Interview with M.J. Rennie

How long has it been that you’ve been writing books for Pink Flamingo Publications?
Thirteen years next January. Lizbeth Dusseau graciously accepted How To Adore An Older Woman in late 2000 for her expanding Pink Flamingo line and I’ve been on board ever since.
At the time, PF was producing these charming little black and white, saddle-stitched books, in paperback only. Believe me, I treasure the ones that I kept. It was all so brilliantly underground and subversive. I was aware of Lizbeth as a writer too, as Masquerade had published her as well. I could tell hers was a well-run enterprise. Soon ebooks were coming from PF, and the paperbacks steadily improved, and, while the checks were often small, they arrived. A ten year anniversary How To Adore edition was re-issued by PF in 2011.
I took my work to Lizbeth because I was keenly interested in the kinds of books she was publishing and thought mine might fit in among them somewhere.
And how many volumes have you published with PF?
Five. My sixth one, another story collection, entitled Brotherhood is Powerless, appears October 18, 2013. I’m very much looking forward to it. At well over 90,000 words, Brotherhood is one of my finest, most complex literary efforts. The kinky private obsessions are on display full force, I am proud to report.
Mainly, I am a jokester. It’s the relationship I’m interested in. The after-romance. The propaganda of Feminine Dominance I make up as I go along.
Nearly twenty years now I’ve been publishing stories and novels along similar lines, from pre-internet pulp fap mags to super-ambitious recent offerings like Manhandling, Total Femdom, and now, Brotherhood is Powerless.
All my works are concerned with strongly adult themes, although the tone and subject matter vary widely.
Are you part of an organized BDSM community?
I answer that with a resounding yes, because I am part of the human race. At bottom, I sense that as beings descended from reptiles overlaid with a mammalian forebrain, we are strongly sensitive to notions of domination and submission. But as for community, I’m not much of a joiner and besides, my chief mission in life is entertaining my spouse of 32 years with witty conversation and wry cynicism. Not long ago, I freed myself from a stultifying job in an oppressive bureaucracy and my slogan currently is: “Let the Party Begin!”
How did you get into writing Femdom?
During the early 1990s, I decided to explore the D/s phenomenon within the framework of a compulsive writing habit. It soon became clear that my first story had something, and was published as Permission/The Perfect Wife in 1999 by the legendary Masquerade Books, whose founder, Richard Kasak, died just last year.
You describe yourself as an old-fashioned writer of contemporary erotica. What do you mean by that?
By that I mean that I physically write in longhand in notebooks of which I seem to have a countless number. The act of scratching out a story this way keeps me honest. No excess verbiage. The adjectives, for example. Keep them few. Ladle on the verbs and nouns with gusto. Keep it romantic, but factual. Straightforward. Economical. Accurate. And every word counts. Then I dictate the material into my computer using a popular software program, and revise from there.
I spent many an agonized hour teaching myself to write and didn’t break through until I was in my mid-thirties. The problem was that I was only interested in what was going on around me and I needed to learn how to pick and choose among my subjects. Or pretend to, anyway.
I still like to use people, places, and situations I’ve actually encountered because I think it is interesting and lends verisimilitude to any kind of work. It also makes it romantic at the very deepest level. It means more to say, “Remember, we’ll always have Paris,” if you’ve actually been there together.
Your stories are often extremely romantic. The man always loves this quirky, sexy, volatile, dominant, very hands-on woman, and yet one of your readers has called you the “Prince of Love,” despite the near-constant coupling that goes on in your stori
With the usual form of double think we’ve all learned as a result of living in a society like ours. There are a limited number of ways we may express romantic attraction in our society. Some are approved—others are not. The great thing about a Femdom romance is that you can cut to the chase.
In traditional romances you have all this phony back and forth over the question of whether or not they will get together. Spoiler alert! They always do.
In Femdom romances, you dispense with the phony stuff and start with a couple who are cemented together, but with the woman in charge. This effectively opens a vast untapped field of comic consequences, if you’re sophisticated and have a nice sense of humor. Not every reader gets it, I am sorry to say.
And there is never any coercion in my stories. The man is a happy, satisfied victim, if you want to call him that. He is capable of the essential submissive quality that I call “Surrender.” And he’s an indefatigable enabler.
I won’t go into politics, but Woman-Dominant is a far more common condition in real-life marriages than you might think. Once a couple is freed from the Do We or Don’t We? mumbo-jumbo, you get some interesting stuff happening.
Make no mistake: I am writing these stories to entertain urban sophisticates everywhere. Many, if not most of my stories, are intended to be read before bedtime with the gadgets off (unless it’s a reader) and the music low.
The cadence of the language in a number of my stories – Doing The Dishes in my Brotherhood volume or Lacy Sunday in the Femdom Omnibus collection are but two examples – is intended as deliberate bedtime reading.
I’m of the opinion that couples who regularly read to each other at night—using a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or even a solid, regular book, are couples who stay together. Especially if it’s sexy stories they read.
Where you think your work is headed at this point?
I consider myself a minor but interesting writer if you’re open-minded and knowledgeable. Prepare to meet hostile aliens, dystopian nightmares, alternate societies, political repression, time-space aberrations, and even Adolph Hitler. Nobody writes in the Femdom genre quite like I do, and thankfully I’ve had no imitators yet. I believe that by training my attention on the modern gender wars I have probed the dark heart of heterosexuality—perhaps going where no man has gone before. The conclusion that I have come to is as follows:
Women and men deserve each other.
My hero sees the strongly dominant, sexual woman and says, “Okay darling, I will concede your superiority but otherwise expect to match wits with me and do not forget that even though we are unequals, I am still the passport to realms barred to you without my presence. Beyond that my interior world is yours.”
Name some writers you admire and discuss them.
I love every scribbling maniac who ever lived in this world, from your smarter-than-average Sumerian daubing a stylus in wet clay, to your modern self-published internet-aholic. They are all equally precious, equally important, in the scheme of things. Unlike the inarticulate ones, they have taken the opportunity to speak. To say. For non-writers and non-recorders and non-rememberers, there is only the present and future. Never the past. I don’t care what your medium happens to be— music , video, film, painting, poetry—whatever. Every human being is a cave painting artist, lustily singing of the beasts by torchlight while he or she paints, the tribe gathered round, enrapt by every word and gesture. Let a trillion flowers bloom in spring. Humanity is on the verge of a glorious future, if only we don’t fuck up.
In Femdom, however, there are only two writers at present of real stature. The first is Leopold Sacher-Masoch, who invented the genre with his Venus in Furs in 1870, and the Canadian John Glassco, whose 1960 novel The English Governess is the masterpiece of the genre, even though it is totally politically incorrect. My novel How To Adore an Older Woman is essentially a tribute to Glassco, but with the political incorrectitude removed.
That’s another thing. You’ve got a political slant that reveals you to be a strongly pro-environment, pro-human rights, pro-libertarian liberal. How do you square that with your characters, who are often rigidly conservative?
Sex is beyond politics and therefore is neither conservative nor liberal. It is all based on the genetic blueprint of the human species. In my view, Feminine leadership in human life drives the success or failure of humanity as a whole.
When the Toba catastrophe reduced the number of human breeding pairs to about five or six thousand worldwide some 70,000 years ago, do you think it was the men who ensured our survival? No!
You can bet your bottom caribou that it was the women.
It is the nihilistic nature of many of our emasculine men that I object to. He’s the chicken disguised as a hawk. Their attitude can be summed up as: I don’t care about anybody else. I only care about me.
The type, especially in politics, is common.
Adolph Hitler I never tire of featuring in my stories because to me he is the classic destructive male leader. And he was a big sexist, don’t forget. Beware the sexist male. He makes the worst possible husband. Adolph Hitler is useful because he exemplifies everything that is wrong with the male leadership principle, from our murky past onward to the hazardous present.
Do we have company in the universe?
Absolutely! Not only that, this universe is a mere bubble in the big fat bubble bath of spacetime. Cybele and Attis frolic in the claw foot tub together, his cock arisen and her eager hands upon it, churning the warm water, spawning new universes.
You’ve got a bunch of writing under your given name to your credit besides erotica—sports, celebrity, civics, and collecting hobbies, mostly for middle school readers.
Yes, and I really enjoy such projects because they keep me sharp and also produce checks ,for which I have, as most writers do, an insatiable need. Just this summer I published a lengthy story about an obscure set of football cards for a magazine aimed at well-heeled advanced collectors.
Another thing I would like to mention is that I have three mainstream novels out, two in diary form and the other—MAVO: High School in the 1960s, Freshman Year—is a first person narrative.
How have these been received?
The reading public has yet to evince an interest in revisiting the Sixties and Seventies in Restoration style. I hope someday that these literary curiosities will find a receptive audience. There are those among us whose work is not necessarily suited to this time but may find favor in a later period. It happens. The three books are, by the way, superbly well written and polished to a fine gloss.
You also completed a massive novel, based on recent science, an historical novel about the last days of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Has that book found an audience?
The Forever Girl is available as an ebook on Amazon but you have to go through Google to find it. It’s one of those Evil Corporation things. Because there are realistic, historically documented and authentic depictions of child abuse in my novel, the Evil Corporation chooses not to allow a successful search for it using their search engine. I guess you can’t really call it censorship. It’s more like invisibleship.
Anything to add?
Just that working with you guys is great.
Published 2013-10-14.
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