Thank you! Twink took on a real life of his own once I’d introduced him.
1. Your other pairings intrigue me: Hugh and Ryan, Rick and the Chef, Matt and Nick. I gather these were some of your earlier works. How do you see these stories today?
Yes, they were relatively early. I’m very fond of these guys, and I had a lot of fun with them. They’re more like visitors to my brain than inhabitants. They don’t pester me like the Fell characters do. I’m pleased with the stories as they work in smut, plot, and character – which is a lot for short form erotica! I’m an old-fashioned writer in many ways. I like plot and people -- they need to be entwined. Plot comes from the characters and their reactions, but – love yaoi and its “no plot no point” reputation as much as I do – I still want my characters to do something and grow – even just a bit.
2. Were there aspects of their relationships you especially enjoyed exploring and may revisit?
I’m a tongue-tied person when I’m in an emotional place and, for some reason, it rarely occurs to me to just ask! I think I’ve convinced myself that I’m not allowed to ask. Ryan, Rick, and Nick all try to figure out what they are meant to be doing. I think I let these three boys be my guinea pigs in the emotional consequences of saying or not saying things. Tommy in the Felliverse seems to have claimed that trait in his dealings with Dr. Tanaka.
I’m also intrigued by hierarchy (surprise!) and like to see what happens when someone is a literal superior in the eyes of the world -- by professional or social rank -- as well as a top.
3. I've been doing lots of reading of the m/m BDSM scene (in fiction) in preparation for writing one of my own books. Yours seem to be more about the D/s relationship and the needs of the sub rather than the techniques and rules of S/M that others seem to explore. Does this aspect of the BDSM scene interest you the most?
Yes, I’m interested in D/s as a lived life rather than as ritual and scene. Rituals and scenes are grand, but for me discipline has never meant rules. That sounds contextually silly I know, but it’s the spirit of submission and obedience -- finding a place that’s true to you – not being a cog or a crushed drone. And I really really don’t mean I see structured BDSM that way – it’s just for me the draw is not about regulation. I’m awful at following imposed arbitrary rules – school was bad and cube jobs were hell – but I do deeply value discipline, training, craft, and so on. A ritual that calms, sure, so long as it feels true to you and not artificial. I think rituals have real power to center and ground a person. Whatever path gets you to your own inner discipline is what is right. Some folks like rules and techniques to get there. I’m not a formal person, or a tidy one, or impressed by ranks. But I do like structure, method/routine, and acquired skill/expertise.
(Click on Read More to read the rest of this great interview).
For me, it’s not something that works. Again, if it works for the person involved, it’s fine. For some of the boys in the Fell series, some public display and being broken is important, but I’m not one for the verbal abuse or piss and scat. My boys might bootlick, but its worship to them, not humiliation. Fell always respects his boys – he’s not going to work with someone he truly thinks is worthless.
5. What do you see are the basic differences between m/m BDSM and m/f BDSM?
Phew. Well, I get too uncomfortable with the genuine real world power dynamic issues of m/f whether it’s D/s, S&M or even ‘regular’ het romance. I get too tangled up in thinking about it. It’s all far too close to the issues about patriarchal power structures for me to able to step back from. For those who can, I say yay! I’m not much for reading about women in sexual situations at all to be honest – whether f/f or m/f, and I’m not at all fond of ménage in any combo. It’s odd because I like and love real women, but I get squicked by kissing scenes in movies.
6. Mimosa is very different from your later works because a lot of it is in the past tense as Nick works his way through the tangled roots of his memories. It has also attracted very varied ratings on Goodreads. Now you have five more years of writing under your belt, how do you perceive “Mimosa”?
Mimosa was my first work published with Torquere and it’s got a solid hold on my heart. It took me about ten times as long to write as anything since then, and I think I was overly-ambitious with the structure for my then level of craft. I think the structure is fine, but I needed more ability with signals to the reader about time and transitions. I didn’t want big glaring markers for the switches, but I do think I needed to weave in more guides. I very much liked what you said about tangled roots and, in your review, about the information needing to be teased out like a pot bound plant! I was trying to show the knot Nick was in emotionally and to also play with how we do remember things -- it’s rarely linear. As I say, I was being too ambitious for my craft. I am pleased with the story. I think it works emotionally.
7. Are there any different styles of Dom that you're interested in including in your writing or do you see them all as the same? To me, it seems that the sub's are easy to write, but it's harder to write a good Dom, especially if in his head. Would you agree with that? (Mind you I love Dr Fell and think he's and Owen Sawyer from "Bound and Determined" are the best out there. )
Oh, they’re certainly all very different. Many of the ones I write seem inscrutable to their boys though -- and hence similar from the outside. The ones I’ve written do tend to share a set of ethics and style -- many of them know each other -- so there’s an affinity of friendship and sir-style. Writing from inside a sir is pretty difficult – at least, it is if you let them be human! Showing a sir’s doubts and so on can so very easily puncture the story. However, it is my deeply held conviction that a sub is a person strong enough and wise enough to be willing to submit. It’s simply that we are used to subs showing their weaknesses.
8. Will your compilations of the Dr.Fell series ever be released as ebooks?
9. What can you tell me about “A Private Contract - contemporary m/m novel”? Is it BDSM? What length will it be?
Well, it is D/s, and it’s stalled! It’s about Nick, the visiting English sir who appears in Exotic Pets, and his boy, Jos. It’s intended to be a full length novel (100k or so) and is set in England. I think I may have lost my feel for the UK though – I’ve been away too long.
10. I tried to buy “Huckleberry” but it seems to have disappeared from Torquere’s site. Is it still possible to buy that as an ebook?
It was a Charity Sip last year to benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Charity Sips leave the catalog when the next charity sip blitz begins. It will be available in the Complete Dr. Fell Volume Three: The Boys of Fell, but that’s print.
11. Do you feel trapped by the Dr Fell characters and the demand by readers to have more of them?
Um. No. Dr. Fell might though ;-) I had thought I’d finished the Fell series several times. The first story, Pet Sitting, was a standalone. Then I thought the Chasers trilogy was the wrap up. When the trilogy added a fourth volume (sigh) I realized I was wrong again! I also had Fell give Prospero’s speech in Dolorosa (it’s considered a farewell speech), but Flying Pigs is coming out soon. I think Fell’s own story is wrapped, but his friends have tales to tell yet.
12. Will we ever get to read about how Rinnie and Pol get together? I see you’ve done a story for an anthology where they are already together, but what about that first meeting and forming the relationship?
There’s a little snippet in the Complete Fell Two: Found showing their first meeting. It was originally an extra in the on-line serialization of Attitude Adjustments. I’m not sure if I’ll write them as central characters. I don’t have a voice for them – I’ve only seen them through the eyes of Tommy, Fell, and Charlie.
Thanks Syd for answering all my questions, I hope I didn't draw blood!