It’s a great pleasure to have Liv Honeywell and Domitri Xavier, co-authors of the wonderful book, The Journal (Her Master’s Voice) come visit with me today.
TF: Hi Liv and Domitri. Thank you so much for coming to visit on my blog. How are you?
Domitri: Feeling really, really well, thank you. Creative too. Liv and I are furiously at work on our next book.
Liv: Really busy but definitely enjoying it, thank you. I’m loving working on the new book.
TF: I have to confess, I went on Amazon to have a sneak preview of The Journal, found it mesmerising and ended up buying and reading it in one sitting. One of the first things that struck me was the way you and Domitri used the third person for the Master and the first person for the slave. What made you decide to do it that way?
Domitri: Thank you, Tara. I’m so glad it had that effect on you. Funny you mention the change in voices.
Liv remembers it well but I don’t. I started off in the first person and quite without any conscious thought, moved to third person, so by the end, we had half the book written in first person and half written in third. I’m not sure that that was a wise decision. Certainly in our new book, Shreds, (I want to get the plug in early ;)) I deliberately chose to write in the first person and I hope I’ve been able to portray the character far more fully using his voice. He does have a sense of fun, believe it or not, but that isn’t much in evidence because the tone of The Journal is quite serious and sombre.
Liv: Thank you, Tara. That’s a lovely compliment and I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. We did start writing The Journal in first person and, as you can probably imagine, writing it like that was very intense. The way I write (well actually, both of us do) is to really get into the character we are putting on the page and try and feel what they would feel, like an actor does when playing a role. So of course, when we got quite far into the punishment scene, I was finding it very challenging and when Livia got upset, at times so did I. And I remember that happened once and Domitri was worried about hurting me for real. The next day his chapter had swapped to third person and he kept it like that. I think it was his way of distancing himself from that, and I actually really wish he hadn’t. What is wonderful about Shreds is that both of us are allowing ourselves to be open and to get involved with the story and the characters, and I think Shreds will be a better book for it.
TF: The Master and slave are so totally in tune with one another that I’m really curious about how well you know each other in real life? Have you guys actually met or was this book conceived and executed electronically? And can you tell me a little about how the whole concept began?
Domitri: Thank you again. I’m so glad that it comes across that way. Liv and I speak to each other most days via Skype. We are very close friends but have only met up two or three times. The whole book was conceived and written in our separate homes. We read each chapter to each other out loud to make sure we have continuity and flow and correct Liv’s grammar! After many exchanges of emails about the possibility of writing together, I sent Liv a few short paragraphs, which I thought might provoke some sort of response. Well, it did! And we were off to the races. But you have to bear in mind that these were very short and snappy exchanges. We had to tidy them up and edit them extensively before the book could come to its final form.
Liv: Oh thank you so much. That’s exactly how we wanted them to come across. We are very good friends and we do talk quite a lot about BDSM and Master/slave relationships because we are in the lifestyle, so hopefully that comes over in the book. We really didn’t plot the book out between us. We simply responded to each other’s writing and then smoothed the story out once we had a full first draft.
I should also point out that there is nothing wrong with my grammar. She’s far too busy knitting right now or she’d be having serious words with Domitri!
TF: I don’t want to give anything away but, this book, although for sure it has real and tangible love, is no softly, softly BDSM–themed love story. Were you ever nervous about the subject matter as you were writing, that it would just come across as cruel rather than two people in tune with one another? There were certainly one or two shock factors for me in there.
Domitri: Yes. I was very concerned that, to an audience who are not in tune with the M/s dynamic, the book would appear harsh, rough and insensitive. What you must bear in mind is that what Liv’s character did in The Journal was a threat to their whole relationship and so the punishment had to fit the crime. Our next book, Shreds, is more playful and the love is more evident between the characters. In some ways I wish Shreds had been the first book in the series for that reason. These people really do adore each other.
Liv: The book is a love story, definitely, though perhaps not a typical one. Domitri is right. They adore each other and this is a very difficult situation for both of them. Livia is so sorry for what she has done and her Master very angry and hurt, and what they go through in The Journal is how they work through it and see if they can come out the other side of it together. Once we had a first draft, I did suggest to Domitri that perhaps the book needed to hear more from the Master about how hurt he had been by Livia’s actions and how sad he was, and also how much he didn’t want to have to punish her, but he knew he needed to in order to get their relationship back on an even keel. I think if Domitri hadn’t written so beautifully on how the Master felt, the book wouldn’t have worked as it did. We really didn’t want it to come across as abuse or sadism for sadism’s sake.
TF: The Master’s words and thoughts are echoed by the slave, using the exact same words at times, which shows them to be almost as one. I’m curious about the mechanics. Domitri, did you write a chapter and Liv respond, or did you brainstorm a few key points for each chapter and both work around the key points?
Domitri: Nothing was brainstormed. I wrote a chapter and sent it to Liv without her having any prior knowledge of its contents. That way, she was much more inclined to react instinctively to the voice of her fictional Master. I wrote a chapter and waited with baited breath as Liv read it at home. If she came back onto Skype a quivering wreck, I knew I had done my job well!
Liv: Domitri drip fed me each chapter without telling me anything at all about the plot. I had no idea what was coming next or how the story was going to end until we had a full first draft and I really did react instinctively to each chapter as I got it. It put me almost into the same headspace as Livia and really helped me to write her. For my part, if I wrote something and sent it to Domitri, what I really wanted to see when he’d read it was that evil, sadistic Domly grin to know that I’d got it right.
TF: I don’t think I ever read a story the whole way through without knowing either main characters name! Was this a deliberate decision? What was your reasoning for it?
Domitri: Actually, it’s hard to remember. For the longest time, I hid behind the anonymity of having no name; Domitri Xavier was still a long way off both in the book and in real life. Given the tone of the book, I needed a certain measure of distance. In our next book, Shreds, we do learn much more about the characters, name them and learn much more about them as individuals. I thought at the time (I seem to recall) that if I gave the characters names it might perhaps humanise them too much. I believed that, because of the harshness of some of the things I had to write, I wanted to keep them a little at arm’s length. That’s not so now.
Liv: We didn’t name either of them in the book, but we did refer to the slave as Livia in the back cover copy. When I’ve written stories before, I’ve quite often not named the characters and done very little physical description of them because I like the reader to be able to imagine themselves in the story. This time, however, it seemed right to keep the characters as Master and slave in the book as with this being a punishment, Livia would absolutely have been calling him Sir or Master throughout, and he would not have been affectionately using her name.
TF: I am so glad you are already working on another book together. This was incredible. Can you let readers know if it’s a pleasure to be repeated at this stage?
Domitri: Thank you again, Tara. The answer is a resounding yes! Perhaps I let slip the title of our next book, Shreds? We are planning a series of books, each based on one of my poems, under the series title of Her Master’s Voice. Each one will explore different aspects of the M/s dynamic. As I’ve said already, the tone of The Journal was necessarily harsh, while Shreds sees the Master, now revealed as Marcus, having enormous fun on his birthday at Livia’s expense! When I say lighter, I don’t mean in any sense less erotic. Shreds sheds more light and puts together more pieces in the jigsaw of their lives. It focuses on a completely different time and place and maybe even stage in their relationship.
Liv: Thank you so much. It really does mean a lot to hear that. Yes, Domitri, you may just have mentioned it once or twice… ;). As Domitri said, we are working on Shreds, the next in the series. This one is about a beautiful red dress which gets ripped and torn off very slowly. It is intense, because that’s the kind of relationship Marcus and Livia have, but it’s also sensual, erotic and fun.
TF: Well, I for one rather relish the thought of seeing this pair, now I can even call them their names, Livia and Marcus, meet up again under slightly happier circumstances.Thank you so much for coming to visit on my blog. It was a real pleasure for me. And I have to say interviewing you is almost like reading your book, your responses are so well attuned. And thank you for sharing an extract with my blog readers too.
Domitri: It was a great pleasure, Tara. They were such good questions and great fun to answer. Lots of love to you and your readers.
Liv: Thank you very much for having us. We really enjoyed answering the questions.
The Journal Release Blitz
“Come to my study at eight o’clock sharp. Dress for dinner. Wear high heels and put on that dress – you know what I expect of you.”
When the order comes Livia is torn between anticipation and dread.
Does he know? How could he possibly know what she has done? And how can she find the words and the courage to tell him?
As eight o’clock edges ever nearer, Livia waits outside the study door, trembling; uncertain of what she will find when she comes face to face with her Master.
If he knows… If he does, there will be consequences. There is no doubt about that.
What will be the price for her moment of disobedience?
"Look at me."
The words I had been half hoping for, half dreading. Would he be able to tell what I was thinking? I opened my eyes and looked up at him, letting him see how vulnerable I was before him and how much I wanted to please him. The expression on his face almost stopped my breath. There was so much love in his eyes, such emotion, and I swallowed against the lump in my throat and blinked back tears of joy mixed sickeningly with guilt. How very much I loved this man, and what I had done to him…
He swept me into his arms and kissed me hard, his hands roaming my body again. Our tongues tangled; his determinedly invading my mouth, mine softly yielding to his touch. I leaned against him, wishing that I could hold him too. I pressed my body against his, wanting to show him how much he meant to me, hoping that would be enough.
He broke the kiss and moved slightly, his hand slipping between our bodies to tease me between my legs again. I was soaking wet. How could I be otherwise? He did not even need to touch me to provoke this reaction. When we were together, his presence was enough and, when apart, just the thought of him was all I needed. My body was not mine any more. It responded to him, ached for him, whether I would wish it or not. I could deny him nothing.
He lifted his hand to my mouth; his fingers wet, and gently painted my lips with my own juices. I tasted my arousal on my tongue but would have no more dared to wipe it away, than I would think to say ‘no’ to him. I stood with my mouth open, my juices trickling down my chin, awaiting his pleasure.
He pressed his fingers further into my mouth, probing deeply and I tried to relax, to let him penetrate where he would, but I choked as his finger reached the back of my mouth. “No,” he yelled and I shrank back, mortified that I had not been able to give him what he required of me. I hurried to open my mouth again, concentrating hard on relaxing my throat, and this time I was fully open to him.
He removed his hand from my mouth and lifted my dress, stroking and exploring my breasts. I licked his fingers when asked and he circled my nipples so lightly and tenderly that it was almost difficult to believe that he could ever hurt me.
His touch on my breasts roughened and he gripped them tightly, crushing my nipples. I closed my eyes, torn once again between pain and pleasure; so aroused it was close to unbearable. My knees weakened and I leaned against him, my head resting against his shoulder. I could feel the hard length of his cock pressing against my hip and I moved just a little against it, hoping, despite what I’d done, that this time he would use my body; that I would feel him deep inside me.
When not writing about delicious, hot male dominants and the female subs who love them, I’m usually doing something craft-like, reading, baking, eating the results of said baking, and attempting to satisfy the demands of His High and Mighty Dominance (the cat!). My first story, Imagine, was published with Silver Moon Books last year and Coming, Ready or Not! is my first solo book. The Journal was co-written with Domitri Xavier.
You can follow me on my blog - http://www.liv-honeywell.com, Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/LivHoneywell, Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/LivHoneywellErotica, Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/LivHoneywell and my Amazon page is here: https://www.amazon.com/author/livhoneywell
Domitri Xavier is not only an author of erotic fiction and poetry, he also has a parallel career as a pianist and composer. Under another name, he is also a published author of books and poems for children.
He is an active Dom/Master and delights in all that brings; from damsels in distress to always getting his own way in domestic disputes. [If only this were true. Ed]
He has little time for hobbies being one of those extraordinarily fortunate people who makes a modest living by doing the things he loves best. He is an ardent chess player but has yet to record a victory, although he did come close once when he took on an eight year old girl.
He lives and works in the UK.
His poems have been published on Bitten Press’s website - http://www.akissofpoetry.com/211723089 and The Journal is his first book.
You can find Domitri on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DomitriXavierErotica, his Facebook friend page is https://www.facebook.com/domitri.xavier, his blog is http://domitrixavier.wordpress.com, his Goodreads page is http://www.goodreads.com/DomitriXavier and his Amazon page is http://amazon.com/author/domitrixavier.
I'd like to take this opportunity to post my own review of this quite unique book also.
5 out of 5 stars
Not a gentle book yet the eros is intense. It’s almost frighteningly so, even as the Master punishes the slave, the slave adores him and is grateful. She knows she has sinned deeply and she’s waiting but yet hoping he’ll still love and forgive her.
The chapters are synchronised perfectly. The master’s voice first, giving his thoughts of what’s passing then the slave’s voice, redoing the same moment in time but with her thoughts, ovten echoing his words but putting her take on them.
The two voices work incredibly well together, at times when I was reading the masters voice, I wanted to cry for the slave, but then when I saw it from the slave’s point of view it became obvious that they were almost part of the same whole, bound by their mutual needs or desires.
If you are up for an intense Master/slave read and willing to look at it from the characters point of view, without being to faint-hearted, then this is a wonderfully written example. The intensity of such a relationship is portrayed brilliantly in every chapter.