Joelle - thank you so much for letting me interview you. I'm sure there are many out here that know you well, but there are always newcomers. I'm really enjoying learning about different writers here. We seem to be a diverse group, and I love that.
Now, who is …
Now, who is …
1. Give us your basic bio, what ever you’re willing to let us know.
I'm 36 and have lived in Michigan all my life, while also cursing it all my life- I'm convinced I wasn't born in the right state :D . I grew up in the metro Detroit area, which was tolerable, while I now live in "mid Michigan" not far from Saginaw, which I don't consider tolerable (and yes, this is one of the few things that I'll actually get into fights with my Master about). After 14 years of relationship with my Master, most of which we've had several pets, we are currently without any, after the passing of our nearly 14 year old dog Chyna. I carry constantly a bunch of identity pieces that put me outside the mainstream- queer, polyamorous, kinky, lifestyle submissive, home educator/unschooler, activist, gender questioner, sexuality educator, person living with mental health issues, bipolar person. I never expected to write full time; I'd tricked myself into accepting my parents' "you can't just write, you won't make a living off it," but then I was kicked out of college for being suicidal. I'm also a survivor of multiple rapes, the first one having happened 23 years ago. Hm, I'm still looking at PK's "...please tell us as much as your comfortable with." and laughing a bit. I mean, telling has become a thing I reflexively do, no matter how stigmatized or painful something is. I guess I'll wait for people to ask in the comments for more info :D.
2. When did you first realize that you were interested in the idea of spanking?
Oh this is a tricky one for me... just spanking? Because my BDSM sexuality has never been "just" about spanking and the notion of spanking being enough only came after finding domestic discipline fiction. I need to backtrack in explaining my sexuality just a bit to explain that I had abstinence-only sexual education, my parents did nothing, I was pretty much a sex-less, overweight kid until I lost my virginity from the heterosexual perspective to being raped by an older teen boy when I was 13. So whether it's a BDSM- or DD- focused person talking about remembering being interested in their fetish "as a child," I can't relate. I was first fascinated by the idea of any sort of BDSM when my first girlfriend, when I was 15 and had just come out as bisexual, moved from us engaging in rough sex to sharing "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" by Anne Rice with me.
3. I’ve heard you speak of your master, how would you describe your relationship?
This is a fun one :D- I tend to say "We're a BDSM poly couple" while He's said "We're a kinky couple." I think part of the discrepancy is He doesn't care to engage in the conversation (with other people mostly) about the idea of "the big tent of BDSM activities," as I've seen Thianna D. describe the BDSM community. Currently we are struggling- it's been a very hard year with job issues, health issues etc; while I get angry at Him often enough, I'm most likely when talking to Him to say "My sex drive is broken," not commenting on His half of the problems. The thing is, when we're doing good, our fetish activities (things like bondage, flogging, orgasm denial/begging) are not kept separate from our sex lives- and we've ran into judgmental types (especially locally in mid Michigan) who would tell us we were wrong not to have any division.
4. Were you spanked as a child? Whether yes or no, do you think this affected your interest?
Nope, time outs were used; however I always felt like I was a bother to my mother (who instead "disciplined" by screaming at me or coldly avoiding me. So spanking and related activities to me are a form of care- my Master cares enough to give me that attention. That really stood out for me in the Blushing Book's sharing of Fiona Wilde's "The Gift of Guidance." The lack of spanking, the lack of guidance totally resonated with me.
5. Did you, do you, or might you use spanking with your own children?
I didn't although between having my Master as now-teen's step-dad and then father and wife #4 and whatever they did, yeah, he's gotten some spankings, even if I didn't agree with them totally. I'm quite the attachment parenting person and probably would have been more so if I'd had a supportive community of such mothers when teen was younger. I think, talking about parenting in general, that spanking shouldn't be used or not used with every child; sometimes it is what's going to work the best. Although that "best" is hard to define sometimes.
6. When did you first begin writing spanking stories?
It wasn't long after reading Anne Rice's "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" that I started writing erotic fiction- yeah, I have a history of starting things before I was "old enough" to do whatever it was. I wanted to "see myself" in the complexities of my sexuality and I knew I wasn't represented in the bodice rippers in the grocery store and I was sure since I wasn't seeing non-monosexual and/or polyamorous people on TV, I wasn't going to see myself in erotic books, even when I was old enough to buy them for myself.
7. How comfortable are you with people in your real life knowing that you write spanking fiction? Does everyone know, a select few, or do you try to keep it private?
I am completely and totally out about what I write; I'm "out" about being queer, kinky, and poly- why wouldn't I be out about what I write? I ask that a bit rhetorically. When I got more serious about "author" and "publishing" back in 2012, I asked my Master what He thought of me publishing erotic fiction under my legal name; He had no problem about it and will openly talk about what I write when in the company of people where it fits in the conversation. It did take me awhile in general on what to say though. "I write adult fiction." "I write erotic fiction." etc etc ... many days I still debate if what I usually write is erotica or erotic romance. In a dark erotica group I'm in, I enjoyed one comment that was made when I was talking about my erotic fiction- "Intense BDSM doesn't necessarily make something dark erotica." Because The Queen dearly loves his slaves- no matter how "hard core" that BDSM activities I describe might be. I realized, thinking on this, that I'm not actually, really out to my parents, but you see (and I'm sure thinking on my story about Thanksgiving and mashed potatoes that you can understand where I'm coming from, PK), my parents are so in denial about all sorts of parts of me that they are uncomfortable with- my mother more so than my father. I'm thinking I may have to start answering writing questions with "Yes, I'm published, but no, you wouldn't want to read it." My mother is viciously anti-GLBT.
8. Some people don’t like to be labeled in only one area, but do you feel your writing is in a particular category?
I see I managed to start answering this question in my previous answer :D What I write does tend to be more hard core BDSM; I've used the phrase "I write BDSM erotic romance with erotica word choice and a feminist porn perspective." That said, I do enjoy adventuring, like I have one book of erotica that I intentionally gathered M/f BDSM, all female BDSM relationships, "bear erotica" (gay men who are hairy and can often be almost hyper-masculine), and a variety of other kinks and sexual identities. I really pushed myself in my last Nanowrimo novel to write a female/female spanking romance that included a long distance relationship between two erotic romance authors (and included their WIPs, which were all over the place in erotic romance and erotica :D)
9. Do you think you might someday like to branch out and write something totally different, either within the spanking fiction world or something else completely?
I have most definitely enjoyed experimenting more with ageplay in my last Nano-novel. I find when I think of "something different," for me it's often different from what others are doing, not necessarily what I'm doing. To this end, I love writing experienced submissives who know what they want and are ready to negotiate with the dominant on an equal footing, although I don't think that quite qualifies as branching out for me. One thing I'd like to do is work with genderqueer characters, nudists/naturists, and invented gender-neutral pronouns in novel(la)-length books; so far I've only done that in short stories.
10. How attached do you get to your characters? Do you know what happens after the book ends?
Some of them, yes. The Queen, Vala, and the rest of his slaves and friends- yeah, attached. I talk to them all the time, write them in different situations, I have "enjoyed sex" by picturing The Queen making love to one of his slaves. It's definitely part of why I refuse to allow a publisher to touch "Vala's Story." I'm thinking on a sequel to my Nano-novel "Tabitha and Bina in Love," in part because there is simply not enough female/female erotic romance out there. The funny thing is that I really want to know what's going to happen to Tabitha's characters in her FFF spanking trilogy- I only made it into "book 2," which she's hoping her editor will have a title suggestion for. Yes, lots of jokes about story-ception in my household during this past Nanowrimo :D.
11. Describe your ‘perfect’ writing day.
I'm really not sure I have one. I'm so used to writing in the middle of life happening. Like when I started the first draft of the first book of in Vala's Story, I was writing with now-teen as a toddler- it was a regular thing for me to have Tele-tubbies on the TV and bands like Nine Inch Nails playing the same time through the stereo. Also my "perfect writing day" would like depend on what I'm writing. Since I don't really just write one thing- certainly not "just m/f BDSM," for example- there is no one perfect. Am I working in the "Vala's Story" world? Am I working on a short story or a novel(la)? What are the genders, sexual identities of the characters I'm working with? These questions will usually affect what music I choose to listen to, let alone other factors of what I want while writing.
12. When did you first begin publishing? What caused you to jump in at that moment in time?
2012. I really can't say why I decided then was the time to get serious about it, but I decided I need to get serious, especially as I was planning to self-publish and I was sure it was a certain kind of work and possibly/probably more work than traditional or e-publishing.
13. With so many wonderful writers here I can get confused as to who writes what. Would you list all the books you’ve published so far. I’m assuming most can be purchased through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but let us know where else your books are available.
"Joelle's Chaotic Collection of Screwing" (free and only available on Smashwords. Then from the Vala's Story serial, I have "Out of the Night: Book One" and "Gates of the Garden: Book Two." Both Vala's Story books are available several places, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For blurbs, buy links (if you want to get a book somewhere other than the big guys), I'm giving you the link for the "MyBooks" page: http://joellecasteel.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html
Please join Vala's world. http://joellecasteel.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/JoelleCasteelAuthor http://authorjoellecasteel.tumblr.com/ and on http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10571043-joelle