Interview with Cecilia Tan, author of Slow Satisfaction

Cecilia Tan

Cecilia Tan is "simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature," according to Susie Bright. Her BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance. Tan is the author of many books, including the ground-breaking erotic short story collections Black Feathers (HarperCollins), White Flames (Running Press), and Edge Plays (Circlet Press), and the erotic romances Slow Surrender, Slow Seduction, and Slow Satisfaction (Hachette/Forever), The Prince's Boy (Circlet Press), The Hot Streak (Riverdale Avenue Books), and the Magic University series (Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Nerve, Best American Erotica, Asimov's Science Fiction, and tons of other places. She was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010, was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association in 2004, and won the inaugural Rose & Bay Awards for Best Fiction in 2010 for her crowdfunded web fiction serial Daron's Guitar Chronicles. She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats. Find out more at   

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About The Book:

The sizzling conclusion of the Struck by Lightning trilogy! The story that began with the RT Award-winning Slow Surrender finally brings us all satisfaction. James has finally pushed Karina beyond her limit–not her limit for kinky sex play, but for his extreme secrecy. She has had enough and breaks things off.

But James won’t give up on Karina and he will do whatever it takes to get her back. He’s ready to share his deepest, darkest secrets, but is Karina ready to hear them? When James is blackmailed by an unscrupulous music industry executive, he must give in to unreasonable demands or risk exposure of his and Karina’s secret sex life… a sex life that keeps getting hotter! Will Karina and James’s love be strong enough to withstand the many obstacles being thrown their way?

For More Information:

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I've been writing BDSM erotica and romance since 1992 when I self-published Telepaths Don't Need Safewords. That was 22 years ago and basically for all that time I've been continuing to cook up more ways to put kinky lovers together in my books. Where the Struck by Lightning series came to me was really as a reaction to 50 Shades of Grey. I love how 50 Shades got the entire world reading about and talking about BDSM. I don't love that as the trilogy goes on, there's less and less kink and it's portrayed as something Christian only "needs" until "love" somehow takes away that need. Meh. Most BDSM relationships in the real world go the opposite direction: the more love between the partners, the MORE ways they can play and push the envelope and explore it. So I really wanted to write a book that started from a similar place--dominant male meets inexperienced female--and went in a different direction. 

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

The biggest challenge was that my publisher, which is one of the big New York houses, had some very specific things they wanted in terms of structure. They wanted a trilogy with cliffhangers at the ends of books one and two, which meant I had to time the blowups and conflicts to work out at exactly certain points in the timeline and in the word count! Also I was on a strict deadline--three deadlines, really--so it was like NaNoWriMo in my house, except it was every month for a little over a year! My advice would be treat it exactly like NaNoWriMo: just keep writing. The toughest part is when I was in the middle, and you start to doubt yourself, your writing, your plot. I often compare it to going through Mirkwood. You think you're lost, and if you stray from the path because you doubt yourself, the spiders really can get you. But if you just keep going you eventually come out the other side. Once you get there, then you can go back and fix things up! Just keep writing. 

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I might have been the first BDSM self-publisher (22 years ago...!) but the fantastic thing about the way things are these days is that the publishing industry finally caught up with me. After two decades of the major publishers telling me I was too "edgy" for them, now they're clamoring for what I write. So now I'm with Hachette and they've been able to do some things for me I could never do as a self-publisher, like get the books into Target. 

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

My first book with a major publisher was in 1998, when HarperCollins published a collection of my erotic short stories called Black Feathers. I think the thing that surprised me the most about that one was how many people saw or knew of the book. It didn't sell that many (under 10,000) and yet it seemed like everyone I met had seen it in a store or heard of it. That was way before social media existed. Really the only way to find out about a book then was to see it in a bookstore. That taught me how different life is in the big press versus the indie world and how valuable space on the shelf is. Now there are fewer bookstores and yet the same thing seems to be true with Slow Surrender and my other Struck by Lightning books. 

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I've got another deal with Hachette for another BDSM trilogy! This one is also going to have a rock star theme. I can't say much more about it yet other than we're looking to have the first book out in late 2015 or early 2016. This one will not have cliffhangers, thank goodness! Each book will have a different love match. 

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I am a Twitter addict. I might have to cut down my Twitter habit if I'm going to turn the next book in on time!

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

My message is definitely that women (and people in generally) actually enjoy BDSM. It's a fantastic and healthy way for couples to bond and it makes for amazingly hot and creative sex. 
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Yes, one more thing! It's also totally okay to enjoy BDSM as a fantasy. Not everyone has to run out and try it in real life. It's also okay to enjoy 50 Shades of Grey and all the "alpha males" in romance, as well as the old ripped-bodice sheik kidnap stories and so on. Enjoy fiction as fiction; don't let anyone make you feel you're wrong, ill, or politically incorrect for getting turned on by whatever you enjoy reading! 

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