Writing your life
They say that almost every first novel is autobiographical, to some extent. I don’t doubt that it’s true. The purpose of literature, after all, is to reflect on life and expand our horizons by peeking into someone else’s experiences, even if they’re fictional. We all color our reading and our writing with our own viewpoints and attitudes.
So what happens when your lifestyle is unconventional? Writing about sex and relationships can be unsettlingly intimate (“Have you really done that??”) to begin with, but when you sit down to write about an unusual relationship dynamic or a controversial way of life, it adds whole new levels of complexity.
First, you must decide how anonymous you want your writing to be. In my case, I am polyamorous (if you’re not familiar with the term, it means having more than one romantic relationship) and I live in a power exchange lifestyle (often referred to as kinky, leather or BDSM, although those are much broader categories). When I set out to describe my lifestyle in a novel, I wanted it to be educational. I wanted to show people that fundamentalist Mormons are not the only ones who believe it’s possible to be in open, honest, responsible sexual relationships with more than one person. I also wanted to increase awareness of power exchange and show that it is not abuse or the sign of a weak mind or low self-esteem (of course, as with any relationship, there are abusive and exploitative cases as well). So I needed to be open and honest about my own lifestyle in order to show that I did know what I was writing about.
The problem is that I have a full-time, vanilla day job and a boss who is extremely disapproving of my choices. I have also chosen not to tell my mother or siblings about my writing career. This causes a little stress and creates the need to keep my two identities very separate. And then there is the fact that there are people who know me personally who are reading my book and seeing my emotional and sexual “confessions.” That is not as unsettling as I expected it to be, but there is a certain amount of vulnerability that you feel when someone picks up your book and begins leafing through it. Not to mention when they post reviews online!
So far I haven’t had much backlash or nasty criticism, although I know realistically there are many people who will not like my writing or my beliefs. But most people are inherently nice and try to be positive. I appreciate the supportive comments I have received and the openmindedness with which the book has been received so far. I’ve made a choice about being as public as I can with my lifestyle and it’s bound to be an interesting path!
About the author: (Taken from Goodreads)
Kasi Alexander's debut novel, Becoming sage, is the first installment in The Keyhole Series. An active member of the BDSM community, Kasi brings a true-to-life realism to her writing. This is not traditional erotica, but the series offers an intimate look into the lives of the men and women who live the BDSM lifestyle, in particular, the Master/slave dynamic.
Blurb taken from Goodreads:
With a failed marriage behind her, Jill Marten was looking to start a new chapter in her life. She had no idea that running into her old friend, Jessie, would unlock a whole new world. When she accepts Jessie's invitation to a party, in order to "try something completely different," it awakens a need to discover her place in a new community. Jessie, also known as sunni, is a submissive slave who is in a loving relationship with her Master, Sir Rune. When Rune and sunni ask Jill to be a part of their family, Jill begins her journey into submission, bondage, and polyamory, even as she questions everything that she has been taught about love and relationships. She begins to face her own desires and fears as she struggles with feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and self-worth. Once she opens the door to a life she never imagined, a peek through the keyhole is no longer enough, and she must learn what it means to become sage.
You can find Becoming Sage at the following places: