Coming to The Point of it All
When I came to writing late in life, I came as a reluctant bearer of themes and characters that were missing for me in contemporary novels. I figured that if no one else was going to write this stuff, then I would. Some examples of my disappointment: Heroes fought the good fight, but never fell in love. Heroes chased the girl but never caught her because he was too damaged, or she was. Heroes had dead wives to avenge and dead children to mourn. They didn’t marry, they didn’t fight with their girlfriends, and they didn’t bat an eye when she became that dreaded character known in fiction as Too Stupid To Live—those people, usually women, who walk down the alley after dark, or venture into the woods to look for their dog, Cuddles, when they know the serial killer is lurking nearby (all the characters in all the Friday The 13th movies bear this distinction). I found myself on more than one occasion shouting at the page, ‘Spank her, for God’s sake! Where are your balls? Don’t you care about her?’
Wait, what? Spank her? Yeah. I mean, come on! She behaves like a shrew/tosses fists full of mud at him in a fit of temper/is TSTL. The hero sighs, says something like, ‘I have had ENOUGH!’ and he…well, you know the rest. In my soon-to-be-released novel, The Point of it All, I explore this issue as it pertains to two people who come together under extremely stressful and unusual circumstances. Valerio Rios is in the rescue business. He saves lives. He does not suffer fools or spoiled women. Diana Kenyon is in a situation as foreign to her as tentacles on a washboard, and she has had to survive by sheer wits and will. It is this battle of wills between her and Val that defines who these two people are as individuals, and who they will become as a couple in a committed, loving relationship. This is not a spanking novel. It is a novel that happens to contain the non-consensual (mostly) spanking of an adult female within the confines (eventually) of a loving, committed relationship. And there, dear readers, is the rub. How can striking a woman’s backside because a man thinks she needs it, be considered an act of love? Consider this, taken from an article posted on a fantastic web site called, aptly, Taken in Hand:
A woman’s desire for a naked over-the-knee spanking is twofold. Part of her wants to be wanted. She wants to belong to someone who really cares about her. Part of her wants to be disciplined, cleansed, and perhaps even healed. It is only at a level of getting beyond physical pain that spanking has any meaning. Otherwise, the exercise is a parlor game of make-believe of daddy’s naughty little girl getting her bottom smacked for being very bad.
This is quite a mind-fuck. In this day and age, where gender roles are as blurred as they can be, the idea that a woman actually craves this is ludicrous, right? But I get it. Do I live it? I learned early on to be careful what I wish for. I write fiction, and my stories feed into something very real for many people. I’m confident in few things, but this I am sure of. Here’s more from this article at Taken in Hand. http://www.takeninhand.com/node/290:
The man who truly loves a woman is not always easy on her. There is a passion within him that burns beyond lust.
…Although a woman may hate the idea that she needs a spanking, she will also often feel the need to be punished – wanting it to hurt and eventually despising a timid man – she seeks an experience that goes beyond being transformed from naughty to nice.
When I was in the middle of writing The Point of it All, I had to put it aside for a while. I hated it. I hated the direction these two people were taking me. I did not want to portray Val Rios as a domineering prig who swatted with puritanical impunity, and I did not want to weaken Diana Kenyon, or make her acceptance of this predilection of Val’s, feel forced simply because I wanted her to move in this direction to tell a story. I realized that it was Val who needed to change. He actually needed to earn the right to exercise this control over her, for lack of a better word. I also needed to show that in Diana’s acceptance of this, she was exercising her own power as a woman. In a way, she was meeting a need of her own in a way that the intellectual populace could find offensive. Yet, wasn’t the idea behind feminism about choice? I don’t think it was about Bella Abzug’s choice, or Gloria Steinem’s. It was about a woman’s choice, even if that choice wasn’t in line with the mainstream bra burners.
The journey was uncomfortable for me. The more the character of Val Rios set the pace, the more I fought him—kind of like Diana did on occasion. Of course, he wasn’t asking me along for the ride, he was asking Diana, right? Well, I cannot speak for other writers, but for me, the heroine is part me and part who I wish I was. The hero, of course, is who I’d be if I were a man. Simple, right? Yeah. You try it sometime. Talk about a mind fuck. Once I allowed Val to direct the second half of the story, I fell in love with it, and with him. He took me to a place I never dreamed I’d go. It was as much of a journey of discovery for me as it was for Val and Diana.
I adore these characters, and I am very proud of this story. I think it explores love in a very real way, with all of it’s complications and imperfections, all of the mistakes we lovers make, all the hurts we hurl at the ones we love, the apologies we make and the self-reflections we take, and the letting go—the letting go of our preconceived notions about love, the letting go of our egos so that we can love honestly, and the letting go of our ideas about what we want, and allow ourselves to ask for, and get what we need. And, the idea that perhaps true freedom lies in restraint is one to be explored and discussed. I hope you love Val and Diana as much as I do, and I invite you to enjoy The Point of it All, coming January 4, 2012.