What an honour!
Faith Ashlin: A World Like This
Please welcome Faith Ashlin to AReCafe!
A world like this one but not quite.
I love that idea. Taking a familiar situation and twisting it, just a bit. Then, of course, adding in a relationship between two gorgeous men, and seeing how love – and lust – can grow. It’s even more interesting if they are from different positions in society.
I’ve been fascinated by the idea of love between two people whose status seems poles apart for a long time. I tried it with royalty and soldiers in my book Knights and Butterscotch but I wanted to take it one step further.
For me, the ultimate imbalance has to be a world where there is slavery. One where slaves are such a normal part of life that no one questions owning one. A world like ours except slavery is commonplace. I thought that was a really interesting idea. How would people react in a world like that? It’s too easy to apply our morals to a different time and say we wouldn’t accept slaves. I don’t think back that in Roman times everyone was worrying about the morality of slavery. I’m also sure there are things we don’t question in the modern western world that, sometime in the future, people will look back on and shake their heads at.
I decided to take a world like that and think about relationships between slaves and owners. What really fired me was thinking about my own reaction to being in both those positions. I’d be a terrible slave. I’d either be cowering in the corner, too terrified to move, or so fuelled by anger I’d be plotting my revenge on my owner, no matter how kind he was. I’d be cooperative and thankful on the surface while peeing in his soup and absolutely seething inside.
But what if I were the owner? I’d try to be kind, decent and treat my slave well, but would I give him up when no one around me even questioned the idea of ownership? I doubt it. I think that takes someone exceptional and I’m not exceptional.
Would I actually rather enjoy have control over someone else and always getting my own way? I like to think not but one of the things I love about writing is having power over all the characters.
So how do I bring a slave and owner together in a loving – and lustful! – relationship that’s equal and fair? I have to change mindsets, diffuse anger and get both characters to see things from the other’s point of view. That was the challenge I set myself in my new book A Slow Process of Understanding. I think the result is one of the best things I’ve ever written.
Blurb for A Slow Process of Understanding
How does a world that accepts slavery affect both master and slave? Can two people build a new life for themselves with a start like theirs?
It’s a world like this one except for the all-powerful State that’s very firmly in control and the fact that slavery is legal. Jimmy had never really thought about it or the fight for freedom going on around him. He was too busy enjoying his privileged life as an actor on a sci-fi show.
But what is he meant to do when he’s forced to permanently bond to a slave he doesn’t want just because he made one silly, drunken mistake? Does it change who he is, what he is?
Trouble is, Jimmy isn’t sure who he was to start with. He’d never thought about it.
And what about his slave, Nate? Can a slave force Jimmy into learning something about himself?