I’ve had a few pen names in my time, but the main ones I write under are Natalie Dae (mainly BDSM M/F) and Sarah Masters (usually angsty M/M—stories that deal with the harsh realities of life instead of sweeping them under the carpet while at the same time having a happy ending/hope for the future).
Joyce: Welcome back to HEA, Natalie! Please tell us a bit about your new release, Denial.
Natalie: Denial is one of those books that is very close to my heart. Most of the time, what I write is just a story. Other times, like with Denial, it comes right from the heart. Not that my other books don’t, but, you know, some turn out to be very special.
With Magenta Starling, I wanted to explore alternate universes and going back in time. Imagine a place that exists alongside our world, but time has slowed so that we’re in the 2000s and they’re still in the 1800s. I was on my historical kick when writing it and planned to write the whole thing set in Thradmos, the other realm, but my characters also wanted to be modern. That was cool.
I distinctly remember thinking as a child that when I grew up I’d know so much more and be so…with it. I’d be mature to the point that I could deal with every eventuality and exude this presence that meant I was one hell of a grown-up woman. How come that never worked out? LOL.
As a kid, I always felt awkward, like I didn’t fit in anywhere. Unfortunately, that followed me to my adulthood. When younger, I used to look at punks and think, “Wow, you are so brave.” I wanted to be like them—I can remember wanting to be like them right from a tiny girl. I wanted to be able to be my real self and just embrace who I was, people’s opinions be damned. Sadly, that never happened.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
I wear the kind of ear buds used on flights. They drown out all sound, and as soon as I put them in it’s like a trigger to my brain that says I have to write, no exceptions. I also play a game where I give myself a goal—I can go and make a cup of tea once I’ve finished a chapter or I can get up and walk around for a while. I find it keeps me focused, and if I want that cup of tea badly enough, I write faster.
Sometimes, I sit and wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t write. Of course, there was a time when I didn’t, so I kind of know. Between leaving school (where I did most of my writing) and having four children, going to work part time, I didn’t have the energy or enthusiasm to pick it back up again. I still kept a daily diary, though, but then one day, when my fourth child was two weeks old, something nudged me to write again. I think it was after a book I’d read had inspired me and it reignited the spark. My sister gave me a typewriter—I’m sure it was her, and thank God she did!—and I managed to scrabble enough money together to buy some paper. Times were hard back then, so buying that paper meant I gave up a couple of my meals.
I thought about how many people might not have somewhere to go to explore their BDSM needs—somewhere that would offer them support as well as allow them to indulge in their desires. I imagined how cool it would be for someone to have felt the same—and the character Master M was born. He’s a man who wanted to run a place where everyone could get together and be free to express themselves, so he used his mini mansion as a venue.
We all have sexual fantasies, I'm sure. Books are an ideal way to explore them without stepping over that line from thinking about it to actually doing it. Perhaps that's enough for some-you know, reading about a character who has the same needs as you, possibly sates your craving so you don't feel you have to play it out for real. For others it might mean learning more about what the fantasy entails, getting comfortable with it, accepting that it's okay to feel this or want this, then moving on to doing it for real.
Lily Harlem, Ashe Barker and Sierra Cartwright. All three have an exceptional way of drawing me in and not letting me go. Their varying styles suit my varying moods (hee hee) and I know with each author I'll always, always get a good story. They are my go-to for romance. I love them.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Natalie: The idea for Denial came easily. I’d written a short story for the What’s Her Secret? imprint launch called The Submissive’s Secret.