BDSM interviews: Tymber Dalton

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Tymber Dalton, the USA Today Bestselling Author and two-time EPIC award winner, is the author of over one hundred and sixty books and counting. And a good deal of them are BDSM-related 😉

What would you like readers to know about your series Suncoast Society? Should all the books be read in order (and if not, which one would you recommend to start with)?

Wow, that’s a hard one. LOL I’m 96 books into the series now. Not all of them full-length, though. There are a few ongoing story arcs that you might miss out on some backstory if you don’t read those in order, but for the most part all of them can be read standalone and in any order. (I have a list on the series page on my website.) If someone is new to BDSM, and looking to ease themselves into the shallow end of the kinky pool, I recommend A Roll of the Dice and See You Sometime. They’re both MF books with very realistic situations. If someone likes menage books, then The Reluctant Dom would be a good starting point.

Is there much difference between writing menage BDSM and M/F BDSM? Is writing menage books more challenging?

I actually like writing menage a little more than MF or MM sometimes. LOL Because then you’ve basically got six couples (if it’s a three-person menage) to work with, in addition to the triad (or more) as a whole. Lots of fun to be had with interpersonal relationships, different personalities and conflicts, all of that. With just a two-person romance, it’s actually more challenging to keep the story and conflict realistic and fresh. Doesn’t mean I don’t like writing a two-person couple, because I follow my characters. But there’s a little more freedom with poly situations.

As far as I understand, you are in the lifestyle yourself. What misconceptions about BDSM (in books of other authors or in real life) do you find most common? What do you think is often missing from BDSM novels?

That’s an entire book in and of itself. LOL I’m not just in the lifestyle, I actually volunteer on the management team of a real-life BDSM club, the Tampa Bay Phoenix Club. I also teach BDSM classes. The big thing, I suppose, is I wish people would stop equating the Fifty Shades franchise with “real” BDSM. If you enjoy FS, that’s great, rock on and enjoy it, but remember it does not, in ANY way, depict a healthy or realistic BDSM dynamic. I hate that detractors of BDSM will point to FS and try to use that to paint all of us with the “abuse” brush. Consensual BDSM is NOT abuse because it is, by its very nature, a consensual power exchange. One thing FS did accomplish was to start a conversation, however, so that is a good thing. One thing that will make me instantly DNF a book is an author who ignores basic safety and consent practices. (If the book is supposed to be a “realistic contemporary” book, not meaning paranormal, or a book that is labelled as SFF, or “dark” fiction, etc.) For example, I once DNF’d a book where the author had the supposedly experienced Dom using actual metal handcuffs for over-the-head restraints on the heroine. Uh, noooo. That’s broken wrists, or nerve damage, at the very least. I also haaaaaate it where a newbie submissive goes to a club and is scooped up and played with, as if she doesn’t have the right so say no, go fuck yourself. Because in real-life, an “Alphahole” hero is usually charged with assault or battery. At the very least, they are tossed out of the club by security for not taking NO for an answer. Or if the author has all the characters drinking during play scenes. It’s blatantly obvious to me when an author has never set foot inside an actual club and probably hasn’t even talked to real-life kinksters. On the other end of the scale, it pisses me off when “Won Twue Wayers” proclaim themselves “BDSM experts” and write books and then demand everyone bows down before them because they’re an “expert.” That’s not how this works. Then, there are the occasional readers who’ve mostly read BDSM books by vanilla writers, then they try to ding me for my Doms using real-life negotiation and consent. I even had one reviewer try to claim one of my Doms (based on my own real-life Sir) wasn’t “domly enough.” Pffft. My Sir is a massive sadist, soooo… *shrugs* Again, I’m setting apart “contemporary, realistic BDSM” from paranormal, dark fiction, SFF, etc.

In The Reluctant Dom, one of your characters has to inflict physical pain to provide emotional comfort… and feels not quite comfortable about it himself. Is it possible to grow into being a Dom/Domme if you have doubts about it at first?

Absolutely, if the person has a desire to do so. I’ve seen that happen in real life. The trick is for both people to find a common starting point, a level of activity where they’re both getting what they need out of it. And it’s also very common for Tops/Dominants to grow and expand their skills once they learn how to “hurt” without “harming” and find what activities make their pulses race. The more comfortable the Top is, and the more they want to explore, that’s when the fun starts. Yes, the bottom sets the guardrails and limits, but Tops can also set their own limits, or call red on a scene. And in real life, it’s not uncommon for Tops who aren’t comfortable with more sadistic play to let their bottoms play with Tops who are sadists for certain activities, so everyone gets what they need.

In The Denim Dom, the heroine asks a Dom to train her for a series of articles about BDSM. In your opinion, can a BDSM agreement be successful and beneficial for both parties if it’s a business deal of sorts—or should feelings be involved right from the start?

Since I know plenty of Tops who can be service Tops, and bottoms who can negotiate pick-up play with Tops, I’d say yes. I, personally, don’t play like that, and neither does my Sir, but we have friends who do. There’s nothing wrong with either approach, as long as everyone’s getting what they need or want from the play/dynamic, and no one’s being harmed.

Do you prefer to write about hardcore or mild BDSM (and why)? What kinks are your favorite?

I personally start with the personal dynamic between the characters, and the play scenes blossom from there. I’ve had characters surprise me with where their interests lead me. In See You Sometime, I was honestly surprised how that played out and where the hero’s interests led him. For the Roses also caught me a little off-guard and I think it definitely has one of the hotter play scenes I’ve ever written. One that really caught me off-guard was Come in From the Cold. (#filthypriest LOL) There’s a great mindfuck in that one that caught my editor off-guard, too. Another one I had a great mindfuck in was Splendid Isolation. Another where the characters caught me off-guard was Reconsider Me and its sequels, because it’s a MM couple and I had one hero who didn’t do anal and considered himself a “side” (as opposed to a “top” or “bottom” in bed). I had NO clue how that was going to play out, but it worked out quite well, it turns out. LOL

As to what kinks are my favorites, I think it’d be far easier to list what’s on my no-go list. LOL

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