Club 42 takes you on a fun, sexy ride: Imagine the excitement of childhood choose-your-own adventure stories but with the adult authority of exploring sexy conquests, picking and choosing activities that you may have always wanted to try—or ones you’ve never even considered. But much like best-selling author Joanna Angel’s life, she can’t imagine writing a book that doesn’t include a multitude of adventures to choose from. Club 42: A Choose-Your-Own Erotic Fantasy, is Joanna Angel’s second novel, a hilarious and steamy story created by, what Pacific Standard magazine calls, “one of the most powerful feminist icons in the adult industry.”
Her first choose-your-own erotic fantasy novel, Night Shift, was featured on Cosmopolitan’s list of “36 Legitimately Good Erotic Novels You Must Read,” and was regarded by book clubs and reviewers across the nation as an honest, insightful, hilarious and inclusive work of fiction. As a best-selling author, award-winning adult film star, director, producer, and entrepreneur, Angel has a mission to defy all stereotypes of sex workers by being a strong, educated, insightful and powerful woman in adult film, and is seen as “the new queen of literary erotica” (Hustler).
Joanna Angel talks about the importance of inclusivity of LGBTQIA, diversity and gender, the erotica she recommends, and books that has changed her life.
What gave you the inspiration for a choose-your-own-adventure erotic fantasy with Book 1, and now with Book 2?
I have to admit, the choose-your-own erotic fantasy format was not exactly my idea; it was thought of by my publisher (Cleis Press). I was originally approached by Cleiss to write an erotic novel after they read a short story I contributed to Asarotica, an erotic anthology published by my close friend and fellow sex worker/author Asa Akira. I was ecstatic when they approached me, it had always been a true goal of mine to write a novel. A few days after the initial offer came in . . . one of the managing editors said “hey we had this idea—we’d love for this novel to be done in a choose your own adventure format. How does that sound!” And while it sounded daunting, terrifying and overwhelming, being that it was my first novel to begin with… I agreed to the task!
The first one achieved great success, so shortly after it’s release they asked me to do a second. At this point, I don’t know what it’s like to write a novel without a multitude of adventures to choose from.
We love how inclusive the book is of LGBTQIA+, diversity and gender. Did these come from real life people or experiences, or did you feel like you had to do a bit of research?
Anyone can search me on the NSFW side of the internet and see that I’ve had just about every kind of sex with every kind of person. I feel very fortunate for that! So, while the characters in this book are all fictionalized people, I was able to draw from a very long and wonderful roladex of sex memories in my brain (or… on the internet for that matter) for the actual descriptions of the sex acts in my book.
How did you get into being a transsexual activist? What’s something you wish people knew about that work?
I don’t know if I consider myself an activist, but as an adult film star, I have sex with people for a living… and trans people, are people! I do what I can with my own work that I direct and perform in to show that trans women are just as important, and as beautiful, and as sexually powerful as all the cis gender female porn-stars out there. They are our sisters, and they shouldn’t be alienated and segregated and thrown into a fetishized niche.
You’re known for being a pioneer in erotic film, directing, producing, and now as a best-selling writer. How are you looking to make your virtual book tour events unique and stand out?
I think my writing on it’s own stands out, and the fact that I am both a sex worker and a fiction writer is a unique combination. However, I am just happy for my work to be read and heard and displayed in the same way other authors are. It brings a happy tear to my eye when I see my own book displayed in the window of a book-store amongst other critically acclaimed works of fiction. Throughout this virtual book tour I very much wanted to be treated as an author, not just . . .a porn star who wrote a book, if that makes any sense. I take my writing seriously, and it’s been a true passion of mine my entire life. Most writers don’t get to write full time, and most of them have other jobs . . . mine just happens to be porn, instead of like, waiting tables or something.
What books would you also recommend to readers interested in this same vein of literature?
I’d say if you want to get a good sampling of Erotica, to go ahead and read any of the Best of Women’s Erotica series by Rachel Kramer Bussel. I happened to have a chapter published in volume 5. However, the entire anthology is amazing and truly shows you how descriptive, creative and filthy women can be when writing about their sexual fantasies.
What’s your personal favorite ending to Club 42?
OHHHH that’s a tough one. I’m gonna say, the one where Naomi kicks her boyfriend in the balls. I won’t give away anymore than that.
What book should everybody read before the age of 21?
That’s an interesting question . . . here are a handful of books that changed my life, from elementary school to high school to college. i think they’re all important for various reasons!
What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?
Hmm. Here’s a rather controversial one—that will probably surprise all of you. Intercourse is Rape by Andrea Dworkin. While I know Andrea was INCREDIBLY anti-porn and wouldn’t have ever wanted anything to do with me, I actually always considered her a very important and revolutionary feminist of my generation, and her writing inspired and empowered me in my late teens and early twenties. I attribute lots of her radical writing to why I am who I am today.
I always thought if I had about a half hour with her I could change her mind on porn. Or perhaps, just lesbian porn. Maybe. Too bad it never happened. RIP Andrea!
(to clarify- this is NOT a book that condones rape in anyway shape or form. It’s a radical lesbian feminist doctrine that harshly explains the evils of men, and heterosexual sex)
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
David Sedaris, Jack Kerouac (I mean, he could certainly bring the party favors over) and uh….. Asa Akira! My fellow porn-star writer friend. I don’t know if that’s cheating because we actually eat dinner together all the time, but…. it would be really rude to not invite her to this party.