I'd like to share my interview with one of Total-e-bound's newest authors, Kim Dare. Kim is 25 years old and lives in the UK, in a small town in South Wales. Over the last few months, she's contracted numerous books with TEB and she's got more in the works. Kim is an absolute delight and I'm thrilled to be able to help her celebrate her first release with an interview and a peek into her writing space. Congratulations, Kim - I wish you much success now and with all of your future books!
What's a typical day (and night) like in the life of Kim Dare?
There's no such thing as typical really. One day it's non stop fellatio, other days it's all about the leather and the whips, and then there are the ménages that crop up now and again - just in case anyone is getting bored with the one-on-one action. On the other hand if you want to know about the things that actually go on outside my head, the answer is far less interesting. I'm fortunate at the moment, in that I'm able to devote most of my energy to my writing. I write best at night, so I try to be sensible and spend the days editing and re-writing stories, before getting stuck into whichever first draft I'm working on in the evening.
You primarily write M/M and BDSM. What draws you to these subgenres?
Unlike most m/m writers I know, the very first erotic romances I wrote were about two men. I didn't get into writing anything involving a woman until about a year later. I'm not sure what drew me to the m/m in the first place. As far as I remember, the characters I wanted to write about at that time just happened to like guys more than girls. I didn't think about it too much, I just went wherever those characters took me. I had so much fun writing about them, it went on from there. As for the BDSM elements of my stories, I never set out to write them either.
Although, I soon realised that even if the characters aren't kinky when I start writing them, then by the end of chapter one they'll all be whispering in my ear that they've always wanted to try such and such. Looking back, I think I first fell in love with this type of story when I saw the intensity and honesty of characters reactions to the different kinks they indulge in. Now, even more than that, I love the way the characters react to each other, the trust they need to put in their partners, regardless of whether they are dominant or submissive, and the depth of connection that builds between them still fascinates me. I have tried writing vanilla once or twice, but the characters pouted so much I had to give in and let them do whatever they wanted, so I’ve stuck to BDSM, in all it’s different forms, ever since.
Having had the privilege of reading advanced copies of many of your books,I find your characters to be absolutely fascinating. How do you go about character creation?
It usually starts with a little snippet of conversation. I'll get a phrase in my head and I'll start wondering who said it, and who they said it to. The characters grow from there. I like to get to know them as I write, so I don't sit down and think about them too much before I start the story. I'll admit that quite a few of them have shocked the hell out of me half way through the book, revealing aspects of their characters that I didn't even know existed until I saw the words appearing on the screen as I typed.
How did your writing path evolve?
I’ve always wanted to write. Two years ago I made a commitment to myself that I would write every day – and I would actually finish some of the dozens of stories I’d started. For the first time I stopped trying to write something I thought other people would like to read and I wrote what I wanted to write. At the time I didn’t even know there were publishers out there who would accept m/m erotic romances, but they were the stories in my head and so I wrote them down. Earlier this year I stumbled upon a few e-publishers who were actually publishing what I was writing, so I decided to take some time out of a degree I was studying for and see if I could send something off. And here I am.
What type of research do you do for your books?
I have a few different websites that I seek out if I need some specific information on some weird and wonderful new kink one of my characters has taken a fancy for. But, strangely enough it’s the innocent questions that are often the hardest ones to find the answers for. How long does it taken an elevator to reach the fifteenth floor? What does a software engineer actually do?
From what or where do you derive the most inspiration for your stories?
From random things usually. Little phrases or snippet’s of overheard conversation. That and the complete certainty that whoever wrote what I’m watching on TV got it all wrong – there should always have been a happy ending – and quite often the guy should have ended up with his best friend and not the girl.
The Gift was out last week – a seasonal release as part of Total-e-bound’s Christmas Spirit’s collection. The next one to come out will be Secret Service in February – another seasonal release as part of Total-e-bound’s My Secret Valentine collection. That’s quickly followed by Whispers – my first m/f title, which is part of Total-e-bound’s Night of the Senses BDSM anthology.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have two BDSM series starting with Total-e-bound next year – Collared starts with Turquoise and Leather in March. And Perfect Timing starts with You First in April. I’ve got lots more titles to come in each of the series so I’m currently finishing those off and editing them up. I’m also working on the first title in a new series that’s still very much a work in progress.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like least?
I like lots of things, like that first moment when an idea arrives in my head and I know something exists now that didn’t exist a moment before. I like looking at a blank screen when I start a new project and knowing that anything could happen next – and in my stories it frequently does…
I like it when a character comes to life as I write about them, or when they do something entirely unexpected and I only find out about it as I type it in to the computer. And I like being able to write a world where I know good guys will get to live happily ever after in the end.
What I don’t like? The never being able to tell if a story is any good until someone else reads it – it’s just not possible to tell with something you’ve written yourself, and every single story takes a leap of faith before you share it with the real world.
Even if I wasn’t writing any stories down, I can’t imagine not spending all my time making up stories in my head. So, my ideal would probably be a nice quiet job where I could sit and daydream about the characters that live inside my brain without too many people interrupting me and actually trying to get me to do any work.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Reading – although I’ve been so focused on my writing I’ve barely read anything anyone else has written for months! Crafts – particularly blackwork and patchwork. Visiting different places when the opportunity arises. I’ve also really enjoyed studying a whole variety of subjects over the last few years – mostly with The Open University.
Of all of the characters you’ve created, who is your favourite and why?
I tend to fall in love with whichever character I’m writing at the time, but there is one character that always makes me smile no matter what – Eric Jordan from Turquoise and Leather. He’s in way over his head as soon as he meets the dominant George McAllister, but he just doesn’t seem to realise that. He talks away at nineteen to the dozen, throwing himself into everything he does without any hesitation or thought of the consequences.
He’s a natural submissive too, but he hasn’t quite caught up with the fact that submitting to a dominant man means you don’t get to have your own way all the time. All that said, he also proves himself quite capable of running rings around George – at the end of the book you just know he’s going to drive the older man insane, and they’ll both enjoy every minute of it.
Do you find it difficult to keep love/sex scenes fresh and interesting?
I do find there are times when I find myself going back to stories I’ve written before and checking that I’m not writing the same scene over again with too few differences. The thing is, no matter what you do – there are certain things that damn near everyone does when they have sex. The most interesting bits to write, and read about, are those that are unique to each character – their individual preferences and psychology. Everyone might do the same thing, but they can easily think different things or do things for different reasons, so I try to look for those differences.
What genre of books least appeals to you and why?
I never have been able to enjoy reading anything with an unhappy ending. I can live with crying in the middle of a book if I have to, but I have to know I’ll be smiling at the end or I don’t want to read it. Apart from that, I’ll read anything that’s good.
Do you listen to music when you write or do you need quiet? If you listen to music – what kind?
I don’t have music on, but I do a lot of my writing in the middle of the living room while other people are watching TV or playing games on the computer, so there’s usually a bit of background noise of one sort or another. The only thing I really need silence for is editing – that’s when I retreat to my writing room.
When I do listen to music I go for lyrics first and foremost and I usually end up listening to either country music or songs from the musicals. Although, at the moment, it’s Christmas carols and nothing else until January – I’ve always loved anything to do with Christmas, so I make the most of it throughout December.
Being who he really is. I’ve never have one idea of sexy in my head. Anything can be sexy if the man is the right man. Dominant, submissive, tall or short, rich or poor, it’s all about someone who is confident in being an individual. Spending your whole life trying to be something you’re not is one thing that doesn’t scream sexy to me.
For my characters, I tend to write people who are perfect for the person they are going to live happily ever after with at the end – and that’s far sexier to me than someone who is generically perfect.
Do your family and friends know you write erotic romance – if so, how have they reacted?
My family do know and they’ve been incredibly supportive of my writing – even after they found out exactly what I write, lol. I haven’t told many of my friends – although that might well change now that I’ve actually got something on sale!
What’s your favourite food?
No one favourite, but I’m very basic when it comes to food. Sausage dinners. Fish and chips. Ham sandwiches. Mixed Grills. Crisps (what you’d call chips in America). And chocolate of course. And you can’t beat cawl (a welsh soup recipe) followed by Welsh Cakes.
Do you have any bad habits?
I’m a bit (completely) obsessive. I’ve never worked out how to do anything by halves, so I tend to throw myself into a project and work myself to the point of exhaustion before I remember to take a break and just relax now and again.
A lap top (a solar powered one that reacts well to salt water, obviously). I get a bit weird if I don’t get story ideas out of my head on a pretty regular basis, and being dyslexic means my spelling and my hand writing are both appalling if I try to do anything with pen and paper so the lap top has to go wherever I go.
After that luxury, I’m a pretty practical person. John “Lofty” Wiseman’s “The SAS Survival Handbook” has a whole chapter on surviving on a desert island, so that should prove useful to take along with me.
Apart from that, someone, or a few someones, who are good at coping in a crisis would be nice to have along side me too.
Do you have any pet peeves?
Prejudices and intentional cruelty have always made my skin crawl.
What do you like about where you live?
I like that I live in the same town where I was born – somewhere I and my family have roots and a sense of history. I like living in a valley, where the geography seems to wrap around the town and keep it safe. I like living in a house that’s just old enough to have the sort of character a house can only have when it’s been around a while. I like living in the middle of a town, but only needing to walk five minutes to be in the middle of the countryside.
If you could travel back in time, would you? If so, what time period would you visit and why?
I love the idea of going back to see how things really were, but I’m sure I would hate it if I ever actually did. As much as I would like to write a series of stories set in an historical era, I still think History is probably best viewed through rose tinted glasses, and from the comfort of a present day where, in some countries at least, there’s a degree of freedom, equality and (never to be underestimated) in-door plumbing.