I occasionally get questions from fans, on topics ranging from the trivial to the important.
For the interest of readers, I’ve decided to round up some of those questions – and my answers – into a Reality Check column.
This column contains questions and answers from the calendar year 2020. Please note that the answers were written in 2020 so they may be a little out of date!
I’ve done some editing of questions to remove irrelevant content or correct typos, but they’re otherwise the original language of the person asking the question.
1 July 2020
What are your favourite books?
Literally several rooms of my house are a library, so picking like three books is not going to happen.
I grew up on pulp fantasy – the TSR novels for Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance; David Eddings; stuff like that. Also Piers Anthony, the majority of whose writing is quite seriously fucked up in ways that I didn’t recognise when younger. May have been formative.
I went on to Terry Pratchett, Phillip K Dick, and inevitably George RR Martin (both Wild Cards and Game of Thrones).
I became – and still am – a huge Stephen King fan. His collected bibliography takes up a large part of one wall.
Individual books that mean a lot to me include Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell; A Scanner Darkly by Phillip K Dick; The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger; and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
I get (valid) criticism from my partner for my library being mostly white dudes. While it’s reasonable to expect that I’ll identify most with books written by people who have a similar perspective to me, I’ve been trying to read more broadly recently, and discovered Yoon Ha Lee’s excellent Machineries of Empire trilogy; the works of Becky Chambers; and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary universe. My partner keeps pushing NK Jemisin at me but the way she constantly describes it as “challenging and grim” isn’t enthusing me.
I recently finished Brian McLellan’s second Powder Mage trilogy – vastly better and more mature than his first – and I’ve just dived into Summerland by Michael Chabon, which so far is confirming my theory that Chabon is a gifted writer of humanity but has absolutely no talent for speculative fiction.
On top of all of the above I have an extensive library of comics.
Update 7 July 2022: I was not greatly impressed by Summerland.
1 July 2020
Geometry sucks right? I was good at and even liked some math classes, but I hated geometry. Did you ever take it? If so, can you remember any of the devil’s most evil creation, proofs?
Look, I topped my state in mathematics (literally the top score statewide) in public primary school. I went on to do high school at a private school on full scholarship, and their math education was so woeful I was flunking math by the end of that year. (Private school was not fun times.)
I kept up my grades in statistics, at least, but generally I got out of the math stream entirely. When I finished schooling back at public school after moving interstate, I double-majored in English and Media, with a side order of Programming, History and Drama. Arts all the way. Subsequent study was in law, politics and sociology.
So no, proofs wasn’t my thing.
1 July 2002
How do you feel about femboys / submissive men that may connect with the content you make? I know you focus more on female / male stuff but it seems like male on male domination is kind of… lacking in the story and caption department. Idk why, but female degradation always seems to be written better, in addition to being more common. Keep up the good work <3
Anyone who enjoys my work and supports real-life consent and respect is welcome to connect with it.
I’m hetero, so I’m not going to be writing any male-on-male content. I can only write what personally turns me on. But you don’t have to share my orientation to be welcome in my readership. 🙂
I have to say that when I go to kink meetups I seem to have a talent for ending up with the attention of the new subby guys, who are often lovely people but not the reason that I’m there. My theory is that, because of social context, I’m a little more cautious / less aggressive talking to women I’ve never met before than with men, so my dom vibes come across stronger to men? Or maybe I just have powerful daddy energy.
1 July 2002
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Actually, butterscotch with sherbet and candy Nerds rolled into it. My girls looks at me in horror, but it’s so good.
(I feel like I should give the sexy answer of “whatever flavour happens to be melting across a sub’s tits”, but no, it’s butterscotch, sorry.)
1 July 2002
What kind of music do you typically listen to? Do you have a favourite band?
Female-vocalist folk and alt-pop. Some dance and techno. Musicals and soundtracks.
Most recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer”; the most recent CHVRCHES album (“Love Is Dead”); and the new Lady Gaga (“Chromatica”). Which is all very poppy, I know (although Dirty Computer is also a frikkin’ genius piece of political speech).
Past loves have included Tori Amos, Florence and the Machine, The Killers, Little Birdy, Powderfinger, MS MR, La Roux…
Plus Hamilton has been on pretty heavy rotation for the last year and I’ve got a watch party scheduled for it dropping on Disney+ this weekend.
Update 7 July 2002: Hamilton was indeed pretty good on Disney+.
1 July 2002
What’s your favourite non common tongue twister (aka, not “toy boat” or “red leather yellow leather”)? Mine is, “I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, upon the slitted sheet I sit.”
I can recite the entirety of Fox In Socks from memory, without stumbling.
We’ll find something new to do now.
Here is lots of new blue goo now.
New goo. Blue goo.
Blue goo. New goo.
Gooey goo for chewy chewing!
That’s what that Goo-Goose is doing.
Do you choose to chew goo, too, sir?
If, sir, you, sir, choose to chew, sir,
with the Goo-Goose, chew, sir.
1 July 2002
Top 3 Horror movies, go!
1) The Haunting (1963) – Robert Wise’s adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s classic ghost story is a masterclass in doing more with less. It’s a chilling and effective study of psychological horror that is genuinely unsettling despite the fact it never shows *anything* – most of the heavy lifting is done by the sound effects. It also (unusually for the time) preserves most of the queer subtext between protagonist Eleanor and offsider Theo. For those who haven’t read the book it’s based on, it’s a must-read, and its first paragraph is one of the most beautiful and perfect ever written in modern literature. (Don’t let the 90s film or the recent Netflix show put you off – the original is quite different.)
2) Scream (1996) – Wes Craven’s production of Kevin Williamson’s pop-culture-infused screenplay may not be the most elegant horror film ever made, but it’s the one that got me, personally, into horror. It not only works on its own merits as an effective slasher-horror-mystery, but it also serves as a primer on Western slasher horror for newbies – plus it’s frequently genuinely funny. (Also, in 1996, a young Neve Campbell and Rose McGowan were definitely an attraction.)
3) The Shining (1980) – Kubrick was famously unfaithful to Stephen King’s book – despite some weird artefacts left in the film that suggest it was originally going to hew closer to the original plot – but it’s a masterpiece regardless, thanks largely to Kubrick’s confronting direction, its unsettling musical score, and of course Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance.
Honourable mentions go to Gore Verbisnki’s western adaptation of The Ring, William Castle’s schlocky-but-wonderful 1959 House on Haunted Hill, and the deeply-traumatising 2018 film Hereditary.
1 July 2002
What’s the origin of your name? (not your birthname silly, I mean AllTheseRoadworks)
When I started writing, I wanted something completely random that couldn’t be linked back to me by any process of association, so I did the thing of opening a book, turning to a random page, and taking the first three words that jumped out at me.
I’m a *little* less concerned about all that now, but given what I write it’s still sensible to be pseudonymous.
In retrospect I might have gone for a random-but-pronounceable jumble of letters to make me easier to uniquely Google, but it’s not too bad as is.
24 August 2020
Not sure if that’s a question, an accusation, or if you just got cut off before you could finish typing. 🙂 (Or were you pointing out a typo? Message me and let me know.)
But yes, in the real-world I unequivocally believe in promoting equity, respect and safety for women. The world in which we all get the most kinky fucked-up D/s play is the one where women are safe to explore their kinks without being assaulted, shamed, or discriminated against for doing so. Real-life interactions need to be built on a foundation of positive, enthusiastic consent, and when you build that foundation, you’ll find that women are much more willing to kneel to you, knowing that they are supported to stand again when they want to.
We often process our trauma through our kinks, and in my case it’s the real inequity in the world that needs fighting that leads me to explore the taboos that I do in fiction.
23 September 2020
This isn’t really a question but I just wanted to say that you’re the first person to actually convince me to PAY for porn in my entire 25 years on the planet, so ah, good job!
It’s very frustrating that so much of paid porn products feel like they’re out to scam you in some way. I’m keen to make sure that it’s clear what I’m selling, you get what you pay for, and you feel it was worth paying for. 🙂
23 September 2020
My [feedback] is you’re good at writing emotions and anxiety. and what’s sadism without empathy?
I’m on the autism spectrum so I’m acutely aware that empathy is a function of brain chemistry. On a good day, or on medication, I can tell where people are at from a few words or looking into their eyes, and so seeing what’s going on in their mind is fascinating for me. It’s all about the justifications, the choices, the anxieties, the satisfaction.
On a bad day, everything is just processes, cogs in a system, and I relate to erotica on that level. What’s hot is the way that rules and systems and language and structure force people into new behaviours and new identities.
Readers will have seen both of these aspects in my writing. My best “writing”, in a formal literary sense, definitely comes from the good days. My nastiest and darkest ideas come from the bad days…
23 September 2020
lol been buying your stuff for a while and only just realised etrebor sounds like erebor
You can take it from me that I had no intention of implying that the Lonely Mountain at which Bilbo confronted the dragon Smaug is actually a horrifying patriarchal dystopia. Although I suppose it might be, on a very small scale.
3 October 2020
have u written [bestiality] before?
People keep asking me this!
Explicit pornographic depictions of bestiality are illegal in my own country and several of my key markets, even in text format, albeit that pure text erotica is rarely prosecuted on. In addition to that, they’re against the Terms of Service of BDSMLR and several other sites I post on.
I have opinions about the criminalisation of fiction (hint: I’m against it) but this isn’t the hill I’m going to die on.
So you’re going to have to make do with implication, suggestion, and brief mention, sorry.
That said, there is nothing illegal about depictions of sex with (a) werewolves and other “man-beasts”, (c) fictional monsters of all kinds, (c) demons that look like animals, (d) aliens that look like animals, or (e) basically anything that isn’t literally a real Earth animal, so that’s all still fair game. (All of which gets around the fundamental problem with real-life bestiality, which is that animals can’t consent, although in my stories it’s generally not the animals where consent is in question…)
I’ll be back with another collection of questions and answers in the near future.
In the mean time, if you have questions for me, you can send them to me at email@example.com, or use the Ask feature on either BDSMLR or ReblogMe.
- All These Roadworks
- 7 July 2022
One thought on “Reality Check: Q&A, Issue 1”