It’s a pleasure to be here with you, Melissa, and your wonderful readers!
Please tell my readers about you.
I am a middle-aged french canadian, curious of everything with a very open mind. So it was no surprise that when I discovered ménage stories 5 years ago, I decided then and there that I would read only this genre after that. I am proud of my collection and to promote this genre. My reviews are based on reading so many of them. I am passionate and can be sarcastic if something bother me but I am always honest, never mean! You'll find my reviews a bit more personal and less of a critique as I like to share what a book makes me think, feel, question... I love my ménage world!
How many books do you read on average a year?
I usually read around 150 books. It all depends on the length, but my average is around three per weeks. It generally takes me two or three evenings to read a 150p book since I also spend a lot of time on Facebook and my blog to post my ménage reviews.
But I probably review 1/3 of the 150 I read. First, reason is time. One of my motto in life is: "Born to read, forced to work". So work unfortunately slow down what I so enjoy doing: read and review a book. My second reason is that I decided when I started to review and blog (almost 2 years ago) that I wanted to have fun. And, I have absolutely no fun to review a story that I cannot give a minimum of a 3 stars. Out of frustration, it happened, but this is not my cup of tea.
I love this genre so much that for me praising a ménage story and an author, share all the emotions that the story made me feel gives me an immense pleasure to do.
So far, I reviewed around 180 ménage romances.
Why did you decide to read strictly menage stories?
Pretty much all my life, I read like the majority MF vanilla stories. A couple of years ago, I wanted to read something more spicy with my romance. Reading the poor 17ish virgin girl pursued by the usually millionnaire's 30ish bachelor womanize man did not fit with me a long time ago and I wanted to read romances again. One day, I visited my local library and saw Laurell K. Hamilton on shelf. That was a revelation. I devoured this series.
I was then curious if I could find more erotic stories like this. I went on amazon, surfed around, typed the magic word "ménage" and bam! An endless list appeared! Lucky me!
My first ménage romance that brought my attention was Colter's woman by Maya Banks. I did not have an e-reader or an android at that time so it was paperbacks from amazon. Pretty quickly, I discovered the ebooks, had my first e-reader and started my collection.
And that's all it took for me to become a menage romance addict. One woman and multiple guys devoted to her exclusively? A woman never lacking of attention and love and care? How could I resist!
I was never a groupie kind of girl and read one author exclusively so I found the variety totally appealing. Each ménage authors has its own vision of a ménage relationship and this is totally awesome to read so many different styles.
What interests you in menage stories?
I am fascinated by how several different people interact with each other. I think with two people it is already difficult and full of concessions, so just imagine how much more complicated it can be when there is a third partner, if not more, in the relationship.
I think the more people involved, the more complicated the relationship is. All the insecurities and emotions, like jealousy for example, are amplified.
We are also visual individuals and voyeurism in ménage erotica plays a big part as well as sharing our feelings. Being part of a ménage needs a lot of reassurance, tolerance and commitment as well as a great sense of communication. I do not read a ménage for the sex scenes but I would lie saying that it does not add brownies in the story! Unfortunately, most authors are not kinky enough in ménage stories, and they mix a lot BDSM with light bondage or think that the kinkiest sex scene ever is the one on the kitchen table or the dual penetration at the epilogue. There is a little lack of imagination most of the time but when an author knows how to write them, it is just the perfect finishing touch to the story.
I truly think that the more characters involved, the more interesting is the relationship. It’s like in a team: if you do not work or play together, nothing will work. Different personalities mean more emotional involvement.
Somehow, I also think that in such relationships, you can have the best of all. I love cuddles so one male can be sweet and tender, but at times I like him intense, so another male can be possessive and intense and a third could make me laugh, a fourth could be kinky etc.
Why do you believe that they are popular stories these days?
Women are more emancipated today. Today's stories are way more sexual than a few decades ago and they do not hide their needs anymore. Women are less and less shy to share their fantasies and they want explicit hot sex scenes in their romances. Ménage romances offer a large variety of phantasms they can live through their heroines. The more men, the more possibilities. If we add exclusive passion centered on the heroine, then you double or triple the pleasure. There is never a lack of love, lack of sex, lack of attention. The reader will find everything she is looking in several men and will find it way believable. Like several men may have flaws but all at once they are a perfect man versus a single man that cannot be perfect. For me, it totally makes sense anyway :)
For a couple of years now, women are reading more and more gay romances and find it very hot. Ménage gives the best world if the heroes are bisexuals: they are front row and center. If readers prefer straight men dedicated exclusively to the heroine, they find that too. It depends on how comfortable and the limits of the kinkiness that the reader have. The ménage can be soft and sweet and centered to feelings (men are sharing a wife, but not the bed), I call that vanilla ménage, but it can be also very kinky and we enter the BDSM lifestyle..and everything in between.
Somehow, ménage opens doors to every possible fantasies. I believe most readers have a two people relationships and never experienced a threesome. They would then live their fantasy through a ménage story, and have fun to feel a little bit dirtier probably, spicing up their love life without cheating or go against the society disaproval.
Years ago women of all age related to 17ish virgin heroine. They found their ultimate fantasy to be kidnapped by an older debauched rich jaded bachelor. Today, they want to be a bit more adventurous and kinky: they read hot ménages.
But sex is only part of a ménage. What makes a good story/book?
Some MF authors will put the sex in #1 position, some will put the relationship #1 and for some it will be the plot. With ménage authors, it is the same, but they are even more challenged because they must include the multiple partners factor in each sex or relationship or plot! I believe that an author must be very talented to write this sub-genre.
My idea of what makes a ménage a must read is this: Characters = relationship = plot = sex
All of the above must be equally developed. Credibility and time factor must always be in the front of each story. If you read my reviews that is and always will be my pet peeves!
In general, I consider a must read ménage when the author know what she/he is talking about. For example, if they write about BDSM, they must know the difference between BDSM elements vs BDSM lifestyle. A Dom is not a temporary status. But a male can have some dominant attitude in the bedroom. I always cringe a little bit when an author calls her heroes a Dom just because he likes to spank or play with cuffs or make a vague reference that he belongs to a BDSM club.
I always feel it when an author put her/his soul into the story and that makes reading so very special.
Although it is very rare that I dislike a book completely. It happens, but rarely. I always find something good in a ménage romance. This sub-genre fascinates me, plain and simple.
A good original plot on top of everything and I am in heaven.
Do you think that a menage can work in society and life?
However, it takes a lot of communication and lack of jealousy of all involved. The possessiveness that we read in ménage romances rarely work in real ménage relationship. We are territorial mammals and sharing our male or female is not a natural behavior.
I've never been a taboo girl and I had my own ménage. This is probably why credibility takes so much place in my reviews. But like a vanilla relationship between two people, it takes the same ingredients to make the relation work, but multiplied. Each people involved should be a piece of puzzle that complete the other people perfectly. The same way we find married couple, gay or straight, still in love after 30 years, the same way we can find polyamory long-term relationship. With the right people and love, everything is possible.
Today, it is still extremely taboo to claim that you are in a polyamory relationship or a ménage à trois. People think that the woman is generally a slut and love gang bangs. They completely obliterate the love factor. People hardly associate feelings with a ménage, but sex. We were all raised to think that marriage = 2 people. To accept the concept to love more than one person is generally not accepted. Even if they do, they will find reasons to never give equal love for all and we call it "third wheel".
So it takes very special people to make it works but for me love is love and since it is a beautiful thing, we should not limit our love to one person by obligation or because society condemn it. It should be a personal choice.
Which type of menage do you think works best—one with two or more men or one with two or more women? Why?
We are raised with the notion that harems exist and a harem is one man with multiple concubines or wives. I would not say it is natural for all but the old testament taught us that millennium ago this kind of relationship existed. We never read of the reverse: one woman and a harem of men.
What is the first reaction when we see a man with two women? Lucky guy!
What is the first reaction when we see a woman with two men? Slut!
And there you have your answer.
This said. I believe there is no rules. What works for one, may not for the other. If you put me in a position to choose. I am not bisexual and for me sharing my man would be difficult with another woman. But I would have no issue to share with another man if I am included in the relationship of course. Triangle love is not for me, I'm afraid.
I love a woman's body. I love the lines, the curves, the softness. I admire and I can definitely stare a beautiful woman in the street if I see one. Mentally, I am rarely in awe with a woman. I guess I never met a woman that I could fall in love with. I will never say: “never” however.
But I just love men. I love them from head to toes. I fell in love a couple of times in my life and I am lucky to say that I know what passion means.
So naturally, I am partial. My type of ménage I prefer is one woman with multiple men, straight or bisexual.
So it is all a matter who with who. Is it best? Best in what? For me there is no best. It all depends on how they fit together, not the genre. You may think that you type is tall, blond with blue eyes and no boobs and in the end you may fall for a brunette, not so tall with brown eyes… with or without boobs! lol
If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
Do not loose time in something you do not feel comfortable with. Time is clicking fast and happiness is our decision. Never be afraid to take your destiny in your own hands and move on. Life is short!
Please let my readers know anything important that you didn’t get to share.** Don’t forget to include the contest for your site and links.**
Thank you for this unique opportunity and for your interview. I love this sub-genre, and I hope that some readers will be curious enough to read a ménage romance and hopefully get as hooked as I am.
And because I love this genre so much, I would like to take the oportunity to invite you all to our First Annual Menage Romances Fan's Choice Awards.
I thought it was time to dedicate a contest for ménage authors only! ;)
22 different categories to choose from: one vote per category but 22 chances to win prizes !
From January 5 to January 31st, 2013, use this FORM to nominate your favorite ménage authors and stories in the categories of your choice.
The nominations will close at midnight January 31st and on Feb 2-28, 2013, everyone will get to vote (poll). Winners will be announced on March 1st 2013.
So time to pay back and show your love and appreciation to this genre and nominate the ménage romances that stood out in your mind in 2012!
I hope you will join the fun!
Where to find Mary:
Here's the link to the nominations form here:
Best of luck to all the authors nominated!