Today, I have author R.E. Hargrave on the site as part of the blog tour for her debut novel To Serve is Divine. You can read my review here. Not only that, but due to my nosy nature, I asked her to tell us about the research that went into writing a BDSM novel. It turns out, she did in depth as well as personal research before writing this erotic tale. Want to read about it? Yeah . . . me, too! I have to thank her in advance for being so forthcoming.
Howdy darlin’, let me start with a thanks for having me!
Boy, you don’t beat around the bush do you? Ironically, you’re not the first to ask me how I went about researching for To Serve is Divine. However, until now I don’t think I’ve been asked point blank, and I’ve managed to be a little evasive of the topic because the research did turn “personal.” *knowing wink*
In previous guest posts I’ve explained how the idea for the first version of TSID came about in 2010: basically reading fan fiction which triggered curiosity and then “research.” That research began with the anonymity of continuing to read any fan fiction I could in the BDSM genre. It didn’t take me long to figure out that while there were some similarities, there were also enough dissimilarities to indicate if I wanted to know what was ‘real’ versus what was ‘made up’ I would have to extend my reach.
Insert the wonderful world of Google; and might I add that if you’re going to be researching this kind of subject matter, be conscious of the virus scans your operating system provides. If it’s green, it’s clean.
For several months I watched various video clips – hey, it was research, not hours wasted watching porn. Believe it or not I was paying attention to the way the Dominants wielded their choice of impact toy (be it flogger, crops, canes, whips, etc.); to the look on the submissive’s faces and in their eyes as they received the attention which they obviously longed for.
Granted, there were also times I’d see something and question how in the world anybody could enjoy having that done to their body – thus I learned about limits. Those things which made me cringe would be my hard limits. Likewise, I have no doubts there are images I’ve seen and “reacted” to that while I would say I was “Green” or okay with having them done, the next person would cringe at them and call “Red.”
Therein lays the beauty of BDSM. The acronym has many components – just like the lifestyle. Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism or simply, D/s: Dominance/submission. Everyone has different likes and entering into this lifestyle affords one the opportunity to explore those with like-minded people. Whether whips and chains are your thing, or hot oil, wax and feathers – if you can think of it, odds are there’s another person out there who enjoys it too. And no, you will not be judged for what gets your juices flowing.
Stepping up my “research” led me to seeking out some of these like-minded folk in public forums – again through the safety of my computer. What I discovered was that the BDSM community is quite similar to an extended family which runs on trust and respect. Safe, Sane, and Consensual is a common motto you’ll come across in the lifestyle and it’s quite apt. Rules are in place to enforce living by this motto, but the bottom line is that the people (Dominants and submissives) choosing to live this way do it of their own FREE WILL.
If they aren’t, it’s no longer BDSM, it is abuse.
Seeing images, reading various blogs, chatting with members of the lifestyle were all helpful, but still not quite enough. I wanted to be able to actually portray in my writing the sensations and the physical experience so yes, “I went there.”
My husband has taken this journey with me. Without communication between yourself and your partner (be it husband, wife, male, female) misunderstandings can and will happen. How can you trust and respect someone if you can’t even hold an honest conversation with them? So, talking is key. In my case it led to the purchase of some basic supplies and impact toys, more video watching (for instructional purposes this time – as much as I wanted to know what a flogger on my ass felt like, I really didn’t want to just turn my husband loose to start swinging at me willy-nilly!), and the best part: the experimenting.
won’t go into details, those are my private moments after all, but I will say I can’t regret the journey thus far. It has been enlightening and amazing. Is my journey over? Far from it I hope.
The book definitely had a ring of authenticity to it, and I can see why. R.E. Hargrave’s research made this a much better story.
Catherine O’Chancey is a reserved, demure, and graceful submissive. All traits she trained hard to enhance when she discovered the world of Dominance and submission in college. In an attempt to start fresh after the unexpected death of her last Dom, Catherine moves to Dallas, TX to escape the shroud of darkness he left behind in her life. She has tried to fight the need that resides deep within her to submit, but finally has to admit she can’t for it is not a choice, but part of who she truly is. After months of mental preparation, she ventures back into the lifestyle by attending a coveted open-night event at Dungeons and Dreams, an exclusive BDSM club.
Is it fate or coincidence that Catherine garners the attention of one of the club’s board members who happens to be on the hunt for the perfect sub – a partner who enjoys receiving pain and pleasure as much as he enjoys doling it out?
Jayden Masterson is many things: a firm Dom, a shrewd businessman, and a gentleman. What he isn’t, is someone who partakes in relationships outside of contractual ones with his multiple, un-collared, regular submissives. While he likes rough sex, he is not an animal, and can find pleasure only if it is consensual. What his harem is missing is a pain slut; could there be one in his future?
Upon meeting Catherine, Jayden feels an instantaneous spark inside him that has him wanting to know not just her body, but her mind. He wants to unravel her mysteries and discover her secrets. Through pain can they find the pleasure they seek? Can part-time pain lovers find full-time fulfillment when it’s not in their contract?
R.E. Hargrave is a fledgling author who has always been a lover of books and now looks forward to the chance to give something back to the literary community. She lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX with her husband and three children.