An Interview with  Dominic Ashen

Crafting Erotic Worlds of Fantasy and Desire

In the vibrant and evolving world of LGBTQ+ literature, Dominic Ashen has carved out a distinctive niche with his evocative and daring stories. Known for his gay and queer erotic tales that blend the fantastical with the intimate, Ashen brings a fresh and authentic voice to the genre. With his latest release, “Arenas & Monsters,” readers are once again invited into a world where passion and adventure intertwine seamlessly.

Dominic Ashen’s work is not just about eroticism; it’s a celebration of identity and desire, exploring themes of dominance and submission with a rare honesty and depth. His characters are richly developed, his settings meticulously crafted, and his plots engagingly intricate. As a gay man writing for an audience that craves representation, Ashen’s stories resonate with a sense of authenticity and relevance that is both refreshing and necessary.

In our exclusive interview, Ashen delves into his creative process, sharing how he constructs his narratives and characters with precision and care. He also opens up about the challenges he faces in the publishing industry and the innovative ways he engages with his audience, particularly through platforms like Patreon. This candid conversation provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a writer who is not just creating stories, but also fostering a vibrant community around his work. 

Join us as we explore the world of Dominic Ashen, a trailblazer in LGBTQ+ erotica, and discover the passion and dedication that drive his captivating tales.

What inspired you to delve into the genre of gay and queer erotica, particularly with themes of dominance and submission?

My main reason for wanting to get into the genre and those themes is because I wasn’t finding enough of it out there. That’s changed a lot in the last decade or so, but even now the majority of the male/male romance and erotica books I find are written by women. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, those women are my colleagues and I still regularly consume their books, but as a gay man, I wanted to read more stories written by other gay men. They say to create the art you want to exist in the world, so I did just that.

Can you share some insights into your creative process when developing characters and storylines for your novels?

I like to start by making an outline for the story, just a simple and short explanation for what I’ve got in my head. I’ll start to expand that out with more detail until I have something resembling a list of chapters, then I go back through and make sure I’m touching on all of the story points and plot threads I want to hit. Then comes the actual writing, but even with an outline I like to give myself some leeway for the story to change as I’m writing it, and will regularly go back and redo parts of the outline that no longer work.

How do you navigate the balance between portraying intimacy and maintaining a captivating plot in your erotic stories?

It’s not easy, especially as the story leans more and more into the overarching plot. As part of my outline process, I actually will note the places in which a sex scene make the most sense to happen. You don’t want to interrupt the flow of the story or have people act out of character just cause they’re horny. As fantastical and ridiculous as the story can get, I still want to make sure my characters and their reactions are grounded.

What challenges, if any, have you encountered in the publishing industry as an author specializing in LGBTQ+ erotica?

For one, I can’t advertise in a lot of places due to rules on social media about adult content. There are also a lot of events that will not allow an erotica author to attend, because it doesn’t fit in with their theme or they worry it might seem too extreme for attendees. And of course, there’s also people just not taking it seriously because it’s smut – though I’m not sure I take it very seriously either.

Could you tell us more about the world-building process for series like Steel & Thunder and “Kingdom of Claws”? How do you approach creating immersive settings for your stories?

Spreadsheets. Lots and lots of spreadsheets. When I get an idea, I write it down. I try to keep an updated list of all of the characters, the way they look, where they’re from. For locations I’ll even write myself a little short history I can refer to, and other information important to that area. And I track every creature, object, and even spell that I’ve created, and will look at those lists to see what I might be missing and think of more!

Your Patreon offers exclusive content for patrons. How do you decide which stories to feature exclusively for your supporters, and what benefits do you find in engaging with your audience in this way?

Well, everything on my Patreon is exclusive, at least for the first year or two. All of the content I’ve posted on Patreon has been written for Patreon – and subscribers are even able to vote on what I choose to write next. A year after the final chapter of a story is posted, I’ll start to prepare it for a physical publication and update the original story with any edits that happen during that process. But even outside of that, there is still a lot of content that will likely only ever live on Patreon, things like the monthly worldbuilding articles, the full colour versions of the maps found in my physical editions, and some of the art. I want to make sure my supporters are getting their money’s worth.

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