Monday Morning Fika with Minelle Labraun: What Does a Reader Want?

Good morning and welcome to Fika!  Today we are welcoming a long-time regular reader and participant, Minelle Labraun.  Does the name sound familiar?  You may recognize Minelle in one of three capacities.  Her namesake is the co-heroine of The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, inspired by Minelle herself.  What happened?  I teased Minelle by saying that her husband should spank her and then proceeded to write a tiny scene where he did.  She loved it!  I put a snippet up for Six Sunday, and other people loved it as well.  So I kept writing, and Vennie was born.

The other way you might recognize Minelle is that she is the one who can be counted on to tease me in the comments.  Every day!  (Don’t you ever take a vacation, Minelle?  Hehe…)

But finally, the name Minelle is familiar to many of our spanking fiction authors because she is the dedicated reader who not only reads every single story she can find, but she also gives reviews and feedback.   She has a way of understanding stories on such an intuitive, empathic level that I often find myself re-examining my writing after hearing her feedback.  To have a reader like Minelle is the best gift an author could hope for.  Thank you, Minelle, for all that you do for the spanking fiction author community.

Minelle has agreed to chat with us today, so we have the dream of any author: a real live reader who will answer our questions!  I’ve asked her a few questions to get us started, but then feel free to chime in with your own.

Anastasia Vitsky: Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Minelle Labraun: I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. My natural family and chosen family inspire me to be better. As I get older I try not to let my natural reticence compete with my love of others. The one unifying element within all of those labels is that I am an artist. It is how I see the world. It is also often how I connect with people…I enjoy people. I love sharing friendship with others. Even when I am not painting or creating art, my eyes do not always see what others see. I get caught in the imagery around me. I pick up on things and they excite me. When I see a beautiful or interesting object or natural scene my heart races and I become lost in that vision. I often read with this perspective as well. A good story can inspire me to creative thought or just pure enjoyment.

Oh and I guess I like to read about spanking….and maybe enjoy the threat of spanking….Sometimes even practice a little spanking!

Anastasia Vitsky: How did you first become interested in spanking fiction?

Minelle Labraun: I have always been into spanking fiction. Any book I came across that mentioned spanking became the source of secret pleasure or a heart pounding rush. As I approached adolescence and later young adulthood, I read any romance, and eagerly embraced one that suggested spanking may occur or… ‘Joy’ did contain a strong leader taking someone in hand. I often kept those books and would revisit the spanking threats or scenes often through the years. I often think some of those bodice buster authors are settled right here in this community.

Five or six years ago instead of rushing off to search out a main stream ‘spanking’ fix, I decided I would try and understand the connection for me. I felt there needed to be an explanation for my secret desire.

I typed the phrase spanking in romance for my search. My world exploded. I was never to be the same again. I certainly had been mildly spanked in my relationship with my husband and threatened upon numerous occasions (not just by hubby) through the years, however I never thought about it beyond the secret thrill/confusion and embarrassment that loomed before me.

Then I began reading book sites and blogs…. ALL THE TIME. I started to feel comfortable buying stories so I bought lots…. Initially for me it was the spanking and romance not necessarily the sex. (The strong alpha man, taking in hand the equally strong woman.) I was amazed that there were stories such as I wrote in my head on a daily basis for as long as I could remember. Instead of imagining the scenes from my vanilla-ish books with a real spanking….I could actually read them personified.

Soon I made a connection with our dear Ana here, and she opened my eyes to FF spanking with Kat and Natalie. The writing was emotionally compelling and the love between Kat and Nat was palpable. Even though I had an open mind, I fell into the category of choosing things based on my MF bias. However I was amazed at her writing. The moment I discovered Kat and Nat story’s I waited with my breath held for each new scene to be revealed. The scenes were filled with descriptions invoking new experiences. I felt like I was back in a literature class analyzing and interpreting the subtle meaning behind the motivation of these multi-dimensional women.

Anastasia Vitsky: What about spanking fiction do you find interesting and enjoyable?

Minelle Labraun: Frankly I can enjoy almost every type., however I lean toward DD. But when a story is noteworthy it comes down to how the author sets up the story. When I first began reading stories I had all these preconceived stipulations regarding what was okay and what wasn’t. For example, I could find certain implements or the length of a spanking harsh. I would become so emotionally vested I tried too hard to place the story in my real world.   Now I have recognized that there are differences between fantasy and reality for me. Something that may seem harsh in fantasy can be enjoyable within the fantasy the author has created. It is important for me when an author sets up the scene properly. In those instances it doesn’t matter to me whether I agree with why the TIH [Taken in Hand or disciplined] individual is spanked, but that it was explained, even if it is just because this is our dynamic and I am in control.

Another draw for me is the conflict. I like that feisty struggle. The spanked doesn’t make it always easy. He or she doesn’t want the punishment. Maybe they do not even acknowledge the positive.  I am fine with the HOH making mistakes as long as it is discussed somehow and recognized and rectified. I do enjoy a happy ending but it doesn’t always have to get there easily. There are exceptions to happy endings. Sometimes the direction a story takes just doesn’t deem a happy ending as one that is plausible.

And yes I can deal with formula writing since I am getting a spanking story!  Good formula spanking stories will see me revisiting the author more often. Bad formula is much more difficult to slosh through.

A consideration regarding how I choose stories may also favor on my emotions. If I am moody etc… I may pick a harsher story. I always read the blurb and if the author offers a part of or chapter free that often settles my decision.

If it is in the erotic element all bets are off and I just enjoy the variety of approaches.

Anastasia Vitsky: How do you find new books to read, and how do you decide which ones to read?

Minelle Labraun: I enjoy word of mouth. I also will read stories from authors I have read previously. I am very loyal.

Anastasia Vitsky: Approximately how many stories do you read per week/month, and how many do you think you’ve read in all?

Minelle Labraun: I read spanking fiction all the time. I read a new story a few times per week. I read many books or stories at the same time. I belong to a few sites and when I buy books I have many pages. Ana, and now Sunny love to tease that I have read almost all the spanking fiction e-books…They may be close to right, regarding certain genres and categories. However I may have lost books since I am totally a tech-no.

Anastasia Vitsky: What do you wish for in a spanking story?  What do you hope won’t be in the story?

Minelle Labraun: Someone gets a Spanking…..or two…or three….! I like the traditional OTK spanking scenario. The intimacy of that position is so much a part of television and the romance novels I grew up seeing. It propels my fantasy.

I do not always want or need to have it consensual. For me it is okay within the context of fantasy. The idea of giving up control and someone making everything okay is part of the white horse fantasy. I don’t care of it is MF, FF or MM, There is a great appeal to being taken care of and put first. Love is the common denominator. Now for me…And I don’t judge others’ fantasies, there needs to be care in the spanking scenarios…not cruelty or abuse, I have some clear limits here. The main Characters having a moral fortitude guiding their actions is always a plus. Now I am not talking about a black and white definition, there can be a multitude of grays. Human nature is flawed and I do not mind seeing a transitional journey.

Anastasia Vitsky: You’ve tried your hand at writing a few spanking stories and put them on your blog.  How was that experience for you?  Will you continue to write stories?  What do you enjoy about it?

Minelle Labraun: Well I have PK to thank for encouraging me to write my first spanking story. If not for her I would have just continued weaving scenarios in my head. Daily in the quiet moments I would settle and create a picture and dialogue for my mind to enjoy. I would choose a set of characters that were strong but real, sit back and imagine away. When I actually attempted to pen my first story, the experience was literally one of the most exciting and frightening creative journeys I have faced. I know I am a novice but I enjoy facing the challenge. I try and learn from my mistakes and make the characters fun, albeit flawed. As long as everyone is willing to muddle through my sophomoric attempts I will keep trying to get better.

Anastasia Vitsky: What would you say to spanking fiction authors if you could?

Minelle Labraun: Keep writing your stories…..Write the way you enjoy. Don’t try and change based on what you think readers want. We will read what you write if it seems as if it is authentic. If you feel a certain way write it and don’t put something into a story just because you think it is what a reader wants. Every author has a different voice. That is what I enjoy as a reader…your perspective.

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71 thoughts on “Monday Morning Fika with Minelle Labraun: What Does a Reader Want?

  1. terpsichore says:

    Thank-you for this wonderfully written interview. Minelle you have wonderful insights. To be honest, other than FF and other little stories out here in blogland I have not read much spanking fiction. Growing up I read mostly the romantic classics. I was focused on dancing and did not rediscover my love of reading until adulthood. Then I did not know what I liked so I read everything and discovered I just love any good book with characters that speak to me, stories that come to life for me. I fell in love with Diana Gabaldon’s series of Outlander books. Then I finally explored my lifelong fascination with spanking and discovered this wonderful community…it wasn’t until then that I really was introduced to romance stories with spanking as a theme. I will stop babbling on and on…but anyways, thank-you Ana for this lovely post. I know who to ask when I am looking for reccommendations for books to read… 🙂 Hugs!

    Like

  2. newlifeindd says:

    After what Minelle says, I could say: Ana, I always told you. And you never believed me.
    The only aspect about spanking stories that is not very important is the gender of the actors.
    The whole setup, the atmosphere is much more important.
    That’s so beautiful about books. The fantasy of the reader is triggered much more than with movies.
    I’m quite sure I would not be able to look at an M/M spanking scene in a movie. I’m just conditioned that way and I would zap away with light speed. Sorry. Don’t mind them doing that, but to me it would probably just look clownish, because the image of men doing that to each other, doesn’t fit in my brain.
    But in a book, I would not mind so much, I would probably be too much involved with the story itself. There is no unfitting image but there is the fantasy that always fits.
    And honestly, in a book I would not care at all about it being MF, FM or FF.

    Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Trying to stir the pot again, are you? I’ll let Minelle handle your attempts to cause trouble. 🙂

      I could imagine Mrs. Claus coming after you. Hmm…that’s quite a pleasant thought, actually. Should we tell Lisa?

      I notice that you didn’t include F/M. 😀

      Like

    • Minelle says:

      I do agree Bas. That is what I mean about authors setting up the scene. I don’t want to always read the exact scene every time. However that doesn’t mean that I am not open to the same themes that strike a cord in me. Stir away Bas.
      And…That is my line with Ana….’I told you that too but did you believe me….?!’

      Like

    • Minelle says:

      Thanks Katherinedeane! Gosh you are so nice! I feel more confident sharing what I feel now! It is lovely when others feel a similar way isn’t it? When someone says something that resonates with my thoughts I feel so excited, so- thank you!

      Like

  3. Sunny Girl says:

    What a wonderful interview Minelle and Ana.

    Minelle you have to be every writer’s dream, you are not only a prolific reader but a great reviewer also. I am always grateful for your input when I’ve come to a crossroad and seek your thoughts, just as Ana said.

    And thanks for that last – it’s what I try to do and am glad to know it’s okay.

    Like

    • Minelle says:

      I really love every authors perspective. We learn so much about ourselves and others when we stay true to what we want to say. It doesn’t matter if it is different based on our moods or thoughts, just that it is authentic.
      Thanks Sunny, you have helped me at those crossroads as well!

      Like

    • Minelle says:

      My initial reaction to your comment is…I LOVE your stories!! I have read most of your books, and always look forward to a new story. I find your sense of humor so compelling. One of my favorite spanking scenes you have written is in My Lady Robin Hood. I still go back and re-read that scene.

      Like

  4. Rogue says:

    Love the interview, Minelle! Perhaps I should tap into your vast knowledge of the dd realm when I need some ideas… 🙂

    Ana, I can assure you that Bas is perfectly all right with F/M. This lovely gentleman has been very instrumental in helping me….us. 🙂

    Like

  5. Cat says:

    Hey Minelle…Wonderful answers to great questions! I enjoy books of all kinds, genres, etc. and totally agree with you regarding the author setting up the story properly…that is key!

    Thanks Ana for inviting Minelle to FIKA…that had to be a nail-biter. 😉

    Like

    • Minelle says:

      Choke….Was that a compliment or not Cat? Why is it a nail biter??? LOL Maybe because Ana is never sure what I will say?

      I am with you on all types of genre too Cat.

      Like

      • Anastasia Vitsky says:

        Miss Worrywart Minelle certainly bit more than one nail…she was worried that no one would be interested in what she had to say. Silly. We’ve actually had this planned for several months.

        And Minelle, we all know you are bossy!

        Like

  6. Ami says:

    A great interview Minelle even though I am reading it almost asleep standing up like a horse! I sincerely hope you keep writing your stories. Thank you Ana for the interview and it’s good to see you keep our Minelle on her toes. I’m just reading the new Jade Cary and it’s very good. I look forward very much to reading more – from both of you!

    Hugs

    Ami

    Like

  7. Jade Cary says:

    Minelle,you are so wonderfully supportive. You are an author’s dream: you get the genre, you enjoy it, and you have an opinion on what you love and what you don’t. Thanks for being part of this great community.

    Namaste.

    Like

  8. lillie says:

    I am a fan of Minelle’s stories. I hope you continue to write and share them with the community. A cozy spanking story is a welcome retreat from a stressful day.
    hugs
    lillie

    Like

    • Minelle says:

      Thanks lillie! I will continue even if there are real authors who do a great job. I seem to recall that you penned us an engaging story a while back! I agree that a spanking story is a delightful treat at the end of a stressful day!

      Like

  9. PK says:

    Wonderful Minelle! Ana is right – a good, interested reader is absolutely the best thing a writer can have! You are a good writer yourself so you know. Great answers here.

    Like

    • Minelle says:

      PK darlin, I wouldn’t be here but for you and all your encouragement! I cannot even erase that first email since it has expanded my world.
      I am not in the same category as you and the other authors here, but thank you!

      Like

  10. Susie says:

    Our very own Minelle…doing interviews? I learned all sorts of new things about you and reading this has made me rethink my position on fiction. Maybe I’ll try a longer piece and see if I can handle it a bit better now that I’ve “grown” up a little. LOL…if you read this Minelle, I’ve explained to Ana the reasons why I don’t read much spanking fiction. It tends to mess up my own expectations of my very firmly consistent DD life which just doesn’t happen like the stories do.

    Thank you…both of you!

    Like

    • Minelle says:

      Thanks Susie! I really try hard to enjoy fiction and keep it separate. If you saw how emotionally vested I used to get you’d think I was nuts! I actually equate it with any romance story. It is never going to be like that so I just enjoy the ride. Fiction….Reality. That isn’t to say we cannot learn from our response to any and everything we read, but if we want exactly what is in a fantasy…not possible.

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      • Anastasia Vitsky says:

        Susie, you know that I both respect your reasons for not reading fiction and would love to chat with you more about the problems you have with fiction. I think that when we read responsibly, it can be a great thing. However, that’s not true for everyone, is it? It’s great to know what works for us and what doesn’t work.

        Like

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