Q&A with Tiffany Reisz

I’m super excited to present The Raunch Dilettante’s first author appearance!  And how much cooler can it get when its a Q&A with Tiffany Reisz, the author of one of my favorite books of 2012. 

Hi Tiffany!  Thanks for stopping by The Raunch Dilettante. Can’t wait to get into some nitty gritty with you about The Siren, a book that completely rocked my world.
That’s what I do. I’m a world-rocker.

So, first thing’s first – where did your inspiration for The Original Sinners series come from?
It started small—just an image, an idea. I had this wild woman, Nora Sutherlin, who had one foot in two very different worlds—the world of erotic fiction and the world of erotic reality. Imagine finding out that Agatha Christie actually did solve real murders on the weekend? That was sort of the idea of Mistress Nora who is both an erotica writer and a Dominatrix. You have an Alpha female with this weird sort of life, you’ve got to populate it with equally interesting men. You have her boss, Kingsley Edge, this wicked nymphomaniac Frenchman with a bloody past. He’s utterly roguish and amoral. Women go nuts for him. Zach Easton, Nora’s editor, is as gorgeous as he is stuffy. I gave Nora the world’s sweetest, most innocent intern—a nineteen year-old-virgin named Wesley who I based on a good friend of mine. And then there is Søren. Well, you’ll just have to read the book if you want to find out his deal.

When did you start writing erotica?
When I was in high school, I was utterly obsessed with the tv show FOREVER KNIGHT. The lead character, the sweet and heroic Nick Knight really didn’t interest me but I was fascinated by the big blond vampire Lacroix who stole every scene in was in. I started writing little erotic stories about the show not realizing I was writing what people now call fanfiction.

How on earth did you go from nun to sex-peddling writer?  *snort*
I didn’t! I was never a nun. Not sure how that weird rumor got started. I was a student at a conservative southern seminary studying to be a theology professor. I was working on a double M.A. in Biblical Studies and Theology. While in seminary I started writing erotic fanfiction for some of Jason Isaacs better villains. I did it simply because I’d read a story that was so bad I knew I could do better with my eyes closed. My stuff garnered such a big following that I realized I could probably do this writing thing for a living. THE SIREN is really a tribute to Jason Isaacs who was the inspiration for Zach Easton.

What’s your take on the erotica-craze that’s sweeping the nation’s grocery store & Target aisles? (besides what the hell took ya’ll so long?)
I love it. Bring it on. Anything that gets people into bookstores is aces in my book. I’ve worked at five bookstores in my life, and I know how much they struggle to stay in business. Owning a bookstore is a labor of love, and it’s a community service. Plus this new erotica wave is getting people to look at themselves and ask a lot of hard questions about sex and sexuality. We live in a supposedly free country where gay marriage still isn’t legal and doing kink with a consenting adult can get you arrested in some states. We’ve got to fix this. Educating the masses that sex (kinky, vanilla, gay or straight) is a good thing is a great start.

Two words – mommy porn: thoughts? I’m curious to hear your take on this media-churned phrase, as someone who is not only a talented author but also someone who is incredibly comfortable in their own skin and lifestyle choices.
I loved what the WW Norton Twitter feed said about “mommy porn.” It was something to the effect of “Calling 50 Shades of Grey ‘mommy porn’ achieves the impressive feat of insulting both mothers and pornography at the same time.” I can get behind that statement. Tons of young women without children love erotica. Tons of men do. Erotica is for everybody. Why do mommies get to have all the fun?

What authors and/or stories are your go-to’s when reading?
My writing hero is Anne Rice. Haven’t read much of her later stuff but I was profoundly influenced her earlier books—Interview with the Vampire and all the Lestat books, Cry to Heaven, The Mayfair Witches, Belinda and The Sleeping Beauty Chronicles. Anne Rice is a master of atmosphere. She can scare you with a setting. So talented. And brave too. There is A LOT of controversial content in THE SIREN including but not limited to hardcore BDSM and underage sex. When anyone says “You can’t do that, Tiffany” I remind them that Anne Rice already did it, she did it twenty years ago, and she can buy New Orleans with the money she made from doing what you supposedly can’t do. It’s fiction, People. There’s no good or bad story. There’s only good or bad writing.

Nora. She’s one bad-ass chick whose only Achilles heel seems to be a priestly sadist. While all the relationships in The Siren are terribly complex, this one seems the most perplexing to me. What can we expect for our two leads in the next two books?
Søren is my Lestat in a way. In Interview with the Vampire, the beautiful blond vampire appears to be the villain. In the new book, Anne Rice turns that character around, makes him the hero, shows you that everything you thought about him is wrong. In THE ANGEL and future books, you get to know Søren a lot better. He’s no saint and he’s no angel, but he’s no villain either. Give him a chance and maybe you’ll love him as much as Nora does by the last page of the final book. You might still hate him.

I love a good, dark book that lingers upon its completion, and The Siren definitely fell into that category for me.  Have you finished with these characters or do you foresee more of their stories in the future?
I’ve written three full-length books in THE ORIGINAL SINNERS series and hope to write five more at least (four books in this plot arc and four prequels). Plus shorts. A character like Nora is too much for one book. One reader said she has quicksilver in her veins. I think the reason Søren loves tying her down so much is that it’s the only way to keep her in one place for more than five minutes. The woman is a modern-day pirate with black sails flying. Love is her safe harbor, but such a wild-hearted wayfarer never stays ashore very long.

A huge thank-you to Tiffany for stopping by!  My original review can be found here.  Pick up The Siren at your bookseller or online

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