Feminist Erotica 1.6 — Interview: Suleikha Snyder on Bollywood, Werewolves, and Hot Bartenders

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In this episode, Jera and Princess talk to Suleikha Snyder. Suleikha is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romance, short stories, novellas, and full-length novels. You’ll hear:

  • Why Suleikha is candid about mental health issues with her followers, 3:00
  • The South Asian writer community on Twitter, 4:00
  • Suleikha’s publishing history with small presses and self-publishing, 5:30
  • Why Suleikha is drawn to short stories and novellas, 6:42
  • Suleikha’s most recent works and why they have Hindi pun names, 11:23
  • How Suleikha distinguishes between romance and erotica and why they all need happy endings, 15:08
  • Suleikha’s thoughts on what makes work feminist (the character’s ability to choose their own happy endings), 20:00
  • How being a diversity advocate fits into being a feminist author, 23:00
  • On the importance of writing authentic characters as part of being a diversity advocate (and decent human being), 26:50
  • What’s bringing Suleikha joy and her newest paranormal series, Third Shift, 34:17

Find the episode on Anchor or Spotify, or Apple Podcasts. Listen to the entire episode or read the transcript below.

Follow Suleikha: On Twitter @suleikhasnyder and Instagram @suleikhasnyder.

Transcript 

Voiceover Goddess: Welcome to Feminist Erotica, a podcast from Rebellious Magazine for Women. Join Jera, Karen and Princess for stimulating interviews that explore feminist representations of desire as well as short and sweet erotic snippets read by the authors themselves. This episode is sponsored by Just the Tip, Rebellious Magazine’s inclusive sex and relationship advice column, where you’ll find interviews with sexuality researchers and educators, as well as compassionate responses to anonymous questions. Check it out at rebelliousmagazine.com/just-the-tip.

Jera: Thank you for joining us listeners. This is Jera Brown, one of the hosts of Feminist Erotica, and I am joined also by Princess McDowell, another cohost that I’m actually getting to know better through this project, but we’re both writers for Rebellious Magazine and our special guest for this interview is Suleikha Snyder. Suleikha is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romance, short stories, novellas, and full-length novels. Her most recent release is a steamy audiobook bundle of her wildly popular, Tikka Chance On Me and Prem Numbers, a short story collection, both narrated by Nina Archer. And we’re looking forward to Big, Bad Wolf, a paranormal romance novel about a mobster killing shifter and the woman that makes him feel human. It will be released by Sourcebooks Casablanca in January of 2021. Like me, Suleikha currently lives in Chicago. You can find out more about her work at Suleikhasnyder.com. I’ll have a link to her website in our show notes at feministerotica.com. To start with, how’s the writing going amidst the quarantine. Like are you figuring stuff out?

Suleikha: It’s been a challenge for sure. My second book in the Third Shift series is due, was due originally, I want to say two months ago, and the pandemic sort of got in the way of that. It was just sort of like, how are you supposed to hit a deadline when the world’s on fire? And it took me a really long time to sort of navigate that including figuring out that I needed a little boost with my mental health and talking to my psychiatrist and my therapist and realizing that it was okay to ask for help and to tell my editor I needed extensions and really to reach out and keep in touch with them and myself. And now I feel like I’m finally on the right track and actually can hit my deadline, my next deadline, and get to writing and things are looking a little more positive, but it was definitely a challenge for a while there, because I think a lot of artists and creative people are finding it hard to see the light when there’s so much darkness.

Jera: Yeah, for sure. In your blog, on your website, you go into a lot of detail about your personal life and the industry and things that you struggle with such as your mental health issues. So I think it’s probably useful both through your readers and other writers alike, right? To see really how everything fits together?

Suleikha: Yeah. I mean, my blog is sort of, I think blogs, in general, are lower in traffic these days, but you know, so I say a lot of what’s what’s there on Twitter and there are definitely people who have followed my journey over the past several years and watched my struggles as a writer and someone who is very conscious of maintaining her mental health. And people will see when I’m not doing so good and they’ll see me bounce back and I really do want my struggles to help other people, for sure, especially, I think a lot of other South Asians, because our community has such a stigma about talking about mental health issues that I really want my fellow South Asian writers to know that it’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to get help. And it’s also not gonna get fixed magically. So it’s very important to me to make those topics public.

Jera: Is there a South Asian writer community on Twitter?

Suleikha: There is. I mean, it’s sort of, I think there’s a community — you will always find your community in any given group, whether you’re a knitter or a writer or whether you play Dragon Age or whatever. I just saw something on Twitter about Dragon Age, so it’s in my head. So yeah, a lot of us found each other online and through conferences and other book events and we keep in touch and there’s a pretty good group of South Asian romance writers and we’re always up in each other’s DMS or texting each other and supporting one another. And I think, especially as the calls for diversity and inclusivity have gotten louder and more insistent in the past several years, we’ve also been banning together to fight for more representation in publishing.

Jera: Niice. So can you tell us just a little bit about your history as a writer, how you got started? And I believe you, you started out self-publishing, correct?

Suleikha: Actually, no. I started out with small presses — small, independent presses in … I want to say my first short story was published in 2011 or 2012 with a small press. And I went on to publish several more novellas with other small presses, and then they started closing and they started closing and I was like, well, I’ve just started to make a name for myself. So in 2014 is when I started self-publishing because I wanted that work to still be out there. I was like, what, what was really my, I had to learn it all from the ground up and in order to keep my career going the way I wanted it to go with this upward trajectory.

Princess: Can you talk a little bit about what draws you to the short story and novella format in your writing?

Suleikha: I want to say it’s sort of like my shorter term, well, my short attention span for one. But I just capture … it’s so funny cause I actually, all my friends will tell you, I talk a lot in real life, but when it comes to stories, I like to use just enough words to get the point across. Like, it’s really hard for me to just go on and on when I just want to be able to say what I want to say. And I also came from writing fan fiction and short form fan fiction when I was younger starting by hand when I was 11, writing 21 Jump Street, fan fiction before computers that’s …

Princess: Right, right.

Suleikha: In the good old days. And then going on to fanfiction.net and live journal, predating even AOL3 or Archive of Our Own. And I always wrote short form fan fiction. So it’d be gap fillers and missing scenes and things that captured snippets of character or moments or emotions. You know, I was never one of those people who wrote the hundred-chapter, “please leave a comment on every chapter, so I’ll post the next one” kind of writer. And so I think that training is still in me to write short, to get it done, to get these snapshots of people and let you see them, and then step away. Actually, now that I’ve transitioned into writing full-length novels, that was also part of the challenge of getting a full book contract and writing during the pandemic, is that this is the first time I’m writing something that’s longer than 40,000 words. Holy crap.

Princess: Yeah, just probably … I think one thing that a lot of creatives are also experiencing right now is because 2020 was marked just by the enormity of the year. And it being like ‘This is going to be my year!” that a lot of people were planning to shift into new directions creatively. So now it’s like, we were all gung ho to do new things and not being able to fall into the same patterns and routines that proved successful for us in the past and having to forge a new way to do that in the middle of a pandemic and a racial uprising and climate, just going bananas all over — I think, you talked a little bit about transparency earlier, and I think the entire process of that now — we’ve gotten to a place in as a community and it’s a culture where we just let it out. Like there’s not anything that we would hold back from each other about our pure lived experience as whatever margins that we sit in.

Suleikha: Exactly. Exactly. I don’t see a point in hiding any of it from anyone because what am I going to gain by pretending this is easy, or I’m not a hot mess right now?

Princess: We are all hot messes. Shout out to the hot messes.

Jera: I wonder, too, if it changes what readers are looking for, if they’re more open to short pieces, because we just don’t have the energy and the attention span, for instance.

Suleikha: Yeah, I think so definitely. And I do think that this is where romance and erotica do tend to diverge is that erotica readers are much more comfortable with short pieces. Like I’m in a lot of anthologies with Cleis Press edited by Rachel Kramer Bustle. And erotic audiences love that format. Those anthologies sell like hotcakes, whereas romance readers tend to like longer, more involved stories, often trilogies and things. But over the past several years, you’ll see that they’re getting more and more open to novellas, to shorter fiction, to anthologies and to romance anthologies. And I think that does speak to the fact that people want quick comfort — something that they can just read to make themselves feel happy. They know it’s going to end happily, like a quick short burst of dopamine, you know? Yeah.

Jera: Yeah. So let’s talk about your two most recent collections: Tikka Chance On Me and Prem Numbers. Can you explain the connection between them?

Suleikha: Oh, yes. Yes. So Tikka Chance On Me is a novella that I wrote in 2018 and it’s set in a small town on the Ohio-Indiana border. So, and it just ended up being very … it’s about a girl who works at her family’s Indian restaurant, and there’s a hot biker who always comes in with this crew and kind of flirts with her, and it’s just a bad idea all around, but he’s, he’s really cute. And they ended up hooking up in the Walmart parking lot, as you do.

Princess: Yay.

Suleikha: After running into each other at the garden center. Yeah. And then, let’s just say, things are not as they seem, but it’s a bit of a rom-com and I just enjoyed writing it. And it was something I wrote when I thought it my career was over and I just wanted to write something silly and sexy, and it ended up being one of the most popular things I’ve ever written.

Princess: That’s awesome. That’s the way that it happens every time. You’re like ‘I’m done with this’ … one last shebang … and they’re like, ‘ Give us more.’

Suleikha: Exactly. And then, every couple of years I tend to put out a short story bundle of things that I’ve previously published. And then I try to write some new material and I give them punny Indian American names. So I’ve got Ishk factors, “ishk” means love instead of risk factors. Dil or No Dil instead of Deal or No Deal that “dil” means heart in Hindi. So I’ve had a third collection coming down the pike: Prem Numbers (prem also means love) instead of prime numbers, and I put a couple of previously published stories in there, including another one of my really popular ones about a black female vice president who falls in love with her Muslim American secret service agent and—spoiler alert—she gets a second term as vice president and then runs for president

Princess: Everything about this, I love. 

Suleikha: Then I wrote that I had fingers crossed for Kamala Harris. And then I was like, ‘Whoa, it actually happened.’ And no, she does not have a hot Muslim-American secret service agent. Stop that gossip right now.

Princess: No that’s AOC. Yeah,

Suleikha: Exactly. But anyway, I was getting off track. So, and then I wrote another story for that collection that takes place in that same Indiana, Ohio small town with young South Asian woman living in a small town. And it’s basically my retelling of Roadhouse where she hooks up with the two hot bisexual men who owned a local roadhouse. So that’s how Tikka Chance on Me and Prime Numbers are connected — by the two stories set in that universe. And Tor audio bundled them together as an audio bundle. So I wandered all over the place with that explanation. So the three stories mentioned in that ramble of mine: Tikka Chance on Me: the biker novella; In Her Service is the black female vice president Latisha Hughes and her romance with her secret service agent; and then She’s So Lovely is the name of the short story that’s a retelling of Roadhouse.

Jera: I didn’t make it to Tikka Chance on Me. I’ve read quite a bit of the stories from Prem Numbers, and I’ve read one of your novels so far in your Bollywood collection and well, what struck me, especially with the short stories. Some of the short stories I know have been in erotica anthologies, and I guess I’m curious if you see, if you make that distinction in your head when you’re writing something whether you’re writing it as a romance piece or as erotica, or if you just write what comes and then figure it out.

Suleikha: Yeah. I mean, I write what comes in then figure it out. I mean, to me, even when I’m writing something that would end up in an eroitc anthology, it has to have some sort of happy ending. Like there has to be a romance element. I know that a lot of people will ask, especially in the romance community, how do you define romance, erotic romance and erotica, right? You know, and a romance doesn’t even really necessary, well, none of them necessarily have to have sex in them, but you know, a romance is about the romantic journey and the emotional arc, and erotic romance is where sex is a huge part of the romantic journey — like you can’t get rid of the sex and still have the journey. And with erotica, it’s really more about the sexual journey and it doesn’t have to have a romantic component. It can be a solo exploration of themself through sex. And that’s how we try to explain it. When people ask about the three differences between those three designations for me, I always have to have the heart involved. Like I need my happily ever afters just for myself. Like, even if they’re just banging it out, they have to be happy at the end.

Princess: Definitely making breakfast afterwards. Like clean break with Uber.

Suleikha: Right. Whatever that happy ending is. I mean, it doesn’t have to be, it’s not marriage and babies. It’s more like, maybe you finally asked for his number. Maybe it’s an, ‘I love you.’ Maybe it’s a … I don’t know. It doesn’t have to be anything finite, but it’s like … just has to be emotionally satisfying for the reader and the characters. And that’s just for me as a writer, I want, I want happy endings everywhere. I don’t like it in movies when there’s a tease of a romance and then they go off their separate ways. Like what’s that movie … Replacement Killers. And that other movie with the Jet Li and Bridget Fonda. I’m still bitter about the fact that there was this teased romance and then the characters go off their separate ways. I was like, ‘No!’ You made me sit through all of that sexual tension and nothing happened.

Princess: Kiss of the Dragon.

Suleikha: Kiss of the Dragon. Thank you. Yes.

Jera: That reminds me about one of your pieces in one of the Best Women’s Erotica series, not the most recent, the one before that, about the bar hookup. And I love the ending that happened because somebody needed a friend and there was this understanding that it was okay to wait until somebody else needs a friend. That hopefulness is just as worthy of a happy ending, I guess.

Suleikha: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you walk away from that story not necessarily expecting them to date or anything in the future, but just know that it’s possible to be a comfort to someone in a rough time and to have a moment of kinship. That might not be considered a happy ending to some, but I thought it was hopeful. Yeah.

Jera: What you’re talking about, the sexual journey, what does erotica allow you to do with your characters that something that’s more of a straight romance doesn’t?

Suleikha: I don’t know. I mean, because to me, you should be able to do it in a romance and an erotica. For me, I’m like-that’s more about craft than it is about genre or sub genre to me. Like if there is a message that you want to put forth in your story, you should be able to do that as a writer, no matter whether it’s set in space or whether it’s erotic or whether there’s no sex in it at all.

Jera: That’s a good answer.

Princess: So we talked a little bit earlier about how this season, we’re really trying to figure out what makes or what has to be included to make a particular erotica story be feminist. We’ve been asking listeners with a poll, and I just kinda wanna talk through with you a little bit about what you think has to check those boxes in order to rightfully call them feminist stories. So one of the things we included was a story that showcases enthusiastic consent and autonomy between characters; if a writer is writing about their lived experience in terms of identity, does that inclusion of kind of backstory and background make the story feminist just from who the author is creating it. And then a couple of others we included was authentic character development, so the sex is not the end result — more about that journey arc that we were talking about. And then if there is an element to the story that challenges a societal status quo, whether it’s in a different pairing of power dynamics or something, that’s a little bit outside of mainstream society of what we deemed to be acceptable or whatever. So what do you think about that conversation? What are the types of things that kind of have to check that box for you when you’re reading or creating work?

Suleikha: For me, I think there has to be — the characters have to have an agency, especially the female — the female presenting characters — and the other marginalized identities as well. There has to be an element of agency and autonomy, the freedom to make choices. And they may not be the choices you necessarily consider feminist. That’s why a lot of people will say romance, novels aren’t feminist because it ends with a woman getting married and popping out babies. And I’m like, yes, but is the woman here choosing that for her life? That’s her valid life decision. Her happy ending is to get married to some dude named Chad and have four babies. That’s not my happy ending, but she chose it. Does she have the agency and autonomy in making that choice? She’s not being forced into it. Then that can be seen as feminist, whether it is feminist or not. You know, I don’t know that that depends on the individual book and the circumstances. So to me, it’s all about … there has to be an element of freedom of choice, of willingness and that goes all with enthusiastic consent. Like, are the characters consenting to this? And if they are not consenting, is it part of negotiated kink play? You know, so again, and that, of course then that the people have agency cause they have negotiated that this is kink. So the characters have to yeah. So to me, consent and agency go hand in hand and that’s definitely a huge part of the conversation of what makes something feminist, in my opinion.

Jera: On your website, you call yourself a diversity advocate. I think advocate was the term, right?

Suleikha: Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

Jera: Where does advocating for diversity fit into this conversation about feminist literature for you?

Suleikha: I mean, it’s, you can’t untangle it because to me, I mean my identity as a woman of color and an author of color, a woman of South Asian extraction, is all tied up in my feminism. So advocating for one, for me, means advocating for the other and advocating for both. You know, if you’re not fighting for representation for Black characters, Black authors, Asian characters, Asian authors, if you’re not fighting for trans women, then your feminism is bullshit as the saying goes. Those are the things we ask for and we demand and we push back in, in the romance community and hopefully in the erotica community. I’m not as involved in the erotica community. So I don’t know what, what is being done in terms of authentic and representation and more uplifting of marginalized voices. But in romance, we have been trying to push for a massive sea change for years, and we’re picking up the fight that authors like Beverly Jenkins and Sandra Kitt. And Brenda Jackson and Monica Jackson were fighting decades ago to get their books on shelves, to be heard …  to prove it’s — I hate to even say this — they had to prove to people that black love was just as valid as white love, which is ridiculous because of course it is. Like, God, that’s frustrating. Like, Oh my God. But they did it. They kicked the doors open for us and everyone who is coming in after them. You know, they kicked the doors open and they held it open for us. So every author of color in romancelandia, in the romance writing community, who is out here now with the trade paperbacks, the colorful trade paperbacks you see in the bookstores, with the award-winning books, you know the women, the authors who get to go on Good Morning America and all that, they owe a huge — we owe a huge to the women who came before and were fighting the fight and we owe it to them to keep, to keep worrying, to keep making sure that door is open. And so when I call myself a diversity advocate, it’s more of an optimistic and hopeful … like, I hope I deserve to call myself that because I, yeah. I want to keep holding that door open and keep fighting the same fight and making sure that those that come after me have it easier and are able to tell all the filthy or sweet — they can be filthy, they can be sweet — all the stories about women of color that they want to tell.

Jera: So I was reading, I was looking back at your older blog posts, and one of them was Born to be White: How Biracial Historical Heroes Reinforced the Status Quo. And I guess I was just thinking about it, it’s not just about having representation, but it’s about having honest, authentic representation or representation that also moves forward our ideas of culture too.

Suleikha: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So basically a lot of people will say, ‘Well, my hero is a biracial Duke.’ Or ‘I wrote a book about a hot Asian guy, like that’s diverse.’ And the thing is … no, are you reinforcing stereotypes? Are you reinforcing harmful ideas about how we’re not acceptable unless we’re falling into line with your fetishes or we’re not acceptable unless we’re also white (or not also white because we’ll still be brown), but just the ways in which people try to reinforce white supremacy and you can do that while still writing characters of color. And so it’s kind of our job to call those representations out too and hold people’s feet to the fire. I read so many romance novels, historicals especially, where they would always bring up the Kama Sutra in regard to India. Like, and it just, it drove me bananas. Cause it’s not like they were handing this out on every street corner to every white person who got off the boat. You know, that was not the sum total of India, not to mention the fact that the British were colonizing India at the time. So they ignore the colonization. You know, they ignore the fact that they made Indians into coolies and into servants. And they just talk about how the Indians taught them how to bang and that is so harmful. Like it’s so toxic and then you’ll see it everywhere. It’s the same thing with people fetishizing East Asian submissiveness or hypersexuality in the Black community. You’ll see, it’s just fetishizing us, it’s not equal representation because fetishizing us takes away our power and our voice.

Jera: Really quickly, one thing that comes to mind, I get asked to write about Tantra, and I won’t do it because it’s appropriation. My own mind is that I practice, I’m interested in neo-tantra, which I think is … hopefully an okay way of just saying … this is not the thing that came out of India. That is a religious tradition that I do not practice, but I am interested in massaging your clit. So let’s separate those two things. But yeah, I think India in particular just feels like a hot spot of appropriation and fetishization when I start to think about it. But so having read just one of your novels that has to do with a biracial Indian American character, Rocky, who’s a kickass character, I’m wondering if, when you’re writing her, or similar characters, if you have this in mind somehow about how basically how to do it better.

Suleikha: I mean, again, you never want to say do it better. You just do it authentically. You know, again, at the end of the day, a lot of this stuff goes back to a craft issue. Are you writing a good character? Are they whole, are they fully realized, do they have emotions? If you start from that route, then you’re automatically going to be in a better space than trying to make them fit into some sort of box as the good biracial character. Like to me, Rocky reminded me a lot of, because I grew up with a lot of aunties, the white aunties who were married to some of the Indian uncles, and they had, they had biracial kids together. And they didn’t strike me as being particularly, cause a lot of these books to put forth this narrative of being torn between two cultures and all of us. Like, no, these, these kids seem perfectly well adjusted and beautiful and happy and they love both of their parents. There’s no like … and that’s kind of where I wanted to be with Rocky as a person who is trying to get more in touch with her heritage. But it’s also not necessarily torn between being Indian or being American. And again, it’s just about writing a character who feels human and authentic and real. And the book we’re talking about right now is Bollywood and the Beast for those who wanted to know what turn we took.

Jera: Right? Yeah. Apologies. I did not mention the title of that book and it’s book number three of what’s the name of the series?

Suleikha: It’s the Bollywood confidential series. It’s basically one of my first series and the first free novella in it is, is a kitchen sink, hot flaming mess. I think I even wrote an author’s note in it, but it’s basically basically if you read between the lines, I am so sorry that this is a flaming pile of … you know … but I just threw everything in there cause I was experimenting. and I slowly got stronger as a writer and figured everything out, but Bollywood and the Beast is definitely the strongest of those first three early novellas and a favorite of mine as well. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Jera: In a surprising way. It’s not … I think I was, I was super surprised when reading it. The characters were introduced and I was like, I know where this is going, and then it did not go that way. It’s always what you want out of a book.

Suleikha: Yeah. I mean, I’m very …  I’m a soap opera fan. I love Bollywood movies. I love romance novels. So you can always count on me to put those three genres in a blender and come up with absolutely ridiculous combinations. And I like to, I like to keep people guessing for sure.

Princess: Can you talk a little bit about what, what you have new going on? I know that there’s a book ready to drop. We want to talk about the good stuff right now. If there is something that’s giving you joy, because I feel like joy is a thing that we’re really having to cultivate personally and lean into it and make it through day to day.

Suleikha: Yes joy …. I mean, again, at the end of the day, being a romance reader and a romance writer is about joy. It’s about experiencing it. It’s about creating it. It’s about you know, putting down stories about joy, triumphing over adversity and evil. And so I’ve been really lucky to have a community, the romance community friends we’re still there for each other, through all of this, with our writing, with our squeeing over what book we read lately. And we’ll all the support I’m seeing for my upcoming series, the series Third Shift. It’s a dark series. It’s set kind of an alternate post-2016 election where supernatural creatures sort of came out of the darkness, like a controlled leak from the NSA or something cause they knew the president was gonna tell everyone, like revealing the secret to Area 51. You know this dope is going to tell everyone. So suffice it to say in the year, since then everyone knows that supernatural creatures exist, and their battle for personhood and rights is right alongside that of migrants and people of color things have gotten a lot worse. There are camps, there are camps along the borders now for supernaturals too, and drone surveillance everywhere. But in the midst of that, there’s still love — at least in … and that’s kind of like my own way of working through the real-life darkness is that I have to believe that they’re still loved. And the first book is sort of based on Marvel’s the Punisher. He’s a vigilante, a military veteran and a bit of vigilante. And in the book, the character has killed a few Russian mobsters after his foster brother was murdered in a shootout and he kinda snapped and he killed a couple of mobsters as you accidentally do sometimes. Oops. As you want to do. And he ends up in jail and Brooklyn awaiting a second trial cause the first one didn’t go very well. And he ends up falling for a member of his legal team. She’s not technically his lawyer, she’s just consulting on the case and they ended up going on the run when the mob tries to put a hit on him and they end up on a run together and falling in love. And of course beating the bad guys. It’s not a spoiler to say there’s a, there’s a satisfying, hopeful ending for them and he’s still it. But because it’s me, I make sure that I acknowledge that he’s got a lot of work to do. He did kill people because they were bad people. He killed people, right? We don’t necessarily approve of that. And I worked through a lot of issues. Like my heroine is a woman of color. All my heroines are women of color. and then she has to reconcile for herself. This killer’s a white man who just, who might get away with killing people when people, men of color are dying, are getting shot by police. Now, how do I justify sympathizing with this man who probably won’t die? And it’s, I don’t know. So there’s a lot of that kind of serious seriousness in it to talking about white supremacy and the law and that kind of stuff. But then there’s also just a lot of indiscriminate boning just to balance it out. So yeah, I like to, as I said earlier, I like to put all my genres in a blender and this is what you get. You get the Punisher and some banging and some political commentary and social commentary.

Jera: Is this the first time you’ve jumped into paranormal or, I mean, at least on a bigger scale?

Suleikha: I think I have some short stories that deal with paranormal themes or missile mythological themes or fairytales. But this is my first full on yes, there are vampires. Yes. There are werewolves and you know, a lot of Indian mythology as well. It’s my first full immersion in it which is daunting. I hope the paranormal romance community welcomed me.

Jera: I get the sense they’re always ready for fresh blood, no pun intended. What have you been reading right now?

Suleikha: Oh my gosh. So many things. I have an advanced reader copy of my friend, Tiffany Reisz‘s The Pearl that I’m excited to get my hands on. It’s the third in her trilogy with The Red and The Rose, which is her sort of mythological erotica. God, I love everything Tiffany does. And she’s just a wonderful person and a wonderful writer. So I’m super excited to get to that. I’m also reading the second in Kj Charles’s historical mystery series that began with Slippery Creatures. This is called The Sugar Game and it’s like Bright, Young Things in England and like the twenties and the main couple is … it’s male-male. So it’s, it’s a gay romance and it’s  just glorious falling into a Kj Charles book. It’s like, it’s like falling face-first through a time portal and waking, just being somewhere else. I love it. And her worlds are diverse. Like her London, her England is … I’d like to think that that’s how it was. So I don’t know. I’m usually reading three or four things at the same time. And I think I’ve also got The Damned by Renée Ahdieh which is a supernatural paranormal set in New Orleans in the late 1880s, I wanna say again involves vampires and werewolves and so I’m kind of trying to get in the creepy mood and the creepy fantasy mood.

Jera: I think that’s it. Princess?

Princess: No, I think that’s great.

Suleikha: Awesome. Fantastic. Fantastic. Thank you both for having me on. I know I kind of wandered all over the place and it had to be reigned in.

Princess: No, you were wonderful. Let people know where they can get in touch with you and learn more about your work.

Suleikha: So I basically live on Twitter. You can all follow me on Twitter @suleikhasnyder. And I spend a lot of time there when I should be writing. That is probably the best place to get a sense of who I am and the sense of what I write. I do have a stationary kind of static website: suleikhasnyder.com that does have my blog with a lot of the posts that Jera mentioned earlier. So you can kind of look back at my more long-form ramblings there, and I do have a Facebook as well, but I’m not as active. And you could also check out the pictures of everything I’m cooking on Instagram, where I’m also @suleikhasnyder. I know I’m supposed to do book promo there, but really it’s just pictures of everything I’m cooking.

Princess: Thank you so much for joining us for this conversation. It has been a delight. We ramble all the time. So you’re right in with the good company. Thank you both so much.

Voiceover Goddess: Feminist Erotica is a podcast from Rebellious Magazine for Women hosted by Jera Brown, Princess McDowell, and Karen Hawkins. If you have an idea for a future episode or want to share your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at feministerotica@rebelliousmagazine.com. Follow us on Instagram @feministeroticapodcast, on Facebook @feministerotica, and on Twitter @feministerotic, and make sure you subscribe to us wherever you devour podcasts.

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Jera Brown writes about being a queer kinky polyamorous Christian on their blog scarletchurch.com. Their sex and relationship advice column, Just the Tip, is hosted by Rebellious Magazine. Follow them on Twitter or Instagram @thejerabrown.