She brushes the locks of raven hair from her green eyes as she slinks back in the deep plush recliner. “I rarely get out of the recliner,” she says. “I work all the time, so I am always in it. I use that as an excuse to make Jess hand me my coffee and the remote and the dog and things.”
The dog is her dachshund, Mojo, who’s always at her side. Her brother Jess acts as her editor and collaborator, and has helped her to launch her new publishing company this year, Beau Coup Publishing. It’s hard to believe that Sable Hunter’s living room in Austin, Texas, is where so many erotic stories have been dreamt up and typed out, filling novels to meet her three-month deadlines. So many wild passions imagined, to enter the thoughts of lovers.
At 33, Hunter is fairly new to the scene, taking to writing full-time shortly after her 30th birthday in a genre that, despite being around for at least 200 years, has still never been taken too seriously. Once the stuff of hack Victorian writers, the recent ebook miracle of Fifty Shades of Grey, which now has a movie deal behind it, has gone to show that writing erotica can lead to not only lucrative literature, but be embraced by the mainstream community.
At a time like this, things couldn’t be better for writers. The increase in ebook popularity, the growing demand for material from publishers, she feels, makes it easier than ever for writers to get noticed, and in some ways, a whole lot easier to manage themselves.
For aspiring writers, Hunter has this to offer:
Now is the time. The doors are open. You can do it all yourself, go with an ebook publisher or go traditional. I have books with a publisher and some of my own and they are equally successful. Like no other time in history, writers are free to express themselves, make beautiful and official their work, and make all the money they ever wished to make just by sharing their creation with the universe. Amazon, B&N, Apple, and many other companies have elevated the private content generator to an importance never before seen. Take advantage of it. Want some advice? Here it is: GO FOR IT.
Although Hunter only became a writer in her thirties, getting there was something of a long-term goal for her; she divides much of her time between Texas near the Gulf and New Orleans, Lousiana, where she was born. “I wasn’t the prettiest girl back in middle school, but I made friends fast when the other girls realized how I could type out their fantasies on paper. A lot of the time they came to me for that.”
Growing up in New Orleans shaped her into the writer she is today. “I have a chicken in the oven that’s stuffed with crab dressing — and shrimp etouffee on top of the stove. I am such a good cook. I could bring you to your knees,” she whispers seductively.
The Cajun and Creole subcultures of the Big Easy left their mark on the author as well as her writing, where she frequently casts New Orleans witches as the protagonists of her novels. Her Cajun-style cooking has even become the main character of her recipe book Sable Does It In the Kitchen.
Everybody on my street – when I was growing up – the old people would go to mass in the morning and make a mojo bag in the afternoon. I thought it was normal. When I pray, I light candles. Every time I start a book I light an orange candle — or if I go to the casino I carry a luck bag or a buckeye. I carry mojo bags and I wear jewelry. I wear my magic — you know stones for money, creativity, healing or protection.
Hunter is all about knowing the locales of her novels and does extensive trips for her research, largely throughout Texas. “Well, they are great tax deductions,” she laughs, “but every place I’ve been, I’m searching for somewhere that will give me inspiration. The one that affected me most is Enchanted Rock in Texas. It’s magical — a mountain of pink quartz. The Indians thought it was haunted; and people who are sensitive say it is one of the more powerful places on Earth. And in Louisiana, the Leper Colony at Carville completely changed how I look at things. My heart broke for what the people there went through. Those don’t sound like erotic romance locales, do they?”
Music, however, is how Hunter chooses to express herself to her community, where for the most part she remains incognito, aside from playing the organ at church.
I play instinctively. I have played so long I don’t think about it. I can play in the dark. It’s so much a part of me that the music just flows from my fingertips. My favorite song to play is “The House of the Rising Sun.” That makes me remember New Orleans. It’s haunting. Like my writing, I tend to go with the tearjerkers. “Danny Boy” reminds me of my parents I have lost; and I also love to play “Unchained Melody.” I even wrote a book with that title and let the theme sorta drive my plot. When Katrina hit, I mourned like I was watching my best friend die, playing it over and over again.
Writing seems to come almost the same way, as her process typically spans between 3-4 months. First, she writes her entire book in three chapters — beginning, middle, and end. Then she goes back to expand it and tell the whole story, fleshing out the episodes in between:
It all starts with one single idea or a feeling. For example, a heart-tugging scene can grow into an entire novel. Forget Me Never was born from a picture I saw of a woman sleeping by her husband’s casket. ‘Her Magic Touch’ was inspired by the thought of a woman feeling unworthy as a man she adores finds fault with the way she looks. This was an unpopular hero, but I wanted to show how people in pain can lash out at those that mean the most to them. It meant something to me. The story needed to come out.