Ernestine Winn

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This is the part where I am supposed to tell you all about myself.  Well, to start with I’ll tell you what I’m not. I am not a twenty-four-year-old redhead with an amazing body like my character Mary Houston in the novel I hope you enjoy reading, if you haven’t done so already. The closest I’ve ever come to being a redhead was after an unfortunate accident with a bottle of catsup some years ago.  Who knew the stuff could fly so far after being dropped such a short distance?

To start with, I was born and raised in the Midwest but now live far west of mid.  I have the Pacific Ocean with its beautiful rolling waves crashing to shore on one side and mountains to the other.

People often ask writers where they get their inspirations.  While I sometimes know what triggered a certain story or book, at other times, by the middle of a particular piece of work, I have long forgotten.  I am what is known in writing circles as a “pantser.”  That is to say I write by the seat of my pants, having no idea where the story line will take me next.  I often keep writing for the sole purpose of finding out where the story is going.  For example, the gay photographer, Jim, he just popped into the plot without so much as introducing himself to me. Because I write mostly erotica, I will wander through Internet porn to see if a particular picture will inspire a desire to create a plot to match.  (Are those two having sex longtime lovers, or is this a one-night stand?)  At other times, ideas are like gentle breezes.  Who, other than a meteorologist, knows where they come from?  I have to assume that they originate somewhere between the frontal lobe and the occipital lobe, but then again, I’m no brain surgeon.  I’ve read that the occipital lobe processes the visual information for reading and viewing images, so maybe that is where porn gets processed. 

As to my personal life, well, I have little.  Single again after twenty-eight years of marriage leaves me time to write instead of interfering in the lives of the grown kids I left back in the Midwest.  I do miss them and the grandkids and try to visit as often as I can.

I also try to exercise more than just my fingers on the keyboard.  A long walk on the beach not only stretches the legs, but also allows me to daydream about all the beautiful people I see along the way. (Hey, you in the yellow trunks, don’t you realize that staring at that girl in the string bikini is giving you an erection for all the world to see?) 

So where do I go from here?  Well, maybe somewhere to find an idea for my next book.  Or maybe to an old folder, to drag out a manuscript and see if it can be salvaged with a re-write.  Life is beautiful, folks, enjoy it to the hilt!  

Q: I understand that you had an odd experience while writing Au Naturel?

A: Yes. I started it less than a week after coming out of the hospital for cancer surgery. For some reason I marked the actual date at the top of the manuscript. The odd thing was the rate at which the words flowed out of me. I was averaging about eighteen hundred words a day (probably a low figure for some more prolific writers, but a great rate for me) and I kept it up for nearly three months, finishing the rough draft on Christmas Eve. I’ve jokingly told others that it was an aftereffect of the morphine drip while in the hospital.


Q: How does your typical workday begin?

A: Waking up is a good start. It’s always nice to know that you’re still alive. Though I often realize on awakening that I’d been dreaming a plot, so I could say I was working even before waking. I then roll out of bed, make a detour to the light switch—I almost always wake before daylight, old habits die hard. (Hum, “Die Hard,” no wait, someone’s already used that.) Then it’s straight to the workplace—my desk at the foot of my bed—to turn on my computer. How many people can go to work with eye boogers and bed hair?


Q: So, you start writing right away?

A: No, I usually call up a short quiz or work a Sudoku puzzle to trick my mind into thinking it’s alive. Then I’ll go to work.


Q: What do you consider to be your weakness regarding writing?

A: (laughing) Oh, that’s easy. Spelling. Even though I was sure I wanted to be a writer since I was in grade school, I didn’t have sense enough to realize that all the boring things I was supposed to learn in English classes would be the foundation for creative writing. (Though what good diagramming sentences is, I still don’t know.) If it weren’t for spell check, I wouldn’t get a tenth of the work done that I do.


Q: Of course, spell check isn’t foolproof.

A: No, this fool proves that all the time. Type “there” when you mean “their” and the stupid thing won’t know the difference. But it beats wasting time wearing out dictionaries like I used to do before the PC came along.


Q: So, you’ve been around awhile?

A: If you’re fishing for my age, forget it! As my mother used to say to me, “You’re old enough to know better.” Of course she was usually chastising me for something at the time.


Q: But you make it sound like you’ve been writing for many years.

A: Writing, yes. Selling, no. It was such an incredible high when the first book was accepted for publication, that I should have spent the time cleaning the ceiling while I was up there.


Q: Toward the end of your book, you skimmed over several years of Mary and Max’s life.Could any of those paragraphs be possible sequels?

A: By definition sequels come after the end of a book or movie. Those sections would be in the middle of the time frame of the book. Look at Star Wars. After the first three movies, Lucas went to prequels to make new movies. I don’t know what you’d call something stuck in the middle of a saga. Maybe a “midquel”?


Q: Perhaps you’ve just coined a new word.

A: Oh god, don’t wish that on me.


Q: So, there’ll be no serials with Mary and Max?

A: I wouldn’t rule any out. I guess the logical book would be a prequel. Telling how they met and fell in love. Everyone loves a good romance, right? Especially if it comes with good old steamy sex. Imagine Mary’s first time seeing Max’s equipment. Writing a series of books with a similar theme or set of characters is one way to build a fan base, and there is nothing wrong with that. Every writer, I assume, wants to build one of those on the way to building a big bank account.


Q: Does that mean you write just for money?

A: Oh, heavens no. The lag time from starting a book until the money rolls in (or trickles) can be more than enough time to starve to death. I love to write. Can’t imagine doing anything else with my life right now.


Q: What draws you to write erotica?

A: A depraved imagination, I guess. It’s just fun, letting my mind do what I wish my body could do.


Q: Does that rule out the possibility of anyone special moving into your solitary life?

A: What have you got in mind? (laughs) No, right now I wouldn’t even want a cat. I’ve spent too many years providing for others—not that I’m sorry for my past, I do love my family—but I’m quite content with my one bedroom apartment and my constant companion, my computer. It’s the only soul mate I need for now.


Q: So, what is next for you?

A: I think I’ll go bake a batch of brownies. I’ve a sudden urge for something chocolate.

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