Recently I had the pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) to read the latest in Alison Tyler’s memoir-cum-novels (and I do mean cum), The Delicious Torment: A Story of Submission The followup to Dark Secret Love, The Delicious Torment is aptly named, a terrific and tasty mix of female-submissive BDSM served with literary panache. After devouring the morsels of story that make up the book, I then had the pleasure of interviewing the author.
Cecilia Tan: Would you say that writing itself is a fetish or kink for you?
Alison Tyler: Writing is a necessity to me. Like water or air or chicken wings (with Frank’s hot sauce). If I don’t put words to paper, I get jittery. Editing anthologies fuels my fetish, because I am a total voyeur. I love to see how writers tackle different topics. (This is why I adore hosting my Smut Marathon. There’s one topic—and fifteen, or so, writers who each bring something new to every assignment.)
Cecilia Tan: Do you feel the memoir elements of the book constrain you or free you?
Alison Tyler: Freeing. Like going to a costume party and wearing a glittery mask. There’s that peek-a-boo excitement of playing hide-and-seek with truth and fiction.
Because I dove into this project with no expectations, plans, or even an outline, I’d also say this was the most free-form set of books I’ve ever written. I wrote these books hard. Early in the morning, nearly every day, for a year and a half. I slammed the words against the pages until they begged for mercy. I think if I’d set out to “pen my memoirs” the series would have been stilted. By hiding behind Sam’s façade, I could actually be more me.
Cecilia Tan: There’s a rabbit hole a writer can go down when writing about D/s. There’s a spectrum from fantasy to reality in most D/s relationships, and then when writing fiction about those relationships it puts another layer on. You put even a third layer on because Dark Secret Love and The Delicious Torment are based on your real-life experiences. Is it important to draw a bright line between fantasy and reality or is the fact that there’s a gray area part of what makes it art? Part of what turns you on? Part of what draws you to it?
Alison Tyler: I think that in fiction (even in “fiction” like these books) you should be able to get away with things you might not be able to in real life. So I suppose that could be considered a (shade of) gray. For instance, I wouldn’t recommend not having a safeword if I were writing an article about safe BDSM play—but Sam refuses to use her safeword in book one until the pain connects with Jack and not herself.
Cecilia Tan: Tell me about this sentence: “He held me with his look alone, no words, no threats, so that we were bound together.”
Alison Tyler: Bondage—which is my favorite kink to discuss—comes in so many forms. Of course, there are toys to enhance a BDSM relationship. But I think sometimes simply a gaze can “say” everything.
I’m tempted to publish some of my vintage erotica (currently unavailable) that was written at the time the story was set.
Cecilia Tan: The Delicious Torment has so much in it about the complicated dynamic between Samantha, Jack, and Alex. I often wish for more multi-person relationships in books, for more explorations of polyamory and, for lack of a better word, role models. Do people want you to be an expert on poly for them now? Do your readers ask you for advice?
Alison Tyler: I’m not sure I’m your typical spokes model. I constantly question, debate, disobey. That said, I love discussions. When people do come to me, I often ask if I can open the forum up to other readers and writers for their experiences. More viewpoints can only be a positive.
Cecilia Tan: What would you want written on your tombstone?
Alison Tyler: Ha! You didn’t know this about me, but I’m probably a bit overly fascinated by what people put on their graves. Dorothy Parker wanted Excuse my dust (https://www.dorothyparker.com/dot33.htm). … Mel Blanc’s says: That’s All Folks. Andy Warhol said, “I never understood why when you died, you didn’t just vanish, and everything could just keep going on the way it was only you just wouldn’t be there. I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘figment.’”
And check this out… https://www.warhol.org/figment/ — something that sparked a new project I’m working on.
But I’ve actually never thought of what I’d want on mine. Maybe “the end.”
Cecilia Tan: What’s one thing you wish people knew about you or the book that people don’t know or that gets overlooked?
Alison Tyler: Writing is such a solitary activity that making a character into a writer hasn’t appealed to me much in the past. But I reveled in giving Samantha this skill. And I’m tempted to publish some of my vintage erotica (currently unavailable) that was written at the time the story was set. Sort of an “add on” for readers. An extra peek into Samantha’s (and my own) filthy mind.
Cecilia Tan: Anything you’d like to add?
Alison Tyler: Thank you so much for the opportunity. I’m beyond thrilled that you liked the book!