Let's Talk Interview Series

Let’s Talk with Suzanne Clay: Asexuality Meets Erotica

I am so excited to bring this author Interview to you after what seems like a lifetime has passed in my life! I had the honor of chatting a bit with Suzanne (@suzanneclay_) about their books, their writing experience as an author and honestly just Fangirl at the fact that they write some of my favorite books in the LGBTQIA+ Romance genre! It is literally a tradition for me to get a signed copy of Suzanne Clay’s books every year for my birthday, cause I’m lucky enough that they always decide to publish around that date:) Can you tell I’m excited? Hope you enjoy the Interview!!!

Q. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your books!

Hey there! My name is Suzanne Clay, and I write queer erotic romance. I have a passion for writing slice-of-life stories that are sexy, cozy, passionate, and deeply felt. My deepest desire is to write so many unique and diverse romances that every one of my readers can see themselves mirrored in a protagonist.

Q. It is no secret that you are an asexual author who enjoys writing Erotica, which may confuse some people (not me though) I love it! What do you love about this genre?

As an asexual creator who doesn’t always want to engage with sex in my own skin, there’s an incredible freedom in being able to experience that intimacy through other characters. I don’t have to explain my narrow boundaries repeatedly; instead I can go into an erotic romance knowing my boundaries will already be respected within the pages.

There’s countless experiences to be had in this genre, many of which a reader might have an interest in but know they don’t have a safe partner to explore them with. You get to have a little taste on the pages with far less stress or cleanup!

Q. As an erotica author who identifies as Ace, how does your understanding of intimacy shape your writing?

I think my experiences with sexuality come through fluidly in my writing style. While asexuality is a varied spectrum, my personal journey through intimacy has been more soul deep than on the surface. For example, since I don’t have sexual attraction driving me, my desire to be intimate with my partners is more a craving for closeness or to see how far a body can be pushed.

My characters experience this similarly. Even if my characters are not asexual, they are often pushed toward their erotic encounters by the need to breathe the same air as their partners, or to have a tangible example of how their relationship has deepened. It’s less an inability to resist their own urges and more a physical manifestation of the depth of feeling they have for one another.

Q. One of my favorite aspects of your books is your complex characters and character development, why is it important to you that your readers get to know your MCs before other deeper, sexier aspects of your stories develop?

It’s my opinion that sex is more exciting if you understand where characters are coming from before they jump into bed.

For example, in my first novel PLAYING AROUND, Christian feels most comfortable if he’s in control of every aspect of his life, and it leads to him playing a more dominant role in the bedroom. In PLAYING HOUSE, however, as he transitions into a new, scary opportunity, he desperately needs someone else to give him stability, and he asks his boyfriend, Logan, to be the one to give it to him for a short while in an intimate encounter.

It’s always fun to see the reversal of a typical top and bottom situation, but I feel it wouldn’t have hit quite as hard if the reader didn’t already have a solid understanding of how rare it is for Christian to let someone else guide his sexual position.

Q. You always write a very diverse group of characters which has really helped me learn so many things and also feel seen in so many ways, what does your research process look like, to be able to portray all those different experiences as authentically as possible?

For me personally, I recognize first and foremost that there are some stories I don’t have a right to tell. As writers we need to understand that there’s a huge difference between telling a story with a Black character and telling a story about being Black. If we don’t make a strong effort to know where the line is drawn, and if we don’t listen to people who live those experiences and tell us that it isn’t our story to tell, then we don’t need to be writing those characters at all.

After I keep that in mind, I read diversely from ownvoices authors. I speak honestly with people I’m already close to who’ve had the experiences I’m interested in writing about. I hire sensitivity readers. I make absolutely sure that a wide variety of people have read my work and spoken to me about what did and didn’t work, and I edit from there.

At the end of the day, I will never be perfect, but I can shut my mouth and listen to people whose voices matter far more than my own.

Q. Identity is a pretty big subject in your latest series Rough Play, not only is it present but also the fact that sometimes we can’t find labels that fit us, and that shouldn’t affect how queer we perceive ourselves is also touched on. Why is this kind of representation important in literature?

I’m the kind of person who thrives in being able to label myself perfectly to a tee, but I recognize that I’m surrounded by others who chafe when they try and fit in a box. The alarming amount of gatekeeping that makes people afraid to try new terms or test new pronouns is terrifying.

As queer creators, especially as we age and find ourselves in a new mentoring position in the queer community, I think it’s important for us to teach people who are just beginning to explore that there is space for them here. There’s no harm in putting on a new pronoun, discovering it doesn’t feel right, then trying another one until we find the one that makes us feel so amazing in our own skin. The more we put up gates, the more souls we isolate in a terrifying world that isn’t made for them.

I’ve personally had a number of people come to me over the years and tell me that my writing was the reason they realized they were asexual or queer, or even polyamorous, and I was able to help them find resources to explore a side of themselves they never realized existed. At the end of the day, that’s more valuable for me than any sales I might make.

Q. We are always excited to read about future things coming up! Are there any future projects you can tell us about? Why are you excited for them?

I’m so excited for the future release of the third book in the Rough Play series, PLAYING FOR KEEPS! In this final book of the series, Christian and Logan find their fledgling relationship with their new lover, Noah, shaken up by the return of his boyfriend, Daiki. While the four of them transitioning into a new, healthy polycule seems like it’ll be the hardest part of their sophomore year of college, a public reveal of Christian and Logan’s relationship creates a new struggle they didn’t anticipate.

I’ve also recently finished a long time project of mine tentatively titled TWO OF CUPS. Robin Knight and Elise Buchanan have spent their first few years being married by building a successful YouTube career showcasing witchy DIY projects and vlogging about their pagan practices. Taylor Stewart is an up and coming video game streamer who needs an extra push to begin growing her brand, with the help of her husband Will. When these four creators cross paths at a massive convention and spin the idea of collaborating to expand their audiences, a week long trip in an isolated cabin stirs a deep interest that none of them were expecting.

I’m most excited to write more romances about nonmonogamy in all its various forms! I think romance novels often default to a polyamorous triad, and while each of those stories are so valid, I love being able to showcase romantic arrangements that readers might not be quite so familiar with.

** I am super excited to see what is coming up next, because like well, their books are amazing!! You can click the photos below if you would like to know more about their books or purchase them! and if you read them please scream about them with me:) **

About the Author

Suzanne is an asexual woman with a great love for writing erotic romance and enjoys spending her time confusing people with that fact. She believes there is a need for heightened diversity in erotic fiction and strives to write enough stories so that everyone can see themselves mirrored in a protagonist. She lives with her spouse and cat, and, when not writing, Suzanne enjoys reading, playing video games poorly, and refusing to interact outdoors with other human beings.

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