I am very happy to welcome author Ray Sostre to the Vallory V blog!
Hi, thanks for having me here. I’m Ray Sostre, and I live in Nevada, but not near Las Vegas or Reno; it’s a small town close to Salt Lake City, just two hours away. I’m originally from New York City, and yes, I’m a proud city-boy. Although, I didn’t grow in NYC all of my life; I’ve lived in New Jersey and Northeast Pennsylvania before moving out to Nevada.
Tell us a bit about your family.
Well, I’m a son of a retired New York City Transit Worker, and a son of retired school teacher. I’ve always considered myself an unusual kid growing up. I had a cool childhood, but I was also the ‘black sheep’ of the family – lol.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Well, I never give up. While my schedule is chaotic, I always get things done. I have a spontaneous mind when it comes to writing, and I’ve always had the appreciation for all kinds of arts –both erotic and non-erotic – and I’m always willing to learn about other people’s work.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I have to take the bad along with good, and accept that I’m never going to be perfect. I strive to improve what I struggle with, and I also learned that I’m not going to please everyone.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
In 2001, I was sampling a song on my turntable, when I DJ’d, called “Burning” by Hybrid, and the beat rock rocked, and this quote got to me – “Life is all about expressions. You only live once and you’re not coming back; so express yourself.” I’ve kept this motto in my mind for a long time, until I learned this quote was a sample taken from Salt ‘n Pepper “Express Yourself” ten years prior.
Although, it was from the original artist, my inspiration moment was from this track by Hybrid. If anyone grew up with the good ol’ days of DNB and Breakbeats, you’ll know what I was talking about.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
*sigh of relief* My accomplishments was in 2010, when I decided to pick up a flash drive and a keyboard and type my first published short story at a story submission site… RSVP Erotica and then the site I established in October 2010 – AfterDark Online.
AfterDark Online was also another accomplishment I created. I established a site for readers of erotica, and beginner authors of erotica. This site also hosts interviews, contests, and weekly events for other sites.
My third accomplishment is establishing my first ebook in September 2011. It was my first erotic story, which is only available on Smashwords – Their First Night Together. Although, it was rough around the edges, it was my first crack at it, and I felt I can continue as an author in publishing books.
What is your favorite color?
I have actually four favorites – Blue, Silver, Black, and Purple.
What is your favorite food?
This would definitely be the hardest one. Right now, my girlfriend and I could live off sushi.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
If I could live in the area, I would. My favorite place in the world is Lake Tahoe, California or Carson City, Nevada. I live 6 – 7 hours east from the area, and I vacation there every year. I party in South Lake Tahoe and Reno, and I love the area. Like I said, if I could live there I would. I’m four hours away from the Bay Area; I have other parts of California to visit, and I could go to Reno whenever I feel like it, or go party in Lake Tahoe.
When and why did you begin writing?
While I’ve been writing erotic romance since 2010, I actually started writing in 1990, while I was serving detention. I remembered the first story I wrote, but I never titled it, and I don’t have it ‘til this very day. Although, I remembered writing a story about a guy serving detention with his secret admirer, and in the end he met his secret crush. I wanted to pursue screenwriting, but I put aside my writing in 1997 to follow a new passion – music.
I DJ’d in the club for the next 7-8 years, spinning mostly house music. When that passion died, I didn’t’ return to writing until the summer of 2010, and that actually happened by accident, when I came across that hobby. The very first erotic story I wrote was a threesome, but I never published it, nor had I ever posted it on my blog. It was rough around edges, and it needed reworking. I was so rusted with my writing I had to re-learn the process, because I was away from it for more than a decade. But when I completed the story called Lonely Hearts – a story about two online pals that realized they were neighbors, I felt there was hope for me to advance with my passion for writing, and that’s when I decided to write erotic romance.
What inspires you to write and why?
Lots of things today, erotic pictures, stories I’ve read, and then spontaneous moments. What inspires me to write is also reading other people’s erotic stories. I prefer to read erotic, because it’s what has inspired me ‘til this very day to write.
I could look at a picture of a man and a woman, or two women making out or having sex on the sofa or bed, and if the scene is intriguing, I’d find ways to get my thoughts through and write a short snippet based off that scene.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I prefer writing erotic because it’s where I feel the most comfortable. I love the drive it gives me when I’m writing erotic. I prefer erotic romance, because I want to write something with a purpose. I love mixing the story with drama and comedy, but without erotica, I don’t think I’d have the interest in writing. I have to be honest with myself in what I want to read and write.
I learned that some of the authors from this genre were once sweet romance writers. Some still write erotic romance, others have returned to their sweet roots. I have nothing but love and respect for them, and understand that this was there originality, but for me, I love writing erotica, and the fan base that comes along with it.
One author told me she’d never want to work with me since I wrote the genre, and I was quite fine with it, because I wanted a style that I was most comfortable with; not to please the author I am working with. I enjoy writing about lustful attractions between a man and a woman, or two women, or three or more people that share the same passion with each other. I believe sex is part of life, and I don’t find it taboo to talk about it. While I don’t discuss my sex life, I enjoy writing about fictional sex lives.
What inspired you to write your first book?
When I wrote the first book – Their First Night Together, I was writing based on an era I grew up in and where I grew up – New York in the 1990’s. I wanted to write a simple erotic romance about two people that went to high school together, but didn’t reunite until eight years after. I wanted to write a story where I could call it my pride and joy. Back in 2011, I was in the tadpole stages of being an established author. I wanted to get my foot in the door of the e-publishing world and to be taken seriously as a male erotic author. A month prior, I finished a novel, which I haven’t yet published, because I wasn’t ready to get it published. It was for once where I wanted to write something that more than 3k words, and less than 10k. It was perfect when I wrote it, and I will re-write now that my style has gotten better.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I actually do. I also want to make a career with my other baby – AfterDark Online. Three things I want to keep in my life, since I find them very important to me – my long time girlfriend, my website, and my writing. I love all three of them. Although, the reality lives up to your expectations when you don’t have enough money, but I’m in it for the passion while I keep a real job.
Surely, the book “Her Angela & Protection” is a series that I’m working on. It’s my first f/f story, and the story is about two best friends from high school that start living together, after the heroine of the story, Vivienne, was thrown out of her place by her good-for-nothing husband. Angela lets her stay, and could use her company, but she soon develops feeling for this woman, but wondered if Vivienne felt the same way, because of her inviting gesture towards her. The name of the story is officially In The Beginning, because it explains how these two end up being lovers. While the story is a short novella, another sequel to the story is in the making.
How did you come up with the title?
Funny to say, lol, it all came up from a song remix I heard from 3LW feat Nas – I Can’t Take It (No More), respectively. This was a track I heard back in 2000 & 2001, and the phrase, which originated from Eric B & Rakim, respectively, in their 1986 Paid In Full song, “Let me be your angel and I’ll be you’re protection.”
Can you tell us about your main character?
When I originally designed the characters, I painted Angela & Vivienne a little bit like Risoli & Isles. And funny to say, I never saw the TV show, but I wanted to paint these characters as best friends and lovers; these two were meant for each other. Angela was the tomboy, while Vivienne was the girly-girl. I wanted to design these girls as the odd couple, but lovers.
Why did you choose to write this particular book?
I wrote this story because I was very fascinated in writing an f/f story. Plus, as a male erotic writer, I wanted to break down the barrier of men that wrote the typical f/f stories. I wanted my stories to have meaning and purpose, and be taken serious as an author of f/f erotic romance.
I was inspired by Dawne Prochilo’s ebooks Rachel’s Desire and then her following f/f Callie’s Way – VW Club. and then everything else fell into play. Upon completing my story, I had it read by three other people. One author who inspired me to come out with a series was a f/f author Erin Miller. She came out with a f/f series about Jackie and Honey, and I was left with a positive feeling after reading the story, and that’s what inspired me to write a series.
How can we purchase your book?
People can purchase these books easily through:
Do you write under a pen name and why?
No, I have no pen name. I write under my real name – Ray Sostre, because I love the way it sounds I guess, lol. But perhaps if I wrote another genre other than erotica (which I highly doubt), I would probably use one. However, all of my stories are under my real name.
Have you started another book yet?
Yes, I’m working on the sequel to the story “Her Angela & Protection: Moving On.” This story is about Angela and Vivienne being faced with challenges of their relationship. I intend to get more in depth with the characters; show where they’d came from before they got into the relationship.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I actually see myself in five years doing what I truly love, establishing my site – AfterDark Online as an influential site for both amateur and professional writers, and writing lots of erotic romance stories.
What are your current writing projects now?
I’m in a middle of several. One series that I’m dying to publish, hopefully by next year is the Darla Love’s Tyler Series, and the first story to the series is “About The Night Ride Home.” This story I wrote dated back in 2011, but I never published it, because my writing style was different at that time. I so much want to get this story published, and these are my most favorite characters to write about. But I waited so long, because of other commitments; I have many other writing projects.
I’m currently writing several stories; one in particular is a cougar-erotic romance called “Finding Possibilities” about a woman who just turned forty and meets a man who is ten years younger than her. This story I’m writing is about the stereotypes and the possibilities of a younger man/older woman relationships.
I’m also working my attempt to make a five-flame erotic romance called “The Weekend.” It’s about a single woman (Sylvia) who spends the weekend over at their best friends’ place (Jacob and Melissa). The three spend the weekend out partying when something takes a turn – all three end up sleeping with each other, and the decision to take their friendship further weighs in with them. Were they meant for each other? It’s a polyamorous ménage story, and that’s why I’m working on a five-flame.
I also have a few others coming out. I have a second f/f short story called “To Get With Stephanie” This story is for the Erotic Countdown and soon on Amazon.com In addition, I am working on a holiday story called “Snow Day” another attempt on a five-flame story, and lastly my erotic comedy called “Service With A Smile”
How do you deal with bad reviews?
Depends, how informative they are. I learned that many reviewers can be helpful; depending on how the author takes it. I’ve encountered those who are nit-picking at the author over the pettiest little things, like not enough realism, when the story is supposed to be fiction. I learned some reviewers don’t know how to review too, but I don’t let them discourage me, because I strive on improvement, and I understand that some people have a different flavor to what they read. I remember one person was overly-critical that she forgot to give the positive aspects of the story; nothing but the negative. Show me an author that likes a bad reviews, and I’ll show you a very offended author. But you have to take them with a grain of salt, and see if they’re going to help you improve, or hurt your feelings out of spite.
Do you have any advice for writers?
Yes, don’t stop because you’ve learned everything. You’re always learning, but always keep an open mind for new things. You don’t have to change who you are or your style, but you can learn from others and either adapt to their success or avoid their failures. And one cardinal rule – never quit. You’ll never know what you can make out of it if you’re persistent.
What is the demographic for your targeted audience?
My demographic audience is women, and I’m happy to say that, but I’m most comfortable writing for younger women, particularly the generation X & Y, because of their open-mindness to the genre, especially from the younger generation now born 1995 and before.
I also want to have an LGBT following, especially for the f/f genre. I want to cater to that audience as well, people who have a love for contemporary m/f stories, f/f and f/f/m stories. It’s who I am, where I feel best comfortable writing.
Why do you feel you can write for them?
I feel readers of f/f or f/f/m, should be represented. What I want to separate myself from other authors is the typical sex stories. I want to write the stories with meaning, even though the sex scenes are there. I have a love for ménage stories that involve two women and a man, and two women also. I want to represent them, even thought the numbers were small. I’d rather represent those readers than just do the typical.
If you could have any supernatural power, what would it be and why?
To be impervious, lol. But I’d use this kind of power wisely to help the helpless against the evil.
If you could have a book signing anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Salt Lake City. Why? Because my writing career begins here and I want to represent those readers who showed me the love.
Wow, I truly want to thank you for your time, and I had fun answering the questions. I can’t wait to finish my next story and go ahead to get it published. It’s been a real honor to be interviewed by you – thank you.
Thank you, Ray. Very informative interview!