Eeva Interviews Erotica Author and Illustrator Fionna Guillaume

Today on Authors to Watch, I have the pleasure of chatting with one of the best Indie writers out there, Fionna Guillaume. That's her on the pic, and I'm the devil who asked for the image, promising to retouch and use only her silhouette.

I've had her book An Amazon's Equal on my TBR for a while before I read it. If someone told me that there would be a world of goodies inside the pages, I'd have lapped it up long ago. I'm hooked to her books, not just for the uniquely delicious stories, but for her fine writing and storytelling skills.

Fionna Guillaume writes erotic historical fiction. Very rare. It's not just about the sexual act, which is the highlight of most erotica - although, when she gets to that part.... whew. She has quite an imagination. Her characters are often people from the past, ancient places and cultures, and how they did the hanky panky. I love ancient history. Add the erotic elements and you've got me. Very interesting... and informative... and hot as hell.

So, let's see what's going on inside her sexy grey matter.

Tell us something about you that's not in your bio.

I have lived all over the world. Five of the seven continents, actually: Europe (France and Ireland); Asia (Japan); Africa (Senegal); and South American (French Guiana). So I often find inspiration from unique places and cultures, which inspires many of my stories. Never made it to Australia, alas.

Your erotic stories are unique, rich in historical facts... how do you come up with these stories?

Well, I’m kind of a history nerd. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, so naturally I had to try my hand at writing it, too. The trick, I think, is to remember that people are the same at their core, no matter where or when they lived. We all want love, community, safety. Everyone desires some kind of family connection, and that comes out as romance in my imagination. 

History, really, is just a collection of human interactions. And – as we humans are just raunchy primates like our bonobo cousins – lots of those interactions involve sex. I just pick those up and run with them! But I do my best to research historical settings and cultures, to try and make my stories as authentic and powerful as they can be, while still remaining appealing (and hot) for modern readers.

How do you find self publishing so far? What's your biggest challenge?

Self publishing is lots of fun! I love having total control over my work, where and how I distribute it, the way it looks, when it’s released. At this point I would have trouble handing over the rights to my work, even to a reputable traditional publisher. The freedom and artistic control is definitely a benefit of self-publishing.

As for the biggest challenge, that’s easy: exposure. With so many amazing books out there, how do you let readers know about yours? I don’t have the name or the marketing clout of, say, Simon & Schuster, yet my books are competing in the same arena with theirs. In that respect, self published authors are at a clear disadvantage.

What is your publishing process? What do you do before you publish a book?

Well, first I have to finish it. That can be the hardest part sometimes! Once I complete a manuscript, I let it sit for a while before rereading it. That way my mind is fresh for editing, and I can catch places I want to change, enrich, or delete. Not to mention, easier to spot typos! This is also when I invite beta readers to read, and offer feedback on my work. While I’m doing this, I also reflect on my book cover. My covers are original art, usually by me, and I am very picky. I want the cover to capture the mood, or the characters, and give a glimpse into the story without revealing it.

Making cover art is so much fun for me. It’s my favorite part of the self-publishing process! (Well, second only to dreaming up stories...)

If you could be someone else in history, who do you want to be?

Oh my goodness, that’s a hard question. To be honest, as much as I love reading about the past, studying it, and thinking about it, I wouldn’t really like to live there. For the most part, the past was pretty awful, at least for the majority of people, and especially for women. I am quite happy living in the Northwestern United States, in 2016, thank you!

But if I had to choose, I would pick a woman who was strong, had influence for change, and zest for life. Maybe Josephine Bonaparte. She was one of a kind.

Do you do a lot of background research on the historical figures and cultures that you write about?

That depends on your definition of “a lot!” I research historical figures when I write about them, and I do my best to capture the essence of their ancient cultures. Plus, I enjoy reading historical nonfiction, using that to imagine how people might have lived in a certain place or time. However, I am not strict about facts when writing. 

For me, developing the character and setting is more important than being picky about how people traveled or who was king at the time. Historical fiction offers truth by allowing modern readers to step back in time – in safety, and in a way they can relate to. It’s not like reading a history textbook. Unless your history class talked about sex a lot more than mine did!

I read Flowers for the Ancients, very sexy and informative... what are you writing about next?

Actually, I’m doing something a little different these days. (Though I have several more ancient women bouncing around in my mind, waiting for me to write them out… probably an Ancients volume 2 will appear in the future!)

I have my own deck of Tarot cards, made by me, and had been thinking about using them as the basis for a contemporary romance. So that’s what I’m doing. Before every chapter, I draw a Tarot card, reflect on it, and let it guide the events in the story. It’s totally addictive, and I love being surprised at where it can go. The working title is Major Arcana, and folks can read it for free on Wattpad as I write! That’s something new I’m trying out, as well.


Major Arcana, Wattpad, Fionna Guillaume

I'm gonna go check that out! Yes, I want more of Flowers for the Ancients. :) Write more of that, please.

If you could speak to all self published authors, what advice would you give them?

I would say to keep in mind that we don’t do this for money. Or fame, or recognition, or validation, or even the encouragement we get from happy readers. We write because we love it. It’s your artistic outlet, and it’s your story. Hold on to your integrity, tell your story, and don’t do it for “the market” or because it’s the “next hot thing.” Good storytelling transcends all of that. If it’s in you, then let it out.

What is your goal? In 5 years, where do you see yourself as an author?

Mostly I hope to just keep writing! I’ve got tons of stories waiting for me to find the time (and inspiration) to release them. In five years I hope to have many more published works on the market. Also, I’d like to get more involved in marketing my work - and myself, really. At some point I will have to start a “real” website and probably paid advertising, if I’m serious about competing with the big guys. Until then, though, I’m all-indie!

What are you like in person? Who is Fionna, the woman?

Well, first of all my name isn't really Fionna. ;) I'm a very happy person; a lot of things bring me joy. I love animals, the outdoors, travel, hot tea, learning new things, and especially good books. I think my writing reflects my natural optimism.

It's easy to stay positive when I think about all the blessings in my life, which I take time to reflect on every day. That positive outlook, the way I try to live well and appreciate life, comes out in my stories. I love happy endings. But being happy - and finding a happy ending - isn't just about circumstance. It's a lot about choosing to be happy, making choices to lead the kind of life you want.

What does success and happiness mean to you?

Mostly it means being content with what I have. Success - and happiness, too - are really all about your attitude. If you feel happy and successful, then you are. That's how I try to live, always grateful, always reflecting on the good things I have and how I can best share them with others.

If, through my life, I can make the world a better place for someone else, then I consider that a success.

If you could have only 3 things in life, what would they be?

Well, I don't know if people count, but my husband would top the list. He's my true partner, and if we lost it all tomorrow, as long as we are together, I know we'd be all right.

And I would not want to live in a world without books, so that would be number two. Books offer escape, make me think and wonder, keep me sane. They're a huge part of my identity.

For the third thing, it would have to be sunscreen. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, it's cloudy and/or rainy most of the year, but when the sun comes out there is no place more beautiful. Of course, that means I need to protect my crazy-white skin, so sunscreen is most necessary!

What do you like in men? What is it about them that you find sexy?

Aha, now we get to the fun questions! I find all kinds of men sexy.

For me there's really no physical "type" I prefer. (Although I do have clear preferences for what they've got below the belt...) There are so many attractive men in this world! I will say that I've always been very interested in sex, and appreciating men has a key part in that. Actually, in my younger days it was hard to get to know men on anything more than a sexual level. I had growing up to do, and in all fairness to my youthful self, so did they! Now, though, I've learned that emotional connection is the most important aspect in a romance. (And you know what? It makes the sex WAY better, too!)

But what makes a man sexy is his personality. He should be confident, but humble; interested and curious; unafraid to share his thoughts and feelings. And honesty is damn sexy. So is, you know, a great body, but only if he has the mind to match.

What do you think makes a woman sexy to men? 

To be honest? I think it's a lot more physical. At least at first. All humans are visually-driven, but this is especially true for men. (Who watches porn? Mostly men. Who reads erotica? Mostly women. I rest my case!)

So I think most men would describe a sexy woman as someone with gorgeous curves, a pretty face, a welcoming smile, and those come-and-get-me eyes. When it comes to relationships, though, I think men look for the same traits women do: honesty, sense of humor, confidence, openness. Plus - and this is true for men, as well - if a woman feels sexy, if she is good in her skin, confident and knows it, then she will be sexually appealing. Sometimes it's all about the attitude! And how you dress to present yourself.

And, of course, a smile goes a long way.

Thanks for the chat, Fionna! I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.

Fionna is an active member of the Alliance of Self Published Authors.
What can I say.... we have great writers on our tribe. :)

If you want to taste Fionna's writing, start with these two. Although in truth, ALL her books are great.
Click on the covers to go to Amazon.


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