Red knew something was up. She found celery stalks soaking in the fridge which had been cut into cat-o-nine-tails. The recipe card for pretzels was on the counter, and the double boiler was gently melting chocolate. She pulled a tray out of the oven and laughed because they were shaped like handcuffs.
RD: Do you want yours cuffs with or without chocolate?
RD: Pull up a stool, and I will make some Irish coffee. So, what do you want to know?
LC: Why Darkness? This is the second book you published with the launch of Redmund, and your sixth published book to date, do you think people were surprised at the genre of the book considering your other ones are self-help and poetry?
RD: While the genre may not be all that big a stretch considering my personality, the subgenre is likely a shocker. I have as much imagination as personality.
LC: You get fairly detailed about some of the practices of BDSM with your characters firmly immersed in it as a way of life. What kind of research was involved in order to present it as true to life as you have?
RD: Actually interviewing and observing practices and lifestyles. While this book focuses on some of the more mundane practices, it also reveals the capacity for much more stringent rigors and opens the imagination to the trust necessary to engage in a lifestyle where one person can harm another.
LC: There is a general misconception of what BDSM is really about, dare I say stigma associated with it. What is it really about and why do you think people engage in behavior and lifestyle you have made the stage for your characters?
RD: The misconception is massive based on its name. Sade has been likened to Caligula, when in fact he was not. The glorified versions of BDSM (read in movies and porn) all depicted the pain and humiliation, but forego the genuine affection and trust necessary to sustain a long term BDSM relationship. This book also explores the realm of sexual addiction which can complicate both a vanilla relationship and a spicy one with the same level of dysfunction.
LC: Of the stories three main characters, and their distinctive roles in the BDSM lifestyle, which do you think is the most predominant role and strongest character?
RD: Spoiler! I know where the story is going, so I will just have to say this: Ashlyn is the most predominant character in this book because she exposes the most mindset which allows readers to become immersed in her emotions, predilections and psyche. She offers the most in terms of direct character development, although the aura around Daniel makes him immensely interesting. The strongest character is a complete surprise.
LC: There is a bit of a blush factor with DI with the frank language and explicit detail, was there a time or point where it caused a blush factor for you, or you ever thought it might be too much?
RD: (Laughs uproariously) Um, no. One of my favorite times during the writing was talking to a friend. I came out with a stock expletive, and she inquired. I told her I had been seven pages without a sex scene. Confused, she asked what I would do. “Develop some story line to expand so I could put in another sex scene.”
The language is coarse in the situation, as the situations are not gentle or traditionally romantic. The crass natural of the language is perfunctory in terms of typical dominance through humiliation. Not all BDSM is about physical pain. The psychological aspects of it are quite intriguing.
LC: So, what are the basic necessary components of a good erotica book?
RD: Good characters, hot sex, strong plot line, hot sex, conflict with plausible resolution and a little extra hot sex. Even if you skip the sex scenes, you still have a good book to read. Otherwise, it would just be porn.
LC: What would your advice be to a writer interested in writing erotica?
RD: Have believable settings and characters. Do not make it up from what you have heard. Know something about the physical aspects of sex. Oh, and never use the words “love canal” or “throbbing manhood”.
LC: (Blushing and giggling) What do you think one of the biggest mistakes erotica writers make in their stories?
RD: Being one of the characters. The worst erotica I have read was voyeuristic memoir. While the emotional or physical nature of the relationship is apparent to the writer, the lack of character development on the part of the protagonist leaves readers wanting, pun intended. Without knowing why the sexual experiences are important to the character, the reader is left with the dirty feeling of being a peeping Tom for a sex scene which could have been anyone. Without some story line, all on the page is just memory.
LC: When you offered DI for beta reading were you surprised at the reaction? How did the story benefit from your beta readers input?
RD: (Laughs) Yes. This one went through three editors before one would stick with the story. The beta readers were a mite shocked the story was so enthralling. It is a page-turner. While the shock of the sex is not likely to wear off quickly, the story line leaves you wondering what you would do in the situations. The beta readers were surprised to find themselves with questions for me.
Although this manuscript did not change significantly through beta, the sequels will answer some of the beta questions resultant from DI. They were not unresolved plot, but curiosity.
RD: When you and I were working on this, you had done some striking nudes with light. When you first sent her to me, the only thing I needed which did not come through in the draft was the collar. I believe you have captured the ethereal mystique of BDSM with it by not specifically representing one character while leaving the reader to insert the face of choice before waving away the fog to discover the darkness within the world beneath the cover.
LC: What are your thoughts on the reviews DI has received?
RD: The stars are amazing. I knew this book would not be everyone’s Earl Grey. True to my nature, I am the guide through a place others may be curious to see, but not necessarily brave enough to venture alone. On the heels of some popular, albeit watery, erotica recently, the resonance of DI’s characters with readers is encouraging.
LC: How important are book reviews to the first time author? Established authors?
RD: For both, they are crucial. For the first time author, they help potential readers to take a chance on someone without a large media campaign. For established authors, the constant stream of reviews are proof of the book’s enduring qualities.
LC: Is your marketing strategy any different for this book than the others considering the genre and explicit sexual nature of the story?
RD: Absolutely. This is not the kind of book I will be marketing to the children’s education league. On the other hand, it is not something I am going to hide either. DI has a place at the table with all other books. There is absolutely no shame in creating an erotic novel. Shame comes from repression the expression of curiosity, interest and excitement. There is no judgment in DI, and I will in no way judge it as lacking because it happens to use words the PC world would like to have outlawed.
RD: Technically not. Although I self-published the first two, they both went through rigorous beta, editing and covering. I did not scrimp on the others, so DI came through with the same treatment.
The biggest difference for me was a pool of otherwise willing beta readers. Before, I had to scour for them. Due to the nature of the RedmundPro cooperative, the beta readers were available even though the genre was off the mainstream of the other books in the launch.
LC: You have assuredly established yourself as a well-rounded author with all your books being popular and so well written. What genre do you want to get into next?
RD: I have a crime thriller which is about half-written. I have the sequel to DI more than half written, and due out in April. I will publish at least one more self-help, another poetry book on 01MAR13 and have left myself for the possibility for the third installment of the Darkness series before the end of the year. Although, considering the pitch I got recently, I may take a break from my current WIP to do something completely different.
LC: This book is the first in a series. How many more books are you planning to come after and anything you want to tease the readers with about what may happen to the characters in book two?
RD: My original plan was for seven books. Although three characters are pivotal in DI there are actually six who continue through the majority of the series. The psychological reveals of book two, Charitable Darkness, are enlightening and frightening. Some things are not as they appear, and an accidental crime features in CD. In the RedmundPro Forums, I welcome reader questions and suggestions for what they would like to see of the characters.
LC: Okay, so sum up Darkness Introduced in 15 words or less.
RD: Action, sex and drama blend seamlessly in Darkness. Escort or not, you will return.
LC: All I have to say is, Red, you just launched a publishing company with 13 books published, including two of your own, you now have 6 published books to your credit as well as a great blog, what are you gonna do next?
RD: Start laying the framework for the studio portion of Redmund Productions? (Puts note in Crackberry.)
LC: Can I be a casting director, IJS?
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