Ian - where did your original idea for the story and these characters came from?
Justine - I can't really remember. I had the Jasper character very strongly in mind, as I particularly wanted to write a dom character who was playful and mercurial rather than made of granite, as so many of them seem to be. I don't know why I made him a film director and antiques nut. I suppose it was just the mood I was in at the time.
What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
Far too many things to list, as usual. Honestly, I could cry. What I'm doing for the rest of this year is finishing off a pair of trilogies, then in 2015 I'm looking at an erotic thriller, a young adult series, something dark and unrepentant and maybe a Bildungsroman. Among other things.
What parts of you do you think are incorporated into your characters?
There's a bit of me in all of them, really, including the men. Though mostly my female characters are more 'normal' than me. I mean, I have to make them vaguely relatable, apparently, whereas I am a weird hermit-like being.
Have you ever had a character just 'do their own thing'?
My characters CONSTANTLY do their own thing, the gits. I have precisely no examples of a book that followed my pre-writing outline. None whatsoever. I never meant for Lloyd and Sophie to get together in On Demand, for instance. But they thought differently.
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 would go to Budapest first, then tour the rest of Hungary, particularly the Hortobagy national park. I've wanted to go there since I was 14, and even tried my hand at learning the language, but had to retire injured. I've no idea why I haven't been yet, to be honest. I'll get there one day. When my interest first sparked, it was still behind the Iron Curtain, so I suspect that's what really lured me. Plus it has amazing culture, cuisine and cowboys. What more could you ask?
If you could pick a past life, what time period would appeal to you and why? Male or female? Rich or poor?
Well, anyone who knows me knows that I'm an obsessed Victorianist, so it would have to be the nineteenth century. Picking a decade would be very difficult, though. Much as I'd prefer to retain my gender, I might well explode with the frustration of all the things I couldn't do, so I think I'd want to be a man, just slightly pre-Victorian, at the height of the romantic era, rubbing shoulders with all the revolutionary poets. I wouldn't want to particularly die of cholera or anything, though, so I'd make sure I was fairly well off (and fantastically well-dressed with a fine pair of sideburns).
Thanks Justine. Now, can you tell us about your latest book, please?
Ending a trilogy is a strange feeling, especially when the characters in those stories have been such excellent company. I'm rather sorry to have finished the story that started in His House of Submission and continued in By His Command. But in Her World of Submission, I have to say goodbye to Jasper Jay and his history-mad submissive, Sarah Wells, and let them get on with their lives. Never let it be said that they don't go out with a bang, though.
At the start of the book, Jasper and Sarah have been together for six months – an intense six months in which they have crammed an awful lot of experiences. Sarah finds herself questioning the wisdom of making a deeper commitment to Jasper. Despite their bond of love, is it too soon? Should she pull back and focus more on her career? And how will their relationship cope with being made public in the most mortifying way? She can't answer these questions by herself – but luckily her old friend Rosie is on hand, with her new lover, Dimitri, to lend some fresh perspective to the situation. How will they sway her? Read all about it and find out.
It was the same question all over again, the one that kept rearing its head nowadays.
How much was I prepared to give up for Jasper?
I watched him as he pondered over which ornament to place where, making an art of it, as he did with everything. Such fastidiousness, such attention to detail. It was what made him such an amazing lover, such an amazing dom. Nothing was left to chance. Everything was deliberate and planned.
To be honest, I hadn't yet had to give up anything much for him. Only a crap flat, in order to move in to his exquisite home. Not much of a sacrifice, on the face of it. But then, there were little things that perhaps I'd let go of too easily. I'd failed to cultivate friendships with the museum staff after moving in with Jasper, allowing them to wither on the vine instead. And I really needed to call some of my university friends. I had changed my phone number after the big press incident, and hadn't got round to telling people what it was now.
I should do it. I should have sent Christmas cards. I should have done a hundred things that got forgotten about because I was far too busy having mind-blowing, body-wracking sex.
And I'd been nervous of contacting them as well. Nervous of what they might think of Jasper, of what advice they might give me. I could face censure, I could face hostility even, but I didn't think I could face their disappointment in me.
But then, perhaps they would approve. Perhaps they would think it none of their business, or wish me luck with it and hope we might be happy. To cut myself off from all other relationships over fear of a bit of disapproval seemed silly now, especially in this season, when half the world was turning to friends and family in celebration.
I watched Jasper place a star at the top of the tree, having to climb on a stepstool and tiptoe in order to reach the highest height.
'We put an angel at the top of ours,' I told him.
'Controversial,' he said, twisting his neck to raise an eyebrow in my direction.
'Not really. Because it's right.'
'Did you mean for that to sound like fighting talk?'
I shifted on the stair, trying to decide if my bottom was still sore. It wasn't, not really. Other parts of me, though, were not in such acceptable condition. Probably best not to start a verbal sparring match just now. The angel/star debate could keep.
'Of course not,' I said, prim and proper as I could be. ''Tis the season to be jolly, after all.'
'Fa la la la la, la la la la,' sang Jasper. He had a good singing voice too. He had good everything. It really wasn't fair.
'On that subject, I'm thinking of getting back in touch with some friends,' I told him.
He stepped down from the stool and came to sit beside me on the stairs.
'Go for it,' he said. 'I didn't think you had any. You've never mentioned anyone. Bit strange, I thought, but I didn't like to ask.'
'I just…got out of the habit of being social, I suppose. When it was just you and me, here, over the summer, I forgot that anyone or anything else existed.'
'Mm, so did I,' he said with a dreamy smile. 'Bloody wonderful, wasn't it?'
'Well, it still is, I hope. And it still can be, even with the outside world mixed in.'
'Of course.' He reached over and untied the tinsel from the banister. 'As long as we're in the middle of it, together.'
'Right.' He took my freed wrist and kissed the inside of it, a gesture that always unleashed ten million fluttery pulses in me. He held it against his cheek, gazing soulfully into my eyes. 'Will you be honest with your friends? About us?'
'It's not really any of their business, but if they ask, then yes.'
'You might lose a few.'
'I know. That's why it's taken me so long to get the courage up. But I hope at least a couple might understand.'
He kissed the tip of my nose.
'Brave girl,' he said. 'And now, I've got calls of my own to make. I'll be in my office.'
He went off to take care of business and I stood up to give the Christmas tree a full appraisal. It looked glorious, warm and twinkly, like the Christmas tree of my childhood dreams. But I wouldn't be spending Christmas here with Jasper – I'd be down on the coast with my parents, and he'd be with his mother in
East Anglia. It wasn't going to be easy, but we were going to have our own Christmas the day after Boxing Day and it was going to last all the way into the New Year.
I went back up to the bedroom and found the sim card of my old phone in a dresser drawer. Who would I call first? Stella? No, she was forthright to the point of abrasive. I'd leave her until I'd eased myself in a bit. Who was easy to talk to and undemanding and unjudgemental?
Thank you for reading – the book is available now from all good ebook retailers, including
Here's Justine's catalogue on amazon.co.uk.