I talked with author Jess C Scott about my two favorite things: sex and writing. She has co-authored the soon-to-be-published Teen Guide to Sex & Relationships and has graciously agreed to tolerate my interrogation.
Let’s start simple, can you tell me a bit about yourself and why you decided to start writing? Was it something that happened gradually, a lifetime dream, an obsession?
My name is Jess and I’m an author/artist/non-conformist. I run an innovative publishing company called jessINK. I’ve always liked to write, though there has to be some kind of ‘purpose’ behind the passion also. I tend to get quite obsessive with whatever I’m passionate about–I guess writing is just something I’ve enjoyed doing, and something I’ve always felt I needed to do!
A little more in depth, what was the first book you remember reading? Who was your favorite author growing up and has it changed? If so, who is your current favorite author?
It was probably a Puddle Lane book (a pre-school series that features cats, dragons, a Magician–what’s not to like?). My mom always encouraged my sister and I to read good books
I had many favorite authors while growing up (Roald Dahl, Jane Yolen, Vivian Vande Velde, Edgar Allan Poe, Anais Nin, etc.). It hasn’t really changed–they kind of “set the standard” for both my reading preferences and writing endeavors.
One of my ultimate favorites is George Orwell. Perfect wit, perfect style, perfect observations on the “human condition”–perfection all around.
George Orwell is one of my favorites as well, but enough literary foreplay, let’s get to the juicy part: sex. You’ve written in a wide range of genres, but as you can imagine your experience with erotica interests me most. I’d like to shine some light on a question you often wrestle with as an erotica author and a question you address in your interviews. Where would you draw the line between erotica and pornography?
First of all, I’d like to say that I appreciate the “interesting” emails from erotica readers/customers…
I personally don’ t have much of a problem distinguishing between erotica and pornography (it’s perhaps the “structured” folks who have the hardest time differentiating between the two).
Erotica requires more discernment to fully appreciate because the sexual content might not be explicit (because the erotic life consists of much more than “graphic sex scenes”). In contrast, pornography is all about the “graphic sex scenes”–anything more distracts the reader/viewer from satiating their “lust.”
Have you ever written an erotica story based sheerly upon imagination and conjecture and thought: “Hmmm, maybe I’d like to try that?” If so, which story was it?
Most of the things I write about are either things I’ve done or would like to do some day (emphasis on the word “most”).
I liked the knife play and mild bondage going on in a BDSM-themed story I wrote some time ago (http://jessink.com/rockstar.htm). A solid relationship is built on mutual trust and respect, and I like intensity, so…
Yeah, I find I write about somethings I had never thought about doing and suddenly am driven to try them. I suppose it is a perk of the profession. You’ve also recently completed a new non-fiction book relating to sex, Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships. What made you decide to enter the non-fiction world of sex?
One of my writer friends (Matt Posner: a teacher in NYC and author of the School of the Ages series) asked if I’d be interested in collaborating on an advice book for teenagers about “sex and relationships.” I liked the scope and sincerity of the project, so I was very happy to contribute to it. Both Matt and I care for young people–the goal of the book was to reach out to teens who wanted a better understanding of their bodies and their feelings.
There are a lot of advice books out there, what makes Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships different?
Short Answer: It’s well-balanced.
Longer Answer: The style and presentation of the content brings together many elements. The book is comprehensive, yet concise. There’s a male perspective (Matt’s) versus a female perspective (mine). Matt’s views are slightly more conservative while mine are slightly more liberal, though we both agree that a comprehensive sex education is crucial in order for a person to make a well-informed decision when it comes to their sex life. It is these various contrasting yet compatible elements that make Teen Guide unique.
If there are any teens reading this (not that they should be… shame on you! ) what is the most important thing they will take away from the book?
The most important thing would be for the reader to find the book useful and helpful in some way. That’s why Matt and I wrote the book in the first place.
P.S. I first read Anais Nin and D.H. Lawrence when I was sixteen! Eye-opening reads, to say the least (good to “broaden one’s perspectives” too, with both sex and life in general).
Can you provide a short excerpt?
Sure, here’s an excerpt from Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships:
Qn. How do you tell the difference between love and lust?
Lust is very much focused on the physical desires. You crave to be with the person physically/sexually. You might think about their fantastic abs/body/some particular body part or physical feature more than anything else.
Love can be trickier to define—each of us has our own way of describing it. Love goes deep. You share a connection with the person that goes beyond satisfying physical desires. You admire the person for something that goes beyond how good they look or how smooth they are sexually.
I once knew an old couple. The lady had to undergo surgery when she found out she had breast cancer. She was worried about the operation because one of her breasts needed to be removed, and she feared that her husband would no longer find her attractive. The man replied, “I married you for you, not because of those things!”
The more connected you are to a person and the more you understand that person, the more lust turns into something else. If you become friends with that person, lust becomes love. If you aren’t compatible with that person, the dislike should make the lust less intense, although you can have strong sexual desire for people you don’t like. If you’re a boy, this happens because lust is partly about feeling in control, and you want her more because having her would mean you had triumphed over that difficult personality. If you’re a girl, you may find that you’re attracted to boys who are aggressive, rude, or rebellious, so called “bad boys.” There is some biological programming that tells you these bad boy personalities will make good protectors. I suppose that successful relationships have come out of these feelings over the years, but if so, only because the lust developed into friendship, commitment, and trust.
Full Excerpt at Matt’s Website (http://schooloftheages.webs.com/apps/blog/show/14770008-from-teen-guide-how-do-you-tell-the-difference-between-love-and-lust-)
Thank you. It’s very interesting to see the different perspectives and how they develop differently, but still end in the same place. If you could address your teenage self in particular, do you have any sex tips you would give yourself?
a. Be well-informed.
b. Don’t worry too much.
c. Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with.
Anything random you would like to add?
State one question to someone in the world that you would like answered.
“Why didn’t you want to have sex with me?”
P.S. Alas, I don’t think I’ll ever know (that’s directed to more than one person too…).
Thank you very much for the interview!
And thank you very much for hosting me! I enjoyed answering the questions
P.S. Thanks to you, the reader, for checking out this interview too.
Alas… maybe after this interview you will get some answers… you never know! Thank you for answering my questions and best of luck with your upcoming book launch!
If any other authors out there are interested in an interview, drop me a line. My email can be found on my author profile. Be prepared, I will ask you a lot of sex questions.