Ashley Lister talks to Anneke Jacob

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As She's ToldAnneke Jacob is an author of erotic fiction, renowned for putting her characters through the most punishing power exchanges. With Owned and Owner, [Pink Flamingo Publications will soon release an updated version of
the book] Anneke created a science-fiction fantasy world where men and women live on different planets. Her heroine, Etrin, is convicted of a “crime of irresponsibility” and elects to take the seldom chosen punishment of being transported as a slave to the men’s planet. Events which begin a story of female submission and male domination that is literally out of this world.

Ashley Lister: Where did you get the idea for Owned and Owner?

Anneke Jacob: It came out of what you might call a very rich fantasy life. My dominance/submission fantasies have always needed a reasonably plausible background, something that made all the rest possible. What interests me is relationships, and in the case of d/s novels, the power differential and what that means to the characters. There are some very specific parameters for that differential. It has to be absolute, it has to be genuine – no games – and it must be consensual. As you can imagine, that leaves a really narrow gap through which to manoeuvre my plots. I created the world of Owned and Owner to meet all those parameters – a place where a woman could go by choice, to be legally owned.

Ashley Lister: On the publication of Owned and Owner you said, “I wanted to write about the most extreme power exchange I could imagine that was nevertheless consensual. I wanted to write about real, multidimensional characters, capable of tenderness and a touch of humour as well as pain.” Do you think Owned and Owner managed to do all of that?

Anneke Jacob: Yes and no. I think Etrin is a fully-realized character. But the character of Garid has had to struggle to rise up out of his pulp-fantasy roots. Looking back, it’s clear that there was too much clich√© Master about him from the start, although I certainly tried to get into his head. I’m in the middle of a revision of Owned and Owner now for Pink Flamingo, which will be bringing it out again soon. Garid will be a little more rounded in the next edition.

Ashley Lister: Owned and Owner shows a high level of erotic imagination, but it’s also rich in the detail of the character’s responses and reactions to the erotic situations in which you’ve placed them. How do you get yourself into the mindset of characters reacting and responding in such a fashion?

Anneke Jacob: That’s a preoccupation in all of my writing. The mechanics of bodies intersecting is great fun, but very limiting. I spend a lot of time occupying my characters’ minds (and other places). What would I be feeling, and how would I react if I were them? How would I process these experiences? What would my fears be, my longings and obsessions? Easy enough for me to do when I’m occupying the mind of a female sub; when it’s a male dom it’s another story; I have to sort of turn myself inside-out. My second book manages it much better than the first, but that took a lot of work on my part.

Ashley Lister: Over the past couple of years I know you’ve been very busy working on As She’s Told. Would you care to explain what the story is about?

Anneke Jacob: As She’s Told is about an extreme, loving, creative – and consensual – dominant/submissive relationship, set in contemporary Toronto. It’s about a couple of caring, thoughtful individuals who happen to have some highly unusual sexuality, and want to take that as far as it can realistically go. This time I let my characters struggle with the question of how to create an absolute power differential within the context of a society that doesn’t support it. The solution they come up with is essentially on an emotional level, though locks and hardware have a lot to do with it. The increasing intensity is lightened by some playfulness, humour and intelligent conversation. All the erotic action is embedded in the ordinary world of work and friends and music, and sometimes these cross over.

Ashley Lister: I’ve enjoyed reading As She’s Told (please see my review). It’s an epic story that beautifully captures the relationship of a consensual couple involved in extreme S&M practices. Aside from the erotic – which is always very erotic in your writing – you’ve also considered practicalities, societal attitudes and one hundred and one other contemporary issues that would hamper most “regular” couples from enjoying this style of relationship. How much thought and planning went into these extraneous details?

Anneke Jacob: I did a lot of planning, and rewrote some of the contemporary details more than once as they got out of date. There was some conflict in my mind about just how much of that I should get into; after all, people use erotic reading as an escape from daily life, and why not? Grim and depressing books are something I avoid more and more; I wouldn’t write one myself. But I’m also convinced that real people are sexier than cardboard cutouts, and real people live and interact in the real world.

Ashley Lister: You’ve taken your readers to the ends of the universe with Owned and Owner, and now you’ve taken them to the extremes of submission and domination that Anders and Maia enjoy in As She’s Told. Where do you plan to take your readers next?

Anneke Jacob: <laughs> Ashley, I have no idea. Much as I love science fiction, whatever it is will be contemporary, because I loved the opportunity in As She’s Told of integrating the flotsam, street corners and voices of my daily life. Putting snow shovels as well as whips in my characters’ hands, and having them clear the walk while someone waits….

Visit Anneke Jacob at: www.tpe.com/~anneke.

Ashley Lister
February 2009


“Between the Lines” ¬© 2009 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

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