We are happy to announce that Claire Thompson’s books are now available on MyRomanceStory.com. Claire has been writing for nearly two decades, and has published over 70 novels. She writes BDSM romance and non-con abduction tales, spanning both m/f and m/m genres. Her darker works press the envelope of what is erotic and what can be a sometimes dangerous slide into the world of sadomasochism. Ultimately her work deals with the human condition, and our constant search for love and intensity of experience. We recently had a chance to talk with Claire about books, writing and the BDSM genre from the romantic/passionate point of view.
First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have been writing erotica and erotic romance since 1996. I’ve published over 60 novels, most of them exploring the sensuality and power of erotic submission and BDSM. I also write what I call my “dark ‘n dirty” abduction tales—pure erotica with a strong non-con element. I have also penned a number of gay m/m love stories, many of them also with a BDSM theme.
Can you tell us something that not a lot of people know about you?
I used to work in administration for a school district in a small town in the Lower Hudson Valley in New York. No one there knew I was secretly a writer of dirty books!
Where did the idea for No Safeword come from?
When people do scenes at clubs or within the context of negotiated play with BDSM partners, it’s important to have a “safeword” – a word that stops the action immediately if the submissive/bottom is not able to cope with whatever is going on, or is in distress, and the Dom/top doesn’t seem to be getting it.
In No Safeword, Jaime, our heroine, wants to go deeper into her exploration of erotic submission. When she joins The Enclave for training, she discovers there is no safeword there—that is, she has to fully trust that her trainers and Doms there will be the ones to guide her, and to decide if/when the action needs to stop. She must give herself completely in order to find herself.
I wanted a title for this novel that would capture that idea right away—this is not a typical “safe, sane, consensual” setup. This is something darker and far more intense. Readers, beware. This is a not a hearts and flowers romance, though it is a romance and there is, of course, an HEA!
How is Mark similar and/or different compared to other heroes in romance books?
Mark is similar to classic romance heroes in that he’s gorgeous and seemingly unattainable (at first). He’s perhaps different in that every person is different/unique. He’s learning on his own terms how to be a good Dom/Master, and he has to get there first before he can truly love/own another.
Tell us a little about your writing process. Any pre-writing rituals or routines?
I always brainstorm new ideas with my muse/editor – we will talk back and forth for a couple of hours on a theme – it’s sort of like jazz in my mind—we riff back and forth trading ideas, some of them crazy, until something starts to form – a melody, a possibility, that eventually flows and coalesces into a more or less coherent theme.
When I actually sit down to write, I do my best work early in the morning, after my first cup of coffee. I live in southwest Florida now, and I can see water outside my windows. I like to stare out at the water and let my brain shift slowly into writing gear as I ponder the chapter for the day. Then I put my fingers on the keyboard, and, if the magic is there, off they go…
When you create your characters do you ever put bits of either your personality or bits of personalities from people close to you?
Without a doubt. I believe a writer puts herself into every character, into every setting, just by definition. I try to channel my younger self when writing the young characters—to remember the fear, the angst, the longing, the passion of new discovery and heartbreak. I use my real life husband/Dom for much inspiration and understanding of what makes a Dominant tick. He has taught me a lot about BDSM from the other side of the coin.
I have used the actual names of people at work I couldn’t stand, casting them in the appropriately villainous light in my novels. That was always fun. Lately, there is no one left in my life I can’t stand (how wonderful is THAT!) so I just make up the bad guys, and have a grand time doing it.
What are some good books you’ve read lately?
I am reading a really good book right now called Lucky Us by Amy Bloom. I thought it was a bit of a fluff piece at first, but as I delve deeper into it, I’m completely involved with the characters and the story. Another book that grabbed my attention lately was Anna and the Swallow Man, about a little girl and an old man who make their way across Poland during WWII. I also recently enjoyed The Passage and The Twelve by Justin Cronin, and am looking forward to the third book in the trilogy, which comes out later this month. It’s a futuristic dystopia story, and quite fascinating.
If you could collaborate with another author in writing a book, who would it be?
I collaborated once with an author on a novel (Lara’s Submission), and while the concept was interesting (I wrote a chapter from the sub’s point of view, then he would write the next chapter from the Dom’s point of view), I found I didn’t really enjoy the process. I disagreed too much and too often with where he wanted to take the story, or I didn’t like the way he wrote something (this might be because he was only a Dom in theory, with no real experience, and I felt sometimes his writing showed he was just playing at this, rather than writing with passion from his heart). I think writing is a pretty solitary business, in the end. Yes, you need/want the wonderful assistance and guidance from editors, but ultimately it’s you and the story, and writing with someone else becomes, for me at least, a hindrance to the creative process.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about yourself or your books:
I want to try to explain a little to the uninitiated about BDSM from a romantic/passionate point of view. It’s hard if you aren’t hardwired for it, to understand the concept of erotic pain/pleasure. I wrote a very short piece a while back for a blog that tries to capture the essence of erotic submission and, more specifically, the notion of “flying”. Read Claire’s article, (Cane + Rope) x Erotic Pain + Passion = Peace. Really??, on MyBlog.