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Monday, April 16, 2012

Chit Chat and All That! with Kendel Davi and Kim Faulks

Today on Chit Chat and All That! we the sexy talents of Kendel Davi and Kim Faulks as they discuss how they obtain their...inspiration.

So grab a cup or glass of whatever it is you fancy, sit back, relax and read Chit Chat and All That!

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Recently, I got a chance to chat with author Kim Faulks.  Even though we were half a world away from each other, it turned into a delight revelation of how two writers attempt to achieve the same thing through different techniques.

KENDEL

So, Kim.  What inspires you to write?

KIM

Well, usually my ideas for my stories come from a title, or a feeling. All of my stories have some kind of spiritual insight, or message that I feel needs to be conveyed so once I have that in my mind I can usually work around that, weaving the plot, the characters and story line/s. My inspiration for my characters comes from my feelings. For example I started writing Hells Angel when I was having a particularly rough day at work, having to work and train someone that I didn’t really like, and it was annoying as fuck. So I sat at the computer, smiled at this person and started writing:
 
The city streets of Red Valley were no place for a lady at two in the morning - so it was lucky for Kellah that she was no lady.
            She was a demon, a real one. Cast out from the fiery pits of hell that she called home sweet home into the land of humans, mortgages, low-employment, a declining stock market. And with more low life's at two in the morning than you would see hanging outside The Suicide Blonde's Nightclub, back home on a Friday night. And yes, if you are wondering, it was filled with Suicide Blonde's.
            Kellah walked along the puddled streets towards the dump where she lived, huddled in the shadows and slamming the thick heel of her boots into the sidewalk, feeling more pissed off than she usually felt as she swerved in and out the pathetic breed that were called humans.
There were still a lot of humans out at this time of the night, their deep-seated desire evident in their eyes, causing her to snarl at the sight of them. Desperation stared back at her from street corner whores who rubbed their arms, desperate to feel the sting of a needle to the men that drove in a crawl along the street, needing their own fix of flesh.
She was not a part of this world, only a visitor, one that would serve her time and return home. This place... earth, was her jail and she was serving hard time. But it wasn't a death sentence, no. All she had to do was to bide her time and wait for her father to bring her home. Until he called for her she would tread the same streets, the same path always knowing that she was not one of them, she was different.  
If she had any human feelings at all she would have felt pity, maybe even sympathy for them in their rush of desperation, but that was the difference, she wasn't human. All she felt was resentment and anger, mixed with a healthy splash of cold detachment.

So you can see that was pretty much how I felt. I just kept it going and evolved that until I had a storyline and characters. I did draw inspiration for my male character from a friend (he knows who he is) and at that moment I was writing a particularly sexy, emotional piece I amplified my own feelings to suit. A lot of my sex scenes are amplified by the emotional aspect of my characters so I guess it makes me step out of my comfort zone and explore that part of me that I don’t normally acknowledge. The problem with that is, that sometimes I enjoy being there in my characters cruel, twisted, and sometimes hot as hell moments and I have to remind myself constantly that I am all and none of those characters. I am just me…lol

KENDEL

That's incredible, Kim.  I write in many different formats and when it came to writing prose, it first started out as just trying to be creative in a way where I had a lot more control of the outcome of what I wanted to say.  That's not to say that having control of the outcome of my work is my inspiration but that desire to do so always pushes me forward.  I agree that you have to key into the emotional aspect of your characters.  I too have connected a little to deep with my characters and have found myself doing anything I can to get back to writing them.  However, if I had to pin point a specific to where I get inspiration from I guess that would have to the use of anything visual.  When I was in college I just to walk around New York taking pictures of anything that spoke to me, and this was way before digital cameras were the norm, so after they were developed I'd see if the emotion I felt when I took the picture came across.  A lot of the time I would notice something I didn't see at first that would influence how I felt about that image afterwards.  I would walk the streets late a night with my camera under my jacket or in my bag, sometimes wandering into dangerous places and situations that I didn't need to be around, in search of an image that would tell a story.  The fun part was that I shot mainly in black and white so capturing the contrast was key.  Then after a while I'd pull out the pictures and try to see if I could describe them in color.  Sometimes I'd use those images as the basis for my creative writing classes but I guess it was my visual sense that I go to when it comes to writing still to this day.

For instance, I used to stroll along the meat packing district by the Westside Highway around 3 a.m. Sunday morning and take pictures of the transvestite prostitutes, with there permission of course.  The last thing I wanted to do is have them think I was vice or something.  Anyhow, I'd hang out taking pictures and listening to their stories until the sun rose and would bring them the pictures the next weekend.  I wish I had those pictures.  Even know I can feel the cold air coming in from the Hudson River, the smell of the water mixed in with the early morning traffic speeding along the river.  The click of high heels on the old cobble stones and the roar of the Camaro with New Jersey plates that would pull up looking for some "action" before sunrise.  Now, this is back when the city was still pretty dangerous so I know that I'm lucky that nothing happened to me when I was down there.  Still, if I had to go deeper then I think it would be that there has always been an emotional question that I'm looking for an answer to and I use my writing to work them out a lot of the time.  Take for instance the pictures I just talked about.  Once they knew I wasn't a threat to their lively hood, they enjoyed having me there.  They would tell me their stories and give me the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where” and “why” of their lives without having to ask.  Now, if I were to write a story about that time in my life and the people who influenced me, I'd have no problem retelling those stories or adjusting them to fit a specific purpose.

KIM
So would you say that this ‘emotional aspect' is different in every story, like a platform for self-discover? And with each story that you write that you delve deeper into Kendel Davi? I think that my characters reflect a part of me and that each time that I write with that character in mind I am delving deeper into that part of me. For instance, there is the antagonist in one of my stories, he is cruel, viciously cruel with no morals, to sense of right and wrong. He is just wants to inflict pain as much as possible. Now to a normal person they would be horrified, they should be horrified. But we as writers cannot afford to be, so we embrace that ‘character’ that part of ourselves that we keep hidden from the world and we give them a voice.

KENDEL
Every story does carry its own emotional weight but I'd have to say that now I’m able to keep a safe distance from it.  When I was younger, I'd dive in deep, way too deep and think that is what I had to do in order to get the work done, but what I realized is I'd get to a point where I couldn't finish.  When what you think you are catches up with the reality of who you are my brain stops and I find that my characters start working against me rather than working for me.  True, all character represent some aspect of the writer's internal emotional self but, and I have to get Freudian with this, I think all writers try to work from the id, but the ego and superego get in the way.  I love writing anti-heroes and there is a huge part of me that can remember when I was truly a rebel, but being 20 or so years away from that gives me enough perspective to look at that world reflectively.  I'm still looking for answers to what I was really going through at that time in my life but if I were to write about the things that I'm going through right now... I'd probably stop writing until I had some perspective.  I've had periods in my life when that has happened.  It mostly came from trying to tackle something emotionally that I wasn't ready to tackle.  When the impetus to write it came into direct conflict with what I was feeling, in depth at that time, there would be emotional gridlock and thus the writing would stop.

However, to jump a little to the left but still stay on point.  I think that when I'm locked into the emotional world of my characters I can allow them to take me wherever they want to take me.  When it comes to the sexual nature of my characters, I still find myself drawing from personal experience and implementing those actions (or non-actions) through my characters.  If I know what makes them tick emotionally I have to know what makes them tick sexually.  That's when I really feel myself giving over.  That's not to say that every sexual experience that I've written about I've done personally but I draw from those moments and try to figure out, for myself, how a lot of them happened.  Where was I emotionally to allow these things to happen or not happen?  In those times when things got strange what made me continue in those situations and with the ones I walked away from, why did I do that?

I guess I play a lot of "what if" with my past to get to the core of what my characters wants and desires are, but it's still all me. A perfect example of that would be in my story "The Dinner Party" that is in NNP's Postcards of Passion.  The heart of the story is about a bisexual woman who leaves her older lover to try and reconcile with her ex-boyfriend but when that relationship fails, she's forced to come back under certain "conditions".  It ends up turning into a group sex story that is F/F/F/M but each one of those characters is a little me mixed in with a lot of "what if's" from a moment in my past that didn't turn out as well as it does in this story.  In this story the jealously motivates the sex with the M/F married couple and allows a kind of emotional recognition with the other couple.  In reality, the jealously brewed to a point where the foursome became a threesome very quickly which was made even more odd because the person who left is the person who orchestrated it.  I was much younger then and my male libido took over and I lost a close friendship because of it. The strange things is that she didn't care when her girlfriend was with me, she got angry about watching her girlfriend with the other woman who was there.  She never viewed me as threat but since I chose to act out my physical wants and not think about her emotional needs I got the brunt of her anger.  The reasons were because we were good friends at the time and I brought the other woman to make that evening possible.  That story is very reflective of that personal situation from an emotional standpoint but all the character specifics are made up.  The emotional aspect comes from a place of "what if things had gone right and the lesson that needed to be learned happened that night".

I do have a lot of other stories that come from worlds I’ve never touched and probably won't have the ability to touch unless something in my life goes horribly wrong and I don't want that to happen.  But I know the one thing that I try to do is make sure that the emotional stakes that allow the sex to happen are as elevated as the physical sex itself. 
I guess the best way to put it would be if I can get someone to hates F/F stories to read one of mine and enjoy it because they emotionally understand what brought these characters together then I feel I've accomplished something.  The only way you can do that is to reveal as much of your emotional true self as you feel comfortable doing, even if the sexual aspects of the stories are only real in your fantasies.

What about you?
KIM
The emotional aspect to sex to me is more than the act. I want my readers to feel the tension and the angst that they feel, even if my characters think that they cannot be together. In Hells Angel my demon Kellah is standing outside Darrion Hunter’s home while he entertains a human woman. She had planned to break into his home and search through his things as he had done to her, a kind-of tit for tat. When Kellah realizes that Hunter has a woman in his house something happens to her, she becomes angry and resents that this woman is there, a possessiveness overwhelms Kellah, Hunter is hers and hers alone. In that moment as this demon realizes that she is attracted to the one that seeks to put her in jail for the rest of her life, she can hear their lovemaking, hear the bed squeak and see their reflections in the dimly lit room and she experiences pain like no other she had ever felt in Hell.
 
So to me the emotions of the characters, regardless of the act itself is paramount. That’s not to say that when any of my characters do finally get to fulfill their desires that it can be a re-enactment of my own wants and desires, that’s why writing is so fun. I can fuck who I want, and how I want, under the guise of one of my character, all of those hours spent typing have to be good for something don’t they?
 
KENDEL
Exactly!  That is where I have the most fun.  Writing characters that emotionally needs something so bad and then put obstacle after obstacle in front of them from achieving it.  Then when I do let them have it I can go anywhere I want because I've allowed the reader to feel they deserve it.

I guess that's why we do what we do.  To express that need so perfectly that anyone can understand it, feel it, taste it and want it for themselves.

That made me think of another thing.  When I write characters I have a tendency to write them physically flawed.  They're not that way for me but I try to focus on characters who, if they were real, most people wouldn't notice or they wouldn't have that instant physical attraction to.  I completely understand the allure of the physically "perfect" fantasy but I find it a lot more interesting to dive into the world of a character whose looks aren't as paramount as their desires.  Better yet, when they are driven to pursuit someone who doesn't fit that "perfect" look makes my fingers fly on the keyboard.

Maybe that's more of a reflection of living in Los Angeles.  There are a lot of extremely attractive people out here that spend all their time and money to get that way but when it come to human connection they are at a loss.  I won't go as far as to say that extremely attractive people are sexually boring but I will say that spending all that time to create an outward appearance that everybody desires says something about the internal emotional make up of that person.  I'll put it to you this way.  If I were writing an erotic story about a Hollywood starlet, I'd be naturally inclined to make her personal assistant my protagonist.  Especially because others would try to use her to get to the person she works for.  Eventually we could see the rules of this world through her eyes as she gets sucked into being this close to all the glamour. Eventually she will find what she really needs in the chauffeur or maybe the dog walker.  Somebody in the world who is willing to see her for what she really is not who she works for.  Ooh, I could put all sorts of obstacles in that.  See, I'm already into that world.  My brain is going to punch out that story outline later on tonight.

That brings me to something that I've always thought about when it comes to inspiration.  Do you go with the flow of your ideas or do you flush everything out first before you start dealing with the body of your work.  My muse loves to outline and plot things our first.  What about you?
KIM
Nah, that sounds like too much effort. I just sit and type and usually everything falls into place. There are books that I have outlined some events when I have lots of main characters and plots weaving through each other, but other than that I just let the characters run the show, they usually tell me when I’ve deviated from the story.

My characters aren’t physically flawed as such, although Hunter has been emotional eating I suspect. But, emotionally and personality flawed usually is involved with my characters. They each have to grow and learn, otherwise why bother to write them. That story sounds great, a really interesting mix and I hope that the words fly for you. Well this has been really interesting. It is great finding out what makes other writers tick, I guess we all are so very different in the way that we work and writing can be a lonely job sometimes so it’s nice to know that there are others like you out there tapping away, just like me.
  
Take care and thanks so much Kendel.
KENDEL
This has been great, Kim.  Thank you for chatting with me.  It's been very informative.  True we have different processes but we both want the same end result.  To connect to our readers in a very personal way that brings the emotional world into the reality of their minds.  It's a beautiful thing to want to do.  I wouldn't want to do anything else.

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