Cecilia Tan will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming BDSM Writers Con in New York City! She has been writing and publishing BDSM erotica since 1992, quite a pioneer in the field. In addition to writing award-winning novels like last year’s SLOW SURRENDER (which won an RT Reviewer’s Choice award and the Maggie Award for Excellence) she has been an active member of the BDSM community, teaching classes, running events, and writing nonfiction since the nineties. Here’s a short interview with her.
- Tell us five random facts about yourself.
Oh goodness. There’s nothing random about me. Everything is planned to meticulous detail. Okay, I’m totally kidding. Everything about me is random. How about these: 1) I used to be a professional ski instructor. 2) I got my black belt in 1995. 3) When I was a child the only food I wouldn’t eat was mashed sweet potatoes. 4) I’m a tea addict. 5) I used to play the sousaphone.
- Why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing literally as far back as I can remember. When I was about three or four years old my mother would give me construction paper and crayons and instead of just drawing on it like the other kids I’d fold over the paper and make it like a book. She had taught me to spell my name and one day I realized because of the two C’s in my name, hey, the letters correspond to the sounds they make! And I started writing titles and “th end” on my papers so they would be like the children’s books I had. I was literally writing before I could read. Or spell! It was my first form of creative expression and I’ve always kept with it.
- What do you hope to achieve writing in the BDSM/erotic genre?
I’ve always been about celebrating desire and erotic fire, and about depicting the hotness in power exchange that comes from consent and bonding between partners. My first BDSM story was called “Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords.” I love how BDSM role-playing bonds people together and can make you feel like you can read each other’s minds.
- Are you an active participant in the lifestyle or just an interested author?
Oh, active participant! I threw my first BDSM play party in 1992.
- What do you believe is the hardest part of the writing process, specifically related to the BDSM genre?
For me the hardest part these days is trying to counteract the mixed messages the audience may have gotten from 50 Shades of Grey. Understand: it’s perfectly okay to have a pushy borderline stalker as your hero if that’s the fantasy you’re into. That’s a staple of some genres of romance. But because 50 Shades explicitly mixes that trope with BDSM, I find it’s important to inform people that’s NOT what BDSM actually is. I think most readers figure that out pretty quickly but it’s important to me to show how consent works and to show a diversity of relationship styles.
- Who are your inspirations? Mentors? Or favorite authors?
My early mentors were all science fiction writers. Authors like Joan Vinge and Shariann Lewitt and Ellen Kushner took the time to encourage me and give me advice when I was fresh out of college and trying to get my career going.
- Do you write to entertain, to inform or both? How do you believe you accomplish this?
Both. I write to communicate, to engage people, to take them on a journey. If a fiction writer has done her job right, by the end of that journey both the main character and the reader have changed and have learned a lot.
- Share a few of your “bucket list” items?
One of these years I’m going to learn to play the game of go, and I’d like to visit the Go Association headquarters in Tokyo. Visit Paris: I’ve been to a lot of foreign cities but not that one, yet. Learn Chinese calligraphy.
- If you could have dinner with 3 people- past or present who would they be and why?
Babe Ruth, Mozart, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, because it would be fascinating to talk to people who were the undisputed best at what they did during their careers.
- vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate!
- Snow or Beach? Neither. Forest.
- Sandals, boots or sneakers? Boots.
- lazy Saturdays: naked, sweats or full blown dressed? Writer uniform: bathrobe.
- favorite food? Soup.
- Favorite color? Black.
- Favorite time of day? Midnight.
- Favorite season? Autumn.
- Favorite pastime? Watching baseball. (It used to be playing baseball, but I’m retired from playing now!)
- Favorite drink? My favorite cocktail is the Vieux Carre. But not every bartender can make it, so I’ll settle for a bourbon manhattan with a cherry
- Tell us about what you are working on now?
I’m working on a new BDSM trilogy for Hachette! The series name is Secrets of a Rock Star, and I suppose you could say it’s also BDSM “billionaire,” but the difference is the billionaire is the heroine. The first book should be titled TAKING THE LEAD and if I meet my deadlines it should be out in January 2016.
- Anything you want to tell us that we didn’t cover?
I want to encourage more writers to explore BDSM. Don’t be afraid to just because you’ve seen 50 Shades get criticized or because now you’re worried the “fad is over.” They’ve been saying the vampire “fad” is over for 20 years and I guarantee you it isn’t. BDSM isn’t about to disappear either. But if you’re not in the lifestyle, don’t be afraid to go out and meet the members of your local BDSM community. Find a munch through Fetlife or an event like the Fetish Fair Fleamarket. Or like BDSM Writers Con, for that matter! We’re very friendly and we don’t bite…unless you ask us to very very nicely.
About the Author:
Cecilia Tan is the author of Slow Surrender, The Siren and the Sword, The Prince’s Boy, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, and many other novels and works. To see her full list of awards, accolades, and publications, visit CeciliaTan.com. Her most recent release is a new edition of THE TOWER AND THE TEARS, the second book in her new adult erotic fantasy series, Magic University.
Website & blog: http://blog.ceciliatan.com
Riverdale Avenue Books: http://riverdaleavebooks.com/Books?Filters.SelectedAuthorId=20
THE TOWER AND THE TEARS by Cecilia Tan
On sale at:
Combining the freshness and excitement of new adult romance with a paranormal setting reminiscent of Harry Potter, The Tower and the Tears is the second volume in Cecilia Tan’s Magic University series.
Kyle is a college sophomore worrying about the usual things students do, like what he’s going to major in and getting along with his dorm mates, but he attends a most unusual college. He’s a student at Veritas, the hidden magical university inside Harvard. Kyle finds he has a talent for sex magic, and when Ciara, a girl in his sex magic class, has a crush on him and needs a practice partner, he looks like he’s in for a very pleasurable semester of study. But can Kyle pass the grueling tests necessary to be accepted into the Esoteric Arts program, including the bisexuality requirement?
When a professor is mysteriously attacked, Kyle finds himself embroiled in a mystery deeper than university department politics. Someone has been stealing magical artifacts and the dean suspects Ciara, sending Kyle on a quest to discover the real culprit. Kyle will learn sizzling sexual technique and unleash powerful magic on his incredible erotic journey, but is the study of sex really the route to true love? Perhaps what Kyle needs to learn about most is himself.