Joyce McCarthy describes how, from a young age, he would “spend hours writing, as well as making illustrations for [his] own stories”, of his earlier publications in children’s magazines, and later, in office magazines. The progression from magazine to book is one that many authors long for, and McCarthy has pursued this to great success. He jumps from childhood fiction and office environments to what he calls “erotic creations in diverse global settings.”
Although living in the corporate world himself, McCarthy finds inspiration in travelling. When I asked about his experiences, he told me how Indian culture surrounding sexuality intrigued him. He explained, "Their pervasive and universal nature is the inspiration behind my erotic creations.” As my only experience with tales of India have been concerned solely with familial bonds, this new perspective has very much intrigued me, too.
McCarthy’s most recent publication, Trails of Sin, is not set in India, but in London. I asked him about the significance of this setting, and also its relevance to the storyline that focuses upon the darker depths of workplace relationships. This setting not only masks initial expectations, but also allows him to touch upon issues such as corporate espionage, inter-continental travel and working relations that underpin the theme of eroticism. As he puts it himself: “This is a contemporary story that needed a throbbing, ‘happening’ modern-day urban milieu. And what could be a better choice than London?" Exactly!
Just as setting plays an integral part in McCarthy’s work, other aspects are just as significant. As an aspiring author myself, I was intrigued by what else he thought quintessential in crafting a story. What influences his writing? "The ambience, the milieu, the society, the city and even the times," he explained – and that’s not even taking into account the characters living in such environments.McCarthy not only manages to sketch a physical and tangible character in his writing, but delves deeper to reveal their psyche. How does he do this? “Through situations, dialogues and actions that bring out inner turmoil, insecurity and desires.”
When talking with McCarthy, one thing becomes apparent: the individual begins at the external appearance, and there can be no end once you start to dig deeper into their internal workings. And what better way to delve deeper into an individual than through the genre of erotic fiction, spreading bare their subconscious desires on a page for all the world to read?
When asked about the popularity that surrounds erotic literature, McCarthy confesses that the recent publications from E. L. James to Sylvia Day have drawn attention towards the genre – yet, an element of competition has also crept in. However, he maintains that market trends have not had any influence on his writing style. His goal remains thus: for readers to “Find the narration earthy and realistic”, and to “Stimulate feelings [that] readers get hooked to, while never crossing the fine line between eroticism and obscenity". Noting that the world is more receptive to erotica penned by female authors, Joyce writes with a female pseudonym.
It must be a fine line to navigate, one which is trodden with caution, and approached with passionate excitement. This is surely something that we will all be able to see more of in McCarthy’s upcoming anthology of short erotic stories, hitting bookshelves soon.
Click here to purchase Trails of Sin.
Feature by Genevieve Cox