Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Interview with Cecilia Tan, author of Slow Satisfaction

Cecilia Tan is "simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature," according to Susie Bright. Her BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance. Tan is the author of many books, including the ground-breaking erotic short story collections Black Feathers (HarperCollins), White Flames (Running Press), and Edge Plays (Circlet Press), and the erotic romances Slow Surrender, Slow Seduction, and Slow Satisfaction (Hachette/Forever), The Prince's Boy (Circlet Press), The Hot Streak (Riverdale Avenue Books), and the Magic University series (Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Nerve, Best American Erotica, Asimov's Science Fiction, and tons of other places. She was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010, was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association in 2004, and won the inaugural Rose & Bay Awards for Best Fiction in 2010 for her crowdfunded web fiction serial Daron's Guitar Chronicles. She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats. Find out more at

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About The Book: 

The sizzling conclusion of the Struck by Lightning trilogy! The story that began with the RT Award-winning Slow Surrender finally brings us all satisfaction. James has finally pushed Karina beyond her limit–not her limit for kinky sex play, but for his extreme secrecy. She has had enough and breaks things off.

But James won’t give up on Karina and he will do whatever it takes to get her back. He’s ready to share his deepest, darkest secrets, but is Karina ready to hear them? When James is blackmailed by an unscrupulous music industry executive, he must give in to unreasonable demands or risk exposure of his and Karina’s secret sex life… a sex life that keeps getting hotter! Will Karina and James’s love be strong enough to withstand the many obstacles being thrown their way?

For More Information:

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Can you tell us what your book is about?

SLOW SATISFACTION is the final book in the Struck by Lightning trilogy. It's about two lovers who explore a lot of very kinky sex games in previous books but who weren't able to handle the depth of their emotions when they started to fall for each other. This is the book where others try to break them apart, and as a result they finally figure out how to make it work and let themselves love each other completely. 

Why did you write your book?

I've been writing stories about dominant males and submissive females since 1992, when I self-published TELEPATHS DON'T NEED SAFEWORDS. I've been slogging it out in the self-publishing realm for 22 years because most publishers refused to publish BDSM. So I was totally amazed when 50 Shades of Grey got so huge that publishers finally had to give in and start letting the BDSM stuff in! I was very happy that the door which had been barred for so long was finally open. I wrote Slow Surrender and the sequels very specifically to be first out of the gate for me now that the gate was open!

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

The two main characters, Karina and James, are completely compatible sexually but when we first meet them they both need to mature emotionally. They're both smart, artistic, and interested in making their own rules instead of living by other people's. Karina's been pretty miserable trying to live by other people's rules and expectations and until she meets James she hadn't realized how easy it could be to leave them behind. 

The two most important supporting characters are Karina's roommate Becky and James's chauffeur, Stefan. Becky is Chinese-American like me, and also a total nerdy fangirl like me. Unlike me, she grew up overprotected. She's so shy at the start of the book that she has a closet full of clubwear and goth clothes but she's never had the nerve to go out to a real club. Stefan is a quiet, young guy who is socially awkward when he's out of his role as driver and bodyguard, but is completely smooth and focused when in role. He's a trained martial artist, security expert, and stunt driver, but you'd never know it unless he told you because he looks so cute and innocent. 

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I would say the vast majority are totally from my imagination. The ones that have some basis in real people deviate very quickly from their inspirations. The character of James was based on a young David Bowie. He's one of the few, though, where I can point to a specific person. 

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write? 

My publisher, like most, requires me to submit plot synopses when they contract a series, but they also realize that when you sit down to write, you could discover that what seemed like a really good plan doesn't hang together logically once you write the details. Sometimes you also discover something really great that you realize you should have included from the start. So I write for discovery a lot because such delicious, rich stuff comes out when I do. What usually happens is the first half of a novel follows the synopsis, the second half doesn't. 

Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Oh, definitely. Slow Surrender (book1) is in New York City, Slow Seduction is in London, and Slow Satisfaction is in Ohio, New York, and Las Vegas. Each setting is integral to the plot, as well as the feel and theme of each book. I would say New York represents searching for success, London is learning old school tradition, and Las Vegas represents the search for the line between fantasy and reality, the juxtaposition of public versus private. 

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track? 

I have only suffered minor slowdowns from time to time. When I get bogged down in a book it usually means there's something I still need to discover which is the key to the next section of the book, but I haven't found it yet. It's like a video game where you can't get to the next level until you find something, and you have to run around until you do. That means keep on writing. If you keep writing, even though it feels pointless and slow, you will eventually dig that thing you need out of your subconscious and boom, you go on to the next level. 

What do you like the most about being an author?

I love staying up late and sleeping late. I'm not kidding. I've loved doing many jobs in my life but I've always hated getting up early. Now I rarely have to, and the middle of the night is the perfect time for writing because the phone doesn't ring, no one disturbs me. It's like being a college student, staying up all night writing papers, except the semester never ends. It's just always like that. 

What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?

I think that really depend on the writer. I think for me there was no one pivotal point. It's been a fairly steady march from my childhood hand-written books to here because I knew from the time I was about four years old that being a writer was what I wanted to do. I think a lot of writers have this moment where they "realized" they wanted to be a writer, or where they achieved some level where they finally felt like a "real" writer. I've never felt I wanted to "become" a writer. I felt from the time I was four or five years old that I AM a writer, regardless of whether I was published or successful or not. Though I must say, my recent successes and awards have felt really terrific. There have been some really fantastic milestones lately!

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

I would say find your voice, or find the thing that you are so on fire to write that you will skip sleeping or eating to do it. If you feel like you'd rather write than eat or sleep, pursue that feeling, chase it, pour it on the page: what comes out will be true and good and worth sharing with the world. 

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