It's a fine line.
Way back, years and years ago, when I first started writing spanking stories, I had never actually experienced it for myself. I'd read about it - LOTS, and fantasised about it even more than that, but had I ever really been slung across someone's knee and had the brat spanked right out of me?
Then I discovered the BDSM scene. I discovered real life kinksters. I met them at parties, talked to them, watched them play, let them do nasty, delicious things to me. I even married one - I signed my slave contract to him before I signed the marriage certificate. The marriage has since ended but luckily my new experiences did not.
I had a lot of experiences. Spanking, obviously, with every implement I could think of (and many I hadn't even imagined before, like liquorice. I'm serious. It HURTS!) - and so much more. Needles, medical staples, cutting with a razor blade, cutting with a scalpel, edge play, knife play, fire play, electro play, breath play, sutures, wax play, orgasm control, orgasm denial, forced orgasms, bondage, rope suspension, corsetry, fire flogging, cupping, fire cupping, TENS units, clamps... the list goes on and on and on. I do have a few hard limits, but not very many. Not really.
So it's only natural that I want to incorporate at least some of these experiences into my writing.
Now I don't know exactly how many of my fellow authors live the lifestyle. I know some of them definitely do, and some of them have even more experience than I do. I also know some of them are right where I was ten years ago; a surface vanilla with deep, dark fantasies I had yet to fulfill. And these people have one thing in common; they write my favourite books in the genre. Not just because I'm lucky enough to be able to call them my friends, but because there is an element of truth in what they write; an element of realism. I adored their books before I ever chatted to them. It was only later that I discovered that, as well as being amazing authors, they are amazing people with a real passion for spanking, ageplay and/or BDSM.
There's a saying: 'write what you know.' I call bullshit on that, because many authors would be severely restricted in their content if they were to abide by that rule. Did J.R.R. Tolkien ever MEET a hobbit? Did Lewis Carroll really fall down the rabbit hole? I doubt it. As Oscar Wilde said, "One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead."
However, I do ask that people write what they're passionate about. Lately, more and more people have been admitting to writing certain genres because 'they sell well'.
Writing fiction is an art form. It's a passion. It's a dream. It's something you do because you can't not. It shouldn't be dragged down to the level of business copywriting, or sponsored blog entries, surely? There's marketing writing (which I'm not bashing, I've done it) and then there's fiction writing. You do the first, usually, because you have bills to pay. You do the second because you feel compelled to tell a story.
If you hate scary stories, don't write them. If fantasy fiction makes you yawn and you never read it, don't bother trying to write it. Write what fires YOU inside; because only then can you deliver a great experience to the readers.
"Whenever I want to read a good book, I write a good book. I've never not been writing." ~ Gore Vidal
To all my fellow lovers of good quality spanking/BDSM erotica out there, I can't promise you won't mistakenly pick up a book written by someone who churned out what they thought would sell. However, I can - and DO - promise you that that will never be the case with any of my books.
Sharing Silver was the first contemporary BDSM book I wrote. Many readers will undoubtedly find it 'too heavy'. But I hope there are some out there who will enjoy it. Who want to find out what fireplay feels like. What being auctioned off to someone feels like. What being truly submissive feels like.
And to those readers I say, keep your eyes peeled for my next books. I have many stories to tell and, while they may never make the best-seller lists, they will always be true to my own fantasies and experiences.
Now I'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you care whether an author is passionate about their chosen subject matter? Do you think you can tell? Please feel free to comment away. :)