When I first came up with it, I envisioned it in a mundane way, not involving the divine at all, but when I got the idea to write an erotic story about Artemis, it seemed like a natural fit. After all, the other place where a “bridge” is often found lies between the supernatural and the everyday. Divine practitioners work to bring the two together, centering both energies within themselves.
I like for my erotic stories to have a sort of synergy, where the sexual element of the story and the plot are closely linked. So in this way, Nikia was born, a woman who could sexually enjoy serving as a bridge, while also having the appropriate training in the ways of the divine.
Hunting Artemis is a story about distances that can’t be crossed: between the divine and the mortal, between what is desired and what is forbidden. Nikia falls in love with Theron, a warrior who is utterly devoted to Artemis. While the nature of his devotion means that he can’t return Nikia’s affections, it does make them understand each other and enter into an uneasy sort of companionship.
In the climax of the story, Nikia gives her body to connect Theron and Artemis, operating as a vessel for an impossible love between mortal and divine, and allowing Artemis a way out of her vow to know the touch of no man.
I am as interested in the erotic landscape around refusal as I am in the erotic landscape around enthusiasm. I often think that what’s desired but off-limits is the most fertile ground for sensuality. Hunting Artemis is about that tension, about going beyond what seems possible, but also about finding the limits again eventually.
I don’t always write stories this way, but in this case, I clearly envisioned the final sex scene at the start of my work. From there, it was a matter of plotting backwards to discover how the characters arrived at that situation. In the course of that, I drew on my knowledge of mythology to fill in the world—in particular, on the story of Actaeon, who represents an overreach rather than a bridge.
Though I’ve written a lot of erotica, I don’t often use my own fantasies so directly, and I don’t always write from the core of my personal erotic and spiritual territory. Hunting Artemis is a very special story for me because it does come largely from that private place.
Anthologies which include this story: