Monday, 22 September 2014

Featuring the "Undone" blog tour by Kristina Lloyd

Today, I'm delighted to host Kristina Lloyd as part of a blog tour to promote her new novel "Undone", which was published earlier this month. I joined in her launch "cocktail party" event on 28th August 2014, where a number of people collaborated by posting themed short stories on our blogs.

I've read the book myself. It’s an erotic story with a thriller sub-plot, which I really enjoyed. I'm not usually a fan of BDSM stories, but this kept me turning the pages to see what happened next. In fact, I read it over two evenings. It's a first-person account told in a diary, which allows Kristina to mix conventional story-telling with a little more introspection and inner dialogue. 

I was impressed by her character Lana's account of a newly-developing sub-dom relationship with Sol. It wasn't just by her intense and exciting sexual experiences but also the emotional side of it, learning to trust and coping with her all-too-plausible anxieties and insecurities. I was pleased to see Sol make a momentary misjudgement and have to regain her confidence in him. Too many dom characters seem to be just a little too perfect, so this made him seem true-to-life for me. The thriller side of the story isn't the main driver, but it provides a few key stressful points around which their relationship evolves.

I asked Kristina about the book and her writing, and a cheeky little personal one as well.

Where did the original idea for the story and characters came from?

The idea was sparked in a writers’ workshop when a fellow attendee told me her idea for a murder-mystery novel which began with a dead body at a party. I basically stole her idea. Undone isn’t quite a murder-mystery but the story starts with a MFM threesome at weekend party in the country. On the next morning, one of the guys is found dead in the swimming pool.

The characters grew from snippets of other people. Lana was inspired by a stranger on Facebook. And Sawyer from the TV series Lost made me want to write a male character who was cheeky, cocky, sexy and cool, and Sol was born from that hankering.

Tell us about the genre you write in, why do you love it and how did you get into it?

I’ve been writing erotica, on and off, for almost twenty years. I started with short stories after heeding advice to write genre fiction if you wanted to be published. I was lucky enough to be published fairly quickly and I moved from shorts to novels after a couple of years. I’m fascinated by the hidden side of people; by sex as an activity very dislocated from the everyday, and from the public self; and by the crazy things we do in pursuit of desire. I invariably write about female sexual submission because that’s what I kink for. The complexities of powerplay excite both my imagination and my mind. I’m thinking here of the various apparent paradoxes embedded in D/S: the submissive loving what they loathe; the cruel dom caring about the sub’s pleasure; equality underpinning a roleplay scene of inequality.

I think I’m driven to write about this stuff because I want to capture and convey what is fundamentally hot about D/S. I’m not particularly interested in focusing on formalised BDSM scenes; I prefer a rougher, scarier edge. In real life, BDSM practitioners negotiate scenes, use safewords, engage in roleplay,  and so on. Replicating that in fiction seems to me an enormous waste of the imagination. Unfortunately, social anxiety surrounding sex means erotic writing is held  to different standards than other types of writing. As writers we’re always bumping up against the imposition of constraints, from the overt, such as Amazon introducing measures to regulate the sale of erotica, to the less obvious social constraints. Increasingly, I feel, writers are expected to portray responsible behavior in erotica to ensure readers don’t replicate anything stupid and potentially harmful. Health and Safety officers are in the text! But erotic fiction shouldn’t function as a manual. It should be a vehicle to fire and champion the erotic imagination. Too much of that, however, would be socially disruptive. Sex is dangerous.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?

Nothing yet! The current erotica scene has left me feeling a touch despondent, if I’m honest. I’m hoping to self-publish some short stories soon, and I do have a couple of barely-formed ideas for novels and novellas bubbling in the background. I’m just not sure if or how I want to develop them right now.

Have you ever had a character just “do their own thing?” Have you ever had an argument with one of your characters? Or anything else odd happen?

Nope! I find that notion far too whacky. I’ve written characters who’ve turned out to be more interesting/funnier/nastier than I anticipated but, you know, I made them that way. I’m the author. I create the characters. The ideas come from my brain.

What’s your writer’s routine? Do you write whenever or at certain times? Are you a pantser or plotter? Where do you like to write?

I have no routine.  My life isn’t orderly enough to allow for such a thing! I squeeze writing in here and there: early mornings, evenings, weekends. Being a novelist hasn’t allowed me to give up the day job, unfortunately. Some of my most productive writing sessions happen early in the day, between 5am and 8am, when the world is still and calm, and my mind is woolly and loose. But I don’t get up that early too often. I plot but not to the nth degree. I usually know how a book will end but the journey to that point may deviate from my original sketch. And I’m pretty much always at my desk when I write. I like to sit up straight!

If someone said, ‘You can go anywhere in the world, but you have to go right now?’, where would you go? What pulls you there?

I’d go to one of those sandy beaches in New Zealand where penguins waddle ashore. What pulls me? Space, tranquility, solitude – and penguins!

KristinaLloyd writes erotic fiction about sexually submissive women who like it on the dark, dirty and dangerous side. Her novels are published by Black Lace and her short stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including several ‘best of’ collection, in both the UK and US. She lives in Brighton, England.

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About Undone
When Lana Greenwood attends a glamorous house party she finds herself tempted into a ménage à trois. But the morning after brings more than just regrets over fulfilling a fantasy one night stand. One of the men she's spent the night with is discovered dead in the swimming pool. Accident, suicide or murder, no one is sure and Lana doesn't know where to turn. Can she trust Sol, the other man, an ex-New Yorker with a dirty smile and a deep desire to continue their kinky game?

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