Sounds like an invitation for a personal ad. Obsessive workaholic submissive seeks creative outlet.
What was it that inspired you to write your very first book?
It was a confluence of events really. I got a free laptop, the first computer I’ve really had. Along with the laptop, I got to meet someone I admire. When I told her I’d always wanted to write, but I thought my window of opportunity had closed, she laughed and replied that it’s never too late to pursue a dream. So I began writing an epic adventure I’d been kicking around in my head for some time.
A year later, my mom bought me a Kindle, and Amazon gave me a free download of an erotic novel. I read it and decided I could do a better job. The result was Letting Go. I did eventually finish my epic novel, a mainstream vampire romance called Tomorrow Cries. It’s one of my favorites.
What was your inspiration behind the Safe Word: Oasis series? How many books do you have planned?
I was pondering writing a fifth novel for my Awakenings series and getting nowhere. Then I thought about how BDSM novels are so different from BDSM in real life. They’re a fantasy ideal that most of us may achieve in a scene, but then real life intrudes and we have to clean up the dog vomit or help the kids with a project, make dinner–the stuff that makes up the hours of our days. The idea of a fantasy took hold in my head and I realized a company that exists to make your deepest, darkest wishes come true would be a fun idea for a series. I wouldn’t be bound by the constraints of characters or a setting already created, as I would be if I continued a series.
And so Oasis was born. I wrote the first three novellas last summer. During that time, I was also working on Re/Bound, which is a full length BDSM romantic suspense, at the same time. The Oasis books were a nice, light break from the gritty world of murder and undercover FBI agents that make up the backdrop for Re/Bound. That’s really what I hope they are for people–nice, light breaks from everyday routines.
Since I write mostly in the summer and teach during the school year, I don’t have time to write much from September-May. I have one more Oasis book written. It’s a bit longer than the others, about 50K words instead of 20-30K. It takes place at the Oasis headquarters and introduces us to some of the people behind the scenes who make the wishes come true. I plan to write 3-5 more along those lines. As for the regular titles, the ones that focus on the pivotal moments that make or break a relationship, the sky is the limit for those. I have one more already brainstormed, and I’m hoping to get some time soon to write it down.
I’m a submissive who likes bondage and I’m a bit of a masochist, so I guess that’s what interests me the most. I do reject the idea of strict roles in anything, though. Nobody fits into just one box. We all take on different roles depending on the circumstances and moods.
I think BDSM forces us to confront preconceived notions and look at what we really want from life. It brings the big picture into focus and puts things in context. Sitting at parent-teacher conferences in March listening to a parent who hasn’t returned a single phone call all year try to chew me out definitely loses its sting when all I’m thinking about is how pleasantly my ass is burning.
How do you keep characteristics of your Doms and subs from becoming the “same old same old?”
I love to study people’s personalities. When I meet new people, I don’t think about whether or not I like them. I try to figure out what makes them tick, why they say and do things. I bet fewer people would talk to me if they knew this. Good thing I use a pen name. Of course, I’ve also had conversations with people who tell me I can use their material, likeness, or name in my books.
I challenge myself to write about people who don’t share my interests. In By My Side, Marcella is not a masochist at all, and she ends up in a 24/7 situation. I don’t have the attention span to do anything 24/7, and that’s not the kind of relationship my spouse and I want to have anyway. I had to step outside my comfort zone to write effectively from her point of view. In Re/Bound, Darcy isn’t comfortable with bondage. Since that’s hands-down my favorite thing, I had to really work to wrap my head around her fears. Of course, I make her work through them because life is so much better with a few restraints.
Keeping characters from becoming the ‘same old same old’ is a challenge any author faces. If you stay with the same kinds of stories and the same genres, coming up with new, exciting people becomes difficult. One of the things readers constantly tell me is that they love my characters. I start each story by hammering out the hero/heroine and a premise. I spend a lot of time thinking about them. What do they want most? What drives them to put themselves out there? Why do they get out of bed in the morning? What kind of family do they have? What events in their childhood shaped the adults they’ve become? Many of those details never make it into the story, but they help me to create unique characters.
The other thing I like to do is pair people up that don’t seem to go together. In Yes, Justin, Trish has decided she wants to be a submissive, and she arrived at this decision without her husband’s knowledge. Justin was shocked when he found out. It forced both of them to deal with the staleness of their marriage. In Out of My League, Mia spent her teen years and early twenties dealing with a physical deformity. Kaelen is a hot firefighter who can have any woman he wants. They don’t seem to go together, but they’re actually perfect for one another. They make each other better people. In Re/Bound, Malcolm absolutely loves bondage. He can’t live without it. Darcy hates it, but that turns out to be the least of her problems.
These kinds of juxtapositions create real conflict, and conflict forces people to grow and adapt. Witnessing the unfolding of that mess keeps me interested.
Get the kids out of the house and shove the cat off the back of the sofa. He sits behind my head and licks himself otherwise. I’m a bit ADD, so distractions suck. Then I put on my headphones and get to work. I generally write from 5-7 am (while the kids are still sleeping) and listen to alternative music, 80′s alternative, Goth and Industrial. Soft or romantic music will jerk me out of a scene. Silence is distracting. I’ve found that choreographing a sex scene is no different from choreographing a fight scene. They both need lots of action and a high amount of tension. And I have a spouse that will help me work it out — or even inspire me — if I ask nicely.
In your writing career, if you could do it all over again, what would you change?
Do I have regrets? Sure. There are certainly a few titles where I think I was finding my voice. However, if we’re the sum of events in our lives, I needed all those things to happen to get me where I am today. Since I’m pretty happy working with Loose Id and with my awesome editor, and I LOVE my new series and I think Re/Bound is the single best thing I’ve written since Letting Go, I can’t honestly say I’d change a thing.
In closing, do you have other recent or upcoming releases you’d like to spotlight?
Losing her Master ripped Darcy’s world apart. Falling in love put it back together. Malcolm is an undercover agent, and she’s his unwitting asset. Can a relationship built on lies survive the truth?
Picking herself up after the devastating loss of her master is more difficult than Darcy anticipated. Just when she needs someone the most, a handsome Dom steps in and helps her out. Theo is thoughtful, dominant, and demanding — everything she needs. He pushes her boundaries, tests her limits, and takes her to new heights. With him, she remembers what it is to feel joy and love and a firm hand on her ass.
Agent Malcolm Legato is after a corrupt businessman, and Darcy is his ticket into the upper echelon of Snyder Corp. As “Theo,” he makes contact with her and cultivates her as an asset. Since she’s also a suspect in her Master’s disappearance, he can’t reveal himself to her, even when he realizes she’s another of Snyder’s victims. He falls hard for this feisty submissive, and he knows he’ll break her heart the moment she finds out he’s been lying to her all along.
When it all falls apart, will Darcy be able to find the strength to forgive Malcolm so they can build a life together and the courage to bring justice to the man she loved and lost?
Thank you for being with us today, Michele! Find out more about Michele’s books at www.michelezurlo.com.