Varian Krylov’s Bad Things
Good golly Ms. Molly y’all. This book, there’s just no words for how much I want to read Bad Things. My love of BDSM books is nothing new. Add in the dark aspects of this book and I know I’m going to love it. I am excited that I had the chance to interview Varian and asked some questions about the book. After the interview read all about the book and an excerpt that made me want to know what happened next. At the very bottom enter for a chance to win a copy of the book.
Amanda C. Stone: Good morning. I am excited to have you here with me today. So I haven’t read the book yet, and can’t wait to, so I don’t know how dark the story actually is. But everything I’ve read so far is that the story isn’t your typical romance. Was it hard to write something darker and (possibly) a little gritty?
Varian Krylov: Honestly, I wouldn’t know how to write something that wasn’t dark and gritty. Dangerously Happy was by far the fluffiest novel I’ve written, but every reviewer seemed to agree that it’s too dark for some readers.
ACS: Gotta say I loved Dangerously Happy. I can see where some would say it’s too dark.
VK With Bad Things, I went back to my wheelhouse of dark erotica. My sexual psyche thrives on fear, and there’s plenty of angst and trepidation woven into the erotic tension in Xavier’s story. The perennial challenge with my brand of dark erotica is trying to walk this narrow line between building this kind of risky tension, while saving the threatening character from becoming utterly unredeemable. Since Xavier stole most of the glory in his brief appearances in Dangerously Happy, I decided to turn him loose in Bad Things, and he’s definitely a transgressive character, in the same vein of risky behavior that Conrad gets up to in Abduction, but whereas Conrad has a velvet touch in his sinister machinations, Xavier comes at things in his own testosterone-fuelled, brute style, and unlike Conrad, Xavier goes into it all angry and bent on vengeance.
ACS: What is your favorite part of writing BDSM in your books?
VK: I’m a bit peculiar, regarding the BDSM genre, because I rarely depict relationships that are part of the lifestyle. Again, Dangerously Happy was an exception, in that Dario and Aidan have a fully consensual relationship and they engage in the appropriate practices, like using safe words.
Usually, though, I put my characters in much more dangerous situations of dubious consent, real fear, with no safe word to release them. Hopefully it goes without saying that in real life I would never condone the behavior of the characters who take people hostage and subject them to sexual torment, but writing it arouses me to no end (and it seems to work for a lot of readers, as well). It’s also a bit of an intellectual game I play with myself, taking these dynamics to their extreme limit before they fall over the ledge of dubious consent and reluctance, into the abyss of sexual assault and rape. I’m constantly conjuring up wild circumstances that allow characters like Xavier and Conrad (or Smith from After, or Galen in Hurt) to instigate their wicked plans, and from there it’s an intricate dance, leading their victims through the ups and downs of their fear and humiliation, and their arousal and acceptance of their enjoyment of what is done to them.
ACS: I really enjoy some of the darker aspects of BDSM. Not always of course, but I think that’s why I enjoy your books so much. I get both when I want it. Again I haven’t read it yet, so no spoilers. But is there a happy ending in the book? Or plans for writing more with these characters in the future?
VK: For me, once the struggle and conflict are resolved, the story is over, so there’s (probably) never going to be a wedding scene in any of my novels. But I’m a romantic at my core, and as much as I thrive on angst and the wild thrills of danger and fear, every one of my novels culminates in a promise that, at the very least, the characters are happy for now and looking toward the future with hope.
I also have a bad habit of falling in love with my leading men, which makes me want to write another book so I can spend more time with them. If I can dream up the right plot, I’d love to bring Xavier, Carson, Dario and Aidan together for another novel…
ACS: More is always good in my opinion when it comes to books. But if it ends with at least some semblence of happiness, then that’s alright. Is there something sexual that you will never put into one of your books because it doesn’t turn you on or squicks you out?
VK: Loads, probably! Wow, let’s see… I rarely write lesbian scenes or relationships (I think the only ones are in After); they certainly don’t squick me out in the least, but my sexuality is absolutely centered in my attraction to men, so I write m/m, m/m/f, and m/f. I also almost never write true BDSM, because although I’m incredibly turned on by scenarios of domination and bondage, I’m not enamored of the dogma that goes with BDSM, and at the level of fiction, the sane and safe aspect of the lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to the frisson of dubcon that I thrive on. I’ve written a short story with incest (Lost), but confess I did that on a lark—the incest itself doesn’t add to or detract from the allure of the dynamics, for me, but it does provide an easy lever for dialing up the stakes between the characters.
Things that fall into the total squick category for me? Scat, extreme pain, and anything really destructive to a person’s body.
ACS: It’s about comfort level when it comes to writing. Ok last question and it’s a fun one. You are off to a BDSM themed resort but can only take one thing with you (besides clothes and toiletries and such), what do you take with you?
ACS: Hahaha! What a great answer. Thank you so much for joining me today Varian. It was a pleasure to have you.
Xavier makes a lot of people nervous. The rest, he flat-out scares. More than his hulking, tattooed body, it’s his predator’s gaze that makes people feel vulnerable, as if he had the power to read their thoughts and see their soul. For his lovers, it’s Xavier’s ravenous appetite for all things carnal—for the taste of flesh under his tongue and the feel of a trembling body under his control, for whispered pleas and muffled cries—that makes him dangerous.
But recently, driven by a festering rage against the men who attacked his sister a decade ago, Xavier has developed a taste for a different kind of hunt and conquest: stalking men who do truly bad things and punishing the predators he sniffs out. The problem with vigilante justice, though, is sometimes the man in your trap is innocent.
Carson suspects he’s playing a risky game with dangerous men. But the lies are convincing, especially when they’re slipped to him among hundred dollar bills. He never guessed how big and dark the secret hidden under all the lies and money could be. And he has no idea he’s not the predator, but the prey, until it’s too late.
And you can’t beg for mercy when there’s a gag in your mouth.
But when Carson escapes from Xavier’s trap, he’s forced to accept that Xavier is far from his most dangerous enemy. Xavier may even hold the key to overcoming the painful past that has kept Carson prisoner for almost two decades.
When Xavier moved in, Carson struggled against the restraints. “Fucking . . . Come on. This shit’s not funny anymore.” Pleading gaze upturned from under his dark lashes.
Xavier laughed. “What’s that look?”
“Come on, Xavier. I know I fucked up. Of course you’re mad. But . . . come on. We’re . . . ”
“What are we, Carson?”
“I thought we were . . . ”
“Did you think we were friends?” Xavier laughed. “Did you think that you sleeping on my couch and cooking me a couple meals makes us friends?”
He breathed in the smell of him. Nervous sweat rising over the scent of soap. He caressed his cheek.
Carson went dead still, then tried to mold his frightened expression into sternness. “You could go to jail for this.”
Carson’s whining was getting on his nerves. Xavier lifted the lid on the chest of dark brown leather and took out the ball gag. Too funny, that perplexed expression on Carson’s face, then horrified incredulity as he figured it out. Sitting on his thighs, gazing into those shimmering blue pools of terror, Xavier got it on him before he could complain much more.
Xavier grinned. “You’re not the first guy I’ve had cuffed to this post. And that gag in your mouth isn’t the only toy in my box of treasures. But it is one of my favorites, because it means I don’t have to listen to a bunch of whining and begging. I mean, I love whining and begging. I get hard for whining and begging. But only for the first few minutes. Then it gets incredibly fucking tedious.
“But the thing I really love about the gag is, it’s so much easier to get to know someone when they’re being quiet. Just watching their face. Looking into their eyes. Without a bunch of blah, blah, lies, blah, blah rationalization to muddy the truth.”
Growing up near Los Angeles, I spent much of my time frolicking in the Pacific Ocean and penning angst-twisted poetry. Now I’m living in sunny Spain writing pathos-riddled fiction.
I’ve always loved the music and substance of words, always loved writing in well-worn notebooks by hand, tapping at the keys of the computer, and, of course, conjuring up stories.
And from my earliest memories, I’ve always been fascinated—maybe obsessed?—with sex and sexuality.
In my writing, sex is the medium, the expression, and the tool of discovery for my characters’ insecurities, the needs that drive them, the comfort they can’t live without, the joy and relish of life that makes each of them intense, strange, and alluring.
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