Interview with Laura
The scene was May 17th at TesFest in NYC’s famous Pennsylvania
Hotel. After seeking an interview with Ms. Antoniou for approximately 6 months,
the opportunity finally presented itself through her return home for the
event and subsequent signings of her new book, “The Reunion”,
the fifth book in her “Marketplace” series published by Mystic Rose
While event attendees milled about and sitting in the
lounge area of the 6th floor, amidst the green backdrop and black leather (and
deep) couch, Ms. Antoniou availed herself of my microphone and was gracious
enough to lend me her time between seminars.
Joseph: Laura it is a pleasure to be here with you to discuss
your new book and yourself.
about the book, please.
Laura: Well, “The Reunion”
is the 5th ‘Marketplace’ book.
continues the story told sequentially in all of the books, and… contains 2 of
the most popular characters. One of the reasons it’s entitled “The
Reunion”” is because this is the (and, I use the phrase
exactly) long awaited reunion between Chris Parker (who has been in every book)
and Robin Cassidy (the titular character in book #2 called “The
have been asking me for years, “When are these two going to get back
together?”. I kept saying, “Robin has her happily ever after ending and
they’re not meant to be together”; but the fans of the books insisted that
they were. So after a while, I decided I would do what the ‘customer
wanted’ and I wrote the book that would bring them back together.
Joseph: So that was your motivation then for this book?
was one of my questions, “What drove you toward writing this book in
particular?” I had believed you rounded and completed it very well with the
Laura: Well, the last book “The Academy”,
I wrote in different stages.
started writing it while I was still being published by Masquerade. And then
when Masquerade ‘went under’, I stopped working on it because I had no idea
where I was going to sell it. And I thought it might still be under contract.
And, then years later, when Molly Devon, publisher & author of “Screw
the Roses, Send me the Thorns” made an offer to publish me,
that’s when I finished the book.
didn’t know whether I was going to do another Marketplace book. I
didn’t know what it would be about. Then I finished "The
Academy" with an ending that I thought would indicate to most
readers “well that’s it for this character” and “there’s nothing
else to be said”. But that didn’t work very well because I wanted to keep
writing. That was when I put my mind to thinking “how could Robin &
Chris get back together?”
Suddenly, this concept occurred to me about how I could do it without betraying
what I thought the characters would ‘really be doing’ in my ‘fantasy
world’ and that’s how the concept of “The Reunion”
was born. A kind of: ‘get-together’ for slaves & former slaves.
Joseph: What gives you your ideas?
and this is a stupid question that’s asked in every freaking interview, but
what gives you your ideas as an individual?
Laura: Uh… the Sears & Roebuck ‘idea catalog’? (laughs)
Joseph: (chuckles) I gotta get that.
Laura: Well… I’ve always made up stories and a lot of
the Marketplace comes from my particular personal fantasies - some of
them going back to childhood. And, everything else comes from other media I’m
ideas for characters from other books or from movies, occasionally from
television series. I get ideas from plot lines from all the great books.
I’m a shameless thief of other people’s ideas, but the thing that authors do
is ‘recycle’ other people’s ideas. When we do it well, people like
it. Because, there are very few stories and the best you could do is tell a
story in a better way. But the stories are the same. In fact, people who study
literature and also read my books, can ask me questions about the next book and
they’ll know that I’m going in that direction.
Joseph: So, on that subject, what about your next book?
Laura: Well, writing “The Reunion”,
it is a 650 page book.
very long, and it took a long time so it took a lot out of me. So I’m
not plunging into another novel right away. I’m putting together a
collection of all the stuff I wrote for other publishers and other books, and
some unpublished stories and stories that I wrote under other names including
some of my gay male s/m porn and I’m putting all that together in a book I’m
going to call “Now Look What You Made Me Do”, and
hopefully have that together before the end of this year.
after that, my wife and I are splitting a book together called “Slaves
of the Marketplace”, which is going to be a collection of short
stories all about the ‘B characters’ in the Marketplace books.
The ‘walk-on’ slave characters.
basically going to tell their stories in a tag-team fashion, one story at a
time. And I’m intending that to be an entry-level Marketplace book.
This will be the one that we can give to people who say “Oh my God, five
novels? I don’t know if I want to start there.
can give them a book of just short stories and see if they like ‘the world’
of the Marketplace. And, it is also for the fans of the books who
always want more detail. But there’s just a limit to how many 650 page books I
want to put out. But the next novel will be called “The
Inheritor”, and I figure I might start working on that in 2004.
Joseph: Do you consider this book [“The Reunion”]
to be your best one so far, or if not, which one do you consider the best?
Laura: Oh, “The Reunion” is
by far the best.
the best plotted, it’s got the greatest amount of character development in a
I worked much harder on things like physical descriptions of characters and I
have never so tightly plotted 8 days in my entire life. And so I think just from
the sheer amount of work that went into it, it’s the best thing I’ve ever
Joseph: You mentioned that you have a gay male persona that you
the things that has been commented to me (and that I’ve noted myself) in
reading your writings was that you seem to have an incredible empathy with
different viewpoints from whatever ‘lifestyle’ you live relative to
everything from vanilla, to the gay male, to the heterosexual community and the
you attribute that to?
Laura: I’m a pervert.
Joseph: Can I quote you on that?
Laura: I’m a big pervert.
all forms of human sexuality to be interesting. I don’t find them all
arousing, but I find them all interesting.
another world, I would have studied it as an academic, rather than just become a
pervert. But the fact is, gay men turn me on, lesbians turn me on
straight people turn me on. I have been (and I am) a terrible “tranny-chaser”.
My transsexual friends are like “get your hands off me already.”
it’s not just so much that I feel I ‘need’ to put it in so that everyone
has their own sex scene. It’s that I want to put it in because I find
them all hot.
are times when I sit back and I say to myself: “Oh, look this is just a
vanilla sex scene between heterosexual people. How can I write that?”
And then eight pages later, I realize that I’ve written this enormously
detailed sex scene between 2 heterosexual characters and I’m turned on by it.
I really like that because I never want to be jaded. I never want to take
an attitude such as “oh here comes another lesbian scene” or “here comes
another flogging scene”. I do want people of all kinds to enjoy my books.
One of the greatest things that I love is when people who are one particular
orientation (as opposed to a polymorphous pervert like me) say, “You know,
I’m not gay, but I even found the gay scene in your book really hot.”
know, that to me… …that’s right.
Joseph: If you can reach across a sexuality and especially
some preconceived notions and touch them - that’s excellent?
Laura: Yes, and then people write to me and say “I wish
you wouldn’t put so much ‘gay male sex’ in your books”, and I tell them
to go screw themselves.
Joseph: (laughs) “Write your own damn
the things that I know has been brought to your attention is that you write
about the Marketplace and you write about cultures of ‘ancient lore’.
And I mean ancient as in greater than 30 or 50 years…
Joseph: That has a history that goes further back in time
and that sells slaves, own slaves, obviously, that basically train slaves for
sexual and other services.
Joseph: And, folks are using that as a basis (and, it’s
unfortunate to say, but true) for reinforcing their claims that they belong to
an ancient house with an ancient lore and places that have this sort of a
Do you have something to comment on this? I mean, they’re saying
(basically) that you must know about this.
Laura: Yeah. (snort) Well, if I wrote a Star Trek
novel, then that must mean that I know about quantum physics and that I fly to
I say this all the time: I write fiction and there’s a reason why I
the things in my books not only don’t exist in real life, but could not exist
in real life.
not live in a world where you can hide a multi-national slave-selling culture
without it being known. And we do not live in a world where there are
literally thousands of people who would go into training and leave their lives
behind to be sold to a complete stranger without having a say as to who they
would be sold to or what they would be used for.
are the two biggest fictional aspects of my books; and, what I would say to
people who try to use my books as an excuse for their ‘delusions’, is: they
[the people making these claims] are about as ‘realistic’ as people who say
that they’re ‘Klingons’. You know?
my best friends are 'Kingons'.
they’re ‘Klingons’ at Star Trek conventions; and, they put on their
costumes… and they put the make-up on… and they go to Burger King and order
as a ‘Klingon’.
Monday, they’re back at work at the Stop & Shop and life goes on.
And, they are not fully Kingons.
Joseph: So… Are you saying that there is absolutely no
chance that these exist?
Laura: Well, there’s about as much chance that they
exist as the Klingons. Or you know, some outer-space- dwelling-people who drop
by here every once in a while to capture farmers and give them high-colonics.
don’t much believe in that either.
believe that people are held in slavery? Absolutely.
Non-consensual chattel slavery is a fact of history. We can
trace it back. We can look through thousands & thousands of years of human
records about the sale of human beings.
could look into organized crime and find that right now there’s the sale of
human beings going on all over the world where [women] are forced into
prostitution; children, in the Philippines and Polynesia forced into
prostitution; people are brought here from China, they’re brought here from
Russia, they work in sweat shops, they work in some small communities where
they’re kept here illegally.
are slaves. They’re slaves. And we can find their stories.
“secret organization” with “mystical backgrounds” and “secret
handshakes” and people actually going on an auction block willingly? No
way. We’d have evidence of it “Somewhere”.
So, there are no sacred scrolls, then?
Laura: (laughs) Um…No… I don’t
believe so - and if someone says that they’ve found them, then guess where
they are not going to be? On the fucking Internet.
Joseph: That’s my biggest ‘thing’ [about all this].
Excuse me for the interlude, but if there was a secret organization:
A. Why would they be talking about it?
B. Why would they be on the internet talking about it? And,
C. Why would they be recruiting on the internet?
Laura: (chuckles) Right.
on the internet and join my ‘super secret organization’.
can tell that we’re old and mystical because we have cartoons of flickering
candles on our website and creepy electronic music'.
we all call ourselves “Lord **** ****” and “Lady…'...ugh…
God knows what! You see I’m really afraid that I’m
using someone’s actual screen name here.
Joseph: Understood. I won’t use any names like
that. Um… I actually gave a lecture about this up at Flogging at the
Falls a couple of weeks ago. They had their international perv’s convention
there (which they do annually). And I had a nationally and now obviously
internationally known gentleman who was also highlighted up there and he got
up and said that he at one point while a musician, (we’ll try to make this
as vague as possible), while touring Europe had found out about an ancient
house and had joined it.
Laura: “Ah.” (chuckle)
Joseph: Now, we do have in our communities, and this isn’t
something I sincerely wanted to touch on. We have people in [the leather
community] in Atlanta, in Los Angeles, Chicago, and a few other locations,
there’s one in Texas now, that are saying that they do belong to these
ancient houses and there’s people who…
Laura: “Believe them”
Joseph: ...believe them.
Joseph: Do you have anything to say to these folks that
believe them or about the situation?
Laura: About the same thing I’d say to people who
believe in ‘crop circles’, or ‘pet psychics’, or that John Edwards guy
on TV who talks to the dead:
you really firmly believe in that sort of thing, well…
you know… whatever… I think you’re being deluded. I
say that there’s no evidence to support what you’re
saying. And I say that there are a lot of charlatans out there and that
there are a lot of really sad people who can’t make a life for themselves
and therefore make a great glorious past that they’re a part of.
in fact, that’s a part of what draws a lot of people into S&M. They have
very romantic fantasies (often from childhood), about service and sacrifice
and that sort of thing.
they’re kids, they imagine themselves as ‘good guy’s and ‘bad guys’,
‘knights’ and ‘squires’, and ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’; and,
when they grow up and find that there’s an actual S&M community and you
come out and meet people… what do you find?
find ‘Joe’ who works at the ‘Stop & Shop’ and ‘Mary’ who’s
an accountant and ‘Charlie’ who’s unemployed… and, they’re
absolutely common people.
so all of the romance you wanted as a child can only last for the length of
the scene. So, when you’re not playing, how can you hold onto the
Well…you make up the stories that you made up when you were a kid; and as
for the people who say that they’re ‘Baronesses’, ‘Countesses’,
‘Lords’, ‘Masters’, ‘Counts’…
Laura: Grand-Masters (snort)… yeah bite
know…whatever they want to call themselves. You know? Fine.
And I’m the “Grand Puba of Mitzvah”.
But you know? What does that get me?
It’s not going to get me on the bus unless I have a token too. And,
what really annoys me is that they do get very gullible people
to believe them, and it can be almost 'cult-ish'. That people will
isolate themselves or submit themselves to really bad relationships because
they think that will connect them to some sort of greater glory and really…
get a better hobby!
Joseph: Just on a personal level, what does S&M… BDSM…
however you want to term it, (D/s as some people are now trying to break it
out in)… what does that mean to you personally?
Laura: Well… I’m a sado-masochist. That’s my
I was a child, before I could verbalize what I was into, I knew that what
excited me were issues of power imbalance, I had fantasies of being kidnapped,
tied up, locked in boxes. I did horrible things to my Barbie dolls and to Ken,
and to Action Jackson and to GI Joe as a matter of fact, being an equal
the world thru a lens where every relationship has sado-masochistic overtones
really sensitive to power dynamics, and because of that, I’ve been a real
failure at just plain vanilla relationships. Because it’s not that I’m
always wrestling for top & bottom. A completely egalitarian relationship
to me feels hollow. And the closest relationship [I have had] like
‘that’ is the one that I have with my wife. And, that’s why she’s my
wife and not some unequal partner.
the fact is that she does give into me a lot and she flatters my ego and
very… very carefully steers me in the right direction. And so, we exchange
power delicately on a day-to-day basis.
we’re aware of it, so that’s why I can take it. I take sado-masochism
don’t see it as something I ‘do’. I don’t see it as a ‘hobby’.
I don’t see it as ‘something’ that flavors my sexuality.
You know… it’s not foreplay. To me, I’m not going to
cum unless something is happening either in my mind or to someone’s body
that involves pain, humiliation, some sort of danger or threat, or fear.
Joseph: The other night I went down and saw the opening
of the documentary “Beyond Vanilla”.
Laura: Oh, how was it?
Joseph: It was ‘good’.
of the points that the film seemed to be stressing was the need for a bigger
orgasm; and, some folks who had reached a certain level of it, whether it was
thru S/M activities or through fisting (or whatever it happened to have been),
declared that it was “like dying” or it was like “Nirvana”
(my own words, not theirs).
that something you feel is necessary in your sexuality or is that just a bonus
to it for yourself?
Laura: Well, I separate orgasm from other goals that I
have in expressing my sexuality and as far as I’m concerned, there’s no
such thing as a bad orgasm. Ok? A three minute quickie with a
vibrator… that orgasm is just as good as the one that’s
after two hours of sweaty things with lube and gloves and things snapping all
over the bedroom.
are good but I get enduring satisfaction as a sadist in the point in play
where I realize that the bottom really intensely hates what I’m doing.
And that satisfaction is worth 100 orgasms. When I bottomed, I got
immense… immense satisfaction of being beaten to the point of near hysteria
and that has nothing to do with orgasm.
Bigger orgasms? I don’t know… mine are sized just right for me, I
think. I like getting girls off. I like it when they tell me
“that was the best” and that sort of thing. But I take it with a
grain of salt because I assume most girls are trained to say “you made the
earth move” and you know…
Joseph: (chuckle) That’s kind of what I tell
everybody. "You might be told you can do ‘that’ well,
however, the people who have been telling you that are basically just grateful
to get it."
Laura: (chuckle) Right.
Joseph: I think that’s about it.
Seriously… I would love to sit here and talk with you all day long.
You’re refreshing. Thank you for your time.
Laura: You are welcome.