I'm so excited to be here! I know I'm sliding into some serious Shark Week time so I appreciate the opportunity to take a bite out of this awesome interview. Get it? Bite? I crack myself up.
Gilded Lily is classified as a BDSM ménage story. I guess that can be a deceiving genre because the book delves much deeper than the traditional concept of BDSM. This year marked an exciting time for the Dominant-submissive dynamic. With the explosion of recent titles, the idea of a strong hero leading his heroine into a realm of obedience and erotic exploration has intrigued even the most vanilla of readers. There is an element of spanking in the book. The wielding of the belt is not isolated to the need for erotic satisfaction. The idea of pain as a form of release of self is heavily explored in Gilded Lily. While the whipping aka spanking is vital to Lily's self acceptance it's also used as a tool to bring her extreme pleasure.
Am I right that Lily in Gilded Lily has been shamed for her sexual desires in the past? Do you think as a society we’re moving toward an acceptance of diverse sexual interests? Or is there still a stigma attached to expressions of sexuality that fall outside the “norm”?
Lily has absolutely been shamed for her particular desire to achieve ultimate release. I do believe we are moving forward in feeling comfortable with sexuality and the many forms it takes. From male-male passion to ménages of all types, the concept of self acceptance through passion is celebrated now more than ever. For example, in my own neighborhood, my next door neighbors are four gay men who live in a huge house together. Two of the men are a couple that have been together for thirty years while the neighbors behind our house have been in a M-F-M relationship for many years. I live in a small town in the Midwest. The couples are undisturbed. What is the "norm" and who defines that standard? I believe there is no abnormal anymore. If it's safe and promotes a healthy sense of self then let's party and enjoy the pleasure of experience.
Sounds like my perfect world. Do you remember when and how you first learned about the idea of adult discipline, and how you felt about it?
It was the summer I turned eighteen. I was preparing for college. I'd visited an antique store where I had drowned in the countless bookshelves of dusty old novels. I scanned the bindings and stopped at a peculiar white binding. The book was rather slender. I pulled the book and stared at the simple cover. Story of O. Now mind you, I had kissed a boy already. Even done some fun experimentation. I had asked a young man to tie me up while we had some naughty fun. I didn't know why the sensation of total lack of control had felt amazing. Off I went to lie on the lawn on a scratchy flannel blanket under the shade of a tree. I turned the first page. Turned again. The sun began to die into the horizon. I was amazed and enthralled in O's journey. Someone felt like me! Someone by the name of Pauline Reage knew my secret and penned it onto the pages before me. Now that book has been marked with many notes. That book led to The Beauty Series by A.N. Roquelaure aka Anne Rice. Again, I related with the submissive nature, lack of control through service and trust. I was grateful to know I was not alone. After doing research I learned there was a title for my particular form of desire. BDSM.
I also owe a lot of thanks to the Beauty series! You seem drawn to broken characters. What appeals to you about characters with troubled pasts?
I've always loved to read stories about characters that fight against personal demons and come out on the other side gaining wisdom. They don't wash the dirt from their tattered lives and walk away squeaky clean. That simply is not reality. We cry, scream, grieve, and sometimes, just sometimes, we heal. I've led an extremely interesting life thus far. I've met broken people and loved broken souls. Mine is a bit tarnished as well. I draw from experience and passionately write to kill the demons. I believe writers need to create realistic dramas, especially in contemporary romance, to delve into a deeper point of view and touch the hearts of the reader. In one way or another the person who opens the cover will relate to the character's crippling emotional past and find their own healing through the characters overcoming and finding joy.
Can a relationship in which one partner has leave to punish the other ever be an equal one?
The Dominant-submissive relationship doesn't revolve around punishments. Many people who aren't involved in the lifestyle have the misconception that the Dominant is using pain as a means of control in guiding the submissive toward obedience. The concept is far from the truth. Pain or discomfort is a tool used to guide the submissive to delve deeper into self awareness and explore different sensations of pleasure. In a D/s dynamic the submissive is ultimately in control regarding the amount of pain he or she can withstand. Hence the safe word. When receiving a punishment it isn't the Dom seeking pleasure through the infliction of pain. That's a sadist. A Dom is guiding the sub through personal growth and development of unbridled passion and sensation. The relationship is absolutely equal. One cannot exist without the other. A Dom needs to feel needed and a sub needs to feel appreciated through service.
I like what you say about a D/s pair guiding each other through personal growth. I think the same applies to DD couples, when the discipline isn't about pleasure. It's still about providing guidance, boundaries, and support. I'm interested in the idea of equality in relationships that are designed to appear unequal. I'm also curious about a DD reader's experience. Is it sexy to read about about spankings in a strictly disciplinary context? Or does the characters' lack of erotic interest in the spanking interfere with your ability as a reader to find the spanking hot?
I, personally, have never enjoyed reading spanking/BDSM novels that only have the pleasure/pain dynamic for the simplicity of discipline. I have to have an emotional depth to the characters. What brought them into the lifestyle? Why are they there? What drives them to nurture and control or serve and require guidance? I need and emotional force driving the characters to this complex relationship. Walking into a BDSM club to participate in a scene doesn't cut it for me. I need so much more to make me turn the page.
Absolutely. Characters with emotional depth who've found a relationship that works for them can make even things I don't normally find sexy really hot to read about. What would you say are the qualities of an ideal disciplinarian?
Ah this is a great question! My ideal qualities for a competent disciplinarian/Dom would have to include the setting of boundaries for the sub. A submissive craves order and rules because they want someone to govern and nurture their development. Patience and the knowledge of what the sub needs and wants is vital. A Dom knows when a correction should be initiated and that punishment should always be for self growth. And lordy the Dom must know how to pleasure the sub. If one is willing to bring pain they must delve into pleasure just as heavily. A good Dom knows how to reward his sub for a job well done. The submissive craves praise as it brings acceptance. These qualities are not substantial, but they are a necessity when gaining a sub's trust. Tony was a master at these tactics. As with Lily, once a sub's trust is lost its lost forever.
Well said. And now, your Shark Week question: What is the scariest shark related book, movie, or news story you’ve ever come across?
Woot! Shark Week question! The scariest news related to a shark story was on the internet. There is a picture that has gone viral where a surfer is riding along a huge wave and in the wave swimming behind the surfer is a shadow of a huge great white shark. Whether the picture is doctored or not it scared the hell out of me. I was terrified the first time I saw it. It was like a train wreck. I just couldn't look away. They are such powerful beasts and so misunderstood.
Is it this one? Because yeah, terrifying.
Thanks so much for being here, Pauline!
J.A., thank you so much for having me! I had so much fun answering these exciting questions. I hope everyone is enjoying Shark Week. I know I'm going to be glued to the TV. I might even have to take time away from Iron Chef! Have a great day everyone.
Comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Gilded Lily! Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. on August 10th. Don't forget there's still plenty of time to enter the giveaways with Cara Bristol and Fabian Black. And join me tomorrow when real life D/s and DD couple Michelle and John come on the blog to talk about making a discipline relationship work!
Gilded Lily Blurb:
Adam's ferocious sexual appetite for submission has left him frustrated and alone. He turns to the photo in his wallet. The woman's full lips smile with laughter. The yellow sundress hugs her soft curves. The beautiful muse. His elusive flower.
Lily has a dark secret. A submissive without a Dominant, her life had derailed with grief, solitude, and rejection. Until a mysterious stranger's erotic education led to unfathomable pleasure.
Tony knew Lily's training would be his last attempt to escape the void in his life. An experienced Dom with the very nature of his control shaken, he has to run. There's one last responsibility to take care of before he can leave.
Lily, his once timid sub, is testing her boundaries and craves more. A love he can never give.
Tragedy leads Adam to Lily's plantation in Louisiana. While packing his brother's belongings, Tony offers the one precious thing Adam could never deny. The submission of his elusive flower.
The clock is ticking. Tony wants freedom. Adam demands total submission. Lily must choose. Does she cling to the safety of Tony's commands or risk the rejection of Adam's love?
Either way, a submissive's trust is a fragile thing. Once broken...it's lost forever.
Find Pauline Allan