Welcome author Kitty Thomas!
Thanks to Kitty for coming by and doing an interview today. Comfort Food is a book a lot of people will not be comfortable with but it has received many glowing reviews. As someone who has read Comfort Food, I can't say I was ever "comfortable" with the material but it definitely made me think in ways not many other books have. The psychological aspects alone are riveting and it's unlike anything else I've ever read. I won't ever forget the story. And the cover truly fits it so well.
1) Can you give us a little insight into Comfort Food beyond the blurb? What was your initial spark that led you to write it?
It started out with a sexual fantasy. This larger-than-life guy who had this absolute kind of power, but wouldn't speak and wasn't particularly brutal. As the book developed it ended up a lot darker and also a lot less "just spank material" than it started out in my head. There were also personal things going on in my life (yes, I'm going to tease and not deliver there, LOL, I'm a bad kitty), that colored a lot of the tone of the book.
2) Comfort Food is a book a lot of people may not feel comfortable with. Who is your ideal reader for this book and for your current WIPs? Are they the same?
My ideal reader falls into one of two categories 1. Someone with an "ownership kink" who can read a rape/slave fantasy without getting super freaked and upset about it. or.. 2. Someone who isn't necessarily kinky themselves, but is very open-minded and willing to explore and read books that challenge them.
And my current WIP, Guilty Pleasures, is another noncon mind-fuck, but of a different nature with a different message/point. What I write is dark and not "safe". I made a joke a few weeks ago about "Sparkly Glitter Kink" where kinky fiction was mostly all "safe, sane,and consensual" loving BDSM fic. And what I write is more along the lines of "unsafe, inane, and nonconsensual", LOL. I don't consider most of what I write "BDSM fiction" for that reason.
3) Pushing the limits is a current trend in publishing. Do you think the public has simply become hungrier for subjects beyond the mainstream or is it that fiction is finally revealing the truth about the wide scope of what's "normal"? (Normal meaning what's normal for you, on an individual basis, rather than as dictated by society as a whole.)
I'm not really sure. When I wrote Comfort Food, I wasn't really trying to be controversial. At the same time, I think a lot of what you're seeing with limit pushing is a result of indie publishing, not traditional big publishing. Most of the larger publishers are still playing it very safe with what they publish. I think most readers have always been able to handle more than what most publishers think they can. I think though that there was a trend to be as "non-offensive and middle-of-the-road" as possible, so more books would become mass market successes. But I think after awhile, readers want to be challenged and moved beyond their comfort zones. They want to be moved, period. And the same safe stuff repackaged over and over just doesn't offer that kind of reading catharsis.
Interestingly one of the main themes of Comfort Food is about letting go of what is "normal as dictated by society" to figure out what "you" want. Not letting society be your master. So on the one level it's about this sexual and very dark/unconventional love story (some readers won't be able to handle it being called that, but it is what it is), but on another level, it's a metaphor for how one engages with society vs. their true wants and needs on every level.
4) You're an indie author who has achieved a great measure of success already. Any advice for someone who'd like to try self-publishing but doesn't know where/how to start?
Ha! That's funny, because I don't think I've been super vocal about the indie thing with the erotica. I want the work to be about the work for this and not about how it's published. I also think some people go "easier" on an indie book, when they shouldn't. If someone thinks CF is a good book, I want them to think it's a good book, period. Not "good for an indie effort."
Re: advice: Write a good book, get a good cover artist, don't be afraid to get out there and talk to people. Comfort Food has sort of taken on a life of it's own. A lot of that is luck. A group of book bloggers have been reading and reviewing it.Then their reviews instigate reading from more of their book blogger friends. I solicited reviews from very few people, a lot of it has been word-of-mouth.
I wasn't really trying to be "deep" when I wrote Comfort Food. Just honest. That honesty has connected with and attracted more people than it has repelled.
5) Tell us a little about your current project, Guilty Pleasures. Would it appeal to a fan of Comfort Food? (Any spoilers happily received, of course. ;D)
I *hope* Guilty Pleasures appeals to fans of Comfort Food. I think it will appeal to some. It won't appeal to others. I think some people pushed outside their comfort zone to read CF to begin with, so another book with noncon themes might be more than they wish to explore. Also something about the dynamic might turn them off. By contrast someone who isn't that in love with CF might like Guilty Pleasures better. Who knows? All I hope is that the quality of the writing and story can match that of Comfort Food. Being better than CF would be okay, except that adds pressure on me to keep raising the bar higher. I just am not sure I want CF to be "the best book I ever write." It's like how Stephen King is stuck in this reality where most fans think The Stand is the best thing he's ever written and it was what? Twenty or more years ago?
I can't say a lot about Guilty Pleasures yet. I don't like to spoil people at all on my own fiction. I'm a little bit superstitious about it, like I'll kill my ability to keep writing it if I let too much out of the bag. In fact I don't really know what to say about it that won't be more than I want to share right now. Probably I won't be saying very much about actual plot/situation until the book is available at least as an Ebook. But I'm hoping that'll be by Christmas. Unless I have any major editing hassles, it will be.
Also... shameless plug here... Comfort Food will be available in hardcover in October. I know some people have loved it to the point where they want a physical copy for their shelf.
6) I have to know - what's your comfort food, book-wise? What do you read when you need to go to your happy place? (I just know this answer will be one I won't expect, LOL.)
Light, fluffy Young Adult paranormals. Or things in the adult reading category like Katie MacAlister and Charlaine Harris that have a lot of humor in them. (I'm not a serious girl all the time. I promise. :P )
Kitty Thomas writes dark literary erotica, not morality plays. You can find her work at:
Amazon.com ( http://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Food-ebook/dp/B003DKJ9Q0/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1 )
Amazon.co.uk ( http://tinyurl.com/23k87hy )
Smashwords.com (multiple digital formats, good site if you aren't in the US or UK or don't have a Kindle, or just don't like Amazon, lol) ( http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/11364 )
You can find her at: