I first read this story as an e-serial a few months ago, and now it’s available for the first time in print. As someone who prefers a great book to watching TV, reading Deceptive Innocence was the experience I wanted to have watching Revenge. The set-up is similar, but the heroine is far more relatable and the eroticism drives the story more than the mechanics of retribution. Below is a conversation we had with author Kyra Davis when the e-serial launched in February.
LB: I love this story! It’s one of those books that make me think damn, I wish I wrote this. What gave you the idea for this revenge story/ star-crossed passion?
KD: Wow, what a compliment, thank you! As for what gave me the idea…well, I’ve never really been into romances that are just about the relationship between two people and how they fall in love (despite the inevitable misunderstanding). To hold my interest a romance needs to have a more encompassing story with lots of unexpected twists and turns. Furthermore I’m not a fan of sweet, naive heroines who fall for troubled, powerful, bad-boys. Don’t get me wrong, I love troubled, powerful bad-boys. I just think they deserve troubled, powerful bad-girls who can take them on. At some point I realized that a revenge storyline gave me everything I wanted; a strong but flawed vengeful-angel of a heroine, a bad boy and a real storyline with lots of characters who can provide the broader canvas I like to paint on.
LB: One of my favorite lines from the story is “Sleeping with the enemy isn’t a problem, but wanting to sleep with the enemy is.” I’ve never read a sex scene in which the heroine is trying not to enjoy it — but does. How was it writing the sexual dynamic between Bell and Lander?
KD: Sooo much fun! I loved putting Bell in the position of being the aggressor and the submissive literally at the same time. She seduced Lander. She orchestrated the situation that led to them sleeping together. She goes into this thinking that she’s totally in control of everything…and then she finds that her control is entirely superficial. Yes she can, to a degree, control the circumstances but she can’t control her own emotional and physical reactions. More to the point, in order to make her plan work she not only has to make herself sexually available to Lander (which she’s prepared for) but she has to allow him to touch her in ways that will make her want him (which she’s not prepared for at all). So as a result you have a very nuanced power struggle. Lander wants to overwhelm Bell, he wants to make her lose control and Bell wants to lure Lander into a trap that will lead to revenge. So then the question becomes, what happens when everybody gets their wish?
LB: Bell is a very vivid character – a great heroine. Her philosophy of revenge, her psychology of revenge, comes across very strongly. Did you research classic revenge stories or archetypes before writing this?
KD: Well I gave her the pseudonym Dantés after Edmond Dantés in Alexandre Dumas’The Count Of Monte Cristo so I can’t say that book didn’t leap to mind when I decided to delve into the subject of revenge. But I don’t think you need to do a lot of research to write about someone who’s driven by revenge. The desire for revenge is something that every person over the age of five can relate to. The first time a sibling butchers your favorite Barbie’s hair you know what it’s like to want revenge. In real life we all (hopefully) learn the power and rewards of forgiveness but we never lose touch with what it’s like to want revenge which is probably why it’s so appealing to see fictional characters seek it. Sci-fi fans, romance readers, mystery/thriller lovers and literary elitists all love a good revenge story. It is an oddly unifying subject matter. That made it fun, easy and interesting to explore.
LB: Bell is tough but vulnerable, a really exquisite character with strong ideas. She has some great mental one-liners. One of my favorites is “Desire and longing make men careless.” Do you have a favorite?
KD: My new obsession is checking Amazon to see which of my quotes people have highlighted on their Kindle. Seriously, I could spend hours just reading those highlights and several more hours sitting at my desk trying to analyze what it means that such-and-such a quote was highlighted 300 times. But picking just one myself? I don’t know if I’m capable of that. There are a few passages from the book that I really like. There’s this for instance:
“What happens when it’s over?
The question is always there, coiled up like a snake in the back of my mind, waiting to inject its venom into my thoughts. What happens after I win? Without revenge and vengeance—without war—what’s left of me?”
Or when she describes women who seem to actually look for abusive men to date:
“Every time they smile at a Hells Angels type I can see the unspoken words hovering over their heads: Here’s the knife. Hurt me so I don’t have to hurt myself. Take away the responsibility and just give me the pain.”
But picking a favorite one line quote? I can do it for other people’s work but not for my own.
LB: Reading Deceptive Innocence is like watching a great TV drama (but with better sex). What are your favorite shows?
KD: It probably won’t shock anyone who reads my books that over the last several years my favorite TV shows have been Game Of Thrones, True Blood and The Tudors (which I dearly wish was still on the air). They’re all shows that deal with strong women and the power struggles they engage in (frequently with the men they desire).
Kyra Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the the JUST ONE NIGHT trilogy, SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING and the Sophie Katz mysteries and the upcoming Pure Sin series. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently living in Southern California with her son, fiancé and her black lab, Sophie Dogz Davis. You can learn more about Kyra Davis and her books by visiting: www.kyradavis.com
DECEPTIVE INNOCENCE: The Pure Sin Series by Kyra Davis/Gallery/June 24