We all remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure stories as a kid. Well, what if I told you the genre is all grown up and ready to get dirty? That's right, not only is this type of literature available, but the best example of it comes from the award-winning Joanna Angel.
Angel is an acclaimed adult performer, director and writer, who's made a tremendous impact on the world of adult film. Her work has earned her heaps of AVN and XBIZ awards, making her one of the most successful adult stars of the last two decades. But Angel is doing much more than making films, she's also a best-selling author. In 2018, Angel released her first Choose-Your-Own erotica, "Night Shift: A Choose -Your-Own Erotic Fantasy." This book was a big success and less than three years later, Angel has returned to publishing with her second book, "Club 42: A Choose-Your-Own Erotic Fantasy."
We caught up with Angel to learn more about her exciting new book and to uncover her process of writing from her experience as a former stripper.
What inspired you to write a second book?
After I wrote my first book, I was like, "I'm never doing this again." It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Then, as soon as they asked if I wanted to write another one, I said yes in 10 seconds. It's such an incredible feeling once you finish a book and I wanted to write another to make it better than the first one.
Was it easier the second time around?
No, but I thought it would be going into it. I thought I could fix all the mistakes I made in the first book and that didn't happen. Writing a book is really hard and I don't know if it ever gets easier. I don't know if this is the case for people who've been writing books for 20 years.
[This book] was actually harder because I wanted to make the second book better than the first. I put 100 percent of myself into the first one and I realized that to make it better, I needed to put 200 percent into the second one.
What did you do to improve with your second book?
Most of my feedback with "Night Shift" was pretty positive, but with anything, I had some negative feedback. One of the things I tried to work on was playing with the format. There are some dead ends and that's a quintessential part of the format.
This book takes place in a strip club in New York City and overall, New York is a very fast-paced city with lots of excitement—which I tried to bring into the book. The first book takes place at a porn shop in Florida, where everything moves a bit slower.
I also thinks the sex is dirtier in this book, which makes it more fun.
Why did you choose to set the story in a strip club?
I've spent a lot of time throughout my life in strip clubs and they're really fascinating places. In interviews, I talk about my time in porn all the time, but I barely ever talk about my life as a stripper and it's been a pretty big part of my life.
Unlike porn, strip clubs are one of the only places in the sex industry that combines people off the street and people who do this for a living. Also when you're a stripper, you can have a pretty normal life during the day and then disappear into this hole for a little while—it creates a lot of interesting stories and dynamics between people.
Do you think this story is reflective of your time as a stripper or is it more representative of strip clubs today?
It's more of a throwback. I base a lot of my knowledge from when I was a stripper, or a house dancer as they'd call it. I worked at strip clubs in New Jersey and New York for a while, and back then, I went into work everyday for my shift. When I made a name for myself in the porn industry, then I started feature dancing. When you're a feature dancer, you get flown out to a particular city to perform at a specific club and you're there for two days doing one or two acts on stage. It's a very different experience. I've been feature dancing for over 10 years and I don't know what it's like to be a house dancer right now.
Back in the day, when you were a girl living in a bum town and wanted to see what it was like to take your clothes off for money, you had no choice but to go to a strip club. Now, if someone has that burn and desire, I feel like they're more likely to hop on a webcam first or try amateur porn. When I was stripping, there weren't a million amateur porn companies in every city and you had to go to L.A. to do porn. Now there are more options for sex work.
Back in 2018, you went on a book tour around the country to promote "Night Shift." How is your tour different this time around?
I'm on a book tour right now, in my pajamas and from my living room. One of the good things about a virtual book tour is that more people can come and it's more accessible even if I don't get the personal interaction. But I do miss doing my readings in person.
I remember one of the first times I did a reading, I had a pretty decent crowd and the audience was laughing so hard that I had to take a moment to let everyone get their laughter out. I started crying because it was a dream come true. When you're writing the story, you don't know what the reactions will be because you're so engrossed in your own writing. Sometimes you lose your mind and wonder, "Is anyone going to think this is funny? "Is this funny?" "Is anyone going to care about this?" To see that reaction, it was such a wonderful thing.