I’ve made no bones about this – my real name is not Amy Temple. Amy Temple is the name under which I write erotica, plan to publish erotica and tweet and blog about aforesaid writing and publishing of erotica. I say I ‘write’ under the name, which sounds odd since no one needs to know your name when you’re writing something, but I use the name ‘Amy Temple’ to switch my brain into Erotica Writing Mode. Doing so represents a great financial saving on alcohol, obnoxiously musky scented candles and Barry White mp3s, which otherwise might be needed to affect the necessary mental reboot (Christ, you’re going to think my book is total balls now).
I have also been tempted to think of Amy Temple as an entirely different person to the regular me, especially as I’m keen to keep the disconnect between my real self and Amy as complete as possible. Sometimes I’ll go to Twitter to post a tweet about something and then I’ll think ‘if anyone I know reads this, they will instantly know that Amy is me, because I am the only person they know who can bang on about Prosecco, Formula One, and the utter ridiculousness of the Dublin property market in the same sentence.’
But I don’t want to write in a vacuum. I want to connect with other writers and with readers – and not just because the ‘OMG use Twitter to sell books!’ brigade told me to (I don’t happen to believe that Twitter, or any other social media platform, sells books in any way except by letting readers know they exist – and believe me, if there are any books out there about Prosecco, Formula One and the utter ridiculousness of the Dublin property market I will find them, with or without Twitter). I don’t think I’m going to be much of an erotica writer if I secrete myself away in my writing cave in Dublin, emerging only to replenish my tea supplies. I will only get better if I’m learning from other people, readers and writers, who are passionate about the genre.
So how do you connect with people, when you aren’t technically being you?
When creating Amy, I’ve created her mostly by omitting things about myself. I haven’t disclosed some things – innocuous things, like habits, preferences and my regular Starbucks order – that would instantly telegraph who I am to anyone who knew me in person.
But I don’t make stuff up. I really do love Tiffany Reisz‘s books, and she really did inspire me to become an erotica author. I really do follow Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog and I love her self-publishing advice. I drink Prosecco. I live in south Dublin and I bang on about the property market and Formula One rather more than I should.
I also don’t fake my responses (as an erotica author, seriously, what the fuck would I be doing faking it?). If I think a Tweet is interesting, I retweet it or reply to it. I don’t tweet things like ‘Wow, I love my home so much, I am so privileged to live at 121 Fake Street,’ but if I got a sudden urge to tweet about how nice it is to live in a friendly community in a big city, I’d do it.
I’m keeping my responses real, even if I am concealing certain facts. Connection isn’t about facts. It’s about responses. I recently found out that a friend of mine loves an obscure 90s music act that I also love – it’s the shared love that made us connect in a new way, not the prosaic reality of matching tapes on our shelves (I’m old enough for tapes, just so you know, and I romanticise the shit out of them).
I will tell you this, though. I’m a Starbucks junkie, and my new signature drink was created especially for me by a helpful barista, and I now spend half of my life (or at least half of the portion of my life spent in Starbucks, which is like a quarter of my life) explaining to the staff that it really isn’t gross.