The Siren, book 1 in The Original Sinners series has just been released here in Australia. If you’re not sure what it’s all about, here’s the synopsis (from Goodreads):
Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she’s sure it’ll be her breakout book…if it ever sees the light of day.
Zachary Easton holds Nora’s fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it’s no deal.
Nora’s grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him…or returning to his bed?
Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple
Thanks to the wonderful people at Harlequin AUS and Morey Media, not only was I given the opportunity to pose a few questions to the lovely lady behind the sexy novel, but also I have a copy of The Siren for one very lucky Australian reader to win! Firstly, on with the interview!
1). Firstly Tiffany welcome to the blog and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! As I discovered today, it’s recently been announced that The Original Sinners is no longer a trilogy but a quartet with a fourth book being added. Congratulations! Can you elaborate a bit on how that came about?
Thanks for having me! I mean, for having me on the blog. You can have me have me but we should probably wait until I actually come to (and in) Australia.
Yes! My publisher has had a sudden bout of temporary insanity and swooped up four more books by me. So last week I was able to announce book four and book five in the series. Book four – tentatively titled THE MISTRESS – is the conclusion to this plot arc that involves our Mistress Nora trying to choose between the two men who want to own her heart. I’d always intended to write four books in this plot arc so I took a leap of faith that Harlequin would share my vision. Plus I left a nasty vicious cliffhanger at the end of THE PRINCE (book three) so they had to buy book four if they wanted to know how it ends! As for books five and on, those will be prequels. Readers are fascinated by Nora and her past especially her relationship with Søren. Book five – THE PRIEST – will explore how they met, fell in love, and made the Underground their personal dark playground. (Sidenote – waiting for The Priest is going to be torture).
2). The Siren was such an unexpected surprise – I picked it up expecting it to be just about Zach and Nora but ended up getting so much more when I read it. The depths to the characters were amazing and Nora in particular is a lovely contradictory mix of strength, sexiness and confidence but also vulnerability. Despite the fact that we have almost nothing in common, I found it incredibly easy to relate to her. What is it about Nora do you think leads people to identify with her, even though they are not part of the BDSM lifestyle?
Most people I know are beautiful contradictory messes, myself included. A lot of writers fear creating characters this messy lest they alienate readers by showing a person with failings, fears, and sins. I know women too well to write a female character who is anything but three-dimensional. She loves sex and isn’t ashamed of that. She adores men and isn’t afraid to tell them that. She’s fearless— she had to be falling in love with the kind of man she did at such a young age. Most real people aren’t heroic 100% of the time like a lot of fictional characters are. If we’re lucky, we get to be heroic about once in our life. Why do I have to write people who are angelic all the time? Nora drinks too much, parties too hard, seduces any one who catches her eye. She makes no apologies for herself because she knows she’s not doing anything wrong. I’m not entirely sure my readers see themselves in her but I guarantee the majority of my readers wish they did.
3). Another thing I enjoyed about the book was that it was so informative but without dragging or slowing the plot or becoming like a lecture. I learned a lot about both BDSM situations/clubs etc and also the literary editing process, which was very interesting. Was it difficult to weave so much information into the narrative and keep the story flowing?
There’s nothing particularly exciting about editing a book. Trust me, I’ve done it many times. What IS exciting is sparring with someone as you both work to make a dream come true. The heart of the book is Nora’s desire to be the real deal and the way she gets Zach on her side (in rather unconventional ways). Anyone who says THE SIREN doesn’t have a happy ending obviously has never had to write a book on a tight deadline. As for the information in the book, it was easy to incorporate it into dialogue. Zach is teaching Nora how to be a better writer so he would naturally give her tips and instruction through their conversations and email exchanges. Zach is new to Nora’s BDSM world so she has to teach him as much as he has to teach her. Basically each of them gets to play tour guide to two very different worlds.
4). I have to say that I do have quite a soft spot for Zach. I adored his humour and the way in which he had his own pain to deal with. Will he be making an appearance in any of the later books in the series or is his story done?
Absolutely! He has a small part in book two (THE ANGEL) and a big part in book four (THE MISTRESS). And I’d love to write a novella about Zach going on a book tour with Nora. I’ve written two short stories with Zach that take place before THE SIREN and you can find those on my website. He was inspired by my crazy crush on actor Jason Isaacs. I watched interviews with Jason and based Zach’s dry humour and his background (British, Jewish, from Liverpool) on him. I hope Jason takes it as a compliment.
No character really ever leaves my world. I’m a true believer that finding your true love is only the beginning of the adventure, not the end.
5). The Siren is rife with contentious relationships and connections, including the reason Nora left her Dom and the ‘gift’ he gives her for their anniversary which are bound to raise a few eyebrows! Do you secretly rub your hands in glee when you write these devastating reveals and scenes bound to have people clamouring to ban your books? How has the reaction been to certain parts, haveyou experienced much backlash?
Here’s the thing. I’ve been reading Anne Rice novels since I was a kid. It’s nearly impossible to shock someone who read Belinda and The Sleeping Beauty Chronicles at age 14-16. Nothing I do in my books is new. It’s all been done before. My playful tagline for The Original Sinners series is “This ain’t your momma’s Thorn Birds.” So I’m shocked when readers are shocked because nothing shocks me (expect their shock – I’m writing in circles here – sorry). The reaction to THE SIREN and the sequel THE ANGEL has been so overwhelmingly positive it’s brought me to tears sometimes. I’ve had readers publicly and privately thank me for being “daring” and writing something “so different.” The scene with Nora and her anniversary gift shows up a lot in emails I get from readers who want to secretly tell me it was their favourite scene. And that scene is a direct homage to Anne Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty except in my world, the sleeping beauty is a poor virgin boy instead of a young virgin princess. By the way, Michael (the gift in THE SIREN) is a main character in the sequel THE ANGEL.
The two reactions that upset me are people who, even after reading the book, refuse to accept that S&M between consenting adults (or teenagers) is okay. These are probably the same people who cheer for their favourite sports teams without even stopping to think about the severe (sometimes fatal) injuries these athletes are inflicting upon themselves through rough play. The other reaction that upsets me is when people think I gave Søren the profession I gave him purely for shock value. I’m a Christian and a Catholic. I went to seminary for dual-Master’s Degrees in Theology and Biblical Studies. Every single character in this book has a deep religious symbolic purpose and meaning. And if anyone thinks The Original Sinners series is breaking ground with its mix of violence, pain, bad girls, sex, and religion? Well, obviously they’ve never read The Old Testament.
For every reader who doesn’t get it, I have twenty readers who do and those readers send me the most glorious thank you notes who say this book helped them, enlightened them, challenged them… one very well-known book reviewer told that as a kinky woman trapped in a vanilla marriage with abuse in her past, THE SIREN was the book she’d been waiting for. I didn’t know it at the time, but I
was writing the book for her.
Thank you again so much Tiffany – your responses were generous and amazing! I absolutely loved The Siren (you can read my review here) and I’m waiting anxiously for the next installments of the series. Learning that there are going to be more books than I had originally anticipated is exciting – sorry Tiffany but I think I’m going to be bugging you an awful lot about The Priest and when it will be done!
Now, I have a copy of The Siren to give away to one Aussie reader who has had their curiosity piqued and wants to know more about this book. To enter, simply fill in the form with your name, email and postcode. I’ll contact the winner for their address after the giveaway is over. Sorry to the international readers but as this is being fulfilled by the publisher, it has to be Australian only.
Fill in the form here -