistic relationship with her goddess. Her way of dealing with a teenage break up was to run away from home. I don't think she ever really developed emotionally beyond her teenage years. To feel powerful she commits horrifying acts and then experiences incredible shame. It's a vicious cycle.

I could also argue that it's the aedile, because of his presence over the entire novel, but Lucia's actions prior to the novel opening and then at its end effect everyone.

An aedile is an elected official in ancient Rome who was in charge of all entertainment. My novel takes place in ancient Pompeii in the years before the eruption of Vesuvius. There was a major earthquake before the eruption which caused incredible damage to the town. The aedile becomes obsessed with helping Pompeii rebuild, both physically and psychologically. At times the welfare of his children comes second to that of Pompeii.

The coupling of pleasure and trauma or pleasure and depression is common among all the main characters. They know no other way to medicate themselves and deal with what they've experienced.

2. Describe your ideal writing spot.
This is going to sound cliché, but it's a Starbucks that has a view of the ocean or a harbor. Twenty years ago, I'd have a triple grande mocha and a baguette with butter. I'd set up at a table and hand write my books or plays in spiral notebooks. The buzz from the caffeine focused me and the water gave me serenity. It became a ritual I'd do almost daily and it kept me productive.

3. Who designed the covers for your book and what was that process like for you as the author?

David Prendergast at Ebooks Covers Design. The process was fantastic. I gave David as much artistic freedom as he wished. I know nothing about design and he's wonderful with it. He gave me mock-ups and I gave feedback and it was done very quickly. I have no reason not to use him again in the future.

To go through this process as an author is, of course, delightful. Having a visual representation created of your work is thrilling and satisfying. I've had posters made of plays of mine for production, and of course have experienced having my work produced. I'm afraid it's become common for me, and it's not that big of a deal to me. But I still feel a little thrill.

4. What is the best advice you have been given?
Don't be afraid. I've read A LOT of work by beginning writers and I think I could summarize their struggles and weaknesses with this idea. They have the skills to write, but they're afraid of writing about certain things. They're afraid of digging deeply and writing about the things that make them uncomfortable or hurt. It's only when we get to that level, when we are intimidated and turn away, is when we start to write stories which are deeply human and authentic. That's the powerful work we all want to create. This happens to me all the time. I've been writing seriously for over twenty five years and there are still things I don't want to write about because I'm afraid. But the things I have faced become easier to face.

5. How do you keep busy when you're not writing?
I surf Reddit, Facebook and Twitter. I read articles from the Guardian and the New York Times. I play with magnetic poetry and color. Above all, and most importantly, I watch cricket. I'm obsessed with cricket. South Africa is my team. (And I'm American, by the way.)

6. If you could have any superhuman ability, what would you choose and why?

Telekinesis. I have dreams that I can move objects and it always makes me happy. In the dreams I always feel special and powerful (but all superhuman powers make us feel this way in dreams). I have a special relationship with objects---I tend to fetishize certain things. I have lots of stuffed animals and figures. I'm writing a book about Medusa so I have a Medusa figure that sits on my table and stares at me as I work. I think telekinesis may be a way of elaborating and expanding the relationship I have with objects.

7. Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
At this moment in my life, I prefer ebooks. I own about forty boxes of books and they're all in storage. I have no permanent home, so I can't set them up as I have all of my life. I can't even buy books because they're too heavy and take up too much room in a suitcase. I have a Nook and have learned how to read using it. I'm quite fond of it now. It seems almost magical to me to store so many books in it. Like I'm cheating the laws of nature in some way.

8. What book are you reading now?
Isabelle Arden's Alpha and Omega: Gay Werewolf Shifter Romance. I've read three of her previous books and she's wonderfully talented. I'm extremely impressed with her ability to structure a story, create full characters, and write amazingly detailed and passionate sex scenes. Her imagination is expansive and rich and fun. She inspires me and motivates me to be as good a writer as her.

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