Interview with the First Lady of Erotica, Fredrica Alleyn
Fredrica Alleyn was chosen as Black Lace's first author for two reasons - she knows how to create a one-of-a-kind plot line and she knows how to write sex scenes that are convincing, sexy and unbelievably steamy!
Check out our interview to see how the talented, creative and witty writer behind Cassandra's Chateau manages to produce such incredibly erotic novels...
One of the differences between when Cassandra's Chateau was first released in 1994 and now is that erotica is considered more acceptable and almost mainstream. However, the sex scenes in the book are still fresh, hot and challenging - making them timeless. Is this something you planned when you wrote the book or a happy coincidence?
When I was writing the two Cassandra novels, they were intended to be timeless stories. This wasn't because I hoped they might be re-released fifteen years later – although I think it's been an advantage – but because the two main characters weren't from a specific time character wise. As both books are character driven, and it's my belief that people's basic characteristics have remained the same throughout history, there was no reason why they wouldn't always appeal to people who enjoy this type of erotica in 1994, 2009 or even 2024! The sex scenes were the result of the personalities of the characters involved, and as the characters were timeless so too were the sex scenes. I'm very pleased to hear you say that that they are still fresh, hot and challenging. It's a big compliment.
You have developed Cassandra's character exceptionally well between the two books - the way she has learnt and matured comes across as completely seamless. How did you manage to achieve this?
When I finished writing Cassandra's Conflict, I spent quite a lot of time wondering how her life with the Baron would work out. Although I didn't write Cassandra's Chateau immediately after Cassandra's Conflict, I continued to think about her. She had shown her emotional intelligence during Cassandra's Conflict, when she realised that she could only hope to keep the Baron intrigued by holding back a part of herself. When I came to write Cassandra's Chateau, I thought about how she would have coped once she was the established mistress, not the innocent outsider brought in to provide the Baron with a memorable game. She would have understood that the situation was similar to the saying that if a man likes to have a wife and a mistress, then once he marries his mistress this automatically creates a vacancy, and she would have thought about how she would cope when he needed to fill that vacancy. Because her character was so strongly formed in my mind, it was relatively easy for me to work out how life with the Baron would have changed her. Clearly she would have needed to mature, because once Katya as out of their lives, Cassandra's role in his life was altered immediately.
In both books the Baron is a hard person to sympathise with but this almost calculating demeanour is strangely appealing. As a lot of erotica books play on the romantic and emotional side of the male characters, what made you decide to make the Baron this way?
I think that a lot of women are attracted to men who don't show their emotions and seem quite detached, because they think that they may be 'the one' who can get emotionally close and discover what lies beneath. The truth of the matter is that what you see with the Baron is almost, but not quite, what you are always going to get. I did create a psychological profile for him, in so far as I decided that he was a man who had, at some time in his childhood, loved deeply and then felt utterly betrayed. A small child whose mother dies can feel this, not understanding that the mother didn't want to die, but instead perceiving it as an abandonment. As a result, he is never going to allow himself to love so totally ever again. However, there are moments in both of the Cassandra books when he comes very close to admitting that he cares for her, close enough for her to believe that he does and close enough – I hope – for the reader to feel that he does. He actually struggles with his own nature at times in Cassandra's Chateau; you can sense that he has become trapped by his own pattern of behaviour. Not that this lessens his enjoyment of his life at all.
Domination and S&M are the leading sexual kinks in the Baron's sex games and feature heavily throughout the book. When writing those particular scenes did you ever question how far you could push the limits?
I never thought of it like that. What I did question was how far the Baron could push the limits. I think he probably pushed them as far as possible during Cassandra's Chateau.
As both Cassandra's Conflict and Cassandra's Chateau have been re-released and several of your other books, including the amazing The Gallery, are due to be re-published later this year, has this made you want to write more erotica?
No, it hasn't. I think that most writers have times in their life when they are at the right moment to write a certain genre of book. Black Lace came along at just the right time for me, following my mainstream novel 'Betrayal', which I wrote under the pseudonym of Margaret Kirby, as this had a lot of quite explicit sex scenes in it and I was happy to take that further for Black Lace. After writing quite a lot of erotica I had to take a break from writing due to family problems, and now I'm two-thirds of the way through a psychological thriller, 'The Gift of Grace', I'm enjoying that immensely. I think that this is the genre I will stay with for now.
As you were the first Black Lace author and one of the chosen writers to have your books re-released 15 years later, how do you feel about the erotica genre in general? Do you feel it has gotten better or worse since Black Lace pushed it into the public eye?
It's difficult to compare, because it depends on what type of erotica you enjoy. In the same way as some readers like Jane Austen and some like chick-lit, some will enjoy the erotic novels written around the time of the Black Lace launch more than today's erotica, and some will like it less. Any answer is bound to be subjective and yes, I am dodging answering the question outright!