The Symbiotic Relationship Between Author and Reader, an Interview with Cara Bristol

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cara Bristol’s “Breeder”, and knew I just had to pick her brain about her awesome new book!  It’s a wonderful combination of romance, spanking fiction, and action- all set in a science fiction setting.  She has created a new world full of passion and aggression, a society where males dominate and females submit.  I adored this book, and cannot wait to read the next in this series!

The thing that struck me most about this story was the line between men and women.  Men were takers, women were givers. And there was no room for middle ground or compromise – at least not at the beginning.  But the story took us through a wonderful adventure of an Alpha Male (The Alpha Male!) who dared to not only show a female compassion, but also to fall in love with her!

In Breeder, the lesson learned is about male and female learning to work together, and to love each other.  The same can be said for authors and readers. One will not thrive without the other.  They have a symbiotic relationship, bettering each other as each betters herself (or himself).

Since the story’s plot centered on characters that learned to use their differences to complement each other, and find value in what each had to offer, I thought it would be fun to do a role reversal of sorts for this author interview.  So instead of a “normal” interview where I ask the author questions, Cara Bristol will ask me questions, to better get to know me as a reader.  And of course, I will be getting to know her and her story better, as well.

I hope you enjoy our role reversal.

*****

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Cara Bristol:  Thanks, Katherine for having me today. This is a unique opportunity. Even though reviews can give an author feedback, being able to ask questions is even better! One of the things I’d like to know is if you have read science fiction romance before, and what made you pick my book.

Katherine Deane:  Thanks for agreeing to do something a little different, Cara.  I love science fiction (Jim Butcher is one of my favorites!), and have read some science fiction romance. Most of my sci fi has been limited to TV.  Do you remember Dr. Who (Tom Baker, of course!), The Tomorrow People, Sliders, and Battlestar Gallactica?

But I have not had very many opportunities to read science fiction, romance AND spanking.  That sounded like a fun combination, that I hoped wouldn’t overwhelm me.

I decided to read this after reading some of the excerpts in the Saturday Spankings blog posts.  The premise intrigued me, and I have enjoyed all your other stories. I was so excited when I finally got to read it! It was everything I had hoped for!

Cara Bristol:  Thank you! I’m glad Breeder met expectations. LOL. I used to watch Battlestar Gallactica, although I was more of a Trekkie and watched rather than read sci-fi.  However, TV and movies focus on spaceships, gadgets, explosions and things that are visual. Written science fi romance brings emotion to the story. I’m curious, what were some of the emotions you experienced as you read Breeder?

Katherine Deane:  I can’t believe I forgot to mention Star Trek, the original one with Kirk and Spock!  It’s funny that you just brought up emotions. That was one of the most entertaining parts about watching Kirk and Spock play off each other. One was a dramatic, over-emoter, the other was quiet, analytical, and unemotional.  Yet they complemented each other perfectly! This is something I would like to bring up later in our conversation.  The need for complementary emotions and actions in a relationship.

As for emotions, I went through so many different emotions, all depending on the scene.

Anger, frustration, elation, lust. It was like riding a roller coaster! It was exhilarating!

I also had to slow down my reading. I originally wanted to pour through it as quickly as I could. But I realized, early on, that this was a story meant to be savored- not rushed.  I am so glad I did that. It made the story that much more enjoyable!

Cara Bristol:  I’m so glad. My goal in this story was to make my readers feel.  Did you have any impressions of Breeder before you read it that were altered after you finished it?

Katherine Deane:  Honestly, I originally thought this was going to be a mod-podge of science fiction, BDSM and spanking romance.   When I heard it was about a society that looked upon females as less than animals, I was nervous.  I knew that the writing would be impeccable. But I wasn’t sure if it would be the right fit for me. Especially when I saw that there would be a little bit of M/M included.

(Actually, the few M/M scenes were done tastefully, and were such an integral part of the plot, that I was able to ease out of my comfort zone.)

I also feared my inner feminist would be disappointed by the harsh conditions and degraded women. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth, and the levels of emotions the main characters went through.  I felt kind of silly having worried about being disappointed. (This story most definitely, did NOT disappoint!)  But sometimes, authors change their style, or write different genres. The reader doesn’t always know what s/he is getting into, even if it is the same author they have followed for a while.

Cara Bristol:  This was a different genre for me.  Years ago, when I first started writing fiction, I dabbled in sci-fi, but then moved on to mainstream fiction, and then erotic romance.  I knew writing Breeder would be risky because it contained elements that might turn readers off. Did you your feelings about the characters change as you read the book?

Katherine Deane:  I quickly grew to love Omra and Dak!  Omra was so much more than just a shell, a breeder with no ability for cognitive thought, or scared of her own shadow.  I loved watching her grow, and push aside her self-doubts and lack of self-worth.  She was beautiful, strong, intelligent, the perfect example of potential in the society’s “useless” breeders.

Dak grew to be so much more than just a commanding presence and authority figure.  He actually had an open mind, and was willing to grow with Omra. I loved that about him, and felt that made him even more powerful.  The scene that stood out to me, was when he made the decision about dealing with the Enclave.  This was big, and showed his compassionate nature.  While I love authoritative men, I also need them to show some compassion for their lover.

Cara Bristol:  What stands out to you about the Parseon world, its culture or people?

Katherine Deane:  The culture, definitely.  The people followed the new culture and structure, because it was the only way to save themselves from the warring.  The people were not as bad as made out to be.  Unfortunately, the strongest among them continued to push their closed minded beliefs onto everyone else.  It was good to see that there were bands of people willing to open their eyes; to see that the need for the harsh structure, (and lies) were not necessary any more.

I would actually like to know how the original protocol began. Why were females lowered to such degradation?  Was it because there were strong females who battled for supremacy in the older days?

Cara Bristol:  Hmm…maybe I could write a “prequel” after I write the series. What were the most visual aspects of the story?

Katherine Deane:  Please do!  I will be first in line to read it! I’m already picturing strong, dominant, beautiful women and handsome, aggressive men – sparks flying everywhere! Mmmmm, I can also picture some very hot sex and spankings in that one!  Keep me posted, please!

About the visual aspects, I loved how you vividly described everything, especially the beauty of the world, through Omra’s eyes, showing her youthful innocence, – just as a child sees things.  Wonder, adoration, excitement, purity… I loved it!

My favorite scene that shows this is the one where Dak is taking Omra back to his home, and they both take in the beauty of the surrounding foliage. I loved how the scene was described using both sight, touch, and smell.  This was probably my favorite scene as far as “visuals” go. I hope it’s ok for me to share it now.

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** *A wonder of verdant hues filled her vision, from the mosses and vines clinging to the trees, grasses waving in the breeze, the vividness of the leaves themselves. A branch of a large, bushy plant slapped against the conveyance as they passed, and she plucked off a tender leaf. She stroked it, marveling at the smoothness, and raised it to her nose.

“What are you doing?” The Commander frowned.

She recoiled. “I-I am smelling a leaf.”

He cocked his head. “Why?”

Because she hadn’t been outside the BCF walls in a year. Because she hadn’t danced in a meadow, raised her face to the rain, woven a garland of flowers, or watched fallen leaves soar on the wind. Before she could devise a response, he asked, “What does it smell like?” ***

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Cara Bristol:  The mantra at the back of my mind as I wrote it was, “show, don’t tell.” I think setting plays a big role in sci-fi (as it does in historical fiction) because the author creates an unfamiliar world. No one has been to Parseon. LOL.  This book also had more action, specifically violence, than my other books. What did you think about that aspect?

Katherine Deane:  The violence was done perfectly. Not too much, not too little. It was just right. It was a necessary part of the story.  And it built the characters and the world.  I liked the violence being shown to keep the story authentic (an aggressive world of alpha and beta males that did not include beatings and floggings would have not seemed realistic. And I prefer the stories I read, to make sense.).  But I appreciated that you did not go overboard with the violence.   This was a nice compromise that kept me happy, because ultimately, even though I like science fiction and adventure, I am still a romantic at heart.  I prefer the romance and growth to take a slight precedence over the action and drama.

Cara Bristol:  That raises another question. Did you find the story romantic?

Katherine Deane:  Totally!  Their biggest obstacles were the society, and its views, and their own individual conflicting emotions over their relationship.  They didn’t even have a word for “Love”.  It was alien to them.  Yet, they fought against their world, their protocol, and their original belief system, to embrace this one word they didn’t fully understand- love.  This was very romantic and beautiful!

Cara Bristol:  Do you have any questions for me?

Katherine Deane:  LOL, I have been chomping at the bit for a while now! Thanks. Here goes.

Where did you come up with the idea of this male dominated, futuristic society? That’s a very big jump from your Rod and Cane Series.

Cara Bristol:  It began with the notion of a society in which the law forced women into sexual slavery, to be used at a male’s whim. Obviously, I couldn’t set the story in contemporary times on this planet, and just as obviously (I hope!) the story developed well beyond that. Sexual slavery served as the seed, but it isn’t what ultimately grew. It’s like planting an apple seed, and getting an avocado tree.

Katherine Deane:  What do you think of the symbiotic nature of Parseon’s men and women?

Cara Bristol:  When the story begins, there is no real relationship between the sexes. Men need women for reproduction, but many in power resent even that. Women are completely marginalized. But Dak and Omra overcome society’s dictates and grow to complement each other, to support each other. He becomes her hero, and she becomes his heroine.

Katherine Deane:  I loved that.
What made you decide to write in both POV’s? I’m glad you did. It gave me an opportunity to get to know Dak better.

Cara Bristol:  All my other books have scenes and chapters from the hero’s POV, but those stories are primarily the heroine’s, so they are mostly told from her POV. Once I got into Breeder, I realized it was as much Dak’s story as Omra’s. In fact, I had to rein him in to keep him from taking over the whole novel. He is definitely alpha!

Katherine Deane:  Too funny! I love Alpha males!

Where are you going next?

Cara Bristol:  I have to finish writing Rod and Cane 5, tentatively titled Hasty Exits, and I have to write 30K novella for a sooper sekrit project under contract, and then I shall begin Breeder 2: Terran.

Thank you so much for having me. This was great fun.

Katherine Deane:  Thanks so much for swapping with me. It was fun! Congratulations!

I am already looking forward to the next one.  Good luck with the secret project. 🙂

*****

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Breeder blurb

To secure his legacy, Commander Dak, a ruling Alpha of planet Parseon, purchases Omra, a breeder slave. He intends to impregnate her, produce a son, and hand her off to his anointed beta partner. As Dak and Omra discover a sexual bliss banned by law, he begins to question the traditions and ways of his people, causing him to jeopardize his command and endanger the life of the woman he has come to love.

Breeder explores the concepts of gender roles and social prohibitions against deviant behavior. It includes M/F and M/M sexual practices.

Amazon Buy Link

Loose Id Buy Link

ARe Buy Link

Author website

Twitter  @CaraBristol

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Breeder Excerpt

If not for the sneeze, Dak would have exited the musty, dank corridor. But the muffled sound caught his attention. When he squinted into the darkened cell, he spotted a female crouched on a straw mat in the corner. He hadn’t noticed her on his way into the Breeder Containment Facility; the habitation unit had appeared empty.

Dak turned to the BCF director and sighed. “What about her?”

The beta’s already crooked mouth drooped farther in distaste. “My apologies, Commander. You don’t want that one.”

Sival’s disparagement piqued Dak’s interest. The director’s opinion had proven worthless; none of the breeders he’d preselected for inspection had rated close to satisfactory.

“I would like to see her,” Dak insisted.

“Very well, Commander.” Sival saluted and opened the habitation cell with a master entry card. Dak stepped into the small enclosure. The director followed, and the metal gate clanked shut.

The naked female drew into a tighter ball and tucked her face deeper into the crook of her arm. Other breeders had preened as soon as they’d noticed him and his chest-insignia identification. He wasn’t just an alpha. He was the Alpha.

This breeder’s lack of respect and failure to adhere to Protocol by acknowledging his presence struck him as odd. Dak frowned. “Is she mentally deficient?”

Sival tightened his lips. “No, stubborn, ill behaved. She would not befit an Alpha Commander.” He nudged the female’s hip with the toe of his boot. “Rise to your feet.” She did not respond, and he moved to prod her again. Dak forestalled him with a wave and grasped the female’s arm.

“You will stand.” He hauled her upright. She averted her face, so he grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. Tangled hair the color of black heating stones fell back from an oval face to reveal eyes like the Parseon moon. The glimmer of intelligence that sparked within the violet depths aroused his interest more than anything else he’d seen so far. Nature had bestowed the Parseon people with an exceptionally strong immune system so that they rarely required medical intervention, but breeders by nature were weak, and so many of the ones he’d seen had seemed dull or ill or both. This one’s skin, when unsmudged by grime and dirt, probably glowed like the pale sands of the Ospian Sea. He supposed, as breeders went, she wasn’t unattractive, although the stench emanating from her was. His beta would throw a fit if he dragged such a creature into their domicile.

“Why is she so filthy?” he asked.

“She refuses to bathe.”

As Dak scrutinized her facial features for shape and symmetry, he noted little imperfection or dysgenics other than her lack of hygiene and her gender. When cleaned up, she would please the eye, but to bear his sons, it mattered more that she be healthy and strong.

He released her face, stepped back, and assessed her from head to toe. He exceeded the height of most males, alphas included, while she stood smaller than the average female. The top of her head failed to even meet his shoulder. She was thinner than other breeders too, although her chest bore an abundance of fatty breast tissue. In the chill of the cell, her nipples had puckered to hard points. Despite the coolness, he was experiencing a rise in temperature. A dormant lust chose that moment to kindle, causing heat to coil in his abdomen and groin. He could not remember the last time he’d experienced such a spontaneous reaction—if he ever had. With the pads of his fingers, he probed the sides of her neck for swollen areas. The way she trembled under his touch aroused a sliver of sympathy. Breeders lacked courage, and uncertainty frightened them. Not all alphas and their betas treated breeders well. If he chose her, she would be adequately fed and housed. His command consumed his time and energy, which left his beta alone for long stretches. A breeder would relieve Corren of household chores and provide him with a physical outlet as well.

“What is she called?” Dak asked.

“Her sire named her Omra.”

Peace, it meant.

He parted Omra’s lips with his fingers and slipped a digit into her mouth, running it along her upper gum line to check the solidness of her teeth. At a flash in her eyes, he jerked his hand away a centisecond before she snapped her jaws together, so that her incisor only grazed the tip of his finger.

Sival’s face reddened. “Commander, I apologize. I will have her flogged.”

“Unnecessary. I will take care of it.” He unclipped the sudon from his belt.

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20 thoughts on “The Symbiotic Relationship Between Author and Reader, an Interview with Cara Bristol

  1. Casey McKay

    I loved the backwards interview! What a fun idea. I’ve read some snippets and excerpts for a while now, but that little part about her smelling a leaf?? It made me tear up! I can see what you mean about the emotion!
    I need to clear my schedule a little so I can get to this one quicker!

    Reply
  2. Celeste Jones

    Great idea and very interesting.

    One of the things that made me smile about this story is that when Cara was given a chance to create her own world, the women did not have periods or body hair. Excellent choice!

    Reply
  3. Patricia Green

    I bought this book on the day it was published, with great anticipation based on Cara’s snippets from Saturday Spankings. I got right to reading. When I got to the unexpected M/M action, I thought, oh no!, because that’s not something I would choose to read. But, like you, Katherine, I was brave and got through them. People are going to really find everything wonderful in Breeder, and it’s so much more than M/M or M/F. It’s a brilliant story, both creative and poignant. Wonderful work, Cara. It’s no wonder it’s doing so well on the market.

    Reply
    1. Cara Bristol

      Thank you, Trish. I knew the mention of M/M might not be everyone’s cup of tea, as I knew the spanking wouldn’t be, and the sci-fi element. But the story and the characters spoke to me in that way, and I decided to be true to the story. For readers who may be leery of M/M–it is a small portion of the book used to set the scene for the Parseon world. Breeder is an M/F love story first and foremost.

      Reply
  4. Angela

    I loved the role reversal of this interview. Nice Katherine! I can not say enough about this book. I enjoyed Dak and Omra’s story. Now that I’ve experienced life on Parseon, I look forward to visiting Terran

    Reply

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