Today I’m thrilled and honoured to welcome the one and only Tiffany Reisz to Darkest Sins!
How are things over there? Do you find your new city, Portland, inspiring?
We love Portland. It’s an unusually pretty city, and everywhere we go I find a setting for a novel I want to write. Ecola State Park looks like Narnia but people live there in ivy-covered houses. And there’s a ski lodge on top of Mt Hood (it was the exterior of the Shining Hotel) which is very dark and sexy and mysterious looking. I can’t wait to start incorporating Oregon settings into stories.
Is there a favourite author of yours who might have affected your writing in a special way?
Anne Rice. Absolutely. When I write THE SIREN I included elements from lots of Anne Rice novels (a group of mysterious erotic individuals who are part of a dark secret society, underage sex, BDSM, Gothic settings), and I did so entirely without thinking that I might get into trouble. After all, Anne Rice wrote it first (The Sleeping Beauty Chronicles, Belinda, etc) so why would anyone care if I tied up a sexy teenage boy and let a dominatrix make a man out of him? So I give Anne Rice much love for being such a brave writer. She gives me courage.
Do you usually follow any kind of writing schedule?
When I’m writing a book, yes. But I don’t write every day. Today is “answer emails day” since I turned in book seven in my Original Sinners series on Sunday (The Virgin). But when I’m writing a first draft, I set a daily writing goat (yes, goat, not goal. Goats are cute and goals are intimidating.) My usual writing goat is 3000 words a day. I go to a meditation chapel near our house that has no internet access and just zone out and write. After about six to eight weeks, I have a first draft. Then I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Usually about four carefully chosen beta readers read it and I take their revisions suggestions very seriously. By the time my editor gets it, the book’s been through about eight revisions. Then it goes through about two to four more after she gets me her notes back and I do massive rewrites. A fan recently said to me on Twitter that she was shocked I do so many revisions. The books read very seamlessly to her. I told her, “The reason they read well is because I do so many revisions, not in spite of it.” Rewriting is writing!
I know research is very important—if not essential—for an author. Would you like to tell us something about the one you did for The Original Sinners?
When you’re an erotica writer, you can say having sex is research. One of the perks of the job. One of the most fun things I did while researching THE SIREN was booking an appointment with a real Manhattan dominatrix at her dungeon. She beat the hell out of me after I told her I didn’t mind bruises. A lot of her clients are married men who visit dominants in secret. We had an awesome time and we’ve stayed in touch here and there. She’s as beautiful as Mistress Nora and just as wild.
The series is divided in two parts: The Red Years and The White Years—the latest opened by “The Saint”. Want to explain what this division is about to new readers?
We wanted to make sure readers understood that with The White Years, they would be getting stories that take place in the past, stories about Mistress Nora before she was Mistress Nora. The frame story of The White Years books continues the timeline into the future, but each book’s main purpose is to tell a story about the past. Mistress Nora the dominatrix wears red as her signature color. As a submissive she wore white and a white collar. That’s the difference.
Did you have the main plot all planned from the very beginning, or it just kept taking shape book after book?
Both. I had a general outline in my head of what I wanted to do with the series but when I sat down to write each book, that outline changed. But the basics have always stayed the same—Nora the dominatrix has wild adventures with weird and wonderful men and lives happily and naughtily ever after.
What part of which instalment has been the most hard to write so far?
The most recent book, The Virgin, was the hardest to write because I had no idea how to write it. I was at a loss. I knew what I wanted to do but it just wasn’t working. I finally gave up, took a few days off, went for long walks and bike rides and then BAM! I was hit with inspiration. Everything fell into place and I could finally write the book I wanted to write. Basically I had to give myself permission to jump ahead in time a couple of years to write the stuff I wanted to write as opposed to what my readers probably expected me to write. And it worked out for everyone. Readers will get a huge surprise when they start The Virgin and I got to write something I’d been dreaming of for a long time. Castles, kilts, and kink! I can’t wait for y’all to read it!
And the most pleasurable?
Writing The Mistress Files which is a series of five novellas about Mistress Nora and her clients was maybe the most fun I had writing in the Original Sinners universe. Nora is at her absolute best when she’s working as a Dominatrix, helping people with their problems, teaching them to be comfortable with their sexuality. She’s a bit of a sex guru and when she comes into your life, you always walk away a better, happier, and hornier person.
As much as I loved each and every book in the series, “The Prince” still remains my absolute favourite. Do you have a personal one?
The Prince is still my favourite too. The scenes in the past between teenage Kingsley and Søren were painfully erotic. I just let my dark imagination fly with those too. No limits, no rules. And they’re so beautiful together. I could have written an entire 500 page book about their high school affair. It wouldn’t have had much plot but God, it would have been fun.
Every single character plays an important part and leaves a mark in your books. Nevertheless, from those ‘minor’ ones, who would you say you’re particularly attached to?
Sheridan, most definitely. I love Mistress Nora’s little blonde actress submissive. She’s my dream girl.
I have to say, I can’t look at Rachel Weisz without picturing Nora and, as I told you once on twitter, I also can’t look at Nikolaj Coster-Waldau without thinking of Søren. That means my mind sort of tricks me with images of Søren in Game of Thrones. (Twisted enough?) How pleased are you, knowing your characters and visions have such a big impact/power over a reader?
It’s hilarious. I have so many people tell me they can’t sit through Mass anymore without having naughty thoughts about priests. Oops. Well, what can I say? I’m a sadist like Søren and nothing pleases me more than messing with minds.
How would you describe the relationship with your readers?
I have a very open fun relationship with readers. I like to play Domme to their sub. Recently I tweeted “Please lick my Facebook page. Don’t LIKE it, lick it. Email me pics.” They thought I was joking but one reader did email me a picture of herself licking my Facebook page. I surprised her with a signed copy of a book as a reward for her obedience. Inside I wrote “Good girls get rewarded for following orders.”
What are you working on at the moment?
Nothing! And it’s wonderful! I’m taking a whole entire week off writing to clean up my inbox before I start writing a new book. The next book I’m writing isn’t in the Original Sinners series. It’s a sexy southern romance (southern meaning American southern, specifically Kentucky) with a marriage of convenience plot. I’ve wanted to write a marriage of convenience book set in contemporary time for a while now. There’s no kink in it, but I promise it’ll be dark and twisty. Wish me luck!
Good luck and thanks again for your time, Tiffany. I wish you, your superb The Original Sinners series and any other one you plan to write in the future all the very best!
Thank you for having me on the blog! I really appreciate it. Happy sinning!
Tiffany Reisz is the author of the highly acclaimed series The Original Sinners. Her first novel, THE SIREN, won the RT Editor’s Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance of 2012. Slightly shameless, Tiffany dropped out of a conservative Southern seminary in order to pursue a career as a writer. This move, while possibly putting her eternal salvation in peril, has worked out better than she anticipated. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend, author Andrew Shaffer.
To enter the UK contest, just follow the blog, leave a comment below and add your email address at the end. I’ll randomly draft the winner and contact them directly via email next week.
Good luck, sinners!! 😉