Remember how I said I don’t squee??! Well there’s a first time for everything apparently We have C.J Roberts here!!! Squeee!! 🙂 If you’ve followed my blog then you know she’s one of my favorites. The Dark Duet has featured in my ‘Best of 2012 list’ and my ‘Favorite Erotica list‘. I seriously thought about these books for weeks afterwards, dark, twisted and brilliant! She’ll also be giving away two copies of Captive in the Dark (The Dark Duet Book #1). So let’s get on with it!
Jessy: So so excited to have you at Jessy’s Book Club! Welcome, and please tell us a bit about yourself.
C.J.: If I must! Let’s see, I’m a self-deprecating narcissist, which means people tell me I’m awesome and I tell them they are full of shit and when they tell me I’m shitty I tell them I’m fucking awesome and they better recognize. I have an obsession with M/M fiction, especially if it’s paranormal. I will never walk away from a karaoke machine. I can make any conversation about sex and it isn’t always appropriate. I ride a Harley, have tattoos, and am STILL shy when people compliment me.
Jessy: Ha! 4 things in common 😉 What compelled you to write a dark read and a Taboo topic at that?
C.J.: The Dark Duet was written through pure inspiration. It crawled into my brain and wouldn’t leave. Honestly, sometimes I don’t feel right taking credit for this story because I feel like it just came through me and all I did was type it out. I don’t know if I’ll ever write anything this good again, but I’m going to try like hell. That said, I can’t speak to the subject matter too much. It is what it is. I’m just glad so many people were willing to come on this ride with me.
Jessy: What stigma/backlash (if any) did you face after the books came out?
C.J.: Well, the majority of reviews are positive so I don’t worry overmuch about the negative ones. The biggest backlash I’ve gotten is from people who say I’m romanticizing human trafficking, or that I am romanticizing rape. Honestly, I think that’s bullshit. While I understand the hesitation and trepidation in ‘enjoying’ the work, I’d like to think my work can be compared to other controversial works such as, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. The work is written from the view point of the abuser and therefore entices the reader to sympathize.
I did not set out to ‘romanticize’ the slave trade; I do not paint it in a flattering light. Instead, I present my readers with characters. What my readers ultimately come to feel for those characters is up to them.
Some discover things about themselves they didn’t know were there, things they don’t wish to see, and others embrace it whole-heartedly.
I think people would be surprised by how many messages I receive from people who have suffered abuse, thanking me for writing this type of work. For some, it helps them explore deep-seeded fantasies they are too scared to admit to and explore. The sexual fantasies of former abuse victims are not always understood by mainstream society.
Additionally, I think some would also be surprised by how many readers HAD NO IDEA the sexual slave trade exists. It’s a different journey for everyone, in much the same way it was a journey for me just to write these two novels.
That said, I love the fact my books inspire so much dialogue and debate.
Jessy: Did you study any real cases of Stockholm Syndrome?
C.J.: I did a lot of research while writing these two books and I’ve been told by some of my readers who happen to be psychologists that I did a good job in portraying the transition from captive to sympathizer. Although, whether or not Livvie suffers from Stockholm Syndrome is something I let the readers decide for themselves. My personal opinion is that it doesn’t matter one way or the other. She wants to be with Caleb and he wants to be with her.
Jessy: Let’s talk one of my favorite fictional men. Caleb was brutal at times. Were you surprised by how much readers took to him?
C.J.: Yes and no. I think of Caleb as though he is a real person. I love the son of a bitch and I don’t always know why. I figure if I love him so much, it’s only natural for others to love him too. I think most of us are willing to take the bitter if the sweet is sweet enough. No one proves that more than Caleb. Goodness, the things we forgave him!!
Some hate him though and I think that’s okay too. I don’t think he gives a crap. The very nature of who he is predicated on the fact he does what he feels he needs to do in order to survive the world that surrounds him.
Jessy: You met Charlie Hunnam (jealous!) and gave him copies of the Dark Duet. Do you know if he’s read them?
C.J.: I don’t know if he ever read them. 😦 It was great meeting him though. He’s a real sweetie.
Jessy: I can’t picture anyone other than Charlie Hunnam for the role of Caleb!
I feel like your writing style significantly changed in Book #2. Was this a conscious decision and if so, why?
C.J.: Absolutely! Captive in the Dark took me something like eight years to write – ridiculous! I sort of cut my teeth on that book and because of it I desperately wanted to reach for the sky when writing the sequel. The fans were so supportive and with me every step of the way and I didn’t want to let them down, but I had changed since I started Captive in the Dark. The story needed to change too. My writing is part of my evolution and as I write more I think my readers can expect my writing to evolve as well. I hope for the better!
Jessy: A friend recently asked me why all authors are writing trilogies, so I’ll ask, why a duet and not a trilogy?
C.J.: LOL! This question would have been easy to answer if it weren’t for the fact I am currently in the process of writing Epilogue: The Dark Duet. Honestly, for as much as The Dark Duet was supposed to be erotica, I felt the story was the driving force behind my readership. I’m not a big fan of epilogues because they’re foregone conclusions. The story is over and the extra little bit is often contrived. However, as a writer I am also a slave to my fan base. They want more! They love Caleb and Livvie as much (or maybe more) than I do and they just aren’t ready to let them go quite yet. So I’m writing and writing and writing, and finding that I love being with these characters. I love spending time with them and seeing what they are up to, even if no one dies and there are no explosions.
Jessy: I’ve read the excerpts of Epilogue and damn! I can’t wait to get into Caleb’s head! Which of course leads us to my next favorite male character; Agent Reed. I can’t tell you how much I’m anticipating his book! We all know he’s a sub (love that!) so it will be a BDSM book, but do you plan on incorporating any taboo topics to make it a dark read?
C.J.: Oh God, I’m almost afraid of what’s going to happen with Reed. Honestly, for as fun and carefree as I can be, I pay the toll by being equally a nervous, easily agitated, and gloomy person. My fears take me places most people don’t think to go and in a very real way writing about it makes it less frightening. When I write about pain, I let my pain go. So to answer your question…yes, expect some messed up stuff. However, I can say it probably won’t be as bad as The Dark Duet. I’d really like to get published someday. If only to say I climbed that mountain. My ego demands it of me.
Jessy: I’m so excited for it all! Thank you so much for joining us and enjoy the Boston Author Event!
C.J.: Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog. I say it a lot, but I really wouldn’t be anywhere without my readers. Some days they are the difference between my joy and wallowing in uncontrollable and irrational self-pity. My deepest gratitude goes out to all of you. CJ
Two e-copies of Captive in the Dark (The Dark Duet Book #1) are up for grabs!
The giveaway is open internationally. All you have to do is leave a comment below letting me know what your favorite Erotica/Dark Erotica books are. While you’re at it, head over to Jessy’s Book Club on Facebook and like the page
Giveaway closes on Wednesday 13 March 2013 at 18:00 EST.