There, I've said it! Most people discretely refer to the novel Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James as 'mommy porn.' But in real life, what this book is nothing less than glorified kinky fuckery.
This book is what Twilight was when it first hit the book circuit all those years ago. It was considered a little bit of bad in a world that is being overly policed. In the Nanny state we now reside we are constantly being told how to raise our children, when (and how, and even if) we can discipline them, What we can read/say/watch (is anyone going to admit they own a gollywog?) and even where we can smoke! Books are now a way to be bad without getting into trouble for it. Naughty boys who bite suddenly became all the rage.
Books such as Twilight started to filter in as a way for us to buck the trend without being seen as politically incorrect. As a result, every next book after Stephenie Meyers came complete with black covers and a vampire who was lovelorn. This led to my next theory. We all love a bad boy, but what we love more than that is a broken bad boy. Women love to fix things. Enter: Christian Grey.
Christian is so deliciously bad that women are literally melting at the knees for a bit of slap and tickle (but hold the tickle please). However, while we are attracted to baddies, or getting the bad boy, we don't seem to really want him at the end of the day. We simply want to fix him up and ultimately have someone who will worship us. The world of BDSM appears perfect for this scenario.
Now, being someone who loves a bit of good research, while reading the first book in the trilogy, I wondered at how accurately the BDSM scene is depicted in this book and whether it fit my theory. But being a person who can described as strictly 'vanilla' in preference, how was I to find out? I finished the first book and moved onto the next one still curious but way too busy editing two novels to be curious enough to pursue the arduous task of researching a topic such as the BDSM scene.
While waiting on a friend to finish (and then pass on) the third novel, an opportunity arose. I was offered a manuscript to proof read; 'Catalyst: Stories of Awakening'. This manuscript belonged to a friend of mine, KL Joy. I knew her genre was Erotica, but after reading a few chapters of her novel, I realised that she may just be the very person to help me in my task.
KL Joy has been kind enough to let me into her world. Here is her unique take on the world of Christian Grey and BDSM. And once you've finished reading her interview, make sure you grab a copy of her new book, 'Catalyst: Stories of Awakening' (Details are at the end of the interview):
*Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?
Yes I have, and I rather enjoyed it, then I moved on to 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed.
*Did you enjoy the trilogy?
Hmmmm, enjoy is a strong word, and not one that I would apply here. I enjoyed the first book as it opens the world that I live in to the mainstream, but I ended up reading it for research purposes. Like everyone else, I’d heard the buzz and wondered what the fuss was all about. Seeing as I’d written my first book over 7 years ago and couldn’t get a crack at the mainstream, I guess I also wondered what she had done differently to me.
*Were there parts of it that made you cringe?
Of course! There were many moments I said to myself, if I saw/heard of that in a D/S relationship I’d laugh/cry/slap the person! I guess the predominant thing that concerned me is that a relationship with that much trust takes a lot longer than a few weeks to develop. Yes, in the ‘nilla world that happens and as one character says in the book, “marry in haste, repent at leisure.” In the BDMS world, it’s not a matter of repent at leisure; it’s a matter of people being, potentially, physically or psychologically damaged beyond repair if things move too fast.
***SPOILER ALERT HERE!*** OK, I read one of the first chapters of Book three with horror, the two pairs of handcuffs, binding ankles to wrist, and then the manoeuvres! They say with fiction you have to suspend reality, well yes, but this is fantasy!! There is no way that you can physically do that and not break the poor girl’s neck!
In one scene of the second book, it was a toss-up as to whether I would slap his face, or whip his ass… the scene where Christians ‘fractured emotionally’ and thought he was ‘losing her’ so he fell into a submissive stance and she has to pull him out of it! That was so cringe-worthy, it was beyond the pale.
*Were there parts that made your heart sing with their honest portrayal of the BDSM scene?
My heart didn’t sing at any point, but yes there were some things I looked at and went, ah ha – that’s true…
The contract stuff, that’s often used as a way of opening a conversation between a Dom and a sub, the understanding that though there is absolutely no LEGAL basis under which most of these contracts will hold up, they have an honour system behind them.
I think the message that the submissive has the ultimate power in an exchange was a great moment for me. It’s not all about the Dominant, though at times with Christian, well, it seems that way!
*Why do you think people are so fascinated by this book?
There is a taboo that still surrounds BDSM and it is a titillation that can be seen through a keyhole. The underlying facts of this book are, it’s not well written, the author EL James admits that herself; It’s a love story with a twist and it’s still selling like hot cakes. SO although it meet the formula of ‘boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back and they live happily ever after’ it’s a little risqué and people, mainly women bored with their vanilla worlds, love to step up to the door, bend over and take a peek through that keyhole, knowing they are on the safe side.
*I have a theory that since current obsession with vampires, people are looking for a darker, edgier element to their lives. In this day and age, with everything so tightly regulated and political correctness gone mad, people are looking for a way to escape normality and conformity. What do you think of this idea?
I think books have hit a turning point the past 10 years, It’s a very exciting time to be an author! With the rise of ebooks, is means more and more people have access to the sort of fiction that used to be sold under the counters in “Adult Book” shops, usually heavily wrapped in brown paper and slipped guiltily under the coat as they left the shop. The fact that there are personal eReaders now, this affords the reader a modicum of privacy that was NEVER there before. Taboo’s in books are not new, the fact that they are edging now more into the mainstream – well, I think that’s thanks to the technology that we have available to us. Normality and conformity is relative to each person. My normal, so someone else’s taboo.
*How were you introduced to the scene?
I was in my favourite lingerie shop one day and saw a business card on the desk. It actually was a ‘concertina’ of business cards with images of legs, in stockings and heels, all shapes and sizes… I was enthralled! I took a card and called the art photographer, he had just finished an exhibition on Legs, and he loved the female form and wanted to explore different looks from the one girl. On one of the first sessions we did together he said he’d like to see me in a corset, I said I didn’t have one, so he took me to a shop, Marquis De Sade (no prizes for guessing why, but I fell in love!) Mary, the owner, put me in this leather studded, Xena warrior woman piece then pulled the laces tight and I felt my body shift! I loved the look, the feel, the leather! I had my first corset within about 3 month – custom made leather of course! I knew I needed to find a place to wear it. Mary and her crew were the people who got me into some of my first underground fetish clubs. In those days, you didn’t just walk up to the door, pay and go in, you had to know someone. So I guess the fashion in this case dictated my lifestyle.
*Can you recommend any websites that curious readers can start in their search of the BDSM lifestyle?
Of course! If you are just curious, like Ana, and do a search, beware of the ‘sex side’ of things, the most important words to place in your search engine ‘BDSM’ and ‘Information’ This will bring up a plethora of websites that you can troll for the background stuff. If you want to explore further, set up an account on the Facebook for Kinksters, www.FetLife.com There are groups to read through, events you can venture out to and munches that will help you dip your toe in the water. A munch is a non-threatening dinner/lunch in a public venue with like-minded people to mingle and chat and get to know one another without the pressure.
*Are all Doms/Subs a result of an early childhood traumatic experience?
Hell no! I came from a home with two loving parents and two annoying brothers. Private school education and no history of childhood trauma other than I was probably spoiled rotten as I was the only girl. * winks* Really, that’s one of the things that annoys me about the public perception of BDSM. There are no more ‘mentally disturbed’ people in BDSM than there are in any other area of life, for example, how many policemen, or public servants have a background in childhood trauma? Is it valid to even ask?
*I agree KL :) Did this concept annoy you? Is it a common concept assumed from people outside the scene?
This is the reason I started writing what I do! I wanted to see a more accurate portrayal of BDSM in mainstream. There was a character on CSI: Vegas called Lady Heather she was amazing, but the only reason they brought her in was because of the perceived crimes associated with BDSM. It was the last straw for me. The only way that people in my lifestyle where portrayed where through victimisation, or criminalisation and I know that’s just not an accurate picture. We are not horned creatures with 3 pronged tails, we may be the person sitting next to you on the bus, or the teacher in your child's classroom, or the gynaecologist you see. People come to BDSM for many different reasons, and from many different walks of life.
*In your book, Catalyst, a BDSM 'wedding' is performed. It was a beautiful service. Does this happen often?
Thank you for the compliment about the service, I have to say collaring ceremonies are rare. The one that I saw that was inspiration for this book was over 7 years ago and though I know of one other that will occur later this year, that is the first one since that will take place publicly. Most people opt for a traditional wedding ceremony with some 'flavour' added to the ceremony that signifies their status as D/S. It's usually so subtle that most of the 'nilla's don't even notice. :)
*Do you keep your sexual preferences a secret? Or a secret from some only? If so, who and why?
I don’t walk into my son’s school in full fetish gear, if that’s what you’re asking! So I guess to some degree yes I do, but I'm not active in hiding behind the leather curtain, so to speak either.
I don’t feel the need to meet someone and say “I’m kinky!” I knew when my son started at school, there would be a period of adjustment within the school system. As parents chatting during pick up occurred, “What do you do for a living…” answer, “I’m a writer.” Obvious next question, “Oh, what do you write?” answer “Erotica”. Then there is the stunned/awed look and I have to explain of how I got into writing that – so I just say, “well a writer writes best from experience, don’t they?” Usually it's met with good nature, I also have a sense of how much to divulge, to whom and when. Both of my parents know what I write about, my mother was even one of the proofreaders and is an staunch supporter.
*What inspired you to write about the BDSM scene?
I love what I see, and a lot of people don’t see that side of it. I’m actually a big fan of Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Hells Angels… He was credited as the creator of Gonzo Journalism, which is a style of reporting where the reporter insinuates themselves into the action to some degree. I suppose to some degree that’s the way I write. Yes, I write fiction, not journalism, but the way this scene is, it’s hard to write accurately about BDSM if you don’t know anything.
*Were any of the characters in your novel based on real people?
That would be telling now wouldn’t it? In the front of my book I have a ‘disclaimer’:
"The characters depicted within this book are complete works of
imagination from the author’s warped mind. As I’ve been an avid voyeur
within the BDSM community for many years and seen people do what
they do best, I may have used one or more of your signature techniques.
I hope you see it as flattering.
If you see any likeness to yourself - wear it with pride.
If you want deniability, refer to the above comment."
*Thank you so much for allowing me to step inside your world, it was certainly an honour. Finally, how can people get a hold of your novel?
My eBook is available as of 22nd June 2012 through www.darempiremedia.com (Just do an author search for 'KL Joy' )
It's available on Amazon: Catalyst: Stories of Awakening
as well as Smashwords.
Or visit www.kljoy.com for information on the print version.
If you want to get in touch with KL Joy on Social media then follow the links below:
Facebook: KL Joy (Author Page)
Blog: The Author KL Joy