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The Creation of a Book Cover
Of all the activities I participate in as a bakushi perhaps the ones that give me the most satisfaction are those where I am contributing my art to the service of other artists.

Cover imge for "Patience Rewarded: Prometheus in Chains 15" by Clair de Lune.

I was delighted to be of help and was even more impressed when I read the finished material. It’s no surprise that Clair is highly respected in her field and has now produced over fifteen novels.
By this I mean when I’m collaborating with creative people around the world who want to add the element of Japanese rope to their own artistic efforts. 

It has been my great privilege to work with such people as the internationally renowned filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn on his film “The Neon Demon,” the wonderful performance artist Millie Brown on her video “Pendulum” as well as such brilliant photographers as Michel Comte and Michael Helms on projects for GQ, etc., to say nothing of the numerous music videos I’ve done small things for that were created by so many talented musicians, directors and crews over the years (for articles about these gifted people and their work please see various earlier posts in this series).

That said, one of the most interesting and unusual collaborations I’ve entered into has been going on for several years now and has just resulted in something quite satisfying and new.
It all started when I was contacted by an author working under the “pen name” Clair de Lune who resides in Scotland where, cosseted by the highland mists, she writes erotic, romance themed novels, many involving BDSM. 

Normally when I work with writers it’s usually reporters doing “edgy” articles or students doing papers on Kinbaku but seldom is it a writer of fiction and seldom is it someone as talented as Clair.

She first contacted me because she had seen one of my photographs in “The Beauty of Kinbaku” and wanted to know how a particular rope pattern was achieved. 

The correspondence was so pleasant and her questions so intelligent that this quickly evolved into discussions about the history of Kinbaku, BDSM relationships as they relate to rope and all sorts of other fascinating topics.

Cover image of one of Clair de Lune's earlier books, the Red series: "Red is For Denial."
Collaboration with Michel Comte for GQ Italy.
 A book cover.

Composite screen shot and poster from the film "The Neon Demon" by Nicolas Winding Refn.
I suppose one could call her work a clever combining of the hugely popular romance novel genre and the erotic novel but her prose is so polished that her work, in my opinion, stands out from the more run-of-the-mill efforts in those fields.
Photograph by Michael Helms, Rope by Master "K".

In any case, a few months ago she approached me with a surprising proposal. Not only did she want to know how a tie was done for a scene she was writing but this time she asked if my publisher would allow her publisher to use a specific picture for a cover!

I was so pleased with how the cover and the advertising turned out that I prevailed on the very retiring Clair to answer some questions about her work.

The tie is called a Tsukue shibari and is a very intricate piece of bondage. It was something I shamelessly stole from the fine Japanese bakushi Akira Naka years ago and is both quite a challenge for the bound submissive and, I think, artistically quite unusual.

Also, the tie she chose is rather unusual, seldom pictured and the scene in the novel that she described using it for struck me as very dramatic.

I was especially pleased to do this since the picture was one of my own and featured one of my favorite and most skilled models, Marissa Lynn. 

Naturally, I was very flattered and I quickly made arrangements for this to happen.

Tsukue shibari tie.

Advertising one-sheet for "Patience Rewarded: Prometheus in Chains 15" by Clair de Lune.

Interview With Clair de Lune
Question: I know you were in the education field before you became a novelist but have you always wanted to be a writer? 

Clair: Yes. I enjoy letting my imagination roam.

Q: I know you began writing after your career in education ended. How marvelous that you began writing then!

Clair: After retiring due to ill health, I spent a couple of years recovering and then went on to do various crafting projects, but that soon palled. I’d been used to working and living a very active life and, suddenly, I felt as if I were on the scrap heap. But I also felt I had a lot of my life left to live. 

Q: And so an author was born?

Clair: Books have always been an essential part of my life. In my retirement I bought books for my Kindle and amongst them were several BDSM authors. In one moment I realized there could be a market for my work and my curiosity was aroused.

Q: Why BDSM?.

Clair: I enjoyed the books I read but not the extreme ones. I liked the Dom/sub relationship and the connection and caring. 
Legami d'amore (Bonds of Love) a  Master "K" collaboration with photographer Michel Comte for GQ Italy.
Q: So that is what inspired you?

Q: You should be very proud. Yours is a remarkable achievement. In addition to BDSM stories what other types of fiction does your publisher release?.

Clair: Actually, I never intended to write a book, but then my youngest son challenged me to write my own book. I thought about it for a long time before I sat down. The heroine became a woman of my age with her Dom being of the same generation. 

Most of the books available at that time had heroines in their teens or twenties, so their problems bore no relation to those of my generation. I put her in the same position I was in and explored her reactions and saw how she overcame her difficulties.

Q: Fascinating! And is this where your interest in BDSM, which you write about so very well, began?

Clair: As I wrote I became more interested and read books by people in the Lifestyle and the more I read the more curious I became. The rest is history. I hope that answers your question. It feels a little like soul searching, but it’s done me good to revisit and see how far I’ve come. 

Clair: Siren publishes erotic fiction in many genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, Romantic Adventure, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense and Sfi-Fi/Futuristic.

Clair: I had seen this tie of yours before and wanted to include a scene in which the hero of this series tied his sub in this way. I found the picture to be elegant, erotic, evocative and all together fascinating. 

My other publisher, Bookstrand, publishes classic romance novels.

Q: Why did you pick my photograph for your new cover?

Clair: This is book 15 in this series, which involves continuing characters and is set in a BDSM club in Sheffield in the north of England. 

Q: How many books in this particular BDSM series have you written?

Q: When will this book be available for purchase?
Cover image of "Masters to the Rescue," Book 13 in the Prometheus in Chains series by Clair de Lune.
Clair: The publication date is November 21, 2017. 
Q: Is it available on Amazon?
Clair: It’s usually available on Amazon a couple of weeks after first publication. To start with Siren sells it at a slight discount. 
Q: What is your favorite out of all the books you have written so far?
Clair: A difficult question. Of course, “Initiation,” the very first book I wrote, will always have a place in my heart. I have read a lot of Sci-fi and I love to create new worlds.
Cover image of "Initiation: Prometheus in Chains," the first book by Clair de Lune.
Clair: However, if I have to choose one, then it’s “Master Salvador’s Dilemma.” It took a long time to write and was an attempt to look at love in all its forms and explore a ménage with a difference. Could a gay sub, a bi-sexual Dom and a heterosexual female cope in a ménage, not just cope but accept each other’s differences? 

Siren were not keen to publish it. As a publisher of erotic fiction sex is important and their rules require the characters in a relationship be sexually involved. I eventually found a solution. Incidentally, this is my first book to be translated into other languages and has sold very well for which I’m very grateful.  

Thank you very much for the interview. I'm very flattered you selected my photograph for your cover. And thanks for the credit! That was very generous of you.

Best of luck with your new book and the series!
Clair: In addition to Amazon eventually, the book is on pre-order now at: 

Q: Do you have an author’s website where interested readers can get more information about your work?

Clair: Yes, indeed. 
Q: For anyone interested in buying your books where can they find them?
Cover image for "Master Salvador's Dilemma"  by Clair de Lune.