Erotica, Wattpad, and the Value of Fanfiction: An Interview with Indie Author and Wattpad Ambassador, Emily Hurricane

If you spend any time on wattpad, you’ll probably be familiar with the writer I’m about to introduce. Emily Hurricane is all over wattpad, as an ambassador, a prolific writer of erotica, fanfiction, and paranormal stories. She’s involved in numerous profiles, reviews, and initiatives. Basically, this lady is freaking busy! But she makes it look so easy. 

I’ve read some of her wattpad novel Vivid, a story about a sarcastic and sassy woman who somehow ends up in another dimension, surrounded by fantastical beings. Her non-fiction books are also wonderful. Blowing Sunshine Up Your Ass is cheeky, yet uplifting. Basically, it’s quintessentially Emily. Write Fucking Words Now is a no-nonsense guide to developing discipline and hitting those dreaded word counts. Really, if you’re looking for some good free content, whether it’s some juicy smut, a foray into the fantastical, or a concise and helpful non-fiction for writers, her wattpad profile is where you should be looking.

She’s also a freelance ghostwriter and editor. I hired her for developmental edits on Combustion and Of Time Storms and Tourniquets 🙂 

 She sells erotica on Amazon under a variety of different pen names (all of which you can find on her website). 

I read two of her short erotic stories in preparation for this review. I chose two from the same pen name, Ophelia Storm. First of all, what a fucking cool name! All we need now is a paranormal retelling of Hamlet. Ophelia Storm is Emily’s pen name for paranormal erotica. I love me some smut with a fantasy twist! Magic and getting it in? I’m here for it. So, I’d like to say I sampled more than one of her pen names but…I couldn’t help it. Magical banging is just kind of my deal. And honestly, that’s what makes the multiple pen names she uses so handy. If I see the book has Ophelia Storm on the cover, then I know it’s paranormal. The next pen name of hers I’ll be checking out is Valerie Gale; that’s her name for BDSM erotica (although there was a taste of BDSM in her paranormal books too). Other pen names of hers include Maria Rush for lesbian erotica and Arlene Tempest for reverse harem. Whew! This lady has all of her erotic bases covered!

Undead and Dominated caught my eye right away due to the snappy title and beautiful cover. This was a cute and sexy short story. The dialogue is clever and the chemistry between the two characters palpable. This is a story you can knock out in one sitting.The protagonist is a vampire who has found a man dead on the beach. She is able to revive him, but only by turning him into a vampire too. When he comes to, he’s ravenous, but not just for blood…Sexytimes ensue 😉

The next Ophelia Storm book I read was The Witch and the Fairy. Another great title here. It lets you know exactly what you’re in for. This one has a femdom twist that is delectably spicy. I greatly enjoyed it. It’s also a short story, great for when you’re in the mood for just a bite of erotic fiction. 

Without further ado, let’s jump right into the interview!

Hey Emily! Thanks for letting me interview you. Can you introduce yourself to my readers? How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Hi, I’m Emily! I’m an east coast Canadian mom of two tiny humans (and a husband he counts as a kid sometimes haha). My passion is writing but I’m also an avid baker and crocheter and I devour books if my tiniest human’s sleep schedule allows. I have a hard time describing my writing because I wear many hats. I hit peak flow when I’m working on long stories full of action and suspense, but I also really enjoy diving deep into difficult character-driven tales with self-destructive morally grey characters. Erotica and romance are common genres for me, but in the last year or so those have become more of a business to me than passion projects.

You wear so many different hats! One of the reasons I look up to you so much is because of how versatile and prolific you are. Here you are with kids, writing a ton of great books on wattpad, super involved in different communities on wattpad-doing reviews, bookclubs, acting as ambassador, and more- and you also have the business side of your work: selling erotica and romance under several pen names, and you sell your editorial services (thanks for the developmental edits on two of my books btw!). It’s unbelievable how much you do. How are you able to keep it all organized? I feel like a messy flake like me could learn a lot from you. Any tips or tricks for those of less skilled in time management? 

Oh my gawd, that means a ton coming from you because you inspired so much of what my life is today. When my daughter was a baby I wanted to be able to work from home because I enjoyed being with her so much (and I hated the job I was on maternity leave from haha), so I looked into copywriting. I discovered I hate copywriting, and wished I could just write fiction for a living.

Enter Jyvur with her book on ghostwriting! I went to Fiverr and advertised that I enjoy writing weird things, and landed a dream client within days. I did a lot of crazy niche erotica ghostwriting too but that lucky connection with that client has really made it possible for me to do this for a living. I’m still working with them today and it’s wonderful. Ghostwriting also gave me so much confidence in my personal writing because I figured if someone was willing to pay me to put their name on it then I had to be doing something right, haha! I started researching the erotica niches that people were buying for and dipped my toes into publishing for myself. It’s a lot of fun!

Editing came later because I was doing a lot of critique swaps and felt I had learned enough about the craft, I could give good insight. I’ve had great experiences working with my editing clients and it’s so amazing to see those stories flourish afterwards. I just love hanging out with writers and promoting the craft and getting excited about stories.

Anyway! To actually answer your question instead of rambling all day: the answer to my organization is spreadsheets. I track EVERYTHING. I forget stuff if I don’t make lists so I’m super diligent. Schedules are a must especially with two little kids and a household to run because occasionally my work day ends up being in ten minutes chunks, haha! My phone is my lifeline, and I use google drive to manage the go between.

I basically work out my goals for each month, work and personal, by word count. Then I calculate how many words I need to reach each day to meet my deadlines. I use formulas to achieve this so that if I undercut a day (or have an extra productive day!) it’ll adjust automatically so that I know what my new daily goal is.

This is also great because I can look back and see what I’ve accomplished and it helps motivate me to keep going. Word count tracking is such a boost for me mentally. A great tool is www.onlinewritinglog.com, it does all the calculations for you and you can do challenges and sprints and stuff like that. 🙂 There are paid tiers but the free version is awesome too.

(And the creator is a Wattpader too!)

Ah! That’s so great to hear.  I’m so glad you had such a positive experience with ghostwriting. I’ve moved into a different field, so I ended up taking that book down, but hearing that the book helped you, now I’m thinking maybe I’ll put it back up. It sounds like you’re super organized! I’ll definitely be checking that website out.

You have such a memorable brand. Was that by design? Did you think about how you wanted people to think of ‘Emily Hurricane’? Or is it more just a result of you being yourself and seeing what happens?

Yeah, it honestly happened by accident, haha! Years ago when the Lamborghini Huracan came out my dad and I were obsessed with that car, and he made an offhand comment one day about how ‘Huracan’ would be an amazing last name for a pen name. When I started writing fanfic on Wattpad back in 2015, I thought of that and figured Hurricane would have a better ring to it. I’m glad I did that because now that I’m publishing I wouldn’t want to have any copyright issues with Lamborghini haha.

Other than that I’m just myself. 🙂 I love interacting with the writing community and especially on Wattpad I want to be me. There’s definitely nothing wrong with building an author persona based on a brand for marketing books (a lot of niche genre authors do this across different pen names to great success) but I feel like with my level of involvement with readers and writers around the internet that I’m comfortable being myself and being genuine with people. And I think the core of that too is that I didn’t get into this to market, I started sharing my work to share stories (hence all the smutty fanfic haha) and engage with other writers that write what I like. Selling books is a nice side effect and definitely helps financially support me but I wouldn’t be doing any of it if I weren’t passionate about the craft and the people I interact with every day.

(That being said I’m not knocking writers that are specifically focused on the business aspect. I have mad respect for them to be able to produce what they do and work hard to produce the kind of passive income that many dream of achieving.)

That is such a fun origin story. It sounds like you and your dad are close. Are you a big car person? Also, if I remember right, didn’t you start out writing Walking Dead fanfiction?

Yeah my parents and I are super close. 🙂 Dad and I used to go to car shows together all the time when I was young, and we still play Gran Turismo against each other online, haha!

My most popular fanfic is a Walking Dead one, but my first on Wattpad was from Far Cry 3 (it’s a story-heavy game originally on the PlayStation 3). I’m a sucker for sexy villains, haha! However if we want to go wayyyy back, I used to write Final Fantasy fanfic when I was a tween, haha! And lots of action/adventure. Stories featuring characters that were based on my friends. It is so cringey going back and reading them but also fun and nostalgic.

Oh, that’s so cool. I bet knowing so much about cars must come in handy when writing 🙂

Wow, so you really got your start in fanfiction. I think it’s so interesting how fanfiction has so many different subgenres. It sounds like you first got started in the video game subgenre. 

Would you say fanfiction is a good way for aspiring writers to practice? And what would you say are the primary differences between writing fanfiction and regular fiction? Was it difficult to make that transition or did it come really easily?

Oh absolutely, I think fanfic is great writing practice. It’s a way to explore writing without having to build worlds or characters. You can just take them off the shelf and play awhile and then put them back! Honestly what usually inspires me is wanting something to happen that doesn’t, or feeling like a great character was underused. I just have this need to explore it, and I think that’s what drives a lot of people.

I think it’s also helpful because it forces me to look critically at the original work. I like to keep characters authentic, so I have to make sure I’m getting voice and motivations right, and make sure that the plot is believable to fans of the original work. Any kind of critical analysis of story helps build writing chops. I’ve learned so much from critiquing that carries with me into my own writing.

Fanfic gets a bad rep a lot but honestly there are some amazing authors out there. Some stories I like better than the originals! The Harry Potter fandom has some of the most talented authors I’ve ever seen. There are a few I keep harassing to write some original fiction so I can support them by buying their books haha!

Also, I think the pull of fanfic is because it’s just for fun. Sharing original stories is wayyyy more intimidating because it’s all of my innermost personal stuff, right?

That’s so interesting. I’ve never written fanfiction, so I’ve never thought about it, but it makes sense that you’d have to pay particular attention to character. It sounds like fanfiction can teach aspiring writers a lot about the craft. 

Fanfiction does get an unfair bad rep. There’s definitely a degree of snottiness in the writing community that I’m not a fan of. Wattpad also has a pretty bad reputation in the writing community at large. I notice anytime I interact with people in the writing communities of reddit, if wattpad is brought up, it’s almost always in this negative way. What are your thoughts on that?

 Why do you think wattpad has a worse reputation than sites like Ao3 or even Amazon, where there’s plenty of poor writing to be found. Do you think wattpad is starting to lose some of that negative stigma, what with them branching out into publishing, movies, paid stories, and other *cough cough* “legitimate” ventures?

I think there’s a stigma around Wattpad because it got put on the map with the success of After. Especially following the craze of 50 Shades, fanfic-turned-novel created a big rift in the writing community. But there’s also just a lot of hateful people that feel like they need to shit on things they don’t like to make themselves look better. It still happens in trad pub vs self pub which is insanity to me because there’s amazing and less-than-amazing books on both sides.

There’s also a lot of ageism in the writing community as a whole, and that just makes me sad. People assume Wattpad is full of teenagers, which I will admit there are a lot, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. There are some amazing teen writers churning out great stories, just like there are some adults churning out poorly written ones. They may have less life experience but man if they keep going and keep writing surrounded by community and support imagine what they’re going to accomplish!

You make a lot of good points. Whenever I think of the stigma on self-publishing, I have to roll my eyes thinking of all the classic authors who self-published. Jane Austen self-published several of her books (sort of-it’s complicated, but what she did was essentially self-publishing back then-she took all the financial risk). And I just learned in a course I’m taking on Modernism that Ezra Pound printed his own poetry collections. Virginia Wolf started her own publishing house so she could print her own books. I could go on. It’s ridiculous, the distinction between “real” and indie books. 

I’d love to end with some fun questions: What’s your favorite thing to bake? What are you reading on wattpad right now? And what is your dream car that you’d love to own?

Bread! Omg I love baking bread haha. I enjoy baking all kinds of goodies and sweets (have to get creative and sugar free because my husband is diabetic) but there’s something so satisfying about making good bread. I think because it takes so long and is very hands on. Tactile pleasures. And my house smells so good haha.

Right now I have The Lichlord of Cyrenica queued up to binge next on Wattpad. @imperious54 is ridiculously talented and from what I’ve read so far of this one I am hoooooked.

Dream car is a 1998 Dodge Viper GTS, silver with blue stripes. I was so obsessed with it when I was a teenager haha; Somebody in the small town I lived in had one and every time I saw it driving around I’d just drool. There are definitely better cars out there even for frivolous buying but it’s just so gorgeous and I’m sad they stopped making them. My day to day car would be a 60s Mini Cooper in British racing green. I’ve never driven one but I bet it would be the most fun little car to rip around in, haha!

Well, thanks so much for letting me interview you! This has been fun 🙂

Hell yeah 🙂 thanks for inviting me.

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