PORN VALLEY—Back in January of 2000, AVN did one of Tera Patrick's first interviews. The then-23-year-old beauty had just signed an exclusive contract with Digital Playground, and her first DVD for them, Virtual Sex with Tera Patrick, was about to be released.
"When I came into the adult business, I didn't think I'd make it," she said then. "I thought, 'Oh, I don't have blonde hair, blue eyes and silicone boobs.' So I'm really happy to be here."
Nine years later, to say that Tera has "made it" would be a phenomenal understatement. Although her contract with Digital Playground ended badly, resulting in a lawsuit that dragged on for nearly a year, Tera soon formed her own production company, Teravision, with then-husband Evan Seinfeld, and her success in adult was all but assured.
But though Tera has been the frequent subject of adult gossip sites, information about her personal life has only slowly trickled out... until now, with the publication of her autobiography, Sinner Takes All: A Memoir of Love and Porn, which she wrote with journalist Carrie Borzillo, and which will be released by Penguin Books (USA)'s Gotham imprint on Jan. 5—just in time for her to sign copies at the Adult Entertainment Expo.
"It covers my growing up in northern California, and my parents' divorce, and how I coped with that," Tera told AVN in a recent interview. "It talks about my family, which is my father, a winemaker, and my mother, a homemaker, and my sister—I have one sister who's very close to me. The books opens up with me in a psych ward. It's no secret: I had a very tough year in 2003 with my litigation against Digital Playground; that was very tough on me, and it put me in the hospital, thinking about suicide. That was actually the year I met my former husband, Evan Seinfeld. The high point being the end of 2003, because we settled the suit around Thanksgiving of 2003, and I started Teravision. There are a lot of sidebars, like I give advice to young girls and guys coming into the industry. There's a lot of tips in the book, from beauty secrets to tips on having a threesome and better sex—I would say the book is something that my fans have been asking for for the past couple of years. Everybody is like, 'Tera, you've lived your life for the last ten years in the adult world and the public eye but we don't know very much about you,' and I think that although I've done a lot of interviews, and over the years, people have read things about me on the internet and read things from all over, they didn't really know me personally, they didn't know a lot of things about my life, and so I've made a lot of things public, which I thought was a good thing."
Among the topics in the book will be how she made the segue from runway and catalog modeling to nude modeling, to performing in her first adult movie, Andrew Blake's Aroused.
"I had done Playboy; I had shot with Suze Randall for Penthouse, and I don't really know how Andrew Blake got in touch with me, but he did, and he asked me if I was interested in doing movies," Tera recounted "I said, 'Well, I never have before,' and he said, 'This is beautiful; an all-girl vignette movie,' and I kind of just jumped in head first; said, 'Sounds great.' You know, I was adventurous, and I was living in LA as a single young girl, and I just thought, 'Hey, why not? What have I got to lose?' And the money was great, so I ended up doing the movie. It was a four-day shoot, and it was the best movie; I had a great time. I really enjoyed working with Andrew and Dahlia Grey, who was Andrew's muse at the time, and it was a lot of fun."
So what advice would she give to women thinking about entering the adult movie business now?
"My number one piece of advice is, do not sign anything without a lawyer," said the veteran plaintiff of at least two major lawsuits. "Absolutely do not sign anything without a lawyer, no matter what. That is probably the most important piece of advice I could give."
So what's Number 2? "Don't bring a guy into the industry. Because he'll probably spend all your money and use you."
Tera didn't say whether she had any specific guy in mind, but porn fans will undoubtedly draw their own conclusions—and then they can check out her book to see if they're right.
Tera will be signing copies of Sinner Takes All at the AEE on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 8 & 9, and copies will be available there for purchase—or those in a hurry to read all the salacious details can pre-order the book from Tera's website, or from most of the large book retailers.