Q: Which authors, if any, have inspired your writing, especially when it comes to dark erotica?
A: As horrible as this sounds as an author, I remember the stories more than I remember the author who writes them. Also, I tend to enjoy so-called 'amateur' authors (fanfiction authors) more than the ones I buy off the shelf. Some that come to mind:
- Not an author, but a writer all the same: Talionis, the player behind the character of Lucy Crown in former TSW. Their manner of handling description always had me in awe, and I wish I could replicate it, but it's one of those annoying things that while I can see what they're doing, I can't quite pull off how they do it. But any character they write just has a way of coming alive that I envy beyond any bounds. You can find Talionis over on Twitter as @LexiTalionis, although they don't have any personal website that I'm aware of.
- Crimson Lotus, who let me beta read, several years ago, their erotica novel based on Planescape. I have no idea if she's still active anymore, unfortunately, but she really had a way of working the atmosphere of the City of Doors into their works in a very natural way, while keeping the action very, very hot.
- Princess Alexandria, who wrote the Not Myself AU novel based on the X-Men universe. While not erotica, her works have some outrageously awesome characterization of original characters and some, IMO, masterful coordination of long-term plots and developments. I've only read the 'Not Myself' series, so I don't know if this holds to her other work, but it looks like she was active as recently as 2017.
Q: What is the relationship between the Modern Gods setting and the Secret World setting?
A: The Secret World (and later, Secret World Legends) is a proprietary urban fiction/paranormal setting developed by Funcom, and which I am a long-time fan of. It, along with Hellgate: London, Caballistics, Inc., and others inspired me to create an original setting for short stories and a novel-in-planning, and that original setting is Modern Gods.
Modern Gods shares some similarities that are somewhat unavoidable, given that it, too, draws on existing real life lore and conspiracy theories. How it weaves those together, though, and how all the pieces work, is unique. In Modern Gods you'll meet the Dark Ocean Society and the Alexandria Foundation; the Brotherhood of the Wolf -- the descendants of the now-extinct Druidic orders -- controls access to the ley lines, giving their sect influence that far outstrips their small size.
Given I'm a roleplayer, I've been tempted to set up a small-scale RPG setting, either via a text-based MUD or Discord/forum RP, based around Modern Gods, but the jury is still out on whether I'll actually do it.
Q: The story 'Mary' mentions that Isaac is a naga. What's a naga?
A: Ah, Isaac. You'll be seeing more of him soon!
A naga, in the Modern Gods universe, is a type of reptilian shapeshifter. Its natural form is human from the waist up and serpentine from the waist down, although they usually hunt in a completely human form. Naga are usually Asian in appearance when human, and are traditionally both territorial and hierarchical. Males establish a hunting-slash-breeding ground that can be anywhere from a few square miles to a dozen or more, depending on the population density of the area. Within that territory, they establish a harem of (human) females, usually disposing of any potential male suitors at the same time.
Nagas are stealthy nocturnal hunters, and use innate camouflage abilities to blend in with dark backgrounds and shadows. They are venomous, but the venom isn't deadly. Rather, it is a neurotoxin which dulls the ability to self-initiate complex actions (similar to the effect of an emerald wasp), inhibits higher cognitive function, and impairs the formation of short-term memories. As a result, the envenomed target is suggestible, has difficulty making decisions, is physically compliant, and rarely remembers the attack. The venom additionally has a mild narcotic aspect which is addictive after repeated exposure.
Naga are long-lived by nature, and can easily reach ages of two centuries or more. Few reach such an impressive age, however, as any carelessness in their hunting will have them branded as either a serial killer or a serial rapist, and a single naga is no match for an angry mob.