Tiffany Reisz describes her erotic novels as “literary friction”, and when I read The Siren I was immediately drawn in by its intelligent characters and exploration of what draws different people to different sexual experiences. Whether in her stories, her blog or her Twitter account, Tiffany never shies away from tough questions or frank sexual discussions. I’m so happy she’s here today giving away a copy of The Siren. Welcome, Tiffany!
Hi Kat! *waves*
1. First of all, for readers who aren’t very familiar with erotica, can you explain how it differs from erotic romance?
Erotic romance is a subgenre of romance so it has to follow the same basic path as any romance novel. Couple meets, there’s sexual and romantic tension, and the plot question is simply “How and when will they end up together?” It’s never a matter of if they’ll get together. You know they will because it’s a romance novel.
Erotica has much more freedom. My genre is better classified as “erotic thriller” since my books all contain lots of kinky sex but also a plot line that has a real, dark mystery element to it. Erotica itself is simply a book about sex. You can have a work of erotica with one person along in a room masturbating – no romance necessary. Erotic romance explores the erotic side of love. In erotica, the love is optional.
2. The tagline on your blog is “It’s not erotica until someone gets hurt,” and your books contain scenes of physical pain that some people would find difficult to read. You once told me that it’s not really about physical pain, though. What role does pain play in your stories?
The main characters of my books are mostly kinksters. My female lead is a quirky, funny Dominatrix named Nora Sutherlin. She’s a Switch, which means she tops people (for money) and bottoms/submits (for fun and love).
I’ve said before that I like writing BDSM because it’s the outward expression of an inward reality – love hurts. Writing BDSM gives me the chance to play with ideas of pain. Is there good pain? Is it there a difference between bad and good pain? Is there a difference between hurting someone and harming someone?
My characters often face emotional situations where they admit they’d rather take a physical beating than deal with emotional pain. Also, I myself am kinky and enjoy pain play so it’s fun to write a different side of sexuality that people don’t see as often in mainstream fiction.
3. You dropped out of seminary and your erotica explores how BDSM and religion can be closer than most people imagine. Can you tell us more about your Catholic faith and how it influences your writing?
One reader who was defending THE SIREN against criticism that it exploited Catholicism said, “I’ve been Catholic all my life. Catholicism and sadism make perfect sense to me.” She was referring, of course, to the ugly history of religion—the Spanish Inquisition, etc. But for me, the point of the story of Christ is that God loved the human race so much he was willing to suffer horrible pain and humiliation to save us. In BDSM, submissives experience pain and humiliation for a greater good, a higher kind of pleasure, a different kind of love.
4. You shared some very exciting news recently about what’s next for you—you’ve been contracted to write four more novels for MIRA! Congratulations! What can you tell us about your next novel?
Book four – The Mistress – is the conclusion to a plot arc that begins in THE SIREN. Nora finally, once and for all, figures out who she is and what world she belongs in. Only takes her four books to do it. What can I say? She’s complicated. After The Mistress, I’m writing book five, the first ORIGINAL SINNERS prequel. It’s the story of young Nora meeting the man who change her life forever and it’s called THE PRIEST.
5. From the things I’ve seen you say in other interviews and on Twitter, I know that you’ve had Dominant/submissive relationships like the ones you describe in your stories—which not all erotic writers have. Do you have any pet peeves about how other authors portray BDSM sex and relationships?
I’m a big fan of the philosophy “your kink is not my kink”, which is a BDSM way of saying, “your kink and what you’re into is different from my kink and what I’m into but it’s all kink and it’s all good.”
So if someone writes a spanking scene and treats it like it’s the most hardcore S&M out there, I might giggle a little but I don’t thing they’ve done anything wrong. They just don’t want to go into the harder areas of S&M, and that’s fine.
What does bother me is villianizing BDSM. My characters are damaged and dangerous but they’d be damaged and dangerous even if they didn’t do BDSM. It’s superfluous to the things that make them interesting. Kink is good for them and makes them stronger, saner, better people. A lot of my characters find healing through kink. When an author “saves” a character from his or her kinkiness, it’s aa insulting as “true love” turning a gay character straight.
6. Okay, time for a random speed dating-style question: What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Butt sex with Daniel Craig!
Tiffany is giving away a signed copy of The Siren and an early signed copy of The Angel (which other people will have to wait until September 25th to read) to someone who leaves a comment here. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday September 4th. Good luck!
Plus, anyone who subscribes to my blog and leaves a comment by August 31, 2012, will be entered in my Bookstravaganza! giveaway.
The Siren by Tiffany Reisz (Original Sinners Book 1)
The Siren is a modern-day retelling of My Fair Lady with uptight English literary fiction editor Zachary Easton as an unwilling Professor Higgins and well-known wild child Nora Sutherlin as his erotica-writing Eliza Doolittle.
Zach only has six weeks left at Royal House New York before he heads to Los Angeles to take over as Chief Managing Editor at Royal West. When his boss orders him to help Nora Sutherlin rewrite her latest novel, Zach agrees to work with her only if he is given complete control over the fate of her book. If Nora doesn’t rewrite it to his satisfaction in six weeks, Royal won’t publish it.
The Angel by Tiffany Reisz (Original Sinners Book 2)
No safe word can protect the heart…
Infamous erotica author and accomplished dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is doing something utterly out of character: hiding. While her longtime lover, Søren–whose fetishes, if exposed, would be his ruin–is under scrutiny pending a major promotion, Nora’s lying low and away from temptation in the lap of luxury.
Her host, the wealthy and uninhibited Griffin Fiske, is thrilled to have Nora stay at his country estate, especially once he meets her traveling companion. Young, inexperienced and angelically beautiful, Michael has become Nora’s protégé, and this summer with Griffin is going to be his training, where the hazing never ends.
But while her flesh is willing, Nora’s mind is wandering. To thoughts of Søren, her master, under investigation by a journalist with an ax to grind. And to another man from Nora’s past, whose hold on her is less bruising, but whose secrets are no less painful. It’s a summer that will prove the old adage: love hurts.