Tiffany Reisz Talks Kink, BDSM And The Siren

Tiffany Reisz stunned and delighted readers with her full-length debut, The Siren, which tells the story of fiery erotica author Nora Sutherlin as she aims to impress a potential publisher with her latest work, growing close to editor Zachary Easton in the process. When Zach discovers Nora's BDSM lifestyle, he's both intrigued and drawn to the multifaceted woman. RT reviewer Mandy Boles insists that the novel "should be required reading this fall" and eagerly volunteered to ask the author a few questions about this sizzling series starter. 

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The main character Nora Sutherlin is an erotica writer, and of course, you write erotica as well. Are there any other similarities between you and Nora? Perhaps her excellent fashion sense?

I WISH I had had her wardrobe and the body to pull it off. Nora and I, are both Catholic and we’re both Switches. For the uninitiated, “Switch” is a BDSM term for someone who tops (a Dominant) and someone who bottoms (a submissive). Someone asked me if Nora was my alter ego. Nope, she’s my alter-id. If I looked like her and could get away with the crazy stuff she pulls, you better believe I’d do it. Since I don’t and I can’t, I’m quite content to simply chronicle the adventures of this beautiful, wacky woman who lives in my head.

Zachary Easton, one of Nora’s love interests and the editor of her manuscript, finds himself slowly drawn into Nora’s world including her practice of BDSM. The BDSM scenes in the book were some of the most graphic and from what I can tell, the most accurate as far as tools used in BDSM that I have read so far. Who are some BDSM writers that have inspired you?

I’m forever indebted to Pauline Réage, author of The Story of O, for writing such a beautiful, brave, and graphic book of erotica. She mixes sex with religion, pain with pleasure, in shocking ways. But it was Jacqueline Carey’s book Kushiel’s Dart that proved to me how beautiful BDSM could be on paper when done right. And I’m an Anne Rice acolyte. Reading The Sleeping Beauty Chronicles at age 16 changed me forever. The accuracy in my books comes from the fact I’m actually kinky and have either done or seen done almost everything in the books. If it’s an act I haven’t directly participated in, I make sure to find a kinkster who has done it and ask her (or him) for details. I used to belong to a sadist. Great guy. Loved caning.

I loved Wesley, Nora’s young assistant. He is an angelic, beautiful character I foresee readers falling in love with. Throughout The Siren Wesley expresses his disapproval of Nora’s BDSM practice and for her past relationship. Some might say Wesley is Nora’s voice of reason. Others might say his love for Nora makes it impossible to accept her romantic and sexual proclivities. How would you describe the relationship between Wesley and Nora?

Wesley is based on a very good friend of mine who is also unnecessarily attractive, virginal, Christian, hilarious, and a really good cook. If anyone says Wesley’s unrealistic I can only say, “Wait until you meet the real thing.” My friend who Wes is based on is an angel. He’s done medical missionary work in Haiti and Honduras. And yet he adores wild, bad girls. The more messed up a girl is, the more likely he is to fall for her. He loves his impossible relationships. I think Wesley has a savior complex. I think he thinks he can save Nora. He sees another version of her, a version of Nora that has cut ties to her kinky lifestyle. It’s that version of Nora he adores. The question is, will that version of Nora ever exist? And if she left that world behind, would she still be Nora?

Søren is one of the most complex and surprising characters in the book. Without giving away any spoilers, his relationship with Nora could possibly be seen by readers as abusive. Do you feel like this has any credence or is it simply a circumstance misunderstanding the BDSM community?

Reader reactions to Søren have been all over the place. Some women who are as vanilla as the day is long adore him with shocking devotion. Some kinky readers loathe him on sight. He’s designed to be polarizing, to force people to examine their prejudices and preconceptions. As for abuse…if a woman has an abusive husband or lover, she can’t just say a safe word to get him to stop hurting her. I make it abundantly clear in The Siren that if you safe out with Søren (or any other Dominant in this world) they stop what they’re doing immediately. Everything that happens is consensual and pre-negotiated. No one forces kink on an unkinky person. Everything Nora experiences, I’ve experienced. Some of like to play nice. Some of us like to play rough. Nora is of the “play rough” variety.

The Catholic faith is a beautiful, haunting, and sometimes shocking backdrop for much of the novel. Some may find religion a surprising reoccurring theme in a BDSM erotica novel. How do you respond to those that are surprised to find religion in an erotic novel?

I’d say those readers have never read The Story of O before. Or know of the true love story of Heloise and Abelard. Or know anything about the Catholic churches two thousand year history of associating physical pain and self-flagellation with the cleansing of the soul. There are still modern religious orders in the United States that have men and women who flog themselves as an act of penance. Willing submission to pain is simply basic Christian theology.

Can you give eager readers like myself a hint of what to expect in The Angel, the next book in The Original Sinners series?

The Angel picks up 13 months after the end of The Siren. After reading The Siren, so many readers said to me, “I’m fascinated by Soren. I need to know more about him.” Well, in The Angel these readers get their wish. A reporter has been tipped off that there’s something newsworthy about Søren and she’s determined to find out what it is. Also, readers shocked by the Angel scene in The Siren will get to know young Michael, my Angel, much better as he begins his training as a submissive under the tutelage of Mistress Nora.

Do you have any projects in the works outside of The Original Sinners series that you can share with your fans?

All my stuff out right now is part of The Original Sinners universe including my short novellas "Seven Day Loan," "Submit to Desire," and "Immersed in Pleasure." But I do have an urban fantasy series in the works. One of the main characters is The Devil who is an eyeliner-wearing, bleached-blond bisexual Twilight fan, and the bastard son of Vlad the Impaler (or as he calls him “Dear Old Vlad.”) I can’t wait to get this crazy book out in the world. And you thought The Original Sinners were interesting…

You can snag your own copy of The Siren, available in stores now. For the latest genre news and coverage, visit out Everything Erotica Page! And for more of Mandy's book reviews and musings, visit her blog: The Well-Read Wife.

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