Kestra Gravier, award winning author, returns for the 2015 BDSM Writers Con. We caught up with Kestra to ask a few questions and are still recovering from some of her answers! We invite you to enjoy this visit with Kestra and seek her out at BWC2015 to continue the conversation.
Where do concepts for your novels originate?
My storylines start with a simple core idea—often during the cocktail hour.
After a visit to Hampton Court Palace outside of London, I wondered how BDSM might have been practiced in Henry VIII’s rather licentious court. And because I like spy novels, Lady Elinor earned her keep working for Lord Wysse, a Tudor spymaster (Dark River: Lady Elinor at Hampton Court).
Encounters grew from my enjoyment of lingerie (New Orleans and Paris being two favored sources) and the ‘what if’ an old flame re-entered your life after you had an established career. Other initial concepts have included: Could you flog someone in low gravity? What if you met a Dom waiting for a connecting flight? A professor, a graduate student and an unexpected power exchange…
Silver Chasings (available March 2015), winner of the 2014 BDSM Writer’s Con Book Contest, came from the concept, “What the hell, I’ll never win a contest, but I’ll enjoy writing another book.” I had fun working with classic BDSM romance tropes and nudging them towards Main Street, USA. Oh, and dropping a murder into the story because I could.
Details really make a story come alive. How do you generate vivid images and experiences in your stories?
Damn, you’ve found me out! I get so much enjoyment from experimenting with the details that drive my stories. And roping (so to speak) others into the research. I invented the cocktail that appears in Silver Chasings, trying out recipes on unsuspecting guests. And I absolutely had to work my way through a selection of luxury chocolates to find the right ones to place next to the bath in Encounters.
Josephine paddles really do hurt, duct tape will not hold raw chicken breasts together, and innocuous snakes create a surge of mindless, adrenaline-fueled panic.
As for the more, shall we say—intense—details in the stories, I’ll leave the level of practical vs. theoretical research I might have undertaken to your fevered imagination.
Would you vote for a US Senator that had been outed as being in the lifestyle?
My initial response was a reflexive ‘of course I would’. Then I had to stop and think, if the candidate was reviled for their lifestyle, could they be an effective Senator if elected? Would I be wasting my vote? I’ve come to the conclusion that I could weigh the candidate’s positions on a variety of issues, and while I couldn’t ignore the impact that being outed as part of the BDSM community could have, I’m not a one issue voter. So yes, I could vote for a candidate with a BDSM lifestyle.
Where do you place your stories on the ‘Sensual’ to “OMG, is that even humanly possible?’ scale?
I’d like to know the intermediate divisions on that scale! My characters drive the activity level, as opposed to me choosing a target level of hotness or rawness. That said, my characters and stories incorporate the sensual while heading toward the limits of possibility.
You are co-hosting the ‘Reality Strikes: When Scenes Go Sideways’ workshop at the BDSM Writer’s Con. What inspired you to develop this seminar?
A couple of considerations prompted me to join Dr. Charley for this workshop. First, engaging in BDSM activities involves accepting a level of risk, which is a common human choice. Think about choosing to drive or to become a pugilist. A little forethought can decrease undesired risk. Second, I have a wealth of scenarios that really don’t fit into my books geared toward an erotic/romance audience. Some of them, the tamer ones, are used to illustrate the topics in Scenes Go Sideways.
Can you give us an example of a less tame scenario?
A plausible, but not likely scenario, would be set at a party in an old warehouse that does not meet electrical code (likely). The key elements are an electrical urethral sound (common), an ungrounded electric plug adapter (plausible), and a lightning strike (unlikely). And the hapless victim with an exploded penis.
Yes, it is. You can see how a scene like that could disrupt a romantic plotline. However, there are couple of good teaching points here. For example:
- Always ensure your electrical equipment is properly grounded, especially if you make adaptions from the original equipment.
- Despite the fact that this injury occurred in a BDSM setting, do not hesitate to seek emergency medical care and fully explain how the injury occurred.
You can find out more about Kestra and her writing at http://www.kestragravier.com/ and on Facebook.