Recently, I got a chance to interview author Sheri Savill, one of my co-bloggers (along with Natasha Knight) over at Romancing The Kink. We talked about several subjects, including her personal take on kink, and the writing of her newest book, Bound for Disappointment: A Parody. I had a great time talking with her, and I hope you enjoy the interview!
Trent: Sheri, why don’t you introduce yourself.
Sheri Savill: Hi Trent, I’m Sheri. Nice to meet you.
Dude, thank you so much for having me on your blog! This feels a bit odd. I know you from Romancing the Kink, of course, but being over here, this close to the heat source that is Her Troika? Is it warm in here? Singe. Why, yes I have had a lot of espresso this morning, too. Intro? I’m Sheri Savill and I write smut. I have a couple books out (three now) and I personally like to read (and try to write) the darker types of BDSM erotica, but I’m not a “kink snob.” Well, maybe a little.
Trent: Bound For Disappointment, your newly released parody on BDSM fiction writing, had me literally cackling by page two! How did you come up with the idea to do a parody on the subject we all know and love?
Sheri: Thank you, check’s in the mail. Let’s see. I remember I’d just finished up Marked for Submission and was thinking how nice it would be to rest of some laurels, but then I remembered I didn’t have any laurels. Brain was in a brown-out, utterly blank -– and I mean blank like a magnet had been dragged over it and erased everything in there except this one tiny sticky-note (“milk, bread, eggs”). No fucking clue what to try writing next. All the smut had left the building. A black day for smut.
Writing snark is something I’ve always done. So my two remaining brain cells had what we smut writers call a “brainstorming session”:
Sheri’s Brain Cell 1: “You hear something?”
Sheri’s Brain Cell 2: “Nope. Go back to sleep.”
Sheri’s Brain Cell 1: “K.”
Depressing. I was desperate. So I started toying with the idea of humor in BDSM. Right now, there are a shit-ton of those “50 Shades” parodies out there. Not what I wanted to do at all. Then it hit me. Write what you “know.” So I came up with a goofy smut author trying to deal with the business of smut writing. It’s a very simple, silly book. You’ll notice that I cleverly left the ending open to sequels (MAKE IT STOP!) in case I need to snark more later. Which I bet I will. I have a lot of angst.
Trent: You write smoking hot (seriously, smoking) BDSM erotica, and the range you exhibit in being able to write both smut and brutally on-target satire amazes me. Do you have another humor writing alter-ego, or is this more of an experiment in comedy writing for you?
Sheri: Aw, shucks and stuff, thank you so much for that. But, really, I’m just a beginner here. I wrote only non-fiction for a long time, sold a few things when I tried. People would tell me my emails were funny. So, sometimes an idea would start with a friend in email, and then turn into this crazy thing that I’d adapt and post/publish. I blogged “vanilla” humor for ten years or so; had a dedicated little following of über-bored strangers who kept egging me on for more. Nice enough people, but obviously not very discerning when it comes to quality humor. Crack will do that to people.
Trent: Was DOM (or any of the other characters) based on someone you know in your real life?
Sheri: Now now, Sir Trentmeister, I don’t think we really want to go THERE, do we? Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental! I will say that these are general types I’ve observed over the years. And ask any female erotica author, there’s always that online “Dom” (DOM_LOL is the screen name I always see in my head), contacting you, trying to get you to let him cyber-spank you, isn’t there? Hello? I’m hunched over a keyboard, sitting in a wrinkled t-shirt and gym shorts with a bag of stale Doritos. There’s a snoring dog a few feet from me on a sofa. So, sure, I would love you to come over right now and spank me and then we can get in your private jet and see London from the air, Mistah Bond. But the stuff about the smut-writing business in general, the stresses of trying to handle hateful-hateful-hateful (Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!) reviews and keep the books coming … yeah, that’s all real of course. A Dom on a moped? I may have made that up, can’t remember.
Trent: I’m always fascinated in the personal stories of authors. I hope I won’t get too personal here (feel free to decline to answer) but I wondered if you’d be able to tell us when you first knew you were submissive/kinky?
Sheri: I have no problem admitting that I was thinking “weird” thoughts as early as pre-puberty. I read gothic novels by Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier and loved that whole “young girl going to work for a mysterious Master in his dark mansion on the moors” thing. But when I read those, I would mentally drift and add things to the stories, in my head. For example, I remember thinking, “… and then Master Tormented-Soul grabs her very roughly, spinning her ‘round, forcing her up against a cold stone wall –- a dungeon? — and he enters her from behind and she tries to stop him — “oh we mustn’t!” — but she can’t stop him because he’s so strong and determined and mad with lust, so he’s holding her pinned and then his hands jerk her skirts up so he can ram into her, and meanwhile, her breasts are popping out of the top of her low-cut gown, smashing into the cold wall now as he rams into her, and her nipples are hard and scratching up and down against the stone as he pounds her, gives her what she craves, and she’s breathless as he’s biting her ear and her neck and saying all this depraved shit in a hoarse whisper, and he’s actually hurting her, but SHE LIKES IT …”
So, no, I really didn’t have any thoughts about being submissive or kinky. 😉
Trent: Are the events in your erotica books drawn from real life, fantasy, or both?
Sheri: Didn’t you already press me on this earlier re: Bound for Disappointment? And I deftly evaded your … probings, I believe. I misdirected. I serpentined. And yet here you are trying it again. OK. I’ll say this: some are real, I have been to a couple dungeons, and there are whips and chains in the house, and there have been for years and years. Have I been gangbanged? No. Would I try it under the right circumstances? Yes. I’m very much into the carpe diem thing. But I’m not crazy, and certainly not stupid, and if I get a single “wut r u waring let me [blank] you, you naughty slut” contact after being on your blog I’m forwarding all that shit to you and we have to post them publicly. Deal?
Trent: I love that you fearlessly attack some kinks that many others seem to be afraid to explore (verbal and physical humiliation, degradation, and objectification being ones that are foremost in my mind). Do you write about these because you want to help others see that it’s okay to be turned on by these things, or because they personally turn you on?
Sheri: Good question. I write that stuff because I like it, both in real life and in my smut-reading. I know for a fact that other women like the same things I like. Someone is buying a lot of very dark D/s themed erotica out there. Women. Lots of women.
Trent: Could you ever write erotica that didn’t actually turn you on? Have you ever, and if so, what was it?
Sheri: No way. I can’t imagine phoning it in. I did have an interesting experiment once, where I was trying to write a story idea that was given to me by someone else. And I couldn’t get into it at all. Didn’t happen. So I learned that apparently my smuttiness has to come from somewhere inside me, as lame as it might be. The darker things, it’s all stuff that I find hot, for whatever fucked up DSM-V reasons. Ha.
Trent: Do you have any hard limits in erotica that you will write (or have written)? What about limits in erotica that you’ve read? Have you ever had a book squick you so badly that you weren’t able to finish it (or even returned it)?
Sheri: I have what I call the “usual” limits, same as yours. I haven’t had to put anything down because of squickiness, but I’ve been warned off a couple things up front, and I have heeded those warnings because they came from someone I trust (you). That said, I have a couple specific areas I am interested in that I don’t see being done in M/F BDSM erotica. Not to be too mysterious, but I’m going to write it in a story very soon and see how many people I can squick. Blink blink.
Trent: I love how open you are about your kinks, how you clearly embrace sexual submissiveness, and enjoy the pleasure to be found in it. Have you ever struggled with your sexual needs or have you always been this sex positive about kink?
Sheri: I guess I’m fairly open. I’m not out in my daily life, like where you’ll see me pumping gas in a leather corset, fishnets, and a collar (Tara in BFD). Professional reasons, but also, I don’t want to be committed to an institution, heh. But I’m “out” in the sense that if, say, someone made a suggestive remark about kink to me, in real life, I would at least waggle my eyebrows up and down like a butthead to signal that I’m kink-friendly in general, and see where it went from there. You can sort of tell when someone is giving you the secret handshake by studying their reactions very closely. Me: “Oh look! Secretary is on cable tonight. Love James Spader in that one. Seen it thirty times already!” Some Person: “Ew! No way would I watch that creepy movie! I heard it’s about perverts!” Me: “Nice meeting you.”
Trent: Do your family and friends know you’re kinky? If not, do you think you’d ever “come out” to them about it?
Sheri: Close family, yes, but they know I’m weird in all ways. The whole fam is borderline Addamms-Family eccentric.
Trent: What is/are your favorite BDSM activity(s)?
Sheri: The verbal stuff, probably number one — I’m very aurally-oriented. And the mental, the mind fuck. The power exchange. Unnecessary roughness. Hair pulling, crops, canes, insertions, oh God, really? I like all of it. I do. How much time do you have?
Least favorite thing, you didn’t ask, but it’s the use of some of the lingo, in books and reality, that irk: “Scene” and “lifestyle” and all that. Pfft. “SSC! RACK!” I don’t want to be lectured in smut, because, well, it’s fucking smut, not a “how-to” manual. Fiction! Hello? Thank you!
Same with this goofy trend, which I hope will die a horrible violent death soon, of making a huge deal out of “safewords.” Never needed one. Frankly, if you’re “playing” (ugh, that word) with someone who doesn’t already know you well enough to tell when to slow the fuck down or stop, how to read you under all circumstances … well … I mean, RILLY? ::: shaking head :::
Trent: Describe your ideal hero in erotica. How about your ideal heroine?
Sheri: I go for the alpha males, in various forms. Not too particular. And when I say “alpha” I also mean I’ll read dub-con, non-con, son-of-non-con, non-con-in-3D, etc. Bring it. Heroine … I don’t like whining. Usually the ones I relate more to are capable, intelligent, not all timidly submissive. Oh, and total whores of course.
Trent: What is your favorite BDSM book? You can give us a list if you can’t narrow it down.J
Sheri: The Joey W. Hill Boardroom series was the first batch of smut I devoured and just loved. And, of course, Anneke Jacob’s books. One particular favorite book, though, isn’t technically a BDSM book at all, but I see it listed a lot in the same “dark reads” area: Break Her by BG Harlen. BG is (presumably) a male author and the book is “controversial.” Oooh. I’m all tingly.
I have NO trouble reading some of the male erotica authors, BTW. Because I love men, my real-life friends are mostly men. Another male erotica author I really like – and have from the start — is this dude Trent Evans. Her Troika and What She’s Looking For are both major favorites. Troika is getting me interested in the “pony play” kink, which I didn’t understand but am starting to see the hawtness of now, oh hell yeah. And no, I’m not just saying this to be a polite blog guest.
Trent: Favorite book(s) of all time (any genre)?
Sheri: Oh shit. Way too many, 404 file not found, dude! I read mostly non-fiction. Weird huh? Politics/policy, web development, typography, design, geeky code books. Right now I’m reading a couple books about the porn industry and censorship.
Trent: I always love hearing what other authors have on deck. What do you have coming up for future Sheri Savill books?
Sheri: Right now I am writing a BDSM erotic book with … you! And excited about that. Also working on ideas for shorter stories that will be dark dark dark. I’m in a dark mode lately, I think reacting to the censorship we’re seeing. Makes me want to be darker. I’m obstinate that way. And there’s always the possibility of another collaboration with Renee Rose and Emily Tilton — that spanking humor post was a blast.
Trent: What’s one thing (or more than one thing) that you want readers to know?
Sheri: A serious answer, for once. As an independent author, I’m doing all this myself, and I’m trying very hard to do a good job. So when fans leave me gushing reviews and ask for more books, well, it just blows me away. You have NO idea. You don’t. Thank you!
Trent: What advice would you give to aspiring BDSM erotica or erotic romance writers?
Sheri: The idea of me, a mere n00b, giving … advice? Trent, you slay me. I’ll say … try to get a mentoring relationship if you can; try not to write to the “market;” ignore nasty reviews, and the just plain stupid reviews (“needed beter editting! One star,,,” [sic]) Be what you are, that authentic voice? Always wear clean underwear in case you’re in accident. Don’t be a fuckhead.
Trent: Thanks again for letting me pester you with these inane questions, Sheri:)
For those of who haven’t yet taken a look at Sheri’s newest, Bound For Disappointment: A Parody, I highly recommend you check it out. It is gut-bustingly funny. Please read on for links and an excerpt.
When Tara reached home she opened her laptop and checked her email. There was one marked URGENT, from her editor, Deke:
“Hey, Tara. Our distributors are tightening up some categories for smutty BDSM books. There have been complaints that your stuff is too … hardcore. So we have to be a little more careful. No biggie, just means changing a little wording in your new books, here and there, to adapt. No more references to “cock” “pussy” “fucking” “tits” “ass” “holes” “come” “coming” “wet” “hard” “breathing” “licking” “sucking” “fingers” “smacking” “bruising” “blowing” “moaning” “hot” “touching” “thrusting” “whipping” “caning” “spanking” “toys” and “sex.” I’ll send the full list later.”
“What in the name of FUCK-ALL?!” Tara said aloud, to her pet goldfish Skippy, who was doing a backstroke in his bowl on her desk. Actually he was Skippy 17. She numbered the Skippys now, because she traveled a lot and, well, you know. When she returned from trips it was just a matter of a quick flushing and then on to the next Skippy. Tara knew that people with pets were generally happier and better adjusted overall. Dealing with a string of senseless fish deaths made her better able to handle the stresses of everyday life with grace and aplomb.
“Are these fucking prude-ass distributors on meth!? How am I going to write smut without cocks and pussies and assholes and come? MY STUFF IS TOO HARDCORE?! This is smut, for God’s sake! Smut is supposed to be … SMUTTY!”
The rain pelted the windows. Thunder rolled, rattling the light fixture over her desk. Tara felt a furious bubbling froth of anger rising up from the pit of her stomach. She jumped up and headed to the backyard. She stopped at the shed and grabbed her perfectly-maintained gassed-up chainsaw. She pulled the cord. It started instantly and she charged over wet grass in her five-inch black patent heels in the darkness and heavy rain.
“I’ll show these motherfuckers! TOO HARDCORE?! MY STUFF IS TOO HARDCORE?!?! FUCKING ASSHOLES!” She thought again how having pets allowed her to channel her feelings in healthy ways.
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