This Wednesday I would like to welcome D.M. Youngquist to talk about fetishes, phobias, BDSM and how to found a small press.
1. Your story in the Phobophobia anthology is about Sarmassophobia – the fear of love play. What was the original inspiration for this or were there a number of sources that you drew upon?
Good morning, Greg, and thanks for talking with me. Always a pleasure for a writer to have his brain picked over. Sarmassophobia came from several places from me. It’s probably the most personal story I’ve written, at least emotionally. I had a lot of hang-ups as a young man coming from a deeply religious background. I can also relate to Steve Carrel’s character in “The Forty Year Old Virgin.” I’ve never been smooth with women like my brothers and my dad. I had some bad experiences early on when I did get to the point where intimacy was involved, and for a long time, I was afraid sex before marriage was a straight ticket to hell. I was 21 and engaged before the big event actually happened. Since then, I’ve gained a lot of perspective, learned a lot about the world and myself, and learned to enjoy the act for what it is: The most intimate thing two people who love one another can do.
2. What do you fear? Tell me about your own phobias.
I’ve been dreading this question, as I don’t know how to answer it. Rational fears, I don’t have many. I’ve faced most of them, and gotten past them through planning and caution. I’m not bragging. I’m cautious. I’ve been involved with a lot of high risk jobs over the years from contract work to training horses. Probably my biggest rational fear is the fear of failure. I’ve seen the fallout from that. It’s what’s driven me to earn two college degrees and help fire up DCP. Now, if you’re talking irrational fear. Rats. Can’t stand ‘em. Nasty furry, plague infested creatures that at best are snake food and worst disease infested vermin.
3. Your protagonist, Justin, is shown to be an introvert in comparison to his close friend, Shannon – do you think introverts and extroverts can develop this kind of attraction to one another because of a fascination with what they are not?
Yeah, that’s exactly what draws them together. I know marriages based on this. The old opposites attract thing. But with Justin and Shannon, it’s even deeper than that. It’s a friendship they’ve had for years. Long before any of this adult crap could have come along and messed things up. In my mind, she was always the one saying “Hey, let’s go explored that old haunted house,” and he was the one that hung back. Our personalities develop over the years and go into different areas as adults. And yeah, I think if a person recognizes where they are lacking, they’re drawn to a person who has those traits.
4. Your story explores the dynamics that exist in S&M relationships – where do you think the desire to be dominant and submissive in this context comes from for the people who take part? Is it something innate or a product of the society we live in?
Now you’re into an area where whole doctorial theses have been written. We could break this down into a whole nature versus nurture debate. At its core, deep down, what gives a person pleasure is a deeply personal thing. If that involves being cuffed and “tortured” into orgasm, then that’s just part of you. On the flip side of that, I have talked to Dominatrixes whose top clients are leaders in industry, business owners, high powered people. What they have in common is they are all the ones in charge. They make the descisions. They run the risk of the company failing underneath them. There is something really freeing about letting go of all that control, and just letting someone have their way with you. Also keep in mind that this is one of the relationships that depend totally on trust in one another. If you’re with your spouse, and you do something to hurt her or that she doesn’t like, there’s a good chance that’s going to be the end of the fun. If you go to a club or dungeon, you have to trust the people you’re with. Thing like what happened to Justin and Shannon, do happen in the real world. It’s tragic, but it does happen.
5. Fetishes and phobias are the extreme expressions of what we love and what we fear – do you think this is why there can be such effective crossover between the two? That which turns one person on can have another wanting to run away?
Oh yeah. What turns me on, makes someone run screaming the other direction. Bondage and Discipline are not for everyone. I’m not hardcore by any means. I’ve been fortunate to have some great tutors over the years, and have enjoyed introducing others to the light side, but mention ropes to some people and they freak. This could be true with a lot of things. It doesn’t just have to be about sex or love play. My Dad was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and earned his silver jump wings with 68 jumps. My middle brother has skydived a number of times. Just MENTION the thought of jumping out of a plane to me, and I’m running for the county line. It works that way across the spectrum. We’re all different. It’s what gives life flavor.
6. Snareville is an apocalyptic zombie horror series – what do you think is behind the current fascination with the undead rising and tearing the world apart? Is just Romero fans indulging themselves or is there something deeper at work? What would you say is unique about your own take on the sub-genre?
It’s interesting. The zombie niche has gone through evolutions, so to speak, over the last hundred plus years. Originally, zombies were people who’s souls were possessed by a witch doctor. Romero blew all that away with Night of the Living Dead. A huge jump in the genre. It kind of stagnated along that line for a few decades, until it gained some new life. (pardon the bad attempt at humor). Since about the mid 1990’s it’s been jumping and twitching here and there. It’s really taken off about the time we got slammed with the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That was a major blow, then the economy collapse not long after that. We’ve got an entire generation who have come up in a stagnant economy, who haven’t got decent jobs, who really are looking at a future where they make less money than t heir parents did, and retire with a hell of a lot less. Most people don’t see themselves so much as the rich, glamorous vampires, so much as the walking, shuffling dead. Even though basically both creatures are the same: Reanimated corpses who feed on the living.
As for Snareville itself. I wanted to go a different direction. Most of the books and movies deal with just the opening moments of the Z-Poc. I cover the first year and half. Most of the books and movies take place in large, urban areas where no one knows how to take care of themselves. I wanted to put it into an area I’m familiar with. A small town in the Midwest where we hunt, we fish, we garden, and we take care of one another. I wanted to use logical biology as part of this plague, so I used the Ebola virus mixed with a synthetic to create the zombies. They move fast until they rot away. And they do actually rot. None of this hanging around for years. They decompose at a mostly real rate. The military are mostly painted as bad guys, or at least incompetent. I’ve got over a dozen veterans or active duty men and women in my family, including my youngest brother and his wife. I had to portray them accurately. I tried to blend the American take on the genre, with the British. My folks know how to use guns, but they can think their way through a bad situation as well. Probably, true Romero diehards wouldn’t like this book.
7. Tell me more about how the Phobophobia anthology came about? What were its roots and inspirations at DCP?
Well, Dean came to either Ade or John Prescott at the time with the idea for it. He had an idea for this great anthology about people’s fears. We were buried, and didn’t have time to take on another project. Dean graciously offered to put it together and edit it, and send it to us to publish. We agreed to that, and he was off to the races. I got Sarmassophobia together and sent it off, and he collected everything else. It went through and edit here, and we had it ready for the launch. Dean has become a big part of DCP. He’s now acting as our sales rep for the UK and Europe, and he’s had a lot of great input since we started working together.
8. Tell more about how Dark Continents Publishing came about as a company?
Well, it basically came together when six writers got sick of jumping through hoops for peanuts. Myself, Tracie McBride, Adrian Chamberlin, Sylvia Shults, Serenity Banks and John Prescott had been working on a project together online called Underground Rising. The story was Serenity’s brainchild. It was an interconnected, ongoing story. The six of us found we worked well together, and had a lot in common. I was crazy enough to put the idea out there to form our own publishing company. All of us were in the business for a number of years. We all had experience. We’d all been published with either small presses, like myself and Sylvia, or with short stories like the others. They all liked the idea when I put it out there, and after a couple of weeks debate on the insanity and viability of the idea, we decided to go with it. We saw where the big boys were going wrong, and set out to fix it. On the way, we’ve become somewhat of a respected independent press.
9. Tell me about one of the other stories in Phobophobia that you enjoyed and why?
I’m going to give you the Hugh Hefner diplomatic story: I loved them all. Seriously, every last one of the stories in this book is great. Dean’s got a good eye for story telling, and these writers are all at the top of their field. I’m humbled to be in such good company.
10. So what does 2012 hold for D.M. Youngquist? Any last words?
Well, nothing I want carved on my tombstone. But, what the year holds in store. Hopefully smoother sailing. Growth, both personally (I hope) and in business. Hoping to find more great writers to work with, great projects to get involved with. DCP will be expanding to take in more genres this year. Personally, I want to spend time in the garden with my wife, and enjoy more time with my daughter before she completely grows up.
Thank you D.M.!
Phobophobia is available at the following links:
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