Friday, July 27, 2012

Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland

Today I'm interviewing Melinda DuChamp, writer of the recently released ebook Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland, currently free on Amazon.com.

It has, without a doubt, the best ebook cover I've ever seen. Besides being funny as hell, the cover art instantly announces the subject matter: a light-hearted erotic parody of a famous classic fairy tale.

Where did you get this cover?

Melinda: I'm a regular reader your blog, and I contacted Carl Graves at Extended Imagery, listed in your sidebar. The mushroom is actually real. There are a whole group of mushrooms with phallus in their names. Carl did a great job making it look fairytale-like. Rob Siders at 52 Novels did the formatting. I was very pleased with his professionalism as well. 

Joe: I've read the book. It is very funny, and also pretty hot. 

Melinda: Thank you so much! The original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was very funny for its time, and the story is a true classic; a girl goes into a magical world and meets talking animals and strange characters. But I'm not sure if all of the humor holds up today. Some of the jokes and the puns are no longer relevant. I tried to keep the same tone, albeit more adult-oriented. So there are some amusing rhymes, and lots of silliness in action and dialog, in my version.

Joe: But this is for adults...

Melinda: This is definitely for adults only. While I kept the clinical terms used to describe anatomy and physical relations work-friendly PG-13, the action is a lot more explicit than that.

Joe: Reading this at work would be... uncomfortable.

Melinda: Thank you! You're sweet.

Joe: I never read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I take it there are a lot of the same types of kinks described.

Melinda: Yes. Some bondage and spanking and toys and four-ways and other fun things. I followed the structure of Carroll's novel, and had Alice run into many of the same characters, but with a modern, erotic spin on them.

Joe: Melinda DuChamp is a pen name. What else have you written?

Melinda: I have over twenty years of experience writing professionally, in many different genres. Name a publisher, I've probably done something with them. 

Joe: How many novels?

Melinda: Over fifty.

Joe: Is this your first self-pubbed ebook?

Melinda: Under this pseudonym, yes. 

Joe: I assume you have some sort of following with that many books under your belt. Why use a pseudonym?

Melinda: My mother reads all of my books, and I decided this one was a bit too spicy for her.

Joe: I haven't read a lot of erotica, but I do have some old, dog-eared copies of Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy, which she wrote under the name A.N. Roquelaure. I found some of it arousing, and some of it extreme to the point of being a turn off. It went too far with the pain, in my opinion. You've got some BDSM stuff in Alice, but it is more playful than painful.

Melinda: Those are pretty raunchy books, and by the end of the trilogy Beauty had been beaten so many times I felt she needed to be taken to the ER! I wanted Alice to have an edge, and to be arousing, without the intense subjugation and pain that often occurs in many similarly themed erotica novels. Subjugation between consenting adults is fine, but I was never turned-on by being beaten or humiliated to tears. Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland has a lot of kinky sex in it, but I find the path to arousal and release more erotic than graphic descriptions of men and women being caned or whipped. But that's just one gal's opinion. Different readers have different tastes, and no one is right or wrong when it comes to their fantasies. 

Joe: Why did you start self-publishing?

Melinda: I've had shelf novels that never sold for various reasons, and it seemed like an obvious way to supplement my income. Now they have become my main source of income.

Joe: Would you go back to legacy publishing?

Melinda: I go where the money is. When my agent gets an offer, I listen. But the offer has to be serious to make me consider it.

Joe: So why call it Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland?

Melinda: I'm not above riding on coattails, and I don't believe Ms. James will mind, considering the inspiration for her trilogy. 

Joe: The tagline on the cover says "Inspired by true events." Care to elaborate?

Melinda: A lady doesn't kiss and tell. But I encourage readers to read Alice and pick out which scenes are based on fact, and which are completely made up.

Joe: Will there be a sequel?

Melinda: It depends how well it does. I've done many love scenes in my books, but never a full book of erotica. Alice was fun to write, and I do have some ideas for a follow-up, but this is a business, and I try to pay attention to what readers want. Only time will tell if they want more Alice...

Joe sez: This book really is hot, and it is currently free, so download it and support Melinda in her quest to keep secrets from her mother.

You can get in in the US and the UK.

Also worth noting is this ebook was only released a few days ago, and is already on the Top 100 free list in the UK, and close to the Top 100 in the US. It got there without any name recognition, publicity, promotion, marketing, or advertising. I tweeted about it earlier today, and got in touch with Melinda to request this interview after I'd read the book (my cover artist showed me the cover last week) but it was already at its current rankings before I did so.

It is apparently possible to make a splash and get noticed while being a complete unknown. All you need is a good cover, good book description, good book, and a good price ($2.99 normally, free until Monday.)

We'll see if these freebies lead to future sales. If they do, I may soon be writing Fifty Shades of Snow White...