I happen to have an interest in insane asylums. Don’t ask me why; I just do. They seem to hold a creepy sense of allure, and let’s face it, we all feel pulled into the history and stories of what happened in these places, even though we’re painfully aware of the horrors and brutality that went on. But what amazes me most, is the history of these supposed sanctuaries, was the treatment of women during the times before they had rights.
Though the asylum was supposed to serve as a safe haven for the mentally ill or for those who broke down from the stresses of life, many chose to use the asylum as a drop-off for unwanted family members. Women were especially hit hard in this arena. If a spouse, father, brother, or any male with power, wanted rid himself of a female relation for any reason, they simply could get a witness and declare the lady insane. Sometimes the local sheriff came to the house and “arrested” her, while other women were dropped off and abandoned. Any woman who asserted her independence, defied her spouse, or explored her sexuality ran the risk of being hauled off, never to see their family or friends again.
Life in the asylum was no holiday, with the poor soul being constantly surrounded by noise, filth, served spoiled food at mealtimes, and abused by sadistic staff. So why on earth would I want to write an erotica novel with an asylum as the setting? BECAUSE I WANTED TO SHOWCASE A STARK CONTRAST. I wanted to take a theme (woman gets dumped off at local asylum) and present to the reader a whole new world where the happenings and the people were completely different. Writing allows an author to present to the reader “what could be.” I wanted to do this in my novel, Pleasure House.
I wanted to turn what was normally a horrid place into a safe and beautiful place where the characters were treated well and learned something in the process, though anyone who reads this novel will agree that The House’s teaching methods are rather strange, to say the least!
Because the setting is an asylum, I also wanted to focus on some of the more kinky aspects of BDSM, those activities where novices fear to tread, and where the brave and seasoned reign triumphant when it comes to bodily bliss.
Because some of the activities I chose to represent require training and mindfulness when it comes to safety and infection control, the hospital setting of the asylum makes the characters and their goings-on even more apropos.
I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of compare/contrast during the writing of this book, and I wanted to create an erotica novel that’s a little different from what’ s out there now. I’m not trying to dishonor those who were in asylums. I just simply wanted to take an opportunity to explore this world with a sordid past and see what I could create if I presented it with a slightly different–naughty–twist!