Kasi Alexander on BDSM, polyamory, and why mainstream readers are ready for her book

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Local author Kasi Alexander's first book, Becoming sage, is an emotive and realistic peek into both the BDSM and polyamorous lifestyles. It takes readers by the hand--gently places a leather cuff on the hand--and leads them through a raw, sensual world of power exchange and many loves that mainstream readers may not have ever been exposed to. BDSM and polyamory have been peeking out of small cracks in the closet door for a while now, but is it time for them to thrust open the door and come out into the light?

Kasi Alexander says yes -- and she answers questions about BDSM, polyamory, why she decided to write the book -- and why people into alternative lifestyles and those who are not -- should read it.

Westword: Is this book based on real-life events? Is it autobiographical?

Kasi Alexander: It is autobiographical to an extent. The emotions and feelings are real but most of the events are fictional. I relate most closely with sage's character and I do live in a 24/7 Master/slave poly household with my master and our partner. She is not a slave or into M/s but does do the BDSM things with us. I have experienced most of the types of play described in the book. I love bondage, thuddy play and knife play but have never had to go through the emotionally challenging things sage and sunni do toward the end of the book. I don't want to give away too much and will stop with that.

BDSM and polyamory can be controversial subjects, and risky ones to write a book about. Were you nervous at all about how Becoming sage would be received by readers? Book critics?

Of course I was nervous and, as it turned out, with good reason as I was laid off from my job of eleven years less than six months after sage was released. Now, I won't say that was why I was laid off, but it probably didn't help. I believe in looking on the bright side of things and saw it as an opportunity to follow my dream and spend more time writing and developing our family business of making chainmail jewelry, which we sell around the county under the name Poly's Pleasures.

I am always nervous about reviews and usually let my very own "Sir Rune" read them first. We have been very lucky and have, knock on wood here, only had one bad review and that was just last week. There were a few other cool reviews but the majority so far have been very positive and filled with comments that let us know our message has been well received.

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Kasi Alexander
Why did you decide to write this book?

I wrote this book because my Sir told me to (laughs out loud). But seriously, it has been a lifelong goal of mine to write and get published. Shortly after my partners and I started down the path of BDSM, polyamory and power exchange, it came out in a conversation that this was a dream of mine. (For those of you not familiar with polyamory, there is a saying that goes "swingers have sex, polys have conversations... lots and lots of conversations.") Anyway, one of the elements of power exchange that is very important to us is the fact that it can be used as a tool of growth and improvement for all the parties involved.

So my Sir decided that one of the goals for our M/s (Master/slave) relationship would be to meet this lifelong goal. He helped me plot and brainstorm the book along with our third and then I was required to write every day. We would go over it each evening and brainstorm out the next few scenes. Before we knew it Becoming sage was a reality.

When you wrote Becoming sage, did you intend it to be for BDSM/polyamory-friendly readers, or did you want it to appeal to a broader audience?

Both. How is that for a definite answer for you? Seriously, we want people in the lifestyle to enjoy the book and, possibly gain some perspective, advice, help or comfort from it as needed. Sometimes just knowing others have had the same thoughts and feelings that you are going through helps you see that light at the end of the tunnel. Even more importantly to us, however, was to appeal to a broader audience and hopefully dispel some of the horrible myths, misunderstandings and utter falsehoods out there about alternative lifestyles. Just because they aren't the traditional relationship models of one man and one woman, living the same lives our parents lived, doesn't mean it is wrong or harmful.

Would you explain to readers who are not familiar with M/s or D/s why you intentionally did not capitalize "sage," or the other slaves' names in the book?

In the leather and kink world there are many traditions and rituals used to establish a hierarchical structure. Much of the leather traditions are based on military protocols and were adopted and fostered by the "Old Guard" gay leathermen. One of those protocols commonly used by the people who practice power exchange relationships is to not capitalize the names of slaves or submissives -- yes, there is a difference between the two but not a commonly held definition.

What word a person uses to identify themselves is based on who the individual in question feels in their heart that they are. This is not done to demean or belittle the slave; it is to recognize and validate their chosen identity, just as dominants or masters often go by a title depending on their personality or standing in the community. Their name is capitalized and often preceded with the title "Master" or "Sir." Another common practice in alternative lifestyles is to adopt a "scene name" which is generally not their real name. We tried to show and explain both of these conventions in the book so people can better understand some of the intent behind these practices. This is a sad byproduct of the negative consequences that can befall someone who chooses to live in such a way that is true to their nature instead of in a traditionally accepted relationship model.

Continue reading for more on Alexander's books.

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