Saturday, 31 October 2015

AUTHOR Q & A: Arla Dahl

“The Governor is one hell of a Dom." – award-winning author, Bianca D’Arc 

“I defy you not to squirm and moan right along with Abigail as you read The Mark. Rejoice, erotic-fiction fans. Arla Dahl has arrived!” –best-selling author, Pam McKenna 

“The Mark, a beautifully written and captivating novella, kept me on the edge of my seat and completely spellbound.” –Smart Mouth Smut

In 1600’s New England, it was decreed thus: Whoever lies with the beast will bear a mark that is insensible and in their most secret parts, and may be located only through diligent and careful search.

Accused of witchcraft, Abigail Prescott must strip for the masses and submit to the Governor’s inspection. She is ill-prepared for this shameful, grueling probe as it permits him to see and test her every inch and every hollow.

Governor Jameson Foster has examined many before, but Abigail enchants him like no other. Before he succumbs to her sweet charms, he must uncover the dark truth of this bewitching.

Should she feel his prodding and respond to his touch, her innocence will be proven. And this night he will claim her. Should she resist, fail to cry out in pain or in pleasure, then all will know she is a witch who bears The Mark.  

From the Author
THE MARK, Book 1 in the Immoral Virtue Trilogy is a highly erotic, non-romantic, tale of sexual awakening and abandon, of the duty to submit vs. the desire to resist. Due to its explicit sexual nature, with elements of BDSM and dubious consent, THE MARK is intended for audiences 18 and over. 

What inspired you to start writing?
I didn’t know how else to deal with the voices in my head. Seriously. They never stop. I have to either write what they say or talk to them and, well, people look at you funny when you do that.

No, in truth, it’s the way my mind turns every day moments into little stories. Every landscape, conversation, billboard, commercial, quirk of a stranger – or of a loved one – morphs into its own idea for a story. Before I know it, there are interesting characters populating this blossoming idea… and I want to know more… and, so, I write it. I have to.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
First, I would say, study craft. Take workshops – online or in person – and keep studying it. Never stop. When we first start, we’re so excited to write, the words flow onto the page. Unfortunately, most of those first stories never reach publication because the author was as-yet unfamiliar with craft. It’s very difficult to rewrite a beloved story the “right” way, so those stories often wind up in a box, on a shelf or under the bed.

I’d also say surround yourself with like-minded people who won’t let you quit when you swear that’s what you should do, and who will be honest with you about your work, telling you what works for them and what doesn’t, and if possible, why. They should be people who understand the process – realize that everyone has their own process – and not insist ‘their’ way is the ‘right’ way to craft or write or publish a story. Those are the people who not only understand the incredible highs of this business, and some of the muse-paralyzing lows, but who will also be there to cheer you on or lift you up. That’s vital because as exciting as writing can be, it can also be, and often is, a very lonely business. 

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Though the newest release – The Watchman (Immoral Virtue, #3) – is not available yet, it will be soon. The blurb tells about the watchman himself and how he must prove his innocence, but it does not tell of another accused witch who must prove her innocence. Mercy Paine. She is one of the women who had been examined for the devil’s mark in The Accused (Immoral Virtue, #2). Her examination didn’t go well in that book – it was too subtle for her, too gentle. Since it’s said that only a witch cannot feel, and since Mercy did not feel pleasure during her examination, she’s been bound in the governor’s secret chamber since, awaiting further testing. For her, pain and pleasure are one. Extremes for others are mere caresses for her. In The Watchman, Governor Foster must use a stronger hand – “a hand tame and torturous” as Mercy says – to prove her innocence. He is not afraid to do just that. Nor is Mercy afraid to accept it. There is an interview with Mercy on my blog that’s quite telling – Character Interview – Mercy Paine.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
Ghost hunting… or more politely, Paranormal Investigating. It wasn’t my first time investigating, but I visited Salem, Massachusetts for a little hands-on research and brought my equipment along. I felt a little uncomfortable because I wasn’t just researching the period to document it but to write rather explicit erotica. So… I wanted to be careful, you know? Insulting lingering spirits was not my intent.

Another weird thing I did… well, it felt weird, at least… was chat with my local librarian about different tools and materials that could be used during the period as, well, fetish items or sex toys…

I will admit, it was an enlightening conversation.

What is your favorite flavor of jellybean?
My favorite flavor of jellybean is the same as my favorite flavor of sex. All of them. From vanilla to spicy cinnamon and beyond. A taste of the same one all the time gets boring. For fun, you have to try all of them at least once – some more than once. After a little open-minded sampling, I’m guessing there would be not one but several favorite flavors.

Tell me 10 things that I'd see when I walk in your door?
My six adopted shelter cats, a computer, a coffee pot and two steaming cups of coffee – one cup for you and one for me… unless I finish mine first, then your cup is mine as well. 

When was the last time you were nervous?
I’m nervous every time I sit to write. I’m nervous that I might not hear my characters, or that they won’t cooperate… or that my choice of words will fall flat. And then I remember a first draft isn’t supposed to read like a polished work, it’s allowed to suck. And it usually does. 

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?
There are so many people from history I’d love to meet… from Abraham Lincoln to Freddie Mercury. Cleopatra. Amelia Earhart. Nostradamus. Chief Seattle. So many…

But… since I’m now immersed in the history of the Salem witch hysteria…. I suppose I would want to spend a day with Abigail Williams, one of the girls whose antics started the whole thing. I’d want to know why she and her friends did it. Was it a game to them? Did they actually see and feel these things as they said… if so, why? Does she think they ate something that caused them to hallucinate? Did they cast spells with Tituba and wind up feeling guilty and frightened…their imaginations got away from them? Plain and simple, I’d want to know the true reason behind the hysteria and whether she felt remorse over her role in it.

As for what I’d like to do with her that day… I’d have her show me where she spent her life after leaving Salem Village, since after the hysteria ended, so did all historical traces of her.

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
Oh, this is an easy one…
“Will not function properly without a steady supply of dark roast.”

You are walking to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss told you if you are late one more time you're fired. Do you save the dog?
Interestingly, I don’t have to answer this as supposition since a version of it actually happened to me. It wasn’t about being late to work, however, but about leaving early.

I had been watering some plants in the outdoor gardens of the photography studio where I worked. The tiniest ball of white fur was on the far end of the deck, and it caught my eye. I thought it was a small rabbit. I kept my distance, and continued watering the plants, hoping not to frighten the little thing. Little by little, I inched toward it… but it didn’t move. A rabbit would take off… wouldn’t it? It wouldn’t sit there, unmoving, with me futzing around so close to it.

As I got yet closer, I saw it wasn’t a rabbit but the smallest kitten I had ever seen. It was just sitting there looking so fragile. I picked it up and it didn’t respond. I knew it was alive because the tiny eyes – though nearly swollen shut and filled with goop – were open and its little body was warm. I took the tiny thing into the office, found a sturdy, small box for her and told my boss I had to get her to the vet. I was afraid her mother left her there, knowing she was very sick.

My boss was not happy, even after I showed him that fragile baby in the box. He warned me not to leave. I’m fairly certain I scoffed at that and there might have been a few words spoken that a baby as young as the one I held shouldn’t hear. I will never regret that decision because the vet said she wouldn’t have survived the night without medical attention. I kept her, loved her for all 13 years of her life, and if I ever saw another animal in distress, ultimatums be damned. I would save it.

By the way, I didn’t lose my job. In fact, I asked for and received an advance so I could cover the vet bill. You never know.

About Arla

Arla Dahl is a lover and avid reader of all things sexy and suspenseful. She gets her inspiration from daily headlines and is often surprised by how today’s issues mirror those from the distant past. When Arla’s muse goes stealth, she spends her time trying recipes from exotic locales, with rich flavors and provocative scents that tempt and tease and satisfy.

A New Yorker, born and bred, Arla is forever fascinated by the varied cultures of her city. Beyond the rich diversity, the close and heady feel of a moody late night jazz club is her favorite part of living in New York.

In her current work, the Immoral Virtue trilogy, which is set during the witch hysteria of the 17th Century, Arla twists an already twisted history into a daring erotic work of passion and pleasure.

Find Arla on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, Google+, her blog: NOTES FROM ARLA and her website: