I.J. Miller will be one of the featured readers at the March 19th Erotic Literary Salon. May I suggest reading his wonderful reworked novel. To be purchased through Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Wuthering-Nights-Retelling-Heights-ebook/dp/B00AG0VMWO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359421406&sr=1-1&keywords=i.j.+miller+wuthering+nights
Brief story behind the story:
c copyright, Ira Miller, 2013
I.J. AND E.L.
By I.J. Miller
For sure I owe my current career status to E.L James.
My writing life started out with a bang thirty years ago, while in my twenties. I wrote a novel called SEESAW under my real name Ira Miller and it was published by St. Martin’s Press in hardcover, Bantam in paperback, and was translated into German and Spanish. I envisioned a marvelous career where I published a new novel every few years, maybe taught creative writing on the side. After all, I had sold the very first novel I had written! I even had a niche: my book was sexually explicit, but was a good literary story. Perhaps my mistake was not choosing to make my second novel sexy, because I didn’t sell it. I tried another, but my editor retired, the buzzzz from my first book became a zzzzzz, and I was soon aging out of being a hot young writer.
Did I pack it in? Never. But I eventually got married, started a family, and had to take a full time job coaching college tennis. I went from being a writer who taught tennis on the side, to a tennis coach who wrote on the side. During that time I had some minor success. I self-published a novel called WHIPPED and ended up selling the German rights to the publisher that had released SEESAW, which they decided to re-release as well. Both are still going strong in Deutschland. I also wrote a short story a year and eventually had my collection published, SEX AND LOVE, by an independent press, who also did a novella of mine called CLIMBING THE STAIRS.
With that came my own website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Goodreads profile. Anything to get read! A tough haul.
A few things happened during this time:
I started to accumulate a small body of work.
Despite still writing literary stories, with sometimes dysfunctional sex, and a few unhappy endings, I kept getting nudged into the category of erotica, even the sub-genre, literary erotica.
I had to change my writing name to I.J. Miller, because it was too easy for my tennis players to Google me and erotica and working at a university was a whole can of worms I preferred not to deal with.
Some good things happened this past year:
With the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the e-book boom, erotic fiction took off and I figured it was now or never. I did the bold move of quitting my full time job (yes, I gave up my benefits, too) to write full time.
I reconnected with my old literary agent.
She sold a proposal to do an erotic retelling of a classic book to a major publisher: the Grand Central Publishing imprint of Hatchette Books. For the first time, I actually got paid before I completed a book.
I had only six weeks to write it and immersed myself in Emily Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights and penned WUTHERING NIGHTS. It was a labor of love in many ways. It’s not a lot of verbatim text with some sex scenes thrown in. I worked hard to stay true to the original language, themes, and characters, but came up with a number of new plot twists and turns that help make the eroticism more organic and greatly heightens the romance. Most important to me, was doing justice to the original and peeling away a few more layers to the story for the modern audience. It feels like the best work I’ve done.
I now fully accept the title of erotic writer. If you can’t be Philip Roth, well E.L James is no slouch.
I just submitted a three book proposal for a New Adult erotic story about a senior in college who has her first real affair with her English Professor and I’m holding my breath waiting to hear back.
I’m writing full time every day.
It basically feels as if back in the day I started immediately in the major leagues, then toiled for almost thirty years in the minor leagues, then just got called back up to the majors. The trick now is how to stay there.
So I owe E.L. a big sexy thank you.
Ironically, E.L and I have another distinct connection. My German publisher, Heyne at Random House, decided this past fall to re-release SEESAW yet again, with its fourth new cover, and this time with a title change. The new cover, like so many other stories, titles, covers, etc. was a total Fifty Shades rip-off, down to the font style and the tie, which was just repositioned a different way. Recently, the cover disappeared off the website and was replaced by one that was exactly the same, except the tie was exchanged for a coiled metal chain. I emailed my editor and asked her why the cover change. She emailed me back and said E.L. James, who they also publish, complained.
I didn’t mind. E.L., you’ve done more than enough.