Monday Morning Fika: Alta Hensley, the Good/Naughty Girl of DD Fiction

Today Governing Ana is proud to host Alta Hensley for Monday Morning Fika*!  On select Mondays, we will sit down with an author or figure of the ttwd community to chat about topics such as books, love, electronic readers, and even biting!  Please welcome Alta.  

*”Fika” is a Swedish term for enjoying coffee, tea, and sweets over conversation with friends.  It is a sacred tradition in many families, friends, and even workplaces, and it offers a chance to chat informally on a number of topics.  While “Fika” may refer specifically to the coffee, in practice it refers to the moment of community.  In this hectic world, it is nice to take a moment to stop, pause, and savor time getting to know a little more about each other.

Good morning, Alta, and thank you so much for joining us!  Congratulations on your newest book Of Yesterday!  You were one of the first to write domestic discipline novels, and in fact LazyDay’s decision to publish your first book was a big risk.  Amazingly, you rocketed to best-seller lists and have helped to redefine kinky novels.  Did you think that you would go over as big as you have, or were you surprised?

Was I one of the first? Interesting. 🙂

I had no idea it would take off the way it did. Traditional Love was a huge step outside of the typical bdsm type story. There was no safe word, and it wasn’t really consensual spanking, so I was nervous how the average reader would take it. LazyDay took a huge risk because Domestic Discipline was still very taboo…still is. It wasn’t just about a sexual kink, but rather, a lifestyle.

What has this been like for you?

Exciting! Seeing the sales meant that people were actually reading my book(s). I started selling 100’s and then 1000’s of books. As a writer, this is a dream come true. It was also stressful at times. I had some backlash that I was writing about domestic abuse, or that my scenes were “vulgar.” So, I had to learn how to have a thick skin pretty fast. I also started getting e-mails asking for advice about Domestic Discipline. It was…odd. People were starting to see me as a “DD Pioneer Author” and that title was weird for me. But overall, I have really loved seeing how much my writing has been embraced, and I have met some really wonderful people.

Considering that your books are quite steamy, your readers might well be surprised that you describe yourself as a shy, quiet, private girl who likes to please.  You said that you didn’t even share your first book with your mother.  Do you see any dichotomy between writing erotic novels and being a “good girl”?

It’s funny, because I am the typical “good girl” but with a hidden naughty side. 🙂

I didn’t share my books with most anyone I knew. They all know that I write, but they all know that they are NOT allowed to read my books. I think a lot of people are like that, though. I think a lot of people have secret desires that they unleash behind closed doors. In fact, the whole DD community is a hush hush group of people. Rarely, are people “out” as a DD couple. And even if you don’t practice the lifestyle…I think the fantasy of it, really turns people on…secretly. 😉

Do you think that being a “good girl” has been an asset for you as a writer?

Yes. If a scene I’m writing makes me blush – then I know it is good! I think I’m also overly sensitive to making my scenes less “dirty” and more “sensual”. Don’t get me wrong, my books can be very “dirty,” but I think my good girl side keeps me in check.

How would you define the kind of writing that you do?

Erotic Romance. I think I would put myself in the very new genre of Domestic Discipline Contemporary Romance. It’s different than bdsm because my scenes don’t have safe words and really don’t follow all the rules of bdsm. All of my writing has a DD element to it. What can I say? I like the spank. 😉

You have said that you believe firmly–and this is a theme in your books–that DD can save marriages and reduce or prevent divorces.  Do you see writing about DD couples as a kind of intervention or outreach?

I truly do believe that DD can help many marriages. I believe in traditional roles between a man and woman. A woman can be strong, run businesses, dominate in the world, but she also needs to be soft and sensual to her man. A man can’t have his masculinity stripped from him, while a woman loses her femininity. It’s just not natural. I write about DD, because I think that many women really want at least some aspect of it. Maybe not the whole lifestyle, but I think most women want a strong man who can lead. Why are romance novels with strong alphas so popular?

Although, I’m not trying to convince or change anyone’s mind. I’m just writing about something I find very seductive and erotic.  

How do you hope your books will affect readers?

I just hope they walk away from my book, happy that they read it. Even if they don’t agree with the spanking/discipline in the book, my hope is that they at least liked the story and characters. 

What might bring readers to the books?

I wish I knew! If I truly knew that answer, then I’d outsell Fifty Shades of Grey! Ha ha.

What greater message might people take away after reading your books?

Love. All my books are truly about love. Take out the DD, the spanking, the anal discipline and so on…I just want people to walk away saying, “That was a great love story.”

I heard that you had a one-time foray into F/F and even found out you liked to top!  I love that you are willing to experiment.  What did you like about it?

I am an extremely sexual person. I’m open minded to all sexual beliefs, lifestyles etc. I also love the female body, as you may notice on my blog. I think the shape and curves of a woman is beyond beautiful.

Have you considered writing F/F fiction in the future?

Well, I was part of Indulgence: Tales of the Cirque Romani. I wrote a short story that explored the F/F sensuality, and it was fun! So you never know…. 

As someone who has pioneered books about M/F DD, what are your thoughts about F/F DD possibly emerging as part of that genre?

It think it’s great! It exists just like M/F does and M/M does. So why not find more books about it? I think that if a story can stand on its own, it doesn’t matter if it’s M/F, M/M, F/F and so on. A good book is a good book, regardless.

LazyDay, your publisher (and mine, too!), is relatively new and does a great deal besides spanking fiction.  Why do you work with them?  Their trademark seems to be accepting books that don’t fit into a particular genre, and they seem to be open to kink writing.  Do you agree?

LazyDay Publishing is a fairly new digital first publisher (they opened December 1, 2010). They have some print on demand, but their focus is the ebook. What is so great about them, is that they truly take on all genres and take chances with authors, ideas, and out of the box genres. They also really nourish their relationships with their authors and continue to work with them, which is why I keep writing for them. They even created a Spanking/Domestic Discipline category on their site. So they are really supportive to the lifestyle.

When I first sent my first book Traditional Love out to publishers, I was given a couple of acceptance letters IF I changed a few things. The changes that were asked would have changed my book completely and removed Domestic Discipline ideas. LazyDay allowed me to keep my voice. They work with you on everything. You even get to be part of the cover creation. They are new and still fairly unknown by many, but they have had several books make the bestseller lists on Amazon (I have had 3 make that list). 🙂

My next book Of Yesterday is now for sale. So proud of it!  

[Ana’s note: Please click on the book cover image below if you would like to purchase it.]

Alta’s newest book!

Monday Morning Fika with Cara Bristol: The Catch 22 of domestic discipline fiction…

Governing Ana is proud to host Cara Bristol for today’s Fika.   On select Mondays, we will sit down with a ttwd author to chat about topics such as books, love, electronic readers, and even biting!  Please welcome Cara for a discussion of how to incorporate domestic discipline within ttwd fiction.

*”Fika” is a Swedish term for enjoying coffee, tea, and sweets over conversation with friends.  It is a sacred tradition in many families, friends, and even workplaces, and it offers a chance to chat informally on a number of topics.  While “Fika” may refer specifically to the coffee, in practice it refers to the moment of community.  In this hectic world, it is nice to take a moment to stop, pause, and savor time getting to know a little more about each other.

.

By Cara Bristol

Domestic discipline fiction goes like this: heroine misbehaves – hero spanks her. The reason for the spanking creates a dilemma for the author.

Readers want likable characters they can root for. If the heroine’s offense is minor, readers dislike the hero because he looks like a bully. If she commits a serious offense that can be seen as a moral failing – infidelity, endangering the lives of her children, readers dislike her. So as an author, you have to skate a very thin line down the middle of the two extremes.

The notion of a woman being spanked is a retro concept, but readers bring modern sensibilities. They want strong, capable heroines. So how do you create an independent woman who is savvy and smart, yet somehow acts in a way that merits a spanking?

It’s a challenge to devise spankable offenses, but here are a few things to consider. First, both the hero and the heroine should have logical, believable reasons for their actions from their perspectives. The heroine must commit her offense for a good reason, not just because she’s being bratty or unkind. And the hero must be equally justified for spanking her.

In Sue Lyndon’s  A Firm Husband, a western historical, the heroine wants to see the world so she hops a stage and runs away. Her father sends a neighboring rancher to retrieve her, and after she lies to avoid being taken home, he spanks her. Is it justifiable that a young woman might long to see the country? Absolutely. Is it justifiable that the people who care for her might not think it was a good idea? Absolutely.

(By the way, because women’s roles were so different long ago, historical and domestic discipline are two genres that mesh well together).

A second tactic is to remove the monkey of a dilemma off your back and put it on your character’s. Give your heroine a problem with no good solution and have her opt for the worst of two bad choices. But be sure to show how “torn” she is by her decision.

In False Pretenses, the second novel in my Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline series, Emma Dupree is an aspiring journalist. She has a soul-sucking day job and is desperate to get out. She stumbles across a secret organization of men who spank their wives and goes undercover to get the scoop. But it turns out her new boyfriend is a member, and while she’s undercover, she makes friends with one of the spanked women. To write the story that will launch her career, she will have to betray her lover and friend.

Third, have your spankable offenses emerge from a story or plot that is outside the domestic discipline relationship. In Jade Cary’s The Point of it All, the story is a thriller, a romantic suspense about why a plastic surgeon is kidnapped by bad guys in Mexico. The rescuer finds the doctor months later hiding out with a band of gypsies after she’d escaped from her kidnappers. She doesn’t want to be rescued anymore, but intends to remain to help the people who’d hid her. But her rescuer has to complete his mission and bring her home. When she almost shoots off his ear, he spanks her to bring her under control so he can “save” her.  Take away the spanking, and the story still stands. The hero could have saved the heroine some other way, but he didn’t. (But as a warning, many readers took offense to a kidnapped, traumatized woman being spanked by her rescuer. Others, however, loved this book).

Fourth, let your hero put your heroine in a bind. In Unexpected Consequences, the first Rod and Cane Society novel, Jared Traynor and his new bride have a domestic discipline marriage. Though she’s agreed to it, he wants to be sure she’s fully on board with the lifestyle. When she wants an expensive pair of shoes, though he secretly plans to surprise her with them, he tests her obedience by telling her no. She fails his test when she sneaks back and buys the shoes.

Domestic discipline requires an approval from the reader that other contemporary fiction doesn’t. A reader has to accept that spanking for discipline is okay on a basic level for purposes of the story to enjoy it.  (They don’t have to accept it in real life.) To some people, the idea that a man punishes a woman is totally unacceptable even in fiction and you’ll never find an offense that warrants a spanking in their minds. But they’re not your audience.

Write for readers who enjoy spanking stories and for the ones who are new to the genre who might discover they like it.

***

Cara Bristol is the author of the Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline erotic romance series about men who spank and the women who love them. Unexpected Consequences and False Pretenses, the first two novels in the series, have been published by Loose Id. She recently submitted the third to her publisher, but is keeping mum on the title until it’s accepted. Her other spanking stories Intimate Submission and Secret Desires are available individually or in the anthology, Spanked! Her two non-spanking erotic romances are Reckless in Moonlight and A Scent of Longing.

Cara’s blog: http://www.carabristol.com

Cara’s Amazon Author page http://www.amazon.com/Cara-Bristol/e/B004D8KZTQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1347039197&sr=1-2-ent