It’s day four of BDSM week and today we welcome Tymber Dalton to Romancing the Book. While we were scheduling this week, our reviewer Amy practically begged us to host Tymber and then when it was time to do an interview, Amy jumped at the chance. So, today we’re turning the blog over to Tymber and Amy.
Amy: Please share a short bio with us.
Tymber: Tymber Dalton lives in the Tampa Bay region of Florida with her husband (aka “The World’s Best Husband™”) and too many pets. Active in the BDSM lifestyle, the skeet-shooting, native Floridian is a two-time EPIC winner and the author of nearly sixty books, including The Reluctant Dom, The Denim Dom, Cardinal’s Rule, the Suncoast Society series, the Love Slave for Two series, the Triple Trouble series, the Coffeeshop Coven series, the Good Will Ghost Hunting series, and many more.
She loves to hear from readers! Please feel free to drop by her website and sign up for updates to keep abreast of the latest news, views, snarkage, and releases. (Don’t forget to look up her writing alter egos Lesli Richardson, Tessa Monroe, and Macy Largo.)
Amy: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Tymber: Right now I’m working my way through my Drunk Monkeys series. I was kvetching with my friend, author Tara Rose, about a wonky iPad app, and how I thought it must have been coded by a bunch of drunken monkeys…and the idea just sort of laid itself out before me in the space of a few minutes. The whole series at once. When an idea does that, I take it and run with it and don’t look back, because I know I won’t be able to write anything else anyway until I get it out of my brain. LOL Another book I have coming out is A Roll of the Dice (Suncoast Society 9) and it’s about a married couple of twenty-five years dipping their toes into the BDSM lifestyle for the first time and having to work their way through the minefield without destroying their marriage in the process.
Excerpt from Monkey Business (Drunk Monkeys 1):
Celia wasn’t sure what to expect when Doc and Tango drove her to the small house surrounded by thickets of trees. They parked her rental car in the yard next to the car they’d followed there. Two trucks were also parked outside.
“What are we doing here?” she asked. “Where are we?”
“You wanted your damn story,” Tango said.
“You’ll see,” Doc said, leaving it at that.
Doc led the way inside, Tango following her and carrying her bag with all her stuff in it. She wondered if they’d give her back her sat-phone so she could at least call or text Mike, but she’d fight that battle with them soon enough.
Inside the sparsely furnished house, the living room was filled with boxes and equipment the men were apparently schlepping into the garage. She didn’t know how many men there were, but they all could have been brothers to Tango, Doc, and Papa. Built, most with short hair and muscles, in a variety of skin tones from white to ebony.
“The rest of the Drunk Monkeys?” she asked.
“Yep,” Doc said. “Well, some of them. There are twenty of us altogether. Some are…elsewhere.”
They took her into the kitchen. Here she gasped as she realized who was standing at the counter and looking out the back window.
“Dr. Phe Quong?” she asked.
Tango held his arm out. “You wanted your story. Here he is. You’re welcome.”
The man turned and glared at her. His stooped, thin frame couldn’t put him taller than five nine. Brown hair and brown almond-shaped eyes, he wore wire-rimmed glasses and a grim expression.
“I take it you are the journalist they were telling me about,” he said in heavily accented but clear English.
He set his jaw, the anger in his expression telegraphed through his voice. “You scared my mother.”
“I’m sorry. I just wanted to find you.”
“You succeeded.” He cast a glare toward Papa. “You also have no idea what you have done.”
Her abashment fell away and shattered. Her fists clenched as she stalked over to him and got right in his face.
“What I’ve done? Hello? Were you not one of the assholes that unleashed this crap on the world? Now you’re pissed off because I spooked your mom?” She jabbed a finger at him. “Let me tell you what, buddy, have you ever got a fucking set of balls on you.”
“I meant revealing my whereabouts,” the doctor clarified, holding up his hands to ward her back a step. “There are people who want me and the others, who have no interest in us replicating a vaccine for Kite, because they want it to spread. There are others who want a vaccine they can use against the world.”
“They…” She swallowed and turned to Doc. “What?”
Tango let out a snort. “Sheesh. Some journalist you are.”
“Fuck you,” she shot at him before turning back to Doc. “What does he mean?”
“It looks like there might be a hitch,” Tango said. “It’s possible we’re being set up to bring him and the others in just so they can get thrown in a hole somewhere to do someone’s bidding.”
“That’s stupid! Why wouldn’t governments want a vaccine to be created and widely distributed?”
Everyone else in the room stared at her as if she’d just sprouted either a second head or a third tit.
Heat filled her face. “What?”
“You really are a sheltered snowflake, aren’t you, sugar?” Tango asked. The amusement in his tone cheesed her right the hell off. “Here I thought Chicago was a big city.”
Amy: What is the biggest challenge as a writer of BDSM themed books?
Tymber: Biting my tongue and not responding to vanilla readers (or “won twue wayers”) who claim a realistic scene I’ve written isn’t realistic because “no one” would ever scene like that. Since I’m actually IN the lifestyle, and most of the scenes I write are either variations of something I’ve personally done in real life, or fictionalized accounts of things I’ve personally witnessed first-hand, that really boils my bacon.
Too many people seem to think that BDSM is all about dramatic, sexual impact play and Alpha males who basically run over the top of submissive females, when the truth couldn’t be any farther from that popular misconception. Negotiations are VERY much a realistic part of “real” play. They have to be, otherwise it’s assault and battery. And the Doms/Dommes I know in real life (including myself and my Sir) are usually normal, everyday people who aren’t interested in subduing or “breaking” a submissive/bottom they play with. The lifestyle is a widely varying umbrella, not any strictly limited set of ideals, and I portray that realistically in my contemporary BDSM books. Paranormal and sci-fi are different, but in my contemporary BDSM books, I stay with reality.
That might be “boring” to some people, but only if they haven’t seen it in person. I’m also poly in real life, and soooo many people think it’s all about sex, when it isn’t. Yes, I have a Hubby and a Sir, and yes, they are two different people. No, we don’t all live together (Sir has a wife). And over ninety percent of what Sir and I do together is as friends, with no sexual element to it at all. Yes, I’m a 24/7 collared slave to Him, and yes, we switch, and yes, I consider myself a Dominant in every other aspect of my life. But my theory is if you can’t be friends first with someone, then you have no business being in a sexual relationship with them, much less a BDSM power-exchange dynamic where you’re putting full trust and faith in that other person to not harm you (or not turn you into the police, depending on which end of the flogger you’re on).
Sir and I are friends first and foremost. Hubby and I have been married nearly seventeen years, Sir and His wife over a decade. If we didn’t have strong foundations in our primary relationships, our current relationship never would have developed the way it did. I see people jumping into BDSM power-exchange relationships with someone they’ve literally just met a week or so earlier and usually that doesn’t work out so well. But they get sub frenzy and think they’ve met their true love, instead of slowing down and taking time to figure out exactly what they need and want out of a relationship. Some people criticized me for the way I wrote Safe Harbor, the way Sully and Mac and Clarisse came together in the long-term, that Sully held off, but you know what? That’s realistic. Sir and I played together with me topping Him for over six months before I ever explored submitting to Him, and even then it was at least another six months before our play headed in a sexual direction. THAT’S realistic. It might not be everyone’s reality, but it doesn’t have to be. And that’s something I try to portray in my books, that there is a huge ocean of kink out there, everything from the shallow end to the deepest trench, and everywhere in between.
Amy: What’s the inspiration behind The Reluctant Dom?
Tymber: It started, oddly enough, as a way to work through my grief over my grandmother’s death. I don’t process grief well (at all) and it was a very cathartic story to write. The reason it’s told almost completely from Seth’s point of view is that I was Seth throughout the process of losing my grandmother. She had her first heart attack, and they told us that another one would likely kill her. And six months later, it did. That mental “fuel tank” in Seth’s head was in my head. The internal talk Seth had about losing Kaden were things I went through in that timeframe. Yes, it’s framed as a BDSM romance, but the emotions, the grief aren’t any different. And, oddly enough, there are people like Leah in BDSM, who substitute it for a healthy way to get cathartic emotional releases, instead of cutting or burning themselves. One reason I use it is for cathartic emotional release because it’s the only time I can totally let go and not have to think about anything else, and just let Sir totally take over and give me a mental reset. Also, I have fibromyalgia and impact play sessions (good pain) will give me pain relief from the bad pain for days after. A lot of people with chronic pain issues get relief from BDSM play.
Amy: Which of your titles in your backlist in your favorite and why?
Tymber: That’s difficult to say. It’s like picking a favorite child or pet. LOL I’m going to waffle and say my Suncoast Society series is near and dear to my heart because of the reader response to it. I’ve had SO many readers email me and tell me that my books changed their lives for the better because it allowed them to open up to their partners and express things they hadn’t been able to express before. Or it allowed them to explore that side of themselves because before they thought there was something wrong with them. It’s gratifying that I can accomplish something like that with my fiction. Knowing I’ve helped just one person makes it worthwhile. That’s why, personally as a writer, I deliberately choose to write my BDSM contemporary fiction “realistic.” I want readers to know when they pick up one of my Suncoast Society books, it might not meet their expectations of BDSM, because my fiction in that series is “realistic.” They will read, warts and all, about various BDSM dynamics. It’s not going to be rich billionaires in swanky private clubs that don’t exist. It’s men and women who could BE them, going through situations they could easily be going through.
Amy: How much of what your personal life is reflected in your writing?
Tymber: Depends on the book. 🙂 As an author, there’s always at least a little “me” in there somewhere. But for example, in The Denim Dom and the books since where Tony has been included, that iteration of Tony is my Sir. There are actual verbatim conversations and scenes in there that we’ve done. Some of His quirks and catchphrases. The greeting ritual I wrote between Shayla and Tony is our actual greeting ritual. And there are other ways, too. My book Cross Country Chaos (as Lesli Richardson) is a fictionalized account of an actual cross-country trip I took with my son (who is a wheelchair athlete) and his teammate.
Amy: What made you branch out into other genres, such as ménage with your new Drunk Monkeys series?
Tymber: I’ve been writing menage for years, but hadn’t written a post-apocalyptic series like this before. I wanted to marry elements of fiction (books and TV/movies) that I loved into a genre-blender. And I’m having serious The Walking Dead withdrawals! LOL There was a book series aimed at men in the late ’80s called the Doomsday Warrior series by Ryder Stacy, Russia and the US have had nuclear war, etc. This is sort of an homage to that series, an updated, off-the-wall, outlandish mix of A-Team meets Mad Max meets The Walking Dead without paranormal zombies. LOL I needed a mental break of sorts. Writers can get burned out if they don’t stretch themselves in different directions from time to time. I jokingly call this “post-apocalyptic popcorn.” LOL It’s a fun series to write, I can completely go off the rails in different directions than I can with my contemporary or paranormal books, and just maniacally giggle my way through writing the series. It’s not meant to be a heavy series, it’s meant to be pure entertainment, and I hope that my readers enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
Amy: What was the most stubborn scene to translate into print?
Tymber: Not stubborn, but the most difficult was Kaden’s death in The Reluctant Dom. I sobbed my way through writing it, and it took me several days to finally complete it. It still guts me to this day just reading through it. The emotions were my emotions.
Amy: Describe a dream adventure weekend.
Tymber: Anything in Yellowstone National Park. I adore that place.
Amy: Five words to describe you as an author.
Tymber: Snarky, complicated, emotional, odd, non-conformist.
Amy: If you could write any story for publication without regard to market demand, what would it be about and why?
Tymber: That’s not really as much a concern for me, because I tend to write things I’d be interested in reading, and they don’t always land in the “popular” category. LOL One thing I haven’t published yet, I’ve got a NA series I keep plucking away at that I will eventually self-publish. I also have a post-apocalyptic series (totally different than Drunk Monkeys) that’s more a saga type of series, and won’t be really romantic/erotic even though there will be a romance element to it. Those kinds of things I work on in the background and will eventually self-publish because they’re not in my publisher’s niche market.
Amy: What’s next for you?
Tymber: After I finish the Drunk Monkeys series, there are still plenty more Suncoast Society series books to write. (That series won’t end anytime soon, believe me. I currently have over twenty ideas waiting in that series, and I’m sure more will come to me in the future.) Also, there are at least two more books in my Triple Trouble series to write, four more in my Brimstone Vampires series, four more in my Good Will Ghost Hunting series, at least one more Placida Pod book, several more in my Coffeeshop Coven series…and a bunch more standalone books and other series I’d like to get to. Ideas are never my problem–finding the time to write them is the problem. LOL