Reposted from the official Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission blog.
This is the first in a series of interviews with contributors to the anthology Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission (Cleis Press), forthcoming in April 2010.
How did you come up with the idea for your story in Please, Sir?
I have taken Krav Maga classes before, and in a city where I used to live, I had an instructor on whom the character Dominic is based. I found it mesmerizing to watch him, and indeed I had a crush on him.
The autobiography in the story stops at the point when Jackie agrees to train with Dominic aloneæI did show up for a Saturday class one time and was the only one there. The quote from Dominic in the story, “If you want to stay, I'll work you,” is verbatim from my instructor that day, and I remember feeling quite affected by that phrasing…
However, I declined since I was the only student there and left that day. But it has crossed my consciousness since what might have happened (or what I wanted to happen!) that day had I stayed. This story is that carried out in fictional form.
Was it a challenging story or did the writing come easily?
What I found challenging was capturing the intensity of the attraction I personally feltænot only did I remember feeling it, but I felt it again as I wrote the story. While the events of “Power over Power” are not autobiographical, the attraction and intensity were. Feeling this so forthrightly as I was in the process of writing the story seemed daunting sometimes, as I wasn't sure if it was being translated effectively via the writing.
There was an aspect of ease, however, in that there wasn't very much research involved since I have taken Krav Maga myself, and many of the things Dominic says in the story are things I heard my aforementioned instructor say. I enjoyed incorporating some of the ones that have particularly stayed with me into this story.
Do you have a favorite sentence or paragraph from your story?
Actually the paragraph excerpted in the book's introduction is one of my favorites. In addition to that one, I would say this:
Despite the subject matter, there was no bravado or machismo in his countenance. I had seen from the pictures and accompanying labels hanging in the lobby that Dominic instructed traditional martial arts as well as Krav Maga. While I had never taken any myself, I sensed in him the understated confidence I had observed before in martial artist--an exquisite self-possession and understanding of their capabilities, the assurance as such that there was no need to prove anything to anyone. It was like they had power over their own power. It served them rather than the other way around. There was no compulsion to use it, to put it on display; it was just there, second nature, if it was ever needed.
I decided that “Risk and Reward” is an applicable theme for Please, Sir. Does this theme resonate with you for your story?
Indeed. My story doesn't contain very much actual bondage, hardcore sadism/masochism, etc. But there is not only the risk of rejection in Jacqueline's sexually approaching Dominic, there is also one she doesn't even realize in Dominic's consistent demand of authenticityæof what is really there, not settling for resisting what is uncomfortable in us, of the understanding that really, power is turning toward that and becoming aware of it and seeing what it really is or where it really comes from.
So in approaching Dominic as she does, Jackie is, without being consciously aware of it, risking the comfort of allowing that unconsciousness to remain unseen and inviting through Dominic's guidance the discomfort of facing what is in her that she doesn't want or like to face. Ironically, what she thinks she is going to get is just a more intense experience of avoiding it as she has done. While she is not consciously aware of that particular risk, it seems to me that a subconscious or intuitive awareness of what awaits her may account for the intensity of the attraction she feels for Dominic. Something inside her may know that that uncovering and demand is what she needs, even if consciously she wouldn't have recognized it.
Is this story similar to or different from the other erotica you've written?
I think while of course the subject matter and perhaps the emphasis on the power connection and interplay between characters may contrast with many other things I've written, I see a similarity to some of my other work in the touching on or examination of self-awareness. To me the import of self-awareness may hardly be overestimated, and how it may connect with/relate to sexuality is something I find fascinating. (I'd guess that's one of the reasons I've so loved to writing erotica.) In this story I felt like I really got to expose that, which I much enjoyed.
What do you think makes an erotica story successful?
The same thing that makes anything successful, if one wants to use that word: authenticity.
There is a quote from Eckhart Tolle that resonates with me so much that I have restated it frequently: “[O]ur level of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.” (A New Earth p. 266.) To me that means the place where something comes from inside or through us, the energy with which it is created, is what holds its aliveness as an offering. The level of consciousness or sincerity used in the creation of the story (or any offering) is that which it tends to touch in others. It doesn't matter what the subject or offering is.
Do you have any advice for budding erotica writers?
I don't necessarily feel in a position to be dispensing advice on the subject, but what resonates with me about writing (and creating, and living in general) reflects the answer I gave to the previous question.
Practically speaking, I highly recommend the Erotica Readers and Writers Association website (http://www.erotica-writers.com). For information about publishing calls, promoting one's work, technical aspects of writing, and more, I have consistently found ERWA a wealth of information for the erotica writer.
What are you working on now?
I have a new story coming soon at The Erotic Woman and am slated to be a guest blogger at Oh Get A Grip on May 1 (my birthday). I'm also excited to be scheduled to read at In The Flesh in New York on April 15!
Beyond that I am, as usual, in the midst of about half a dozen short stories at various levels of completeness. Also as usual, a few of them have submission deadlines, which I appreciate as they help keep me on track!
Pre-order Please, Sir from: