In promoting the latest book in the S&M series, I called upon my fellow BDSM authors and friends to give a little insight into BDSM, what inspires them, and how they really feel about writing BDSM in light (or maybe, in spite) of 50 Shades of Grey.
I present to you, Author Shakir Rashaan.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a married, polyamorous, Leather Master. That’s the kink side of me. The author side of me is a bit more multi-faceted: I write in erotica, erotic romance, mystery, paranormal, young adult (under a different pen name) and romance (yes, I can be romantic, dammit LOL).
What made you become involve with the Lifestyle?
I actually stumbled into things years ago. There was this woman (you know, there’s always a woman), and she initially mistook me for a submissive (I was 21 at the time; she was in her early 40s). She approached me with interest for a one night stand, and as the conversation developed, she realized before I did what I was. She felt her husband would be a good man to mentor me in all things dominance and submission, and…well, the rest is history.
You’re under Zane’s imprint. How much influence has she had on your career to-date? Will we also see a Shakir Rashaan project on the screen?
Zane has helped me take things to levels I really don’t know if I would have been able to go on my own. She is an absolutely wonderful wealth of information and experience, and I’m blessed to have been able to work with her throughout this entire literary journey…one that I hope will continue for as long as she will have me.
As far as a Shakir Rashaan project on the screen…well, I’m putting in work to hopefully make that happen, too! I’ve been learning the fine art of television script writing, with the possibility of pitching “The Nubian Underworld” to the cable networks, hopefully in the next eighteen months. I want to make sure I learn the process so I don’t look like a rookie that doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Hopefully something will happen in that time frame. Anything is possible!
There are different dynamics – Dominant/submissive, Master/slave, polyamorous, etc. Explain why you chose your particular one and why it’s a great fit for you.
D/s and M/s are personal journeys in and of themselves; for me and my Beloved, it was a process, transcending from D/s to M/s. We’d always been poly, though, so that was the easier transition when it came to merging the two lifestyles.
It’s a great fit for us for one simple reason: submissives, once they have given their trust and their essence, strive to make their Dominants happy, especially when they have a service-oriented core to themselves that appeals to anyone who enjoys control of another.
I’ve known you for a few years and honestly, you’re one of the most charming and intelligent people I’ve met. Lately, however, you’ve been getting some flack for your strong criticism of the 50 Shades of Grey series and movie(s). While some are claiming jealousy, as a fellow writer, I do understand your point of view. Explain your side.
Flattery will get you everywhere!
There is no jealousy on my end when it comes to my criticism of ELJ and the FSOG franchise. What I have always criticized (and what I will always criticize) is the piss-poor research that was done when she created the relationship between Christian and Ana. That was not a D/s relationship; that was systematic stalking at its finest, masquerading as an “intense” relationship.
Take away the money and the power that came with it, and he’s a creepy dude that needs to have a restraining order placed on him.
She trivialized and marginalized a relationship that is at the very core of my being. I don’t simply write about this; this is my life. She didn’t care about any of that: the struggles we go through, the legalities that we have to circumvent as much as we can. All that mattered to her was a punchline: “I’m fifty shades of fucked up.”
Well, I’m here to tell you: I’m not, and the majority of the men and women who enjoy this lifestyle are far from it.
If I had her connections in the television industry…well, that’s all I’m going to say about that. Combine that with capitalizing off someone else’s work through fan fiction and literally copying the formula (instead of creating something on her own), and yes, she really didn’t accomplish anything. Now, if you want to criticize me for that, then I have no problems with it.
You’re a devoted husband, family man, and you also have submissive(s). Now this blew me away when I first learned of it and was even more blown away when I learned your wife, Layla, was also a Master. Explain to everyone how that dynamic works. Is there jealousy? Do you two fight for power and ownership?
Well, at current, we do not own any submissives, and we’re still healing from that loss as we’re speaking. When we do own one, WE own him or her.
We’ve gotten to the point in our marriage where jealousy no longer registers anywhere on the Richter scale; that wasn’t always the case, but it’s a beautiful thing to behold now.
There is also no power struggle; we are One, not two separate souls, and that is also the case within the realm of D/s. Whatever decisions are made, they are made together, so there is no doubt or confusion from the one who eventually serves us. Even those who are in service to us (as opposed to in a relationship with us – big difference) enjoy the fact that they know that whatever directive they are given, regardless of who gives it, they know that it came from both of us.
In the writing world, particularly those who write BDSM, there’s the argument based on 50 Shades of Grey, whether we should entertain or educate. Some say it’s possible to do both, while others, like myself, say you can focus on one really well while sacrificing the other. Where do you stand?
Anyone who has read my Nubian Underworld series has been able to come up with their own questions about different things within the kink community and how they might want to create their own D/s relationship. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten emails from readers who have told me that because of my series, they were able to get over their own apprehension and check out their real-time local kink community.
And yes, other readers have emailed me to let me know that they’ve thoroughly enjoyed my books on a more sensual, sexual level also. (Insert smirk here)
All of that is to say, both can be done, but it’s not something that someone can come out of the gate trying to pull off. As you said, something will get sacrificed, and the readers will be able to tell.
I’ve read a few of your books and I’m just now starting the Nubian Underworld series, which is also available at Amazon. You write about different dynamics and your characters aren’t the typical kind one would find in romance. In fact, I believe one was an openly bisexual male. When you write characters like that, is it based on someone you knew or is it just your imagination? In other words, how much of your real-life and interactions, both past and present, are in your works?
At the beginning of the series, I left a disclaimer which, in part, states that some of the situations and scenes actually happened, and some of them were a part of my vivid imagination. It was simply a matter of the reader trying to figure out which one was real and which was fabricated, and I wasn’t going to divulge which was which, ever. That’s the fun part of creating this series; I get to borrow from real-time friends and associates, current and former submissives and lovers, and change the names to protect the not-so-innocent.
Last question – Many people, like yourself, live and breathe BDSM 24/7. For those who are interested but don’t know where to start, what advice can you give them?
In this day and age, Google is your friend, honestly.
Also (and I’m not being paid for saying this, either) joining FetLife helps tremendously. People are creating different local events, especially in the major metropolitan areas, so it’s simply a matter of going to the events and finding out what’s going on and showing up. It’s a helluva lot easier than when I was growing up in the nineties LOL!
Once you’ve figured out where you want to go, be open, be friendly, and listen to the conversations that are going on around you. Everyone started out somewhere, and you don’t have to try to impress anyone with that you think you know. The more open you are to learning, the more people will be willing to help.
Thank you, Shakir, for your very frank and honest discussion. I am very excited for your future endeavors and I certainly hope to see one of your projects on the screen! Keep us posted!
For more information on Shakir, please visit his blog here.
To purchase his books on Amazon, click here.
To follow him on Twitter, click here.
To follow him on Facebook, click here.