by Kitty Thomas
Editions: ebook, hardcover
Published February 14th 2012 by Burlesque Press
Source: review copy
Six years ago strangers broke into Juliette’s house; she was home alone and only thirteen. She kept her eyes closed, praying that if she didn’t see anything, she wouldn’t be killed. No one harmed her. In fact, one of the thieves protected her. Now Juliette’s dreams are haunted by him.
Christian has waited to take her, resisting the urge each night. It always ends badly with human pets. They’re too fragile. The longer he can wait, the better, because the moment he takes her, the clock on her life starts ticking down.
Then she’ll be gone forever.
Warning: This book is dark erotica meant for a mature audience only.
~ Goodreads Blurb
About the Author:
Kitty Thomas writes dark literary fiction that explores power dynamics and sexuality (back in the olden days people called it erotica). This work is fiction and meant for an adult audience. The author does not endorse or condone any of the behavior carried out by characters in her stories.
Her work is not “erotic romance”. Often on some level it is about love and/or obsession. Often the couple in some way ends up “together”, but the work should not be expected to follow the conventions of any type of genre romance, erotic or otherwise. If you are looking for genre romance (erotic or otherwise), please read a different author. Erotic romance is “more explicit romance”. This is something different.
Inspiration for Kitty’s work comes from many sources including Story of O, Nine and a Half Weeks, and the work of Claudia D. Christian.
1. What inspires you to write about power play? What drives your literary inquiry into this seductive world?
This way of seeing relationships (not literally since Kitty work is sexual fantasy… key word here being fantasy: i.e. I obviously don’t condone people being literally enslaved against their will in real life)… is just something that I can’t separate out from who I am. I don’t really “understand” vanilla/egalitarian sexual relationships. That’s not me “judging” anyone, they just don’t make sense to me.
2. Do you do research for every work? How does that part play out for you? Feel free to give us details…*fu~fu*
I almost never research anything. There are a few things like names and such in some of my works that I research. Like place or character names that have a deeper meaning. Like in my book: Awakening, Nerina is a mermaid and her name literally means “sea nymph”. In Tender Mercies the island of kink is called Eleu, which means “freedom”.
3. Do you approach different themes and versions of power play through every work, or is it more of you exploring one main scenario through many different characters and stories?
I try to mix it up a “little” at least. Often it’s from where the character is. Like for example in Tender Mercies, Grace identifies as kinky and she wants to live it for real so she seeks a master out who won’t just play games with her. In Guilty Pleasures, Vivian, on the other hand is so repressed and unhappy as far as her sexuality goes that she doesn’t know what she wants or how to get it. Nerina in Awakening doesn’t understand sexual desire at all in the beginning. Some characters are kidnapped, some are not. Some consent is more or less dubious than others, depending on the book. But it’s all about ownership and how a situation of absolute power of one person over another plays out in the stories.
4. What does power play mean to you, how would you describe it? How is it different from any other type of couple action?
I think it’s very primal. It’s an acknowledgment of who has the power. I absolutely do NOT believe the submissive has the power. I don’t know why anybody believes that. When you are tied up or when somebody is physically stronger than you the only power you MAY have is any soft feelings they have for you and any human decency/morality they have. It’s their mercy that keeps you safe, not your power.
5. In The Last Girl I couldn’t help but notice your vampire character isn’t looking for any kind of redemption. Would you say you see these creatures of the night as not needing to find one, living beyond our notions of morality, sin or propriety?
Definitely. Vampires aren’t humans. I mean, I guess people like to make vampires into humans with fangs because they look human… at least most of the time. When we see a wild predatory animal like a lion or a bear, we don’t start applying human morality. Nobody thinks a lion needs to be saved from being what it is. So yeah, Christian isn’t seeking redemption anymore than any other predatory animal would. In fact, he would find the idea that he needs to behave more like a human very offensive.
6. Would you tell us a few words about your other works, please?
Sure. Comfort Food is about a woman who is kidnapped by a man who won’t speak to her. She finds the only way she can communicate with him is by letting him use her body.
Guilty Pleasures is about a woman who is so disconnected from her life and her own sexuality that she doesn’t know what she wants or what will make her happy. So the book is about her sexual awakening.
Tender Mercies is about a woman who identifies as kinky but is tired of playing games. She ends up going to an island to give herself completely over to a man there. On the island there is no legal recourse to protect her once she’s made this choice.
Awakening is about a mermaid who gets too close to the shore and gets pulled in by a fisherman’s net. The master of the land takes her and keeps her. Mermaid fin is a delicacy to them but instead of killing her and cooking her (the fish part), he decides to try to seduce her because there is a legend that if a man can awaken a mermaid’s sexual desire (they are asexual), she will turn human and belong to him forever.
The King’s Pleasure is about a gypsy who steals bread for her family from the king’s castle. Before the guard who catches her can chop off her hand, the king interrupts and takes her as his slave instead.
The Auction is about a girl on another planet who lives in a society where they auction the women off to the highest bidder at 18. Unfortunately, Belle is bought by one of the “monsters” the humans on the planet fear instead of one of her own kind.
7. Do you think that stories about power play tend to desensitize readers, driving them to seek out more and more intense scenes, or would you perhaps say these stories are more like teasers?
I think they can. For example, some of my readers get a bit jaded after a few books and expect me to escalate things, but to me it’s really more about a psychological/emotional thing than the sex per se, so whether or not a book is more intense sexually will depend on what the book calls for, not me pandering to a desire for things to get more and more “out there”. Though I will say, if a book has the word “pleasure” in the title, I tend to be more dirty. I don’t know why LOL.
8. What else do you enjoy writing?
Paranormal romance. I write also under the name: Zoe Winters. The Zoe work is still power play stuff, it’s just subtext disguised under powerful supernatural creatures with their own non-human social orders/rules. Pretty much every male character “owns” the female character in some subtext-y sense. LOL Hey, I like what I like. And as I said earlier… I don’t “do” or “get” vanilla relationships. I wouldn’t know where to begin writing something without some type of power play.
9. What about reading, what do you enjoy sitting in a cozy reading spot with?
I like to read erotica, paranormal romance, historical romance, YA/adult dystopians, and other books on a case-by-case basis.
10. And the dreaded last question of all interviews…what are your future writing plans? Give us something exciting to look forward to.
Oh I can’t spoil that. I’m very superstitious about talking about books too soon. Let’s just say there is a lot more to come. Though I’m on a short kitty break to write some Zoe books.
I don’t require anyone but other vampires in my district to call me, Sir. And believe me, if you’d interrupted me, you wouldn’t be sitting here asking me these questions. So count yourself lucky.
2. Would you please tell us a bit about yourself, like what’s your most pleasurable memory for instance?
I’m 782. To pick out a single memory would be quite impossible. One of my favorite activities is drinking virgin blood, though. It’s very… sweet.
3. What did you feel when you took her to the ‘other club’, the special club where you shared her? How did it feel to share your pet?
I didn’t consider it sharing my pet so much as displaying my power, both to her, and the vampires in my district.
4. Would you tell us about your inner workings of a vampire? What interests you in human beings, what’s the attraction there? Why not pair up with another vampire?
I like humans because I like the extreme power differential. And of course it’s nice to have a meal and sexual partner all in one place. It’s what you humans might call ‘one stop shopping’. I have slept with other vampires, Nadine for instance, but I prefer the stronger bond with a pet. The only stronger bond than a master/pet bond would be a sire/childe bond. However, I’ve tried that (turning a pet) and it ended badly both times.
5. How far is too far for you? Is there ever a point when, during play-time with Juliette, you feel things need to stop? What makes you stop?
I’m a vampire. There is no “too far”. It’s not a moral imperative that stops me or guilt, it’s simply wanting to have her there the next day. If I kill her, I can’t play with her anymore.
6. What’s the one thing you’re absolutely certain you’d never, ever want to try out while playing with Juliette? Does it involve pink cuffs? (:D)
There is nothing I haven’t tried. Do try to remember I’m 782. I find handcuffs rather silly, though. I have shackles.
7. As a parting question, I will dare ask you this: what is it about having a human pet that really does it for you? Is it the fear, is it the naïve trust they end putting in you as their lover? Is it their fall? If so, what keeps you interested after they’ve fallen?
It’s the whole package. Vulnerability. Complete dependence. The taste of their blood. Corrupting them. Their fall. (Though humans really are far more innocent than they think, or at least the pets I choose are. I’ve not ever found the bottom of that innocence. Humans are not vampires, and that is part of what I like about them.) The trust wouldn’t be naïve if I wasn’t a vampire. It’s just my nature. I don’t intentionally set out to kill a pet. I want to keep them forever, but I break my toys and then I’m left with nothing but pieces.
Livia says: Thank you for your time with us, it is highly appreciated.