An interview from August 2007, published by eroticstories.com. Thanks to Shuggie for asking such great questions!
Miranda: My name’s Chrissie Bentley, I’m single, in my late 30s and I live an hour or so outside of Philly. I work in publishing, although it’s very straight, very mainstream – the bosses would probably have aneurysms if they knew I also write erotica in my spare time (although that’s probably because I don’t think we’re meant to have spare time). I also do a lot of freelance consultant-type work, either helping other authors polish their manuscripts, or assisting them with research. Most recently, I was working with Dave Thompson, who’s a fairly well-known music writer, on his latest book, a history of early porn movies called “Black and White and Blue” – and that should be in the stores by the time you read this.
Question: What are you wearing right now?
Miranda: Knowing this question was coming, I decided to strip down to my underwear and turn off the air conditioning. So, a pair of panties and a thick sheen of sweat.
Question: What do you like the most about writing erotic stories?
Miranda: Two things. Initially, it was the sheer thrill of weaving a story around events and experiences that, even among friends, I couldn’t really go into detail about. You can talk about a lot of things around the water cooler at work, but the taste of cock isn’t one of them. Not where I work, anyway. And the other thing is, the inter-action with other writers and readers, which is something else you rarely experience in the “real” world.
Question: Does your spouse or significant other know you write, and if so, what does he/she think?
Miranda: I tend not to tell too many people about it, as I rather enjoy having a “secret life.” But my current boyfriend knows, and he’s fine with it so long as I promise not to write any of our adventures into my stories.
Question: Is it difficult for you to keep your writing life separate from your professional life?
Miranda: The company I work for publishes a lot of biographies and historical works, so if you’re asking whether I’ve ever accidentally inserted a long and yearning description of cunnilingus into a book about the Civil War, no I haven’t. I’m lucky, I work with words at the office, and I play with them at home, so I’m able to keep them very separate.
Question: How did you come up with your ES nickname?
Miranda: Some friends and I used to get together to watch “Sex And The City,” and someone said I looked like Cynthia Nixon’s character, Miranda. And “Naughty Miranda” is the title of one of my all-time favorite records, by an English band called Indians In Moscow. So it’s a bit of both.
Question: What brought you to EroticStories.com? What made you want to stay and become a part of it?
Miranda: An ex-boyfriend introduced me, he’d posted a couple of stories that received a really good response from readers and, initially, he just wanted to share that. Then, when I started writing, it was the same thing, the thrill of the instant feedback from readers, signing on the day after you post a new story to find your mailbox bulging. I love that, because it lets you know… not that people are reading, because you sort of assume that. But that people care enough to actually write you and say so.
Question: What is your favorite part of your body? Why?
Miranda: My eyes, because sight really is the most under-rated of all the erotic senses. Plus, I’m a confirmed voyeur. I love watching erotic films… the older the better, hence my involvement in “Black and White and Blue.” And that’s probably why I don’t especially enjoy threesomes, I’d much rather just watch the other couple go at it.
Question: If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be and why?
Miranda: My inability to adhere to any kind of keep fit routine. I’ve spent a small fortune on fitness machines and exercise clothes, and I still expend more energy looking for my cigarettes.
Question: Boxers v Briefs? / Panties v Thong?
Miranda: Panties every time.
Question: How long have you been writing now? How did it all get started and what made you write your first story?
Miranda: The first erotic stories I published were about five years ago. The ex-boyfriend planted the seed, and my first couple of stories were very much based around the happier moments of that relationship, with the twist of, I wrote them from the guy’s perspective, rather than my own. Then I stopped for a while, because I kept running into that brick wall of wanting to describe certain things that my male persona simply wouldn’t understand… the first sight of a lover’s cock, the first time you put him in your mouth, stuff that only a girl (or, I suppose, a gay guy) could really go into detail about. Which is when I threw away everything I’d written before, and started again from my own point of view.
Question: The majority of your stories appear in the Oral Sex category. Is this a true reflection of your own sexual tastes, or does it just work out like that?
Miranda: It’s me. From the moment I first heard about it, which was long before I ever got the chance to try, probably 75% of my sexual urges have been devoted to getting a guy’s pants down and his cock in my mouth. So that’s the direction that my stories tend to take. Why? Psychologically, I think fellatio is the most intimate act there is, because it’s the one that demands the most trust – he trusts you not to bite it off, you trust him not to choke you with it. And it looks good, as well. You catch your reflection in the mirror, or see yourself in a photo (which has happened a couple of times), and it can be even more exciting than the act itself.
Question: Which story is your personal favourite, the one you enjoyed writing the most, and/or the one holds the best memories or feelings for you?
Miranda: I’ve always wished that it was possible to feel nostalgic at the time something’s happening, rather than have to wait a few years for the warm and fuzzy feelings to arrive. So my favorite story ideas are probably those where I go back to college days, first boyfriends, first experiences, and relive them – “And How Far Should We Go,” “Cousin Tom’s First Blowjob,” stories like that.
Question: Have you ever gotten so turned on while writing that you had to stop to masturbate? What story was it?
Miranda: “Old Times.” It’s the least-read story I have on the ES site, and it’s probably the most unconventional as well, what with the ghosties and ghoulies and all that. But I got SO turned on writing that one, particularly the scene towards the end when the voices are coming out of nowhere, and the two girls are fucking, and echoing them back. I finished that story and I was just drenched.
Question: Do you write from fantasy or true stories or a combination of both? Please explain or give an example.
Miranda: Early on, I tended towards true stories, with fantasy to iron out the rough spots. “Learning To Live With It” is almost completely true – this guy I was going with had a positively massive cock, and I really didn’t know what to do with it. Now it’s more of a combination. The sex is generally written from experience (or, at least, some very stubborn fantasies), but the settings and the characters are more likely invented. I don’t have a Cousin Tom, for example, and no matter how hard I push the virtues of not smoking in “There’s A Cure For Almost Everything” I have no intention whatsoever of quitting.
Question: What parts of “Yourself” do you put into your characters?
Miranda: Because I usually write in the first person, there’s a lot of “me” in there, the most obvious being my sexual tastes and, I hope, my sense of humor.
Question: If there was one trait you could take from one of your characters in your stories, and put it in place in your real life, what would it be and why?
Miranda: The Chrissies in my stories are a lot more forthright than I am. I tend to be very shy, not only with people I don’t know, but also with people I do. So, I’d like her confidence.
Question: How long does it take for you to write a complete story? How does the process go?
Miranda: Not very long. As long as I’m left alone no phone calls, no visitors, no interruptions, I usually complete a story in one sitting, certainly in one evening.
Question: How do you come up with your story titles?
Miranda: As quickly as possible. Quite often, I’ll have the title first… the Cousin Tom stories and the Chronicles were like that. Then I’ll just try and work out what fits.
Question: What is the hardest part of writing a story?
Miranda: Trying not to repeat myself. I’m very aware of the fact that there are people who’ve read a lot, if not all, of my stories, and it doesn’t matter how many of them there are, I’d hate to give them the same thing twice. I know that’s not always possible , because there’s only so many things you can do with your body, or somebody else’s, come to that. But a story I wrote a few years ago, called “How Many Times Is The First Time,” makes the point that every time you sleep with somebody, it’s a different experience. So, every time you write about sleeping with somebody, that should be different as well.
Question: Have you ever done research for a part of a story you didn’t have any knowledge about or maybe for a sex scene?
Miranda: It depends. “Old Times” required a lot of digging around through old books and directories, trying to get a flavour of this one particular corner of London, and there’s a lot more of that particular story to come – it’s actually the first chapter of a novel (“Below Blue London”), which will be published by Mojocastle later this year, and each chapter is set in a different period, going back to Elizabethan times. So that demanded a lot of library time. For a sex scene? Not as such, although I will occasionally read something, or see something in a movie, and think I’d like to use it in a story – research in reverse, I call it.
Question: Do you have any secret stories you don’t want to publish for the public? Do you publish your stories on other sites besides EroticStories.com and if so, why?
Miranda: Secret stories, no. But I have published elsewhere – there’s the novels, of course; “What I Did On My Summer Vacation,” “Below Blue London,” and another which is the “true confessions” of a TV starlet, called – surprise surprise – “Naughty Miranda.” And then there’s “Miss America,” another novel, which is probably the most extreme thing I have ever written, or ever will write. I originally intended posting it on ES, but I queried some of the subject matter with Art, and he was very dubious, I think it broke every rule there is apart from the incest and bestiality ones. People who’ve read it, friends for the most part, either really loved it, or really, really hated it, and the handful of publishers whom I sent it to all agreed with Art, that it as just over-the-top for them to handle. But, you’ll be pleased to hear, it did finally find a home with Ruthie’s Club, and you can read it there. If you dare.
Question: Why did you write something so extreme?
Miranda: To find out if I could, basically. To be honest, I think I’m fairly conservative in bed, I don’t go for the wild and kinky stuff, and I’ve never really wanted to. But then you wonder, well what would happen if you didn’t have a choice in the matter – the rape fantasy to the zillionth degree. And I kept pushing from there. There are several passages where even I felt I’d gone too far, but I left them because that was the point, to test every sexual boundary I have, while trying to retain the essential “me” of the character. I think it worked as well. Throughout everything, the main character, the “me,” retains her dignity, her independence and her humor. It’s not a “Story Of O”, poor little submissive thing at all, it’s more a tale of empowerment and strength and, about halfway through, you start seeing these amazing lights at the end of what had otherwise been a very dark tunnel.
Question: Do your other novels go as far?
Miranda: No, and that’s partly because I’ve done it once and don’t feel the need to repeat the experience, but also because, for all the freedoms we now have in terms of what we can and cannot write… remember, it’s not so long ago that a forum like ES could not even have existed!… erotic literature remains a very conservative field, compared to what can be shown in adult movies. Some of it, I know, is down to individual publishers’ own tastes, and I understand why the rules and the safeguards are in place. Plus, I’d hate it if every writer felt that they had to go that little bit further than the last one, which is what is happening in movies these days. At the same time, though, if a “forbidden” subject can be treated tastefully, then let it out there. The market will determine what it can and cannot deal with.
Question: Are there are any rules in particular that you think should be struck down?
Miranda: The “nothing under 18” law. Now, we all know why it’s in place, and nobody can argue with that. At the same time, though, the age of sexual consent is 16 in the majority of states… 17 and 18 are very much the minority. The same across Europe. So we have a situation where a 16 year old can go out and fuck their brains out every night, but they’re not allowed to write a story about it. Or take “Lolita,” which is one of the classics of erotic literature. It’s probably available in your local public library, but it couldn’t be published on any reputable erotic website. And so on. Again, I understand why the law is there, but couldn’t it at least be bent to conform with reality?
Question: Have you ever been published on paper?
Miranda: I’ve had a few stories published in magazines, I’m in the upcoming “Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica,” and I wrote the introduction to “Black and White and Blue” – although they edited out a lot of the sex first!
Question: If a movie was ever made of one of your stories, which story would you want it to be, and who would play the lead characters?
Miranda: “Miss America” would make a killer movie! And I can see the Chronicles on screen as well, set up like “The Joy Luck Club,” with everyone sitting around the telling their stories, which then become movies within the movie. As for who’d play the lead character… Cynthia Nixon would be the obvious choice, although I expect she’d say no. But I read somewhere that Marilyn Monroe’s favorite sexual act was fellatio, so maybe we could reincarnate her for the part?
Question: When you receive negative comments do you just ignore them, build from them, or let it put a negative image over the story itself, and let it hinder your writing?
Miranda: I pay attention if they’re worthwhile, and if the writer actually makes a point that’s valid. A lot of the time, I think, people aren’t so much commenting on the story… the way it’s written, the plotting, the characters… as on the fact that they were hoping for something else; they’re saying more about their own needs than a story’s failings. As an example, reading a story in the Oral Sex category and then complaining that there wasn’t enough anal in there. Or that there was too much oral sex. And there’s always the people who think that the story gets in the way of the sex, and that you should cut straight to the “central issue.” How can you respond to that?
Question: Do you also enjoy reading erotic stories? Which categories do you enjoy the most? Do you like true stories or fantasies?
Miranda: I adore Victorian and Edwardian erotica, so I read a lot of that. The language is so beautiful. There’s a dozen or so ES writers who I read whenever they post, and I always check out the Oral Sex category, because I’m fascinated by other people’s perspective and impressions on the subject. Especially other women. It’s like comparing notes after class. I just wish more people posted in there. We’re lucky if we get three or four new stories a month!
True stories or fantasies? As long as it’s believable, captivating and hot, it doesn’t really make a difference.
Question: Do you vote on other author’s stories? How do you decide what score to give when you do?
Miranda: I won’t vote if I think a story is lower than a 7 or 8… it just seems mean. The best stories for me are those where it feels as though the writer is actually speaking, where you can feel their passion and excitement, in which case I’ll suspend all critical faculties and just concentrate on their voice. There’s a couple of relatively new writers whose stuff I love… Neetu and Robin. You look at their votes, and read-through percentages and they’re barely average, but when you actually read the stories, they’re amazing. Just pure undiluted passion.
Question: Do you send other author’s comments or feedback on their stories?
Miranda: If a story really grabs me and, again, they tend to be in the Oral section (or at least have a good oral sequence), I’ll usually drop the author a quick line, just to say thank you.
Question: Do you have a favourite author on ES? What makes them your favourite?
Miranda: I’ve mentioned Neetu and Robin. Darkstar UK has a great sense of humour, which is a lot more important in erotic stories than many people realize. I like Sally as well… most of the stories I read are by other women, I think because they are more likely to dwell on the sensory experience, whereas men generally go for the sheer physicality. There again, one of the most arousing things I’ve read recently was a letter from a reader, telling me about the first blowjob he ever received, 30-odd years ago. It wasn’t especially detailed or explicit, but the imagery was amazing.
Question: When you read a story do you: A. Touch yourself and come around the same time one of the characters do? B. Touch yourself but wait for the end to come? C. Touch yourself but wait until after you finish the story to come, such as after going to bed? D. Not touch yourself until you are finished and then continue thinking about the story and come? E. Any other variation you may do? (Please tell us what it is)
Miranda: None of them really, although I’ve done E occasionally – which is, try and recreate the story with somebody else, but without telling them where the idea came from.
Question: Do you enjoy the visual side of erotica, as in porn movies or pictures? If so, do you have any favourites?
Miranda: Again, I really enjoy the vintage stuff – Victorian photographs, old black and white stag movies. I like the mystery, the intrigue, watching people’s faces as they do things, or get ready to do things, trying to gauge their reactions. Modern movies and photographs are too choreographed, too “acted out”; the older stuff has a reality that makes it so much more exciting.
Question: Do you remember the first pornography you ever saw? Tell us about it?
Miranda: The first thing I remember seeing was a movie called “The Sexorcists,” which was made on a very low budget in the mid 70s sometime, and it shows! But you’ve got Lily Lamarr sucking every cock she can get her hands on, dribbling and drooling away, and she’s loving every minute of it. I was still in my teens when I saw it, but I sat there and it was my every wet dream come true. I was so happy when it came out on DVD a few years ago!
Question: Have you ever participated in erotic photography? If so, please tell us about it. If not, would you rather be the photographed or the photographer?
Miranda: Yes, and I’ve written about it! I was on vacation in the UK, and met up with this photographer; the story’s called “Greater Expectations” – it’s actually a self-contained excerpt from “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” – but it tells about the photos he took of me, a few of which I’ve used on my ES profile. Although probably not the ones you’d most like to see!
Question: What do you wear to bed?
Miranda: I’m writing this in early August, so the answer is nothing. It’s too hot. Sweat.
Question: Do your sex life and writing have any correlation with each other??
Miranda: I think I’ve answered that!
Question: How would you rate your willingness to try new things in bed?
Miranda: Probably 50-50…. It used to be higher, but a lot of guys I’ve met over the last few years seem to get all their ideas from modern porn films, and they’re not especially good ones to begin with. I’m not going to give examples, because it’ll just sound disgusting (and besides, maybe some people really do enjoy this stuff), but there’s a time and place for Xtreme sports, and the bedroom isn’t it.
Question: What’s the kinkiest thing you have done in your life?
Miranda: It depends what you mean by that. I mean, I’ve had guys call me kinky because I’d rather suck them than fuck them, and because I swallow… and it was a long time before I figured that one out, that a lot of girls won’t do it. I mean, what else are you supposed to do with the stuff? But to me, “kinky” means really going out on a limb, with gas masks and whips and stuff, the “Miss America” routine, and I’ve never had any interest in any of that.
Question: Do you have any fantasies that you would like to fulfill?
Miranda: Yes, but nothing can ruin a relationship faster than telling your lover something you’d like them to do, and have them go “oh, yuk.” So I keep them strictly to myself, and just keep hoping.
Question: What do you think about solo sex?
Miranda: I don’t especially enjoy it. I mean, it’s necessary occasionally, especially if you’re trying to sleep, but have odd thoughts buzzing around your brain. But I’d much rather wait until there’s someone else in the room.
Question: What are your favourite; and least favourite positions?
Miranda: Favourite – flat on my back with my mouth full! And least favourite – anything involving pain or the ass.
Question: Do you believe in one night stands?
Question: What makes someone sexy to you?
Miranda: Someone who looks great, but who doesn’t behave like they know it… I think Drew Barrymore is incredibly sexy, I’d love to have her bearing. Hugh Grant in “Love Actually.” David Tennant – that’s the Dr Who guy right? Good looks, sense of humor, modesty, an intriguing accent… all the usual stuff, but there’s no one thing you could actually put your finger on.
Question: What is a major turn on for you during sex?
Miranda: I like shyness, uncertainty… when you know that he wants to do something, but he isn’t certain how you’ll react. And the look on his face the first time you have him come in your mouth. That, as they say in the movies, is the real money shot.
Question: What is a major turn off for you during sex?
Miranda: Violence, pain…. I don’t like guys who think it’s okay to call you names, or who bark out orders, as though you’re only there to service them. And I can’t stand that arrogant “oh baby, I bet you can’t wait to touch my dick” attitude that some guys have. That’s when you want to whip out the magnifying glass and tell them, “well, I would if I could see it.”
Question: Sex-talk. Do you like or dislike talking during sex?
Miranda: I can take it or leave it. But definitely in small doses.
Question: In bed or on the kitchen table?
Miranda: On the stairs and in the shower!
Question: What is your favourite or most memorable moment in bed?
Miranda: Probably… no, definitely… the first time I finally put a cock in my mouth. I mean, what would I write about if I’d hated it?
Question: Do you notice any differences between the “younger” writers on here, and between the “older writers” of this site?
Miranda: Not really. If you have a good story to tell, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been writing for decades, or have only just picked up a pen. It’s a difficult question, though, because those writers who’ve been around a while, and I include myself in this, maybe have to work a little harder to keep things fresh, for ourselves and for the readers – I mean, really, how far can you go with the same old “boy meets girl, girl sucks boy, boy floods girl” scenario, before it starts to get tired? New writers haven’t reached that place yet. For them, the very act of writing an erotic story is as novel as the first time they had sex itself, so there’s an enthusiasm and an excitement, and maybe a little uncertainty as well, that us weary veterans have forgotten about. Some of my favorite stories are the real first timers, where everything just floods out in one long paragraph, where the spelling and the grammar are all over the place, and everyone ends up with far too many arms and legs. It’s as if the writer just wanted to get the story down, and submitted, before they could change their minds about doing it. They can be a bitch to read, but you can’t deny the excitement.
Question: You are #11 on the “Top 100 favourite authors” list. How does it feel to know you have 250 people that have favorited you?
Miranda: Incredible! And I’m very grateful. There are so many writers on the site, and so many great storytellers, it’s wonderful to know that so many people consider me to be one of them.
Question: Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of this interview and your fans? Now is your chance…
Miranda: Well, aside from “thank you” and “keep reading,” the main thing would be “keep writing to me.” I know I can be slow in responding sometimes, but some of my best e-friends are people I’ve “met” through ES, and some of the best e-mail conversations I’ve had, as well. You’re a great bunch of people!