#MTW Interview with Dawn Barclay writing as D.M Barr

Interview conducted by; TBBManiac Sian

As part of Mystery Thriller Week (#MTW_2017) – The Blithering Bibliomaniacs were proud to be able to host a wide variety of interviews with several authors. We hope you enjoy the following interview:

Image courtesy of author’s Goodreads profile

As an official TBBReviewer; I wanted to know more about you before delving into our interview so I took a look at your book on Goodreads and was really fascinating to read the note that stated “This book is being marketed as a psychological thriller with satiric, romantic and erotic (BDSM) elements. It is in no way erotica. There is no “on page” sex because it is meant to reflect the view of those involved in the S&M community that what’s most fulfilling is what happens between the ears, not the legs. Please keep that in mind when reading and reviewing.

Can you tell me more about what it means when it says what’s most fulfilling is what happens between the ears?  

This is going to vary from person to person but from what I’ve understood from those I interviewed, S&M is about fantasy fulfillment. If you have a fantasy about someone saying ominous things to you, for example, and they create a scene for you where they do that, it can be more fulfilling than sexual intercourse. The creativity and diversity of the “scenes” creates unique experiences for the players involved.

It clearly states that the book is no way erotica. How did you juggle writing scenes about the S&M community and BDSM without the book naturally migrating into the Erotic genre?

I have been told that my book is unique in being erotic without graphic. I have very creative and provocative foreplay but I leave the actual sex to the reader to formulate in his or her own head.
Part of how I did it was to make the character’s sexual proclivities just one of her character traits, not the entire focus of the book. Dana turns to S&M for both validation and to work out the demons from her past (read it to understand!) but she also enjoys it. That is not to say that validation, trauma, etc. are the reasons that people choose to play in sadomasochistic ways; those reasons are infinite. But those are the reasons behind my character’s choices. There is a lot of psychology woven into the plot.

Your main character is certainly enticing in that it seems, from the blurb, that she lives a double life – this always makes for a great mystery book and I’m wondering how much research went into creating a character with this specific kind of kink while trying to maintain an otherwise “normal” perception within society?

I researched “the scene” for quite a while before putting pen to paper. I have friends in the scene who brought me to parties and clubs. I went on chat lines and saw what people discussed. And I can tell you that people in the “scene” are as normal and diverse as people anywhere else. They are in every corner of society and live regular lives.  I went to great lengths to try to reflect this in ‘Expired Listings’ and ironically, and for my own personal amusement as a satirist, I made the Realtors in the book more ‘perverted’ than the kinksters. I think some readers don’t know what to make of a book where the S&M isn’t the main plot line. The fact that it’s a normal part of this character’s life certainly outraged some reviewers.

On your Authors profile on Goodreads you mention that you are in no way one of your characters. In relation to this statement; how hard was it to create a character who did share a career with you but not a personality? Were the characters perhaps based on other people you knew / know in real life?

This was the fun of writing the book, to take an idea and write it way over the top. What if, what if, what if? Very few of the events and people in the book are from real life, the ones that are real are glossed over to make way for outrageous marketing ploys and backstabbing. I was a little nervous that my fellow Realtors would come after me with torches and pitchforks after finishing the novel but that hasn’t happened yet. Most seem to get the joke.

I did mention to some former clients who bought the book, “Don’t worry, I never did this in your house!” and one said, “Too bad. It might have been more interesting if you had!”

Following from that; “sex, suspense and satire” is what you like to write yet you do not consider your book as part of the erotic genre because it hasn’t really got “on the page” sex scenes. Do you find that the erotic genre is far too broad and that too many books where the main focus is not erotica fall under that genre regardless?

Answer: I can’t really answer that because I don’t really read erotica. I have written and published some erotic romance (with on page sex) under another pseudonym but I tend to read other genres instead.

You seem to have had a very busy life; at what point did you decide that you wanted to take up writing and how did you manage to fit it into your life on top of everything?

I’ve always been a writer (magazine writing, corporate communications, poetry, song lyrics) or wanted to be one, I just didn’t know I could write fiction. I took some stabs at it over the years but it wasn’t until I received some real encouragement from a NY Times bestselling author that I really put my mind to finishing it and getting it published.

Regarding fitting it all in: At a launch party/reading in NYC, my husband laughingly asked the same thing, knowing that it had been years since I had vacuumed, dusted or cooked. On Facebook, I describe my life as: Selling houses, writing books, spoiling doggies, never cooks. You have to learn to prioritize.

As a suspense / mystery writer do you find it easier to write standalone novels or are you looking at developing a series of suspense books? 

I am actually thinking of turning Expired Listings into Book One of the Rock Canyon Chronicles. I have the sequel sketched out in my mind.

Writing about such a taboo topic as BDSM; how did your family react when your book was published? Did any members read it and offer any criticism? 

Well, after my husband untied me…lol, just kidding. My kids won’t read it (they don’t like reading, where did I go wrong?) but I would never have published it while they were still in school because I didn’t want them to experience any fallout if there was any (there hasn’t been, so far, but maybe people are just avoiding me!) My husband isn’t much of a reader either but he finally did read “Expired Listings” and loved it, recommends it to everyone. He didn’t run out and buy me a whip and stilettos any more than he started hiding the knives, afraid I was going to off him. He understands IT’S FICTION!

I will say that early on in the book, I was in a class/critique group with about 7 woman and one man. The man told me I was a very brave woman. But the truth is, this book would have been far more scandalous in the 80’s, long before Fifty Shades came out. Whether you like her work or not, EL James made it acceptable for women to admit they were writing about BDSM.

How has your MTW experience been as a writer?

MTW has been an amazing experience! I have never been in such an active group of writers. I hope this continues and together we create something more: in-person mystery fan events, maybe sponsor some writing contests. There is a tremendous amount of talent in the group and I am so happy to be a part of it!

We would just like to take a moment to thank Dawn Barclay for taking the time to answer the questions to our interviews and we wish her the absolute best in her writing.


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