I am very pleased today to welcome Sessha Batto, writer of homoerotic literature, to my blog.
Welcome, Sessha. Tell us about your new novel, Shinobi.
At it’s heart, Shinobi is the story of Takahashi Yoshi, a modern day ninja struggling to overcome years of sexual abuse in the course of his duties. It explores the complexities of duty, honor, and trust in light of such abuse and whether or not a heart so hardened can truly learn to love. His counterpart, Sasaki Makoto, has spent his career in torture and interrogation, exploring not only the dark secrets of his clan’s enemies, but also the darkness in his own heart.
I’m intrigued: what is Literary Anime?
Literary anime is a term I coined to try and convey the stylized vision of the world I was trying to create. Just as anime uses certain stylized visual conventions I tried to create a similar stylization through language.
When and why did you become interested in writing homo eroticism?
I actually first came across homoerotic fiction by accident while I was searching for some companion stories for my son to read based on his favorite television series . . . needless to say, I’m glad I didn’t just turn him loose on the internet! While I was initially surprised by the pairing, as I read more and more I found the dynamics of male/male couples to be much more intriguing than the usual heterosexual pairings. The exchange of power is much more fluid, and control can shift in an instant and in the unlikeliest ways. There is also something very hot about two men being vulnerable with each other. All of these make writing homoerotic fiction much more interesting than working with a more traditional male/female pairing. I also must admit that, as a decidedly heterosexual woman, female heroines in romance leave me flatter than flat – I could not have less interest in voluptuous heaving bosoms, give me more hot men instead!!
What research did you do into the complicated world of Japanese society, and indeed, into homoeroticism?
Japanese society, culture and language have been an interest of mine for most of my life. The hard part is not incorporating it but, rather, doing so in a way that remains accessible for people not familiar with the culture. The homoerotic aspect is not much different from writing heterosexual erotica – the plumbing is a bit different, but the underlying emotional connection (or lack thereof) is the same. Add a few gay friends with a propensity for oversharing and voila!
How would you describe your fan base/ readership? Exclusively gay men or do your books have a wider audience?
My audience is mainly women (about 80%) which makes sense as they like hot men (and if one is hot, two together is even hotter) and they enjoy the romance aspect, about 15% gay men (although those numbers are growing) and about 5% brave heterosexual men (although I admit a lot of them suggest I rewrite the stories without the sex!)
What sort of feedback do you get about your books?
My writing is dark, the road for my couples is always a rocky one because, in my opinion, real life is rarely the fairytale perfection so many romances put forward. The comments I receive usually focus on my believable characters and the way I handle the hurt/comfort – drawing vulnerability out of very masculine men without making them weak or womanly.
Where are your books available?
At the moment the only things available are some short works – Wintersong is part of Dancing in the Dark: An Anthology of Erotica, although it is the only homoerotic piece in the collection. Amadan na Briona is part of Eightcuts Gallery Press’s Once Upon A Time in a Gallery exhibit http://eightcuts.com/eight-cuts-gallery/once-upon-a-time-in-a-gallery/mirror-mirror/. Shinobi will be out this summer as an e-book and early this fall as two volumes in print. My first book, Strength of Will, will be re-released later this summer in both print and e-book formats. I also have a piece, The Poetry Game, in the upcoming New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan anthology for tsunami relief.
What other books or projects are you working on?
I’m currently splitting my time between two projects – In the Desert of the Porcupines, which is a very dark novella about a D/s relationship and Onna Bugeisha which is set in 14th century Japan and draws parallels between the three main characters (two men and a woman) and the Japanese mythology of Amaterasu, Susanoo and Tsukuyomi.
Thank you Sessha, the best of luck with your writing. I’m sure I shall read some of your books in future.
Shinobi is available from PfoxChase publishers