I crossed paths with author Christopher Bynum in one of the Facebook book clubs I belong to. We first conversed when he dropped by for an author chat about my first book. I was floored when I learned he wrote Erotica. I have not ran across many male authors (I know they exist!) who write Romance, much less Erotica…and man is he good at it! But Romance and Erotica are not the only genres he has explored. He goes by the pen name, The Black, and has an extensive catalog of stories to read on his website. You have to check them out!
What inspired you to write?
I think I’ve always had stories in my head. Early on I wanted to be an artist. I was always good at illustration, and I thought that I’d tell my stories that way. Then one day it dawned on me that I could tell my stories more efficiently with the written word than with a series of illustrations or paintings.
What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?
I write everything. My back up hard drive is loaded with stories of every genre – Action/Adventure, Romance, Erotica, even Science Fiction, Fantasy and Old West tales. Most of my published works are erotica, a genre I kind of fell into. The year before I retired from the Air Force the IT guy at my headquarters asked me what I was going to do after I retired. I told him the same job I did in the Air Force, but that what I really wanted to do one day was to pursue my passion, which was writing fiction. I also commented that I thought that reading books on computers would be the wave of the future. He agreed. He told me that in every new technology, sex always leads the way, whether it be VCRs, video on CD, and the new technology (at that time), DVDs. He suggested that I write about sex. So that’s how I started with erotica. I made my bones on a certain adult web site, and over about a decade became quite popular there writing serialized erotica. Many of those stories became published books.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m usually up by 7:00, and the first thing I do is sit down with a cup of coffee at my laptop. I try to do no less than four hours of writing a day. It usually works out to be many more hours – sometimes eight or ten on a given day because if inspiration strikes, I’ll usually stop whatever I’m doing and go fire up my laptop.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I come up with some of my best stuff in the shower. I’m talking about specific narrative and dialogue. Then by the time I’m dry I’ve lost over half of it. If someone ever invents a waterproof laptop I’m going to rule the world. Okay, maybe that’s not interesting; just strange.
Are you a pantser or plotter?
I plot. Mentally. I can’t sit down in front of a blank Word document with no idea and just start writing and hope it turns out okay. Today I wrote the first 2,000 words of a story that’s been in my head for weeks. The crazy thing is that until a couple of days ago it hadn’t occurred to me to write it at all. It was just something bouncing around in my imagination while I was doing other things. That being said, I rarely create a written outline before starting a story or novel. Usually the story plays out in my head, including character dialogue. If I get stuck, I get up and walk around and let the characters talk to me. Lately however, I’m finding that I need to lay out at least a rough overview of the primary elements of a story, because my new stuff is more complex. Right now I have pages of bullet statements for a book project I’m working on taped to the wall behind my laptop.
Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?
Many of my stories are based on my experiences or are inspired by the experiences of others that I’ve observed. Some come to me out of thin air. An example of a story inspired by real life would be one I started about five years ago. I had an idea for a story about a man who was in a marriage that ended suddenly, catching him by surprise. My thought was that after his marriage ended, the character would go on something of a sexual rampage, having many physical relationships without allowing himself to become emotionally involved with any of the women and be hurt again as a result. I was going to call the story Insatiable. I was married at that time, and all of a sudden real life events started to look like they would mirror my story idea. My fictional story became emotionally too close to reality, and I wasn’t able to finish it. Fast-forward to my post-marriage life: I met someone who was externally the (stereotypical) model of the strong, independent, successful black woman. You step to her wrong and she would verbally crush you. But we discovered that beneath her strong exterior, she was a submissive at heart. Boom – a new story idea. I created a character based on that woman. I needed a male costar for her story, so I dug up the character I’d put aside – the man who’d experienced the failed marriage – made him a writer named Simon Bishop, and wrote a story titled, Elle. I posted Elle on the adult web site, and I was surprised at all the positive email feedback I received from women readers. They wrote that they could relate to Elle’s character – not necessarily her sexual submissiveness, but her desire to have a man she could trust enough to allow her to let down her guard, to not always have to be in control. The emails highlighted to me that many women don’t want to be controlling or in always control of every aspect of their lives, but feel that they have to be because they haven’t found a man they could trust enough to hand over the reins to. Based on that feedback, I knew that Elle would have to become a published novel. I published it as Elle (Insatiable: Book One). I still have plans to publish Simon Bishop’s story (the story I put aside), probably as the fourth book in the Insatiable series.
Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they? Read a lot. Read works by your favorite authors. As you read, think about what makes you enjoy that author’s work. From a technical perspective, examine the way they lay out a story and draw you into it. Then sit down and write, but don’t try to imitate those other authors. Instead, find your own voice and run with it. Don’t worry about how bad you think it might be. That’s what editing is for. For instructional/reference material I suggest Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and J.A. Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. Grab a copy of Writer’s Digest Magazine every now and then. I always find good tips or motivation there. Also pick up a copy of Gone With the Wind. Even if you don’t like the subject matter and some of the character portrayals, the novel is a classic for a reason. Author Margaret Mitchell laid out a blueprint for character and plot development that’s as good as any you’ll ever read. One thousand pages fly by. Most important, write! Writing is like exercising a muscle. You won’t get better at it unless you work that muscle and make it stronger.
Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?
What are your current projects?
I’m working on three projects currently: A vampire novel titled Nightwalkers, which will be much different than any vampire tale ever written, a romance drama titled Anything Worth Having, and I’m compiling the many short stories that make up The Hitman Chronicles. The one is long overdue for publishing, but it’s my pet project and I want to get it just right.
Connect with Christopher on the following links: