Friday, August 26, 2016

Inside the Mind of Lance Llyn

Lily: Thank you for agreeing to this interview Lance, we really appreciate it!  I greatly enjoyed The Home for Wayward Girls: Book One: Beginnings.  It really hit a nerve for me in a good way, and I’ve been dying to pick the brain behind this masterpiece.  The one thing I really want to know, first and foremost, is what inspired you to put pen to paper and write this?
Lance: Thank you for having me Lily; this is a pleasure.  The story of The Home for Wayward Girls is…the story of The Home for Wayward Girls.  The idea originated in a true experience very similar to the one described in the book.  After this experience, I became somewhat enamored with the idea of providing a facility where submissives, individuals who should be strong, strong-willed, confident, holding themselves in high esteem and regard but have had these traits stripped away for or through whatever means, could regain themselves.  I thought about what such a place would look like, physically.  I thought about a location that would be relaxing.  I thought about how many guests such a facility could reasonably entertain at a single time.  I thought of what kind of staff a facility such as this would need, the services the submissives would require, the guidance, the help, and to provide them an environment in which to do this for an unknown duration.  I designed the home, rooms for the girls, the grounds, the kitchens, play dungeons, gym, gardens, in my head over and over again.  This was something I thought about several times a week for several hours at a time.  I discussed it with friends in the lifestyle, picking their brains about what I may have missed.  In truth, it was a lofty and sadly idealistic dream, something that would be absurdly expensive to make and maintain, something that could only be done by a person blessed with essentially unlimited means – a labor of love.  So, Lance’s dream in the story was Lance the author’s dream in reality.  One day I was telling this dream to a friend and she asked if I did not have the means to build the home as I truly envisioned it, why not write about it.  That was something I could do. 
Lily: We definitely love the idea. It’s a beautiful dream. Your book seems to step between autobiographical and fiction.  How do you establish the lines between yourself and the character?  What would you say the biggest differences are?

Lance: Well, you write what you know.  I started writing the story at a very difficult time in my life when I was under tremendous stress, some external, some self-imposed.  It was also a time where many things in my life were in transition.  It was a time when I had to take a truly serious and sincere look at myself, put aside the bullshit and lies and excuses so that I could grow, and through that growth learn who I truly was.  It was a time when I took the final steps to face down psychological and emotional demons hounded me for far too long.  In identifying them and facing them, it allowed me to become a better watchdog against these demons.  Writing about Lance in the story, I wrote about the man I wanted so badly to be.  There were pieces of him in me but the strength was absent because of these other factors.  So writing became a form of therapy.  I became to admire Lance more and as I admired him more, I aspired to be the man about whom I wrote until, in many ways, I discovered I no longer needed to aspire to be him but was actually becoming him.  Many of my dearest friends noticed this change in me – it was palpable.  One said it was as if I took a step sideways into an alternate universe and finally found the me I was always supposed to be.  So how do I establish the lines between Lance the author and Lance the character?  I keep him on paper or on my laptop or tablet screen; I keep myself in my mind and heart.  In the book, Lance is “…the very best of us.”  Lance the author strives every day to be that man in the reality of being human.  To quote Shakespeare, a line tattooed to my right bicep, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”    
Lily: It’s a wonderful ideal to aspire to. That quote is certainly one to live by. What do you hope people take away from the book?
Lance: That’s an interesting question, Lily.  I really didn’t have a particular message or moral in mind when I started the story.  It was a form of therapy, of expression, discovery, processing what I was going through.  At the last page, there is, however, very clearly a moral to the story, a greater message now that the book is done and published.  I hope the reader takes a few things away.  First, I hope that they are able to bask a little bit in the beauty of the intense love story between yvette and Lance, as unconventional as it is, to observe how the power of the attraction, affection, loyalty, and love these two people bore for one another created the foundations of a strong, healthy, powerful D/s relationship. 
Lance and yvette were not ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’.  They were never lovers, at least not in this book.  I did not want that distracting from the power of their D/s.  D/s is not always about sex – it is about an exchange of power and mutual acceptance of responsibility for that exchange.  There is great beauty in this, a grace and exchange that, properly executed, is absurdly rewarding, and perhaps the best part of this lifestyle, in my opinion.
The power of Lance and yvette’s D/s aside, I hope the reader, particularly those just dipping their toes into the lifestyle, those looking to expand their kink, and in truth, even those established in the lifestyle, take away a healthy reminder/warning that the lifestyle, as with all things, can be a lovely and an ugly dichotomy.  Lance and yvette represent the splendor of a healthy D/s relationship.  Sorrow Watch and Brandin Cooper MacKnyte represent the dangerous side of the lifestyle where there are those who do not play safe, do not play responsibly, do not take others into consideration, those that cause damage to others, intentionally or unintentionally.  Life, the lifestyle, is not all roses. 
This story is based in my truth, both the power of a beautiful D/s relationship and the abuses and mistreatment I have observed.  I wanted them to standout in juxtaposition so that the reader could see both ends of the spectrum; not be scared away by them but informed.  Like the man released from darkness in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, discovering the truth means learning, shattering illusions, preconceived notions, challenging assumptions, and growing.  
Lily: We think this book is definitely a must read, especially for those thinking about exploring the lifestyle and those already in it. A big part of it is that the book shows both the good and evil of the BDSM community, something not everyone sees. Do you have any advice for people thinking about exploring the lifestyle?
Lance: Do not go it alone or blindly.  Find public gatherings, munches, coffees, meet and talk with people, attend conventions, watch scenes, talk to people on both sides of the slash, find a mentor; try your damnedest not to jump in overboard and get into a frenzy that can impede your judgement.  Vet people, do not blindly meet someone new for play, do not meet someone you’ve just met a few times for private play, make first contacts with a person in public, set up and practice safe calls, read, read, read, ask questions, ask someone else the same questions.  Safe, Sane, and Consensual is not just about play, it should be a starting point for researching the lifestyle to see if it is for you and then you should apply it to all your actions from that point on, using SSC as a baseline from your first handshake, phone call, email, text message, first play party, convention, first scene, coffee, to your last scene, always.
Lily: Couldn’t agree more. Safety first. Always. Unfortunately, in this world of super connectedness, safety often seems to fall by the wayside. Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Lance: I am working on the second book of the Home for Wayward Girls Trilogy, Perfectly Flawed by Love.  This one is a bit of an adventure writing as, well, I am writing as I am living it.
Lily: We can’t wait to read it! Do you have a dedicated place you like to write?
Lance: I have a dedicated place I do NOT like to write and that is at home.  I am not sure why and will not speculate on the reasons.  Instead, I go to bookstores, to restaurants, work, parks, anywhere else where I can sit and be around other people without necessarily engaging them.  Their presence gives me good energy and gets the juices flowing.
Lily: I always find it interesting how different authors have different preferences for writing. It sounds like you absolutely thrive off the energy of people just being near, which is great. It also sounds like a great opportunity for people watching, one of my favorite past times. Ok, time to relax, what’s your favorite genre to read for fun? 
Lance: I generally will read historical fiction but it really comes down to what I am in the mood for.  Right now I am Harry Pottering out.
Lily: I am an admitted Potterhead. Although I have found some historical fiction I like, there’s just something about the escape Harry Potter offers. Tell us, are there any authors who inspire you?
Lance: I’ve enjoyed Jack Whyte, Wilbur Smith, Ken Follett, and Orson Scott Card a great deal.  Their works spoke to me for different reasons and in different manners.
Lily: Ken Follet is a personal favorite of mine. What’s your favorite color?
Lance: Is black leather a color?  If no, then perhaps blue?
Lily: Why wouldn’t black leather be a color? (It’s definitely one of my top colors!) You’re stranded on a desert island for the next month, what 3 things and one person are you taking with you?
Lance: A sailboat, spare sails and rigging, a desalination device, and someone that knows how to sail.  But since I am going to be stranded there and get to plan on what I bring, I think perhaps it is better I bring my real life yvette, a good sized, solid multi-purpose tarp, about 1,000 feet of 550 paracord, and a good multi-function Tomahawk like the CRKT Kangee.
Lily: Sounds like you would be prepared! Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Lance: As with all things, there of different levels of skill and comfort; we are not all the same.  When I wrote The Home for Wayward Girls, I did not even hesitate and stop to think for a moment that many of the things that make up my common play are on the heavy side for others.  Edgeplay, knifeplay, fearplay dance through my book as they do my life because I have the experience and skill and, most importantly, trusting consent of my partner to engage in these activities.  That was an accidental inconsideration because, again, you write what you know.  These things are part of my life and enrich my life and relationship.  In retrospect, I have come to realize there are many parts of the book that could be triggers or objectionable to those not prepared for what was coming.  This is not a smut-page burner but a love story on a variation that also gets into the dangerous sides of BDSM but also reveals those things within the lifestyle that make BDSM safe.  An blind reading of The Home could be catastrophic and sour the reader to the genre, the lifestyle, and what can be so truly delightful that can be so and rewarding when practiced by someone with knowledge and skill. 
Many possible readers could be turned off by reviews simply because of the thought of triggers or that the story is too heavy but to that I say this, BDSM offers many avenues for growth, learning, pleasure, and intensifying ones experiences and relationships.  These are words on a page; don’t be afraid of them, learn from them, and learn to be cautious, surely, but always curious.
Lily: Something that can easily be forgotten: how different people can be even within the same community, and how important it is to be respectful and take things slow. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Lance: Amazon, Smashwords, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads

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