People are not all young, beautiful, and fancy-free. In my stories I like to take older characters, who have been damaged in some way by life or upbringing or the cruelty of a partner, and see what happens. They meet someone, or several someones, and fall in love, but their past affects the way they react to their new love. They may have low self-esteem or problems with body image. When someone comes along to whom none of that matters, they have to face it themselves and reject the past. They can’t change who they are, their age or their looks, but they can accept what they are, as seen through the eyes of a lover. It’s this process by which, with help, they arrive at a whole new vision of themselves, escaping from the past and those adverse influences, that interests me. It may be a physical infirmity, it may be age difference, or it may just be a less than perfect body. Who hasn’t wished for beautiful body? Whatever it is, it can be overcome with help and support. In the end it’s the person inside who matters.
“Gradually they come to accept that they are worthy, that what they want and desire will be taken into account.”
In Angel in Hell I wanted to create a fantasy world where ManLove in a ménage is the norm. Angel’s mission is to find his mates. On Hades young people are paired and raised to be the mates of an Alpha male. Until Arielle arrives, Oronsay and Colonsay experience nothing but exploitation and ill-treatment. Their only comfort is each other. Arielle takes them to his home on Prospero, where they learn there is a different way of living and loving. They are all equal in the ménage. Even if the Alpha, Arielle, has the last word, with that comes the responsibility of taking care of both of them. Gradually they come to accept that they are worthy, that what they want and desire will be taken into account. Colonsay has a long talk with Arielle’s mother about her own experiences of a ménage, and through the older woman’s eyes she begins to see the possibilities for herself and her two mates. Oronsay is slower to trust Arielle. He’s felt himself responsible for Colonsay for years, but gradually as he falls for Arielle and accepts Arielle’s gentle and respectful treatment of both of them. He sees that what he has felt all along is right. Then he is happy to relinquish ultimate responsibility for Colonsay to Arielle and take his proper place in the ménage.
Devil, in Lucifer’s Errant Sub, was abandoned by his mother and raised by a sect with strict rules. He’s been taught that he’s not worthy, and lovemaking is wrong. It’s only allowed to service the brothers, and otherwise is something dirty, for which punishment is handed out. When he’s rescued by Lucifer, he begins to see that there is another way of looking at things. He blossoms under Lucifer’s loving and gentle encouragement. He begins to take the initiative in their lovemaking and soon he’s an enthusiastic partner. Although his self-doubt leads him to mistrust Lucifer when he overhears part of a conversation and to run away, Lucifer demonstrates his love and loyalty by following and rescuing Devil yet again. Devil begins to see that if Lucifer is willing to forgive him and loves him no matter what, then the sect were wrong and he’s worthy of the love, both physical and emotional, that Lucifer bestows on him. In return he embraces, with enthusiasm, the BDSM lifestyle that Lucifer lives and becomes the happy and fulfilled sub that Lucifer always knew he could be.
“All three of them have to change in order to seize their chance of happiness.”
Rafael, in Saving Master Rafael, is a bisexual Dom. His first two subs died in a car accident. He blames himself because he’s a Dom and therefore responsible for his subs. When he’s offered a second chance, with Jess and Heather, although he finds himself falling for them, he rejects them. He tells himself that it’s for their own protection, but he cannot face the possibility of more pain either to himself or to them if he lets them down. Mistress Catriona steps in and sets him straight. She makes him see that the reason Johann was an alcoholic was not Rafael’s fault, but his family’s rejection of his sexuality. He was doing well with Rafael’s help, but the accident happened when he drank to excess after the loss of a little sister to illness. His family had forbidden all contact between them, and he was devastated because he wasn’t able to say good-bye to her. Thyme was narcissistic, and she needed constant admiration from several men to satisfy her. He’s made to see that, rather than protecting them, he’s hurting Jess and Heather by rejecting them. When he comes to terms with that, he has to explain his past to them, and put it behind him, with their support. Jess is really a bisexual sub, but Heather needed him to be a Dom, and straight, so for years he’s put aside his own needs to cater to hers. He falls for Rafael, and when Heather sees his need, she realises how selfish she’s been. All three of them have to change in order to seize their chance of happiness. When Heather sees Jess with Rafael, she’s conscious of just what Jess has given up for her, and then she begins to embrace the idea of a ménage with enthusiasm.
Everyone deserves a second chance. My characters are presented with the opportunity to be happy, but in order to do so they have to take a risk and reject the person or circumstances that have damaged them. We are privy to their inner struggles to overcome their doubts and conditioning. We watch as they gradually come to see there is a different way to live and love. In the end they accept that they are worthy of the love they are offered. It’s not until they can see themselves through the eyes of the person who loves them, that they can appreciate what they have to offer and seize the chance to be happy. It’s not all plain sailing, and sometimes I revisit a couple in order to see what happens after the first book closes. Do they live happily ever after, as it seemed they would? How easy was it to throw off the conditioning? What sort of difficulties did they face and how did they overcome them. Through all of their struggles, one thing is a constant. They love someone and they are loved in return. That causes them to reexamine their past and their attitudes. It makes them reject past mistakes and negative influences and accept themselves for what they are, which is a unique and beautiful human being, capable of inspiring love and respect. Now if only real life was like that.
Is it like that? All relationships need dedication and effort, but sometimes in real life they just don’t work. How does that affect those involved, and can they trust again when a new love comes along? That’s why I write about second chances. None of the harrowing circumstances I write about in Saving Master Rafael, for example, have happened to me in real life, although I have lost loved ones. I am aware that many people have been, and still are, persecuted and rejected for their beliefs and their sexuality. I wish it weren’t so. I do believe that love is love, and love is not wrong.
“I got my second chance, but I had to work to get it.”
The only second chance that I personally have had is my writing. I had a long career as a teacher, and when it ended, I was at a loose end. Teaching is arduous but fulfilling. No two days are the same. The joy of passing on my enthusiasm for Spanish to my pupils gave a meaning and purpose to my professional life. Teaching is not just about the imparting of knowledge, and your specialist subject. Pupils who like and trust you come to consult you about a wide range of personal issues, and they value your opinion and support. When all that came to an end, my days were all the same. Doing the housework, learning more appliqué techniques, and catching up on reading were fine for a while but they were never going to fill the rest of my life. Depression began to take over again, until my youngest son challenged me to write a book. I have always enjoyed sci-fi and detective fiction, and he suggested something along those lines. However, I’d begun to read about BDSM, and the more depressed I became the more extreme the BDSM, which in turn fed the depression. When I began to think about his challenge, I wanted to write about BDSM but not the extremes. I began to do just that, and life became more interesting. I got my second chance, but I had to work to get it. My Doms are caring, loving, and responsible. They live by “Safe, Sane, and Consensual,” but they are Doms. They identify the issues their subs have, and then they support them, until they are all able to seize their chance of happiness with both hands.