The first time I met Allison Moon, she was wearing a hat shaped like a fox head and telling an audience how she orchestrated an orgy for Bawdy Storytelling (Video below). Since then, she has only gotten more interesting. Moon recently self-published her first novel, Lunatic Fringe, detailing a love story between lesbian werewolves, and you can buy it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or IndieBound in paperback or e-book. If full moons, feminism, and fisting don't entice you to pick up her book, then I don't know what will.
You can also catch Moon on Saturday night, where she'll be reading at Good Vibrations' Lit Crawl event. Moon was kind enough to talk with me about sissy vampires, the state of publishing, and the mechanics of werewolf sex, obviously.
The first thing I want to know is this: How does werewolf sex differ from human sex?
Ah, the age-old question, how do lesbian werewolves do it? Does it even count as real werewolf sex? The werewolves of Lunatic Fringe have dextrous paws even more agile than the higher apes, so there's plenty of paw action, plus those tongues get good use. I do play with the idea of sexual differentiation among werewolves being not as clear-cut as it usually is with humans. There's a bit of the hyena pseudophallus in my imaginary design, but I don't get into that kind of detail in the book. Book 2 however, I can summarize in two words: "snout sexin'."
I've been having Buffy the Vampire Slayer withdrawals for several years now. Is your book the cure?
That's a tall order, and I don't want any Whedonistas to make me eat my words. I will say this: Lunatic Fringe is decidedly feminist and the heroines kick serious ass. I'm going to continue this story as a series, so hopefully I'll be able to keep feminist geeks busy for a couple of years.
I know you wrote a whole manifesto, but if you had to sum it up in an elevator pitch, why did you decide to self-publish?
It was the best choice for me and my book. The tools were there, my know-how was there, my drive was there, and I knew I could find an audience for the book. To self-publish and keep 30 percent of the each sale (instead of, say, the 7 percent I could expect by going the traditional route) made the extra work worth it.
Do you recommend it as a strategy for new writers?
It depends on the writer. Self-publishing is massively time-consuming. You essentially become an entrepreneur. If I had traditionally published, I could have spent the past three months of my life writing the sequel. Instead, I spent that time writing press releases, typesetting, negotiating with my graphic designer, and planning a book tour. I get a real kick out of that stuff, and I love having learned the inner workings of getting a book to print. But, it's not for everyone.
Do you think traditional publishing is on the way out?
I think the balance of power is shifting. Since the start, the traditional publishing industry has had a certain haughty control over authors, the whole, "You should just be grateful you were chosen, now shush" thing. Now, with authors having the tools of production and marketing in our hands, I think traditional publishing will have to figure out how to integrate new models. The publishing business will emulate the film business after SD Cams hit the market: The big budget blockbusters will still be there, but folks will start looking to the indie world for fresh voices and unique stories.
You've said "Queer books, in particular, are notoriously ostracized for being 'unmarketable.'" Can you talk a little bit more about that?
There are a lot of small and midsized presses publishing terrific queer stories, and some of these presses are in the Bay Area. These days, though, a lot of publishers are shying away from stories that they aren't 100 percent convinced will sell well. When I began seeking an agent for Lunatic Fringe, I got rejections that said they didn't represent "nontraditional" romance. Tired euphemisms aside, it was frustrating to be rejected out of hand because my story includes two women falling in love. I've faced discrimination trying to get my book reviewed, too. Particularly among romance bloggers, there are people who refuse to review lesbian stories full stop. Gay male, "menage," and BDSM are fine, but lesbians are a no-go.
Julia O. Test
Moon reads at her release party in werewolf drag
In a battle for paranormal domination, who would win, vampires or werewolves?
Werewolves, no question. Classic vampires don't have super-strength or super-speed. Those are recent inventions to keep vampires from revealing themselves as the total sissies we all know them to be. Werewolves have cunning and strength, and five of their six ends are sharp. Werewolves rule, vampires sparkle or some such nonsense.
You teach damn good sex education workshops. Did your educational propensity inspire you to document your self-publishing journey in your 90 Days of Self-Publishing video tutorials?
Documenting my self-publishing journey came from the fact that I didn't see any sources on the web for the real day-to-day grind of self-publishing. There are plenty of tutorials for buying ISBNs or whatever, but none of the "And now you do this, and then this, and you have to do this before you can do this," which I sought. So, I created it myself. In this way, I suppose 90 Days of Self-Publishing is like my Girl Sex 101 class. All the fluffy stuff is well and good, but what people really want to see is the mechanics.
Do you have a favorite video tutorial?
Well the most difficult one to make was after I got the news that my books wouldn't be ready by my release party. It's not my favorite video, but it's certainly the most honest. The videos have been so time-consuming that frankly, my favorite one will probably be the last one.
Will buying your book help me get laid?
Absolutely. Lunatic Fringe is the kind of book that says, "I know how to bring out the animal in you." Make sure to read it in public places and raise your eyebrows suggestively at hot girls nearby. Perhaps throw a low growl in there, too.