INTERVIEW: SAURA UNDERSCORE

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Saura Underscore whose debut book Indie Radio 113.9 has recently been released.

I asked her about her unusual pen name.

“Saura was the female principal character in my very first finished novel. She was a warrior and I put in her personality everything I wanted to be that I wasn’t. So I took her name the first time I had to use a nickname (long time ago, when the internet was invented), and I’ve used it ever since (going as far as to think of changing my real name for ‘Saura’, but deciding not to do it out of respect for my parents’ choice),” she told me. “When I first came into the ‘Slash’ world, I wanted to make ‘Saura’  my username, but it was already taken, so I decided to add something to the name that would make it unique. I turned out to be ‘Saura_’. Every time somebody wanted to mention me they only wrote ‘saura’ and I found myself saying things like ‘It’s “saura_”, with the little thing underneath’. Later on I discovered that ‘the little thing underneath’ was called ‘underscore’. So, yeah. Hi. This is Saura Underscore (Saura_).”

Saura told me that her mind has always been full of stories–to the point that she would dream them when she went to sleep. She began writing them down to get them out of her head–it’s a necessity that keeps her mind on the sane side of silly. It also helps her resolve many real-life problems by giving them to a character that deals with things a lot better than Saura thinks she can.

“Writing is, in fact, a way to escape, a way to make dreams come true, to have adventures that I would only be able to dream ever having, to succeed in everything, even when I know a real person wouldn’t do it,” she told me.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I wondered. “If so, what do you do about it?”

“For some reason I seem to be very inspired when my real life gets extremely troubled or busy. The first time I had a writer’s block I tried with all my might to write down every single story I had in my mind, but that only lead to a lot of first pages but nothing else. I’ve had terrible writer’s block since my kid was born, because my life got into the kind of ‘very busy’ that didn’t even allow me to turn my computer on. But this time I simply allowed my mind to wander, to dream in peace and find those new paths for my roles to follow. After a nearly 4 year spam, I’m writing again, filling page after page of one single story that, with luck, one day would see the light.”

Saura has many authors she enjoys and that have been important and inspirational for her.  However, she almost never buys a first book because of the author.

“Only when I’m done with an amazing story do I look at the name behind those amazing words that had made me travel long and far. And it’s then that I try buying more of those lovely author’s books,” she said. That’s how I found Noah Gordon’s stories (I didn’t know who the guy was when I read The Doctor for the first time), or even when I read Storm Island, I had no idea who Ken Follett was and that he was the same author of the Pillars of the Earth!  The one and only author who started being a name (and a friend) before her books got any fame was Zahra Owens, whose work has inspired mine in the m/m romance gender.”

Saura feels that for her own writing, a good native beta reader and an even better native editor is crucial for her writing. She’s from a large town near Madrid, Spain, so she’s not a native English speaker–however, she always writes in English. She never writes in Spanish and then translates them.  Naturally, though, sometimes the grammar is a bit off and the work of native English speakers help her with those types of problems.

The fact that her first language was Spanish has also led to some embarrassing moments. She shared one of them with us.

“It’s so embarrassing I don’t think I should share it, right? Oh, but I’m shameless so I will! We went to visit some of my husband’s friends in Boston a few years ago and I had never been to the United States before. I had also never used my English with native speakers, and I was very shy. I also had a terrible cold. Now, for you to understnad– ‘having a cold’  in my native language is said ‘estar constipado’… Yep, that’s right. When I said to my husband’s friends that I was sorry I was feeling so ‘constipated’, they laughed so hard! I didn’t know what I had said until I looked at my husband and he translated the real word for me. Oops.”

When Saura was growing up, she wanted to be a fighter aircraft pilot. And a writer. And a singer. And an actress. Then she wanted to be a journalist so she could meet fighter aircraft pilots, writers, singers, and actresses.

“I am an English teacher that has never worked with  children,” she told me. “I’ve worked as a graphic and internet designer and nowadays I translate novels which is honestly the job I’ve liked most.”

I asked her to tell me about her family.

“Spanish families are big. You sure you want to learn about them all?? I have a wonderfully supportive husband, a four- year-old kid, divorced homophobic parents (which makes thing a lot more interesting because I have to hide the fact that my first published novel ever is a gay romance), and very loving parents-in-law. I have seven nephews from newborn to nine years old. I could go on with the aunts and the rest, but I think it’s okay to stop here already!”

“What is the hardest part about writing for you?” I asked.

“There’s this moment for every author in which you have it all planned: it starts like this, it goes through these important moments, and it finishes like this. And then it happens that one character one night does SOMETHING that wasn’t planned at all and  it’s so really interesting, so ‘something the character would do, of course, how haven’t I thought of it already’, that  completely changes your carefully planned story. Those moments until you manage to create a new way to finish, new important moments to pass through, and try to insert those really nice ones you previously had, are the most difficult parts to write. Well, that and the first sex scene. That’s hellish as well.”

  • Finally, I asked, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to try to write erotica?”

  • “Try and make it real. I’ve read a very hot and nice moment in a shower, in which the hot water lasted for all the four pages the two characters were ‘at it’ underneath the spray. Or the characters had made love for a really long time on a chair. I mean: be real. You can’t have two grown up men on a chair for half an hour moving their hips without getting really tired and losing their rhythm. At some point they’d end up on the floor because it’s way more comfortable. And the hot water only lasts for a while (and there are a lot more comfortable places where to make love in the house, really). So I think my two cents about this would be: try it first. If it’s okay then go and write it down!”

 About the Author:5_10 Saura_autorpic SAURA UNDERSCORE (Saura_) was born under a dictatorial regime, only daughter of the typical tight-minded family. Taught to be revel at a progressive school, she never learned to cook, sew or spot-clean, but as soon as democracy arrived she participated in as many demonstrations defending women and gay rights as she could, which earned her several disinheritance threats from her father.

Her head has always been full of birds and dragons (at the same percentage), and she soon learned to set them free using her writing.

In her teenage stories you could always find a gay reference, but still Saura always thought that something was amiss. That Prince Charming didn’t have his whole heart on it. It wasn’t until she discovered Prince Charming and his squire at it on the barn of her mind, that she realized what exactly was the right thing to write.

She learned English and all about “slash” on the internet, and she travelled all around the world. She has friends from the six continents and it’s said she could travel the world finding one good friend to have lunch with, in every country.

http://www.sauraunderscore.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/saura.underscore

https://twitter.com/sauraunderscore

5_10 Indie Radio 113.9-buildJacob Timber is hopelessly crushing on very private radio personality Ethan Moore—host of the most famous Indie music radio show on London’s 113.9, the Jukebox Hour—but being in love with a voice isn’t much different than being alone. Jacob’s not even sure the man is gay.

Jacob is so infatuated that all he wants for his birthday is to meet his crush in person—and he gets his wish. With Ethan and Jacob, it’s love at first sight.

But do dreams really come true? Despite how he feels in Ethan’s arms, Jacob doubts it. He knows he’ll never be happy with a man who pretends to love him, only to bring his true girlfriend to public events.

 

 

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