Hello everyone, it's Wednesday and time for another post. Today I've got erotic author Dakota Trace, who's kindly agreed to do this interview. I've only met Dakota just recently (not in body but spirit) and I'm afraid that's part of the reason she's here. We work together within Red Lipstick Journals and aside from writing she's created a novel cover for me, a compilation of covers for the RLJ anthologies and subscriptions and an advertising video, and sadly I know little to nothing of this obviously multi-talented lady. Dakota's big into BDSM - another subject, I admit, I know zilch about. Hopefully after this interview I'll be better informed. I did tie my husband to the bed once and tortured him with a feather. Does that count?? LMAO Just teasing...or am I... You'll never know! ^_^!!
1. Who is Dakota Trace? Tell us about yourself.
She’s the naughty alter ego of a Midwest mother of three and self proclaimed bookworm. I live in the great state of Iowa – and that’s the corn state…not the potato one. (If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, that’s the potato state right? I'd be a rich woman!) When I’m not writing or chasing the rugrats around the house and yelling at them to clean up their pigsties, I’m online pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Web Design and Development.
2. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
A writer? Who – me? Honestly if someone would’ve told me, I’d grow up to be a published author, I’d have asked what they were smokin’? You see I’m dyslexic, and actually getting me to sit down and write as child took an actual Act of Congress. What I was and still am is creative. Whether it’s drawing, writing or designing, I have an extremely overactive imagination full of hunky characters that won’t leave me alone until I give them life on paper. Thank the Lord for my eighth grade typing teacher (yep, that’s typing not keyboarding as my kidlets call it…lol). The issues I had with writing cleared up with a bit of work. So I guess eighth grade would be the best answer, because after learning how to type, I was able to write down the stories I had been making up in my head and telling to my dad.
3. Who and/or what prompted you to write your first novel?
That’s an easy one! My dad. He gave me an old IBM electric typewriter that looked like it was out of the nineteen sixties (actually I looked inside it and it had a tag that said 1957 as its original service date) and a ream of paper. Then he locked me in my bedroom (well… not literally. He just kept my younger siblings away from me) and told me not to come out until I actually started typing up the story I wanted to tell him. It was his way of saving his poor ears I think – even though to this day, he says he was showing tough love and supporting my need to create. That story became my first novella and my final project in my freshman creative writing class.
4. Where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration?
The first thing I do is turn on classic 50s and 60s doo-wop, think about the stress in my life that comes from raising kids. Then I pretend they are my villains and start writing. Inspiration can be pulled from many places and with mine a lot of it just comes from my life and the world that I live in. So armed with that and songs like “Who Put the Bomp” I’m driven to write. (Okay now you can laugh at me….really a thirty-five year old woman listening to bubble gum music that’s nearly twenty years older than she is? What can I say - I grew up listening to my dad’s favorite music!)
5. What made you chose to write erotic literature in particular? And is there any other genre you’d like to write? And if so, why?
I could claim some higher lofty goals of wanting to educate or show readers something new and exciting in the boudoir. But honestly – it’s because I’m horny – all the time! It runs in the genes or so I’m told. Rumor is that my great-grandfather ran the local whorehouse and the rest of the family worked there, so more than likely it’s in my blood. I honestly love almost everything that has to do with sex and it’s not only the physical part but the intimacy that comes along with it. Whether it’s a total power exchange in my BDSM books like Nisey’s Awakening or a wild tumbling ride in my erotic romance books like Always the Bridesmaid, the dynamics between the characters in and out of bed just grabs a hold of me and won’t let go until I write it down. So will I write in another ‘non-adult’ genre? Probably not, even though my son has been begging me to write a teen-aged version of my Wizards of Venus series. I just can’t help it! The characters in my head are always very naughty and adult minded.
6. Which appears first when contemplating a new project: A character, the plot and/or the title?
The characters! It seems that every time I go to bed, I wake up with another new character banging on my door saying, “hey let me in! I wanna play!” or in my Doms’ case, it’s “Open the door now, or you will be severely punished!” LOL!!
While I like to say that they pop into my head fully developed, they’re not. I took an online class recently with Angela Knight, and she turned me onto this little thing called a GMC. While most of it, I don’t use (like the plot part of it – I like to see where the story leads, not plot it out.) the thing that intrigued me the most was the character motivation section. That part I do use, and my character’s - especially the male variety - have accused me of being a sadist. Something along the lines of they’d had a rectal exam that wasn’t as through…whatever that means. But the book revolves around the characters. Without them I wouldn’t have a story.
7. What’s the hardest part of a novel for you to write: Beginning, middle and/or end? Why?
I would have to say the middle. The beginning is the easiest. I always know where to start, and the end is my goal so I know exactly how to end it. But that middle part is the hardest, that’s when the characters have a tendency to change their minds on me. For instance, with Nisey’s Awakening. I knew that I was starting out with a college-aged woman who came from an uptight family. Nisey was looking for something very specific sexually and when she went after it, she got burned. So add in a hunky but caring Dom (who’s also been burned) to guide her back on the path, and we’re off. My goal was to have both her and Caelan (the hunky Dom) find what they needed with each other while putting the bad guy in his place.
Seems like it’s moving along swimmingly right? Except about half way through the book, my bad guy turned to me and said, “I may be bad but I’m not that bad – just misunderstood.” When I asked him what he meant, he clammed up, shot me a glare and told me to figure it out! Instant writers block. Yep the middle part of the story is always the hardest. After ripping back apart the beginning of the story, and tweaking here and there, I finally got the book back on track and was able to write the middle part of my story.
8. Has your own life influenced your novels? And if so, how?
I think it would be foolish to say that an author is able to keep their lives completely out of their stories. There is always something, whether it’s the way you’re raised or the fact that you love chocolate chip ice cream after sex, that’s going to find a way of sneaking into your story. I’ve noticed in my books, since I’m the oldest daughter of a single dad, that the mothers in my stories are not always portrayed in the best of light, while the fathers have a tendency of being always supportive. This isn’t always the case of course – in Taming Kalinda, it’s reversed – in that particular story it’s Kalinda’s father who made her feel like she’s nothing and not worthy of being loved.
9. Writing sex scenes can be a challenge for some authors. Do you find it difficult? If yes, how do you compensate? If no, where do you draw your inspiration?
I normally don’t have a problem writing the sex scenes for my books. The reason I don’t is because I read everything I can get my hands on and do lots of research trying to keep my stuff fresh. I will have to say though, while I was writing the second part of my serial, Exploring Her Submission: Nisey for Red Lipstick Journals I hit a brick wall with my sex scene. Because my serial revolved around shibari bondage I didn’t have a problem with the actual mechanics of the scene. (I actually purchased a shibari bondage manual, to make sure I got details right.) It was the emotional investment I was having an issue with. Because sex always has an emotional feel to it. Loving, intense anger, playful, or even plain horniness, there’s always some kind of emotion attached to the scene itself.
In this case, not only did I have to deal with the fact that I have the Dom/slave relationship here, Caelan is also trying to prove a point physically. Not only that she’s his slave, but he’s her Master. Now, how the crap do you get that across and still have him be the dominate male he is without sounding sappy or turning him into something he’s not? Sometimes the words just aren’t enough and beating it into her would just be reinforcing her submission to him. Withholding her orgasm would also be showing his power over her. So I flipped the coin. I decided why not have him give her pleasure until she can’t take anymore, to prove the fact that it’s not only his responsibility but his pleasure to be her master. So what ended up doing was a ‘forced orgasms’ scene (an act which I’m told is so pleasurable it’s painful) and the result worked out fairly well, because I had several comments about it being a ‘very intense’ scene and that’s the feel I was originally going for.
10. Do you have a method you use to write the sensual parts? Do you prefer the sex to be open and bold? Or left to the imagination?
Method, sh-method. I do lots of research and then write the scene. As far as if it’s bold and in your face or left to the imagination, depends on what I’m trying to accomplish. If it’s the beginning of the book, I like to leave a bit to the imagination to tease as you get to know the characters. After that though watch out! When it comes the intimacy between the hero and heroine, well it’s bold and in your face.
11. Are your characters based on people you know? Or are they completely fictitious?
I’d have to say 95% fictitious. I love creating complex characters in my head, but that still doesn’t rule out little quirks that may end up in one of my characters. For instance my daughter has a subconscious tell. She’s always tucking her hair behind her ears, and wouldn’t you know it Nisey from Nisey’s Awakening does the same thing when she gets nervous. While I’d have to say that I didn’t pattern Nisey after my daughter, my daughter’s twitch still ended up in her.
12. Who is your favourite character, which you’ve created? And why?
I’d have to say Jude Larson. He’s a minor character in Taming Kalinda, which comes out this month, but he was so intriguing I just had to give him his own story. (Which is exactly what I did. Conquering Jude will be hitting the e-bookstores in Sept.) His character was so complex there were times that I was ready to pull my hair out. At first glance I thought he was going to be another typical alpha male, ‘I need to protect everything smaller than me’ complex (which is about freakin’ everyone…come on, the man stands 6 foot 4 in his bare feet.), but he wasn’t just a protector that his security consultant role would suggest. Why? Because…
Under that protective streak, there’s a submissive streak a mile wide. When it first peeked out in Taming Kalinda, it had me doing a double take and saying…say what? You can’t be submissive. The response I got was, Give me an order, baby and see how fast I work,” with a suggestive wiggle of his dark eyebrows. Ok…not what I expected at all from a guy who retired from the Rangers because of injury in Iraq and ran his own security firm, but damned if I don’t love him for it.
13. Can you tell us about your latest release? Give a synopsis.
Taming Kalinda. It hits the stands on February 18th. It’s the second book in my BDSM series with Excessica Publishing and explores Kalinda’s own journey into the BDSM world. Of course, Caelan and Nisey make guest appearances too – I mean come on, she lives right above them…lol
Blurb: After seeing her best friend accept her brother’s collar, Kalinda Doherty realized without a doubt she needed what Nisey had - a Dom who was willing to offer her more than a few nights of hot sex, erotic pain, and sensual submission. Unfortunately that left out the man she wanted. So when the offer of an internship in Los Angeles came up, Kalinda jumped at the chance, leaving Chicago, her brother, and the man of her dreams behind. Now with her internship over, Kalinda’s heading home for the summer with a decision to make - take the permanent job waiting in L.A. or finding happiness with her new Dom in Chicago?
Joshuah Redding was a man of deep needs. The time apart he’d forced upon Kalinda was finally over. Now that she’s returning to Chicago, he knows it’s time to claim her - for good this time. He had everything planned until the plane touched down. That’s when he finds out Kalinda has brought a man home with her…another Dom. Now what the hell is he supposed to do - especially when the new Dom wants him to join them - permanently?
14. What’s your newest WIP? And when we can expect a publication date?
My newest WIP is an anthology that I’m working on for Eirelander Publishing. It’s loosely titled Darkest Submission. It’s centered around three short stories that are paranormal with a BDSM flare. The first story is about the Roman-Celtic God of War and the half demoness who challenges him, and loses only to become his slave and TrueMate. The second and third stories are of his twin sons. One ends up paired with the daughter of Bilé (that’s the god of hell) while the other finds his TrueMate is a Banshee. It has a tentative release date for April of this year.
15. How many novels do you have, that are currently published? Please list all the publishers, so the readers can locate you.
Wow, well I’ve stopped counting. I know I have dozen or so right now with Excessica Publishing, one with Eirelander and several with Written Expressions. My most notable ones at the moment are Nisey’s Awakening and Just Between Friends with Excessica, Only His with Written Expressions and Always the Bridesmaid with Eirelander Publishing.
Links to find me:
My website: www.dakotatrace.com
Eirelander Publishing: http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/Authors.aspx
Written Expressions: http://store.e-written.com/DakotaTrace
16. Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?
Still writing I hope and selling a few books. I’d love to be able to support myself with my writing but I have a feeling until my kids are raised and gone, that’s not going to happen. I do have one goal though. I’d love to make to it to a Romantic Times Convention as an author. But considering I’m in the middle of Hicksville…that might have some doing.
Very friggin' awesome interview Dakota - holy crap the whorehouse wow! Now that does explain a lot! LOL It was great to finally meet you and I did learn more about you. I'm working on a serial 'The Fallen' for RLJ that will be posted this spring (I mentioned previous that you'll be able to read it in the RLJ blog), anyway, Dakota was the one who created the cover for 'The Fallen' and she did a wicked job. I can't thank her enough.
Next up is Edward Kendrick, his interview will be on Feb 11th - and what a sweetheart this man is! Seriously! I can't wait for you to meet him.
Happy Yaoi Hunting!^_^!!
Happy Yaoi Hunting!^_^!!