We recently had the opportunity to sit down with our newest author, Sasha Holden, and conducted a far reaching conversation with her to find out really what beats deep in the her soul and made her the critically acclaimed author that she is. Excerpts of that interview follow:
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up as the luckiest girl in the world with a loving family from a privileged background. Having lived in rural Australia on a cattle property as a young girl, I then attended a private school in Sydney where I enjoyed studying English and History. Following a placement with a modelling agency in Sydney I was soon transferred to New York where I lived for the ensuing decade with my fashion photographer boyfriend Jack, whom I met on location in Italy in late 2006. I now continue to travel between Australia, where my family resides, and New York, where many of my closest friends now live.
When did you first know you wanted to become an author?
I wrote a book as a student about a native Australian from the wrong side of the tracks entitled “Shades of Grey’. This short story appeared from nowhere, and I found myself unable to put the pen down. Then for an extended period of time following I wrote poem after poem, writing with a passion, with the constant need to place my words upon paper. Though it wasn’t until January 2015 when I realized my calling to become an erotic fiction writer. My body yearned for the heightened sense of eroticism that was to form the nucleus of my novels. Put simply, I fell in love with writing erotica.
How do you develop your plot lines and characters?
My stories focus around a central female lead, who is strong in character though somewhat vulnerable. Either through personal setbacks, or emotional turmoil, they find themselves longing to escape their everyday lives, in order to divine their inner most desires. The sexual fantasies that lay deep inside their core. Deep down in places they only ever dreamed of visiting. Having developed my central female lead the characters surrounding her are derived from the exploration of her own fantasies, be they of a heterosexual, bisexual, or of a lesbian nature. More often than not self-exploration opens the door to a plethora of erotic experiences, from which my female lead sets sail.
In your opinion what makes a “great” story?
A great story for mine is one that has not been told before. It is well written, engaging on a number of levels, and intriguing to say the least. I enjoy my stories to develop on a slow burn, over an extended period of time, during which I am drawn into the plot through my love or connection with the leading characters before me. When you ask what makes a great story, I do believe there does need to be a surprise element, or an element of the unknown. Twists and turns are par for the course, when it comes to keeping me enthused. Though when I think of the great Dickens stories, or even the Grapes of Wrath, one of my favorite novels, it is the ability of the author to place you firmly within the shoes of their leading character, to place you right there, in the moment as it were, that to me defines a great story.
Do you write every day in a disciplined fashion or as new ideas come to you?
When I am writing a book I do try to maintain a level of continuity. Missing days here and there can prove difficult as I lose the thread and in turn the thrust of my plot. In terms of new ideas I spend time before I write a novel, and at night time whilst in bed, analyzing the plot of my current story, working through the various sub plots at length from every angle, to ensure the context of each meets the longer term goals and objectives of the story.
What is your favorite book of all time (and why)?
This is a difficult question. To choose one book is nigh impossible. Though if I had to pick one it would be Ernest Hemingway’s “Garden of Eden’. The story encapsulates an eclectic mix of self-development, romance, sorrow, love and intrigue, as the leading characters find each other, and ultimately themselves, amidst a sea of change, uncertainty and self-realization. Not to mention Hemingway’s vivid description of the scenery within which they find themselves. Truly spectacular.
Who is your favorite author (and why)?
Again a difficult question. In terms of Australian novelists I enjoy Patrick White. His attention to detail, his description of individuals, and his ability to take the reader on a journey through another’s life is second to none. Whilst when it comes to American authors I do enjoy Ray Carvers work. His free spirit and sense of honesty shines through all his writing, from his work as a poet to his time as an author. Furthermore I do enjoy reading criminal authors such as Michael Connolly, the author of such thrilling novels as “The Poet”, and “Blood Work”. I still am not answering your question am I. When all is said and done Ernest Hemingway comes close to being my favorite author, though D H Lawrence, the author of “Sons and Lovers” among other romantic classics, would have to be my favorite author. I enjoy both his depiction of the English countryside, as well as the enduring search for love, that permeates throughout his novels, like a heartbeat through our veins.
Aside from writing what activities do you enjoy?
Outside of writing I enjoy horse riding, the occasional game of golf, cinema, sex and the surf. Spending times with friends and family obviously rates high on the list, though if I could happen upon my perfect evening, somewhere in the picture would be a fine wine, a bath, and a book.
If you had to spend the rest of your life in one place where would it be?
The Amalfi Coast in Italy. Perhaps in Sorrento. The picturesque clifftops, serene surf and vivacious personalities leave me swimming with the desire to travel there again, and again.
Do you model your characters on people you know?
It would be difficult for any author to say they are writing about experiences they have never had, or indeed characters they have never known. Though as a rule of thumb I enjoy manufacturing characters from my own imagination. Characters who I would either like to visit, or more often than not, like to be. Take for instance Jessica Stanton, the middle aged lead in my latest “Spur Hill” series of novellas. What I would give to step into her cowboy boots for just one day. Or for just one evening when it comes to that.
Do you prefer writing poetry or fiction?
I enjoy writing poetry although I have always felt poems were something embedded in me, that I just had to let out. As if I were carrying them around with me for weeks or months on end until such a time as they simply “had to be written”. To the contrary writing fiction, or more particularly erotic fiction, is something I am totally and utterly infatuated with. I prefer writing erotic fiction more than anything else in life. Well almost anything that is.