This post is the 2nd one about my Pierced Hearts series that I've reposted. I want to do this to keep all my thoughts on these in one place. This was written when Take me, Break me came out at the start of 2013.
When I began planning this book I had two things in mind – one, to do a present-day capture fantasy where a likeable guy starts out ordinary yet becomes the captor, and two, to make the reader think, by keeping the story in that gray zone where it might be non-consensual, or it might be dubious consent. I wasn't sure I could achieve this, but from what readers are saying, I mostly have.
There have been comments from readers that the mind fuck of Klaus was as bad as, or more than, what happens to Jodie. And a lot of readers have said I did it to them too. All of this makes me very happy. I love the idea of messing with readers’ minds!
I'm not totally sure, but I think this stems partly from how the story is set up. Jodie is a woman who has always loved capture fantasy and has read hundreds of them on her kindle. That common aspect of her character is one many of us who read these stories can identify with. That, plus the first person POV, tends to take you deep into her mind when Jodie experiences the story’s events.
People have also loved seeing half the story from Klaus’s POV. While writing it I found myself also entranced by what he was thinking and how he perceived things. The male POV is not always easy to do well, but the review from Michael at Behind the Chintz Curtain, shows at least one man agrees with the way Klaus has been portrayed.
And a reviewer on Goodreads put it this way:
“I've read books that have fucked with my mind a whole lot more than this (ie. Comfort Food or Seduced in the Dark) – but this one, for whatever reason, seemed to mess with both my mind and my heart, in equal measure, which made the impact of each, far greater than it “should” have been.”
And a quote from Holly of Full Moon Bites: “Dark, intriguing and erotic, with a dose of realism, Take Me, Break Me, is a tale of a man who finds out there is more to himself than the peaceful, civilized veneer he has always worn.”
Now, just for fun, here’s a little list of some curious facts from Take Me, Break Me.
This story is set on Magnetic Island, off the coast of Australia. The town on the mainland, that they travel to, is called Townsville, but it’s such a boring name (sorry Townsville!) that I deliberately did not use it. By the way, it’s named after the explorer who discovered the area – Robert Towns. I also did not bother to get too precise about the setting as I would rather it be a little off center and surreal. I don't want it to match reality.
The bamboo cane that Klaus uses is not really recommended for caning as it can split. However, some people do use it. Possibly green bamboo is safer, and that’s what Klaus uses. Dry bamboo, if it splits, can cause skin lacerations.
Though I planned this to be a story that skirts dubious consent, so far I've been surprised at how romantic readers find it. I guess I'm not that hardcore. I find it difficult to write a story where the man is truly unsympathetic to the reader and unappealing to me – even though I do read those types of stories.
The ending was actually difficult for me to get right. I thought it would be the easiest part but once I got there I couldn't see how to do it. Many of my beta readers told me it was too short, and I knew they were right, but it still took several tries to be satisfied with it. At first it was too short, then it was too ‘vanilla’. I mean, this was a story about a sadistic Dom and yet the ending I first had was merely kissing. I added several thousand words before I was happy with how Klaus and Jodie ended up.
Top drop, as detailed in the story, does seem to happen, and I'm not surprised that it does, yet experienced Doms may not have heard of it. Google it to find some references to the problem.
When I began this story, I put an excerpt on facebook and I was astounded at how much it appealed to women. When my beta readers read the book that was the part several of them picked as ‘perfect’. Somehow I managed to pick exactly the right excerpt. If you're curious, when you read the book, it’s the part where Klaus first uses the spider gag.
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Here is my take on dark erotica. This has been posted as part of the Make Me promotional tours but it's somewhere out there on 1 of 200 blogs lol. So I'm reposting it here.
I plan to do this with many of my other, much earlier posts used on blog tours where I talk about capture fantasies and dubious consent and dark erotica.
Take me, Break me is the first book in my Pierced Hearts series. It was also my first book in the dark erotica genre. Because I normally write consensual BDSM romances, I get a few confused readers. But, but, but, they say, why is he doing things to her when she hasn’t exactly said yes?
Because, as I explain in my blurb, and my extremely long warnings, it’s dark erotica, it’s dubious consent, it’s meant to be a bit nasty and not what anyone would think of as normal.
Half the problem is that people don’t read the descriptions of the book, the other is that dark erotica is…what?
There doesn’t seem to be a good definition, even on Wikipedia, which basically says its horror plus an erotic story. Noooo. Disagree. None of the dark erotica I read will make you scream and check under the bed before you go to bed. I doubt most of these stories truly scare readers like say a Stephen King book might.
I think these books can contain horror, but most don’t.
Dark erotica is meant to disturb readers, perhaps to even creep you out, to make you wonder if your desire to read this stuff is okay. It may make you wonder if your moral compass is screwed on the right way around…and as well as this, it has that sensual, sexy, where’s-my-vibe, erotic element.
If you finish a book with your mouth open, and you sit back and go, what the hell did I just read and am I normal for liking that and getting turned on…yup, it very likely falls into the dark erotic genre. If not turned on then it’s probably a dark psychological read, a twisted thriller.
As with many emotion based definitions, what will disturb one person may not bother someone else. So your dark erotic book may not be mine. I’ve seen heavy sadism, or bdsm, or even taboo acts like incest, classed as dark erotica. I don’t think those are. You may disagree.
And of course, what does disturb mean? A story that causes anxiety, which could be even mild fear? Or is it a story that makes you question your ideas of right and wrong? Whatever it is, remember, this is fiction, not a how to live life for real story. It’s not giving the rape or abduction of women a big green tick any more than a book on serial murder says it’s okay to kill everyone who pisses you off.
Many people read those and we don’t bat an eyelid. Dark erotica is primarily the reading choice of women, which is perhaps why society sometimes frowns upon it and ordinary erotic stories more than purely violent stories. Because, you know, sex is worse than murder.
Sarcasm there, of course.
I should add that gruesome detailed violence in an erotic story won’t necessarily make it dark erotica. It has to mess with the reader’s mind in some way.
Here are a couple of fun definitions of dark erotica from readers and authors:
“I think the distinction would lie within the parameters of what makes me squirm vs. what makes me wanna puke.”
“Dark erotic is reading erotica in a cupboard with no torch. Erotic horror is reading erotica when Friday the 13th is playing in the background.”
~ Fiona Archer - author of hot, smoking BDSM menages (King's Bluff series) but not dark erotica :)
Have fun reading, and remember it’s fiction. The pages of a book stay shut until someone decides to open them.
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To read about why I think women read dubious consent stories (dark erotica) and why it's perfectly fine and not some outrageous society-destroying problem click on the thumbnail to the left.
This goes to an article in Women24
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Copyright Cari Silverwood 2011. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.
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Cari Silverwood is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer of kinky darkness or sometimes of dark kinkiness, depending on her moods and the amount of time she's spent staring into the night.
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