Hello everyone! Today I am so pleased to welcome author Zoe X. Rider to the blog. Zoe is here to talk to us more about her release, Games Boys Play. She has an interview with one of her characters, as well as a great giveaway to share. So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
When I started writing Games Boys Play, I thought there was no way anyone would have an interest in it. It opens with the main character, Brian March, engaging in self-bondage. My worry was that people wouldn’t relate—it’s not exactly mainstream, even as far as kinks go. Why tie yourself up if you can get someone to do it for you? And surely, a good-looking musician can find someone to do that for him.
Add to that the fact that Brian’s been doing this for years. He’s not toying around with a set of handcuffs; he’s developed some (sometimes complicated) ways of tying himself up. I needed to make what he was doing understandable without boring or confusing readers. (I have my fingers crossed that I managed to pull that off.)
To help readers understand why he’s tying himself up at the start of the story, Brian’s agreed to share a little about his hobby—where it started, why he does it, and what he gets out of it. He’s not especially comfortable talking about private matters, either with strangers or people he knows well, but he does an admirable job here. So, here he is, Brian March, co-founder and bass player for the band Attack from Space, and the main character in my first novel, Games Boys Play:
Zoe: So, you’re into self-bondage.
Brian: [red-faced and shifting in his chair a little] Uh…yeah.
Zoe: How’d that start?
Brian: I wanted to copy stuff I’d seen on TV, so I’d grab whatever was available and try to tie myself up, acting it out. I wasn’t very good at it. [He grins.]
Zoe: We’re talking pretty young, right?
Brian: Yeah. I mean, you know, you’re a kid, you play-act things.
Zoe: What about with your friends?
Brian: [shifts in his chair again] I guess that’s the thing. I mean, they were more “Let’s play street hockey,” or Pokémon, or Playstation We weren’t playing cops and robbers and that kind stuff, so the opportunity didn’t really come up to suggest it. And I guess I kind of knew it was something…like, there was something else to it, something I had to keep secret. So I’d do it alone, in my bedroom, or out in the back yard when nobody was around.
Zoe: Did you think about doing it with someone else?
Brian: Not at first. At first I was just playing around. But, you know, puberty hit, and I started thinking about having someone I could do this with. But, you know, puberty’s complicated enough on its own. It was hard enough asking someone to go to a movie, or sneaking my arm around my date’s shoulders. How was I going to bring up, “So, would you like to pretend to be a bad guy and tie me up?”
Zoe: But then you got older…. Once you were in a band, especially, getting with girls had to be easier?
Brian: Yeah, there was that, but by the time I realized it was easier, I was so used to doing this thing myself, keeping it to myself. I mean, I did kind of play around with girlfriends. [The tips of his ears are deep red.] It wasn’t the same thing. You know, by then, it had taken on, sort of, a force of its own.
Zoe: What do you mean by that?
Brian: It was…I don’t know, it was getting specific. I was into specific things about it, specific scenarios. And there’s the challenge of it. It’s like a puzzle. “Okay, I saw this in a movie, and I’d like to be tied up like that, but how do I do that myself and still make it so I can get out later?” On some level, I guess I didn’t want to let go of that part of it. I started to think, “Even if I could work up the courage to say what I wanted, I’d turn into this dick who had to direct everything.” I guess what I’m saying is that tying myself up had kind of grown into kind of a monster all its own, and I started kind of protecting that. I came up with reasons why it would fail if I brought a girlfriend into it, if I had her do it. She wouldn’t do it right, or the whole scenario behind it wouldn’t be right—she’d be thinking of it as this erotic, sexy thing, and I’d want her to be thinking of it as this mean, kidnapping, hostage-taking thing. I—you know, I loved or at least really cared about all the girls I dated, and I just had a hard time seeing them being able to do what I wanted. Maybe they would have been if I’d given them a chance, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Zoe: And then your best friend walked in on you.
Brian: That was pretty horrible at the time. Dylan and I are both…we’re both really private people. This interview, in fact, is kind of killing me.
Zoe: You’re doing fine. It’ll be over soon.
Brian: Thanks. So, yeah, Dylan let himself into the apartment to drop something off, and he had to take a leak, and there I was, in the bathroom. And, you know, if he’d been a stranger, if he’d been some guy breaking into the place, that would have been hot. I mean, in my head it would have been. In real life, it would have been horrible, I probably would have had to have therapy after that. But it was Dylan. There’s nobody in my life I’ve ever been closer to, and there he was standing over me, and I’m tied to a door, and I can’t get out because the ice holding my key out of reach hasn’t melted yet. And he’s just looking at me kind of surprised.
Zoe: Did you kind of hope he’d take advantage of the situation?
Brian: I kind of wished the embarrassment would just go ahead and kill me right there. I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, this could be kinky.” I was thinking, “My life completely sucks right now.”
Zoe: What about later, when he suggested he might be able help you out with that stuff?
Brian: Shit. [He drags his fingers through his hair.] “No.” I mean, “No way.” That was my immediate response. No fucking way.
Zoe: But you changed your mind.
Brian: I changed my mind.
Zoe: Good idea?
Brian: [He smiles bashfully. It’s kind of cute.]
Zoe: How about we just say, “It worked out?”
Brian: Yeah, it worked out.
When I started Games Boys Play, I thought it would come in at a few thousand words. I figured Dylan would walk in on Brian, assess the situation, and take (hot) advantage of it. This is the way a lot of self-bondage accounts (real or fantasized) go. But a funny thing happened on the way to the hot sex. Dylan turned out to be a decent guy with a lot of respect for his best friend. He helped him get untied. He asked questions—curious without being creepy or (too) pushy. And he came back a week later and made an offer.
Given their friendship, their history, and the kind of guys they were, it wasn’t possible to go from point A to point Oh My God in the space of a single bondage scene. Games Boys Play turned into a novel-length physical and emotional journey between two men who’ve known each other nearly half their lives and who have complicated ties, in part because of their career (being in a band together) and in part because Dylan’s father is married to Brian’s aunt (making them technically cousins).
If you like m/m bondage, hardcore roleplay, long slow burns, and/or friends to lovers HEAs, Games Boys Play may be up your alley.
Brian and Dylan have been best friends for years. They have no secrets between them—except for the ones they’re keeping from each other.??When Dylan walks in on Brian engaging in self bondage, Brian’s mortified, but Dylan’s intrigued—to the point of offering to help Brian out next time he gets an urge to be tied up.??No. That’s all Brian can think. No way. But the idea of someone else being in control overwhelms his thoughts, and self-bondage is suddenly a pale substitute for the real thing. He gives Dylan permission, on a trial basis, and comes face to face with a side of Dylan he’s never seen before. A really hot side.??As their games pick up steam, so does their relationship, along with Brian’s courage to go after the things he wants. Like, Dylan.??It might be happily ever after, but there’s one secret left, and it could ruin everything.
Dylan has a couple of tattoos, one of which is a circle on his inner wrist that has some importance to both him and the story. Tattoos are difficult to give away, but one lucky commenter here will win a sterling silver infinity necklace with interlocking circles. To enter, tell us about your favorite tattoo (whether it’s on you, on your “want” list, or on someone else’s body altogether).
Leave a comment for your chance to win. The contest ends on Sunday, April 20th at 11:59 pm EST.
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