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Home > People > Interviews > Elayne Angel, Author of The Piercing Bible - The Definitive Guide to Safe Piercing

Elayne Angel, Author of The Piercing Bible - The Definitive Guide to Safe Piercing

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Author Elayne Angel, The Piercing Bible
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I’ve performed over 40,000 piercings during my career since the 1980s when I began piercing professionally at the first piercing specialty studio in the United States. I am renowned in my industry as a pioneer for inventing a number of piercing placements and helping to bring the art from the fringes of society toward the mainstream.

For over 12 years I owned and operated my own piercing studio in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The business closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. My husband and I relocated to the Yucatán in Mexico where we reside with seven dogs, a cat, and two pygmy owls. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Piercers as Medical Liaison, and I’m a recipient of the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the organization. I write a monthly column for the body art industry trade publication, "Pain Magazine."

Read more about Elayne Angel at her website

Thank you Elayne for answering a few questions for us!  Please tell us about your new book.

My new book, The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing, was published Random House/Crossing Press in May 2009. It provides in-depth, factual information for people who are contemplating getting pierced, those who already have piercings, and the people who interact with piercees. It has practical advice for everyone who needs to know anything about the subject: medical and dental professionals, parents, coaches, educators, and others.
The Piercing Bible covers the ancient and modern history of piercing, offers guidance about different body types and compatible piercings, discusses health risks and management, and delves into the particulars of body piercings and sex. It has suggestions for passing through airport security or visiting the doctor with body jewelry that cannot easily be removed, and there's advice for frustrated parents and their adolescent offspring who want to get pierced.

Apprentices and skilled piercers alike will find plenty of tips and techniques. And those who have never understood the attraction to piercing may come to accept and respect it as a valid personal preference.

Do you also do speaking engagements, or seminars?

Yes! I just got confirmation that I will be going to Yale to give a lecture on genital piercings at their annual “Sex Week” event. For about ten years I have been teaching courses at the conferences for the Association of Professional Piecers. I’ve also educated many healthcare professionals about body piercings, including several thousand nurses at the World Congress of the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN). I had the honor of being the only individual without a medical degree invited to speak there.

How has your education, profession or background helped you in your writing career? Or conversely, how has you writing success helped you in your  profession?

It absolutely works both ways! My many years of experience working in the piercing industry enabled me to amass the knowledge I needed in order to write The Piercing Bible. Certainly the fact that I'm the author of the only book on this subject adds to my notoriety and professional credibility.

What kind of other works have you had published?

I write a monthly magazine column on my area of expertise for a body art industry trade publication. It is the "Ask Angel" Q & A article in "Pain Magazine." I've also been writing for The Association of Professional Piercers for about a decade as a contributor and I have edited "The Point," the organization's quarterly journal for about seven years. I've also co-authored a number of articles for nursing magazines with colleagues who are medical professionals.

Is there any aspect to your profession that gets you in touch with your readers directly?

Since I’ve been doing “guest piercing” gigs and book signing events around the country, I’ve had the opportunity to become well acquainted with many readers. It was quite thrilling to hear my own words of advice quoted back to me by a piercing client. It is a pleasure to work on well-educated customers.

What will your next project be?

I'm discussing with my husband the possibility of writing his life story. He's a very interesting man: he was born female but always felt that he was male. Because of the distress that came from the disparity between his inner and outer selves, he had a very tumultuous youth. He attempted suicide on more than one occasion and he was heavily involved in drugs and alcohol abuse.

Finally, he had a sex change and through taking testosterone, a surgery to remove his breasts, and his commitment to working out at the gym, he became the man he always wanted to be. Even though he did not have any "lower surgery," he got a legal sex change, so his passport, driver's license, and even his birth certificate reflect his male gender.

He hasn't had a drink in 20 years, and he has been living a happy life as a man. In fact, he became so comfortable with himself that he has succeeded as Buck Angel, the first female-to-male transsexual in the adult entertainment industry!

Who inspires you on a personal or business level?

You may have already discerned that my husband is my hero.  He inspires me in every way and I am very proud of him. I joke that we're such a great match because I'm a self-made woman and he's a self-made man.

What type of work is the most rewarding or satisfying for you?

I really enjoy working with clients who have a deep personal motivation for getting pierced. Then again, receiving a review like this from a reader is extremely rewarding too:

"I purchased this book on a whim, even though I rarely ever do more than flip through a non-fiction book, but I sat down to read a couple of chapters and discovered that four hours had passed and I had read most of the book cover to cover. I was captivated. It isn't very often that I wake up and pick up a book and forget to eat, drink, or make coffee for hours on end."

How did you get started as a writer?

I got started writing magazine articles and informational pamphlets about piercing. I haven’t really thought of myself as a writer. My self-perception is that I’m an expert in my field who manages to write about it. It was in some ways an onus to write The Piercing Bible because a book on the subject was really needed and nobody else stepped up to the plate. Even after writing a monthly magazine column for years and having a book published by Random House, I still sort of feel like a poseur when I tell people “I’m a writer,” probably because I still primarily see myself as a piercer.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

My daily work life takes place at home, so I wake up, make a cup of tea, and answer some email. I post to my blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Then I take a break to do some yoga, and follow that by working on whatever is on the list for the day: writing an article or doing some volunteer work for the Association of Professional Piercers--updating their website, or editing their journal. I spend most of the day on the computer promoting my book, doing interviews, and linking my website and blog. After spending five years writing The Piercing Bible, I'm happy to devote my time to selling it.

Have you ever had a mentor, or someone who sparked your passion for writing?

My best friend from high school and I became reacquainted after being out of contact for more than 20 years. She'd become a children's mystery writer, and we immediately renewed our friendship. We now edit each other's work, and offer encouragement and support to one another about our writing. Thanks to the Internet, we share an incredibly enjoyable and close relationship even though we live in different countries!  

Finally, a most important question: what was the last song you sang out loud when you were by yourself?  :)

Something from George Michael in the 1980s; I'm a shameless devotee of New Wave '80s tunes.

Thank you Elayne! We wish you ongoing success with your 'piercing' projects and your new book about your husband!

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