When it comes to adaptable, imaginative writers, few can compare with Carolyn Faulkner. For years, she has turned up the heat for readers no matter what genre they prefer – from hunky firefighters to Civil War soldiers to muscular cowboys to enigmatic vampires, Carolyn’s heroes exude the breathtaking, take-charge manner that leave her feisty heroines satisfied in more ways than one.
Recently, Carolyn granted an interview to Blushing Books blog and the answers she gave to our questions not only offer no shortage of surprises, but also reveal why this frank, honest writer enjoys such broad appeal with readers.
Blushing Books: I’m always interested in how writers get started in their craft. I know from reading up on you that you were writing for newsgroups before your work caught the attention of publishers. Now you’re a successful writer of romance novels. Did you ever think it would come this far?
Carolyn Faulkner: I never, ever, ever thought that I would be a professional writer. I’m just glad my Mom was alive to see me get my first check for a story, since it had been her dream to be a writer all of her life. I never dreamt of it, even though I’d spent the majority of my life writing (since I was 9), because I was never able to finish a story. I had tons of beginnings and middles, but no ends.
The first story I was ever able to finish was “Embraced”, but it took me until I was 35! Now I’ve written somewhere in the neighborhood of 80+ novels and novellas. I’m as amazed as anyone, believe me!
Blushing Books: The banner on your Web site states, “But she seems so normal….” It may be a tongue-in-cheek statement, but your books are anything but normal. Your characters live out the fantasies of every woman who reads them. So how much is Carolyn Faulkner like the characters in her books? Is there any one character you’ve created that you identify with above all others?
Carolyn Faulkner: Oh, it’s definitely tongue-in-cheek! Even in my more vanilla aspects (and yes, there are some, believe it or not), I’m very far from normal, believe me, to which my family and friends will attest all too eagerly!
I’m similar to pretty much all of the heroines in my books, because I do live these domestic discipline/ageplay lifestyles that I write about, 24/7, with my wonderful husband/Daddy, Unka Bobby, from Guardian Island. Daddy never knows if something he’s said or done to me might end up in my next story (and lots of things already have . . ).
I don’t know if there’s any one heroine of mine that I identify with more so than any other – they’ve all got bits and pieces of me in them, although I probably relate to the ageplay girls best because that’s what speaks to me most closely since that’s our real, day to day life.
Blushing Books: You are a prolific writer and your work spans quite a few genres from historical to contemporary. Where the reader can easily imagine a wife getting spanked in an historical novel, it has to be trickier to create scenarios where a modern day woman is believably punished for her misdeeds. How do you manage to write domestic discipline storylines that are believable to the readers?
Carolyn Faulkner: One of the reasons that I began writing spanking fiction was because I saw a distinct lack of what I liked to read: romance. I wanted to read a real romance story, not just a bunch of spanking scenes strung together with a thin to non-existent plot. I wanted to focus on the couple in the story, almost to the exclusion of everything else, because they’re the most important aspect – how they both act and feel and think (which is one reason you’ll find very few first person stories of mine. I think there’s only one). It’s got to be very, very clear that this is a good relationship based on love and trust. If that’s not there, then, as in real life, it’s not going to work, and it’s not going to fly for the readers, either.
In domestic discipline stories, also, it helps if the situations in which the heroine finds herself being disciplined are as believable as possible. That she’s not being spanked for a trite offense, but rather something that means something to the couple – such as Daddy’s favorite, “Health and Safety” issues – not blowing off doctors’ appointments or driving the car without brakes (and yes, I’ve been made to thoroughly regret doing both of those things . . .)
I think it also helps to show the struggle that a lot of women who enjoy spanking fiction have about their needs and desires since society is very clear that they shouldn’t want such things in this day and age.
Blushing Books: We recently ran a blog post and poll exploring whether readers thought that the mainstream publishing industry’s reluctance to include spanking scenes was an unnecessary capitulation to political correctness. Given the success of your books and others like them where spanking is part of the action, it’s obvious that these themes are still popular with readers. Some of your books, like Prima, feature an even more severe disciplinary element and they are extremely popular. Why do you think that today’s modern woman still enjoys reading about women being sexually dominated? Do you think some women secretly long for this? Is it escapism? Or is it a bit of both?
Carolyn Faulkner: To paraphrase a discussion that my husband and I have had numerous times, I think that, in the past forty years or so, with the egalitarian revolution that was the women’s liberation movement, we tried to supplant billions of years of evolutionary wisdom that had carved out very specific roles for the two sexes, with the lovely idea that those roles didn’t really matter any more. *Poof*. Everyone’s equal. But those roles are hard-wired into the human race and can’t be overridden quite so easily.
I think that’s why dd/bdsm/spanking fiction sells. It’s not so easy to slough off those gender roles just because we think that, as an enlightened society, we should. Nowadays women can have both. You can be a balls-to-the-wall CEO in the boardroom, and indulge your submissive side, safe and sound in the privacy of your own home, by reading Prima or Talus: A Demon Story or Submissive Desires . . . It’s definitely a little bit of both – escapism as well as deep, dark, don’t-tell-the-neighbors secret desires.
Blushing Books: Part of your body of work includes ageplay. This is an unfamiliar or misunderstood genre. But it’s quite popular among some readers , and you’ve even started an online ageplay community “Guardian Island.” How did you get started writing ageplay, and what do you see as its primary appeal to fans?
Carolyn Faulkner: Yes, ageplay is a very misunderstood and often maligned genre as some misinformed people mistakenly believe that it involves real children, which it most certainly does not.
Actually, Guardian Island had been up and running for years before I got there. I joined in 2002, and began to talk with its inspired and inspiring creator (I might be the slightest bit prejudiced there), Unka Bobby, when he asked for someone to volunteer to help him with something around the Island, and we haven’t stopped talking since! Nattie Jones, who is a great friend and the president of my non-existent fan club, said something to me not long after that that was eerily clairvoyant, to the effect of, “Wouldn’t it be great if Carolyn Faulkner and Unka Bobby got married?”
So we did! (There’s a very long story in between there involving multiple hospital stays and a medically harrowing trip from Oregon to Maine, but I won’t bore you with the details)
Like probably every spanko out there over forty, when I got my first computer and was alone online the first time, the first word I typed into a search engine was “spanking”. And one of the things I discovered as an offshoot was a definite affinity for stories about grown up women who were treated as children – but most of them were on diaper fetish sites, which wasn’t for me.
I began reading the ageplay fiction on the newsgroups after I’d started writing spanking romances. Being, as you said above , the prolific type, I wrote my first ageplay story, which was “Daddy Seth and Missy”, I believe, for much the same reason as I wrote my first spanking romance: I wanted to feel the love and caring between Seth and Missy that – for me, in a dd or ageplay romance– is absolutely essential.
I think a lot of the same things appeal to people who like ageplay as who like spanking, although I would say that ageplay relationships are even deeper than domestic discipline relationships because of the parental aspects, and I think that appeals to many women. No one takes care of you, no one puts you first – not your friend or your boyfriend or even your husband – like your parents did. Ageplay is several notches up on the intimacy and emotionally nurturing scales, and is unbelievably fulfilling, but is also much more demanding of a dom than the more traditionally dom/disciplinary roles.
Blushing Books: The eBook market is flourishing. How has this changed writing for you? How has it changed things for your readers? Do you have any predictions on how the romance market will continue to evolve in the wake of these new forms of automatic delivery?
Carolyn Faulkner: I have a deep, dark confession: I’m a veritable Luddite. I barely own a cell phone. I’ve never texted in my life. I don’t have an Iphone, an Ipad, a Kindle or a netbook (although I do know what they all are). My writing hasn’t changed in the least. I still write using Word on a laptop, and that’s probably how I’ll write until I die, because that’s how I’m comfortable. I might end up having to get a speech to text software eventually if my wrists give out (from the occasional marathon 13,000 word days when things are really flowing), though.
And, because of that distinct handicap, I don’t know that I’d want to hazard a guess about what’s going to happen in the future in regards to delivery methods, although I always predicted that the TV and the computer were going to merge, which has already happened, so perhaps a dedicated e-book TV channel? Blushing Books TV?
Blushing Books: What’s next for Carolyn Faulkner? Any new books on the horizon for her fans?
Carolyn Faulkner: I just finished The Unrequited Dom, which is a rare story that I actually liked a lot. And this month, I’m going to work on something I don’t have a title for yet but it involves a couple who are both in the military (he’s a wounded Navy Seal, she’s his nurse) who get stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash, and the passionate power struggle that ensues between them after that as he convinces her that she is not the one that’s in charge while they’re there.
Next month, perhaps a sequel to Mistress Mommy. In case anyone didn’t realize, Abby Collier is my pseudonym. It’s the only other name I’ve ever written under.
After that, I usually don’t know what I’m going to write until I sit down at the computer with a blank white screen and watch the movie that plays in my head. Frightening thought, huh?