I was a guest at the Arizona book club that I mentioned (via Skype) the other day. Interesting experience. It was rather late for me because of the time zones, and I’m not sure I was entirely coherent, but it was amazing having all this attention focused on me. I could only see three or four of the (approximately) ten participants, and those only just barely well enough to read expressions and reactions. I think they were all doms, the ones who got the prime seats (of course), and those expressions tended toward the sternly impassive. All in all, hard to know how I did, although the feedback was great.
I got to read a couple of bits from AST, which was fun. And then I had to respond to a lot of questions they’d thought up, many of which were about how viable such an extreme scenario would be in real life. My answer being, not very! I didn't write AST as a blueprint on how to do bdsm or m/s, after all. It’s pure fantasy.
Here’s a sample question: This story is an exploration of deep enslavement – there are many methods for achieving this, such as service, obedience, direction and structure – why did you choose objectification and severe, unapologetic punishments, instead of service & obedience?
Let me try to remember what I said. And perhaps organize it a little more coherently.
First, I get off on objectification and severe, unapologetic punishments, far more than I do on service or obedience. And let’s face it, the book is about what makes me hot. As I’ve mentioned before, Laura Antoniou said that service makes her hot, which is why there is such an emphasis on service in the Marketplace books. Other people find loving bdsm play makes them hot, so they read books full of that. When it comes to fiction, it’s all a matter of taste. When it’s about actual relationships, I can easily see that structure, direction and service would be a lot less strenuous and stressful for all concerned.
Second, there’s a lot of punishment in AST, because when I did some hard introspection about what would make me obey, what came up was consequences. Genuine consequences that I couldn’t avoid. Perhaps I underestimate the impact of disapproval or disappointment coming from a dom. But somehow, for me, if there’s nothing to back it up, then I can still choose to be an equal partner – to say, “To hell with it. I’m autonomous; I’ll do what I want.” It’s possible that I am way more stubborn than the average sub. (Well, more than possible.) But it takes some fairly serious domming to make me feel like I’m not in control.
Third, there is actually quite a lot of service, obedience, direction and structure in AST. It’s just overshadowed by all the kinky sadism. I think these things are very important to an m/s relationship, and in the long run they are probably what makes it work. But they may not make the easiest novel material.
They also asked me what scene I found the hottest. Three guesses? First to jump to mind was the gearshift scene. But perv that I am, the pony and cage parts resonated even more.
If I had the book to do over again (another question), I’d make Maia’s enjoyment of her situation more evident. And I’d reveal more irony and less guilt in her mental musings. But that’s hindsight.
Any more bookclubs want me to Skype in? I’m all geared to go now.