I do use a pen name. That allows me to separate my public and private lives as well as control who has access to what parts of my life. That’s a huge bonus to me and to my family. Even if I were writing completely vanilla non-sex related Literary Fiction, I believe I would use one to keep my writing separate from my rather conservative day job.
Are you actively involved in BDSM? If so how do you identify yourself? Dom(me)/sub? Top/bottom? Switch?
I met my husband when I threw myself at his feet in an online Gorean Paga Tavern. We are by no means as hardcore as most though. Real life has a way of getting in the way of that, but we’ve settled into what works for us. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about identity and titles, and you’ll notice that my characters have no interest in that either. In my Sensual Submission books, there are a few times where the topic comes up and the character brushes it off. Their theory (and mine) is as long as everyone is consenting and doing what they enjoy, it isn’t necessary to split hairs between words like sub, slave, bottom or what have you and their corresponding counterparts.
At what point did you decide you wanted to write BDSM/kinky-themed erotica?
I have to give a lot of credit to Nanowrimo.org. They’re a group that promotes the concept that you should stop dreaming about writing a novel and just get down to it and do it. I sat down and wrote my first during November 2010. That book may never get published since it needs a full re-write to make it work properly, but it showed me that I could actually complete a novel and that I could write something that told a pretty good sexy story.
I wanted to write what I want to read (and that’s pretty hard to find). Once I found out that I could actually do a pretty decent job of it, I’ve been spitting stuff out right and left. So far, 6 novels and a short-story, and there are more in the works. I’ve got no idea where they’re all coming from, but I’m going to keep writing them down as long as those characters are in my head insisting that I tell their stories.
Is there one area of BDSM that you tend to write about more? Why do you think that area creeps into your writing more than some others?
Actually, I’m making a conscious effort to try and mix things up within the BDSM scope. I think of my characters as real people, not cookie-cutter figures that can only do what someone else dictated in some other book. I’ve seen a lot of writers get really stuck in the “rules” of what’s allowed, even to the point of having them tell me, “Oh, but a Dom wouldn’t do that! He wouldn’t mix those two things together, because that’s not how it’s done…” Well this guy did do it that way because that’s what this guy enjoys. As long as it isn’t a safety issue, that’s how I approach it. It’s fiction, anything reasonable is fair game.
What’s the most surprising piece of feedback you’ve ever received from a fan of your writing?
I’ve had several people tell me that they don’t usually read erotica, or don’t usually read BDSM erotica, but they really enjoyed my books. Apparently, they’re “different”. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it seems to be a good thing.
People also seem surprised that there can actually be a story and some plot and some characters that they get to care about, that it can be “well-written” and yet still be pretty hot erotica.
If someone new to your work is going to start with a story, which one would you recommend they read first?
My Realm of Janos books are somewhat sequential, so you’re best starting with Ielle, then going to Ovia, Eanna and Mayia. Events in Eanna and Mayia overlap, it helps to have the sense of this alien world, why they feel like they feel, how they approach life and what the different foreign words mean that you get from the first two books. You won’t know why Mayia starts out in the shape she’s in, nor will you enjoy those times she gets what she deserves if you don’t have the background in Ielle. You won’t entirely understand the struggle that Ovia and Bylar go through if you don’t know something about where their issues come from.
My Sensual Submission books are set in the here and now. Both Driven and Pursuit completely stand alone. I do believe I have to do a sequel to Pursuit sometime in the next year though. Botany has a lot more story to tell us. My current work in progress is about a minor character in the Pursuit book, long before he met Botany, so that will also be a stand along and a prequel at the same time.
You should see the little schematic I have up in my office with arrows and colored boxes that plots out how everyone is related! Not quite a map of downtown Los Angeles, but close!
If you just want a fun little taste, however, I recommend my (free) short-story, Inside the Realm of Janos. The premise is that my Realm of Janos series gets made into a weekly cable drama. Then the actresses are interviewed about the making of the series. Things do get a little… heated during the interview… and you’ll never look at coffee flavored Haagen Daz the same way again.
What is your favorite BDSM/kinky website that you have shopped at online?
BDSMgear.com. Lots of delicious stuff there!
What is your favorite flavor ice cream? And since this interview is for BDSM Book Reviews, vanilla is not an option!
As you might suspect from the Inside story, I love a good coffee flavored ice cream, especially with chunks of something in it. Heath bars or nuts or something crunchy. Funny too, because I don’t drink coffee at all, but I do LOVE coffee flavored ice cream!
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