Black Lace writers may be scarlet harlots to Barbara Cartland, but our big bad brother makes us look sweet-sixteen at times. Nexus is also erotica and also an imprint of Virgin Publishing. If we’re Black Lace, though, they’re Black Latex with a strap-on and a whip. Lauren Wissot has emerged from the basement to give us the low-down on writing for Nexus, S&M, and her book Under My Master’s Wing.
Lauren on... the difference between a Black Lace novel with spanking and a Nexus novel
This strikes me as a difference in semantics, in marketing strategy, packaging, as opposed to actual content. Black Lace is "written for women by women," whereas Nexus primarily targets the (hetero) male audience. But I've been around kinky people long enough to know that such distinctions are usually meaningless. Take for example the whole CFNM ("clothed female naked male") fetish, which I just recently discovered. Both a straight client of mine at Pandora's Box, the house of domination where I work part-time, and one of my best gay buddies jerk off to the same CFNM sites! To separate sexuality into male/female, gay/straight binaries seem simple-minded at best.
Lauren on... Nexus guidelines
Black Lace writers are encouraged to have happy endings, not start with bathing women, and apparently - ensure that everyone having sex has a human head. Pity the editor who has to add that stipulation! It has to be the most fabulous guideline I've ever read! (And it goes a long way to explaining why Monty Python originated in the U.K. Save the queen indeed!) Nexus doesn't have any guidelines – at least none that I followed (wink, wink). My wonderful editor Adam Nevill always coaxed me to push the envelope, not to color within any lines. I guess the "guidelines" would be geared more towards word count and keeping within the BDSM genre. (Technically, Nexus Enthusiast is the strand devoted to one specific fetish. My book is considered "female submission," though that's not really a fetish in the sense that ass, leg and foot worship are fetishes. I think Adam is open to fudging strict definitions if he likes a story enough – which I'm very grateful for.)
Lauren on... writing from experience
Most Black Lace writers say they don't do everything they write (unsurprising given all the elves and dragons around lately). As my book's an erotic memoir, I'm the exact reverse. Seriously, I've got a lazy imagination. I'm constantly stealing from real life. In all honesty, I'm not truly an erotica author – I'm a sex journalist. I go into the kinky trenches then come back and report my findings. I don't make anything up, ever. That said, as any documentary filmmaker worth his DV camera will tell you, there is no such thing as "truth." I don't pretend that anything I write is objective or "real" because it's always told through my own subjective eyes. (I've always said that if David, the master in Under My Master's Wings, had written it, it would look nothing like my book.)
Lauren on... S&M and feminism
I know S&M often gets a mixed response on Lust Bites, between the joy of a good spanking and people's anxiety about the potentially abusive roles, BUT: I am nearly evangelical about S&M (and fellow film-producing proselytizers should contact me at email@example.com!) Anyone who's ever been in the scene knows that it's very much like a religion (with its own rituals and rules like most religions. Ever wonder why so many good Catholic schoolboys are into caning?) There's a spirituality involved in communing with another through power-play. At the same time, I'm also fully aware that S&M, like religion, can mask abuse. I'm not embarrassed to admit that my relationship with my master ended at the time I began to feel like an emotional punching bag – nor that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I learned so much as a slave, experienced that exhilarating freedom inherent in giving oneself completely over to another, and grew both mentally and emotionally by leaps and bounds, that even the hardest times were worth it. That feminism should even be concerned with BDSM in the year 2008 seems a bit antiquated since S&M transcends both gender and sexuality – it's all about tops and bottoms, dominants and submissives. The categories of male, female, gay and straight don't even exist in this world. (My relationship with my master was homosexual, if anything. It was the first time in my life my male sexuality was able to express itself through my female form.) Yes, some people are harmed by BDSM. Some people are harmed by Judaism, by the Catholic Church. That's the nature of worship – and why you can't do it blindly.
Lauren on... Under my Master's Wings
Under My Master's Wings is my erotic memoir about my time spent as the personal slave to a gay-for-pay stripper (and would be gay porn star). It details the first year of our long-distance relationship (David is French-Canadian, I'm a New Yorker). We were together for six years, so I still have five more books waiting to be published!
Lauren on... her favourite scene from the book
My favorite scene (yes, I'm forever thinking like a screenwriter) was the longest night of my life. After defiantly agreeing to a threesome with David and his wife (she being told I was an escort he'd ordered for them) at their hotel, I cleansed myself of sexual remorse by going to the Gaiety strip club, picking up a hot dancer and his friend, and ending the evening in a second ménage a trois – two floors above where my master and his wife slept. It's my favorite scene because one of the worst nights of my life was also one of the funniest in retrospect, proving that that which does not destroy you can make you laugh.
Picture credits: 1. Tomb Raider models Lucy Clarkson, Lara Weller, Jill de Jong, Nell McAndrew, and current Tomb Raider girl Karima Adebibe at their 2007 London Photoshoot. 2. Lauren Wissot 3. Postcard from PostSecret 4. Cover of Under My Master's Wings.
Comment to win a copy of Lauren's book! Lauren will also dip in during the day to answer any questions.