Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Author Interview: M. Christian (author of The Bachelor Machine)

To help celebrate the ebook publication of his ground-breaking erotic science fiction collection, The Bachelor Machine, M.Christian has been kind enough to sit down and take part in a very exciting interview.

The Bachelor Machine: Erotic Stories by M. ChristianBefore we get onto that, though, let's talk a little about The Bachelor Machine. New to the ebook edition is an introduction courtesy of the lovely Cecilia Tan (founder of of Circlet Press), a special foreword by Kit O'Connell, and a fascinating discussion between Cecilia Tan and M.Christian on mixing science fiction with erotica.

Cecilia refers to the book as a collection of "raunchy hallucinatory sexfuture dreams that never fail to arouse me and kick me in the gut at the same time" while Kit looks beyond the text itself, noting "long after arousal is gone, there are stories here that haunt me."

If you're thinking the name M.Christian is familiar, that's because it probably is! He has published more than 300 stories in various LGBT and Fetish Erotica anthologies and magazines, and is himself the editor of 25 anthologies - including the Best S/M Erotica series, The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, Confessions, Garden of Perverse, and Amazons (with Sage Vivant). As if that weren't enough to whet your appetite, he is also the author of collections such as Dirty Words, Speaking PartsFilthy, Love Without Gun Control, Rude Mechanicals, and Coming Together Presents M.Christian, and of the novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll.

Guilty Pleasures  Garden of the Perverse: Fairy Tales for Twisted Adults  Amazons : Sexy Tales of Strong Women  Dirty Words: Provocative Gay Erotica  LOVE WITHOUT GUN CONTROL & Other Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction Stories  The Very Bloody Marys  Painted Doll: An Erotist's Tale

Now that you either know - or, hopefully, remember! - who he is, onto the interview . . .

♥ For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet checked out your writing, please tell us a little about yourself.

Oh, boy, where to start?  Well, my usual pseudonym is "M.Christian" (though I have others) and I'm mostly known – if I'm known at all – as an erotica writer (though I've written many other things).  My primary writing site is at http://www.mchristian.com/ (though – you guessed it – I have others).

♥ The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one (and you clearly qualify as accomplished!). When did you begin writing, and how did you feel when you first saw your work in print?

Oh, you (blush)!  Like a lot of writers I certainly don't feel 'accomplished' ... it's all kind of relative, I guess. 

You could say I've always been creative ... the kid in the back of the class drawing pictures of rockets and robots when he should have been listening to what the teacher was saying. I remember writing my first story in the 4th grade, though it wasn't until early high school that I heard that (maybe, possibly) there were people out there who wrote stories for a living. Shortly thereafter I went after that with a kind of (to be polite) pathological vengeance: off and on I tried to write a story a week, though it took me close to ten years to finally sell one.

♥ So, why did you choose erotica as a genre of choice? Is there something specific that draws you to it, or something you feel it offers that other forms of literature do not?

You could say that it chose me: that first story I sold was to a magazine called FutureSex, and then that same story was picked up for Best American Erotica ... and it all sort of took off from there.  I really never planned on being an erotica writer but, always the pragmatist, if someone's buying them I'm writing. 

But I'll let you in on a secret: even though I mostly write erotica, I'm secretly not really writing it.  When I sit down to write something for an erotic market I'm actually writing what I want to write – mystery, horror, romance, science fiction, whathaveyou – and 'leave the lights on' when it comes to the sex scene.  Beyond that, though, I have to say that erotica is actually a very welcoming, supportive, and flexible genre – much more than a lot of others I write in.  A pal of mine once described erotica as being like science fiction back in the 50s, or mysteries in the 30s: where everything was still fresh and new and writers were having a blast creating everything from scratch.   

♥ With the erotica elements happening, more than being deliberately written, do you have a schedule or a routine to your writing? Is there a time and place that you must write, or do you let the words flow as they demand?

I'm a pretty hardworking writer - in fact I teasingly call myself A Literary Streetwalker With A Heart Of Gold because I do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. So, while I don’t write every day, I am very aware of deadlines and always work very hard to make sure whatever I'm doing gets done on time.  I'm very lucky, too, in that I am now a full-time writer ... though don't be too impressed: I live very cheaply ("Spare change?") and I'm also an Associate Publisher for the fantastic Renaissance Books, as well as being a regular contributor to various sites and magazines such. 

♥ Your books are very visual, and clearly draw upon a long history of science fiction cinema. With that kind of an influence in mind, do you have a soundtrack to your writing?

I'm a very visual person so, even though I enjoy music, I always have a movie or TV show playing while I work.  I have some old favorites but I also pick and choose what to have on in the background to add to what I'm working on (film noir for mysteries ... that kind of thing). Right now I'm watching Kronos - a SF classic.  Lots of fun. 

I love cinema and TV show so much, in fact, that I add perhaps a bit too much of it into my work.  I try to write very visually, like the reader is watching (rather than reading) the story, and I love to play with lots of cinematic tricks.  One of my favorites is to take a classic film or show or whatever and turn it a bit on its head.  For instance, I once wrote a series of gay parodies to classic films (they are all in my collection, Filthy: Outrageous Gay Erotica, by the way): from Sunset Blvd to The Sweet Smell of Success.  It was a real blast to do, though I now try to stay away from that particular literary stunt ... don't want to fall into a rut, after all.

♥ I have to ask, then, f you could pick one of your stories to be made into a movie, and you had total control over the production, who would you cast for the leading roles?

Lordy, that's a toughie – and kind of weird to answer because, frankly, even though I love movies and TV and comics and such I actually don't really cast my stuff that much.  For one of my books, The Very Bloody Marys (a queer vampire/detective/horror novel) I actually did write it with a cast in mind ... but that was more of an experiment.  I wont tell you the actors I used just in case someone out there wants to take a guess at the cast in it. 

That's not to say I don't think about it.  Like most writers, I giggle myself to sleep thinking of one of my books or movies making onto the screen, but mostly in the form of one of those booming-voiced trailers.  One of my someday-I'll-do-it projects is actually to try my hand at a screenplay: create a brand new story designed to be filmed.  I did try my hand at writing a comic, though: a very interesting project called Masquerade drawn by my pal Wynn Ryder (the pages are on my site).  While I enjoyed doing it I think I need a bit more practice – just got to find the time.

♥ Okay, with a resume like yours, there must be a favourite quote or scene from your work that you feel particularly fond of. IS there something that reminds you of why writing is important to you?

Um ... you know I don't like to look back, especially at my own stuff, but I do have a few mental things I do try to keep close at hand.  One of the biggest is that writing – no matter what you're writing – can be very difficult: writers reach down deep into our fantasies, our souls, our hopes, our fears, and throw it down on a page and send it out into a – far too often – uncaring, if not brutal, world.  That's why it's important that we need to forget about trying for fame, fortune, and the screaming hoards of fans and instead always remind themselves that what they are doing is damned brave and that the only time they fail is not when they don't get famous, rich, or ... well, those screaming fans ... but when we stop writing.

I also like to hang onto the fact that what all of us writers do is true magic.  After all, if we do our jobs right – or are just damned lucky – our work can outlive us by decades or maybe even thousands of years.  While I like movies, directors have the help of actors, screenwriters, producers, artists and tons of other folks.  But when a writer creates something it comes from those aforementioned fantasies, hopes, and fears.  When I get a nice comment about something I've written it means a lot to me because it means my words are now part of that person's mind and soul, and that in some small way I've added to their life.  If that's not magic then I don't know what is.
♥ When you're looking to escape into a really good book (the kind that makes you miss appointments, forget about dinner, and stay up way too late), which authors do you generally reach for, and why?

While I love the classics – especially Hugo, Dickens, Kipling, and Chesterton – my desert island books are usually lyrical, evocative, and more than a tad surreal.  Showing my geek roots again, they are Eye In The Sky by Phil Dick, Computer Connection by Bester, Nimbus by Alexander Jablokov, High Aztech by Ernest Hogan, and any comic written by either Alan Moore or Adam Warren.  But I'm also game to find someone new so if any of you out there have a favorite please let me know!

♥ Speaking of desert island books, if you could live the life any character in fiction, whose story would you choose to live, and why?

Not to sound too woo-woo I think I'd prefer to live my own life.  After all, far too many fictional characters have rather (ahem) dramatic lives.  But that doesn't mean I haven't imagined myself as other people, living in other times and the like.  A little game I play with myself is to imagine myself living in various times and places, turn of the last century London for instance, but still being – to a certain extent – me: what would I be writing?  Who would my friends be?  What would my home look like?  Sometimes these fantasies actually produce a story that ends up being written by the real me, in this real world ... or, at least, I think this is the real world ... last time I checked...

♥ I think I can guess the answer here, but when you're not writing (or reading), what are some of the hobbies and passions that keep you happy?

Hello, my name is Chris and I'm a geek ... While I'm not watching classic science fiction movies ("Watch the skies, everywhere! Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!"), I love reading pretty much anything and everything.  I also love good food ... it's what keeps me in the Bay Area, actually, despite the high cost of living and sky-high rent, and I enjoy piddling with little art projects and the like.  In fact I just treated myself to an early birthday present: a model of one of Theo Jansen's Strandbeests.  When a breeze hits my desk the wild little thing starts to take a stroll.  Wild!

♥ Finally, what can we look forward to from you next? What projects are on the horizon that you're really excited about?

Busy, busy, busy!  Well, let's see: the wonderful Renaissance has just published a book of the columns I wrote for the equally-wonderful Erotica Readers and Writers Association How To Write And Sell Erotica.  Circlet Press, of course, just released a new edition of my science fiction erotica collection, The Bachelor Machine, and Renaissance books also just published another technofetish collection, Rude Mechanicals.  I also have a new novel coming soon from Zumaya books, called Finger's Breadth. 

Meanwhile Xcite Books  just put out a collection of my sexual how-to stuff, called Pornotopia, and (also from Renaissance) I have a collection of non-smutty fantasy/science fiction/horror called Love Without Gun Control – plus lots of my other novels, collections, and such that are still out there as well.  I also have some fun blogs and such: Frequently Felt is lots of kinky, sexy fun stuff and Meine Kleine Fabrik is wild, wonderful, and strange stuff ... but not smutty. 


A huge "thank you" to M.Christian for his time. With such a long and varied literary pedigree, I suspect many readers will be discovering something new with which to pass the time. As for me, I'm deep into The Bachelor Machine, so look for my review soon!

The Bachelor Machine: Erotic Stories by M. Christian


  1. Fantastic! Thanks so much, sweetie -- this was a real kick to do!

  2. My first visit to your blog - it is so cool!!!

  3. "When I get a nice comment about something I've written it means a lot to me because it means my words are now part of that person's mind and soul, and that in some small way I've added to their life. If that's not magic then I don't know what is."

    Wow...that's magic, indeed! Great interview. :)