TIH 520: Stephanie Parent on The Briars, Working in a Haunted Dungeon, and Haunted Houses

TIH 520 Stephanie Parent on The Briars, Working in a Haunted Dungeon, and Haunted Houses

In this podcast, Stephanie Parent talks about The Briars, working in a haunted dungeon, haunted houses, and much more.

About Stephanie Parent

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California as well as a professional submissive and switch. Her first poetry collection, Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell, ​was released August 2022 from Querencia Press. Her debut gothic horror novel, The Briars, was released in May 2023 from Cemetery Gates Media.

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From the author of The Girl in the Video comes a darkly comic thriller with an edge-of-your-seat climax.

Denny just wants to be the world’s best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather, Frank. Then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie half-sister who demands he uncovers the cause of her father’s death.

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Michael David Wilson 0:28

Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co host, Bob Pastorella. We chat with the world's best writers about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Now today we are chatting with Stephanie parent, the author of The briars, for the second and final part of our conversation, and in this episode, we get deep into the Breyers her debut novel from cemetery gates media. We talk about hauntings, we talk about sex work, we talk about dungeons, we talk about BDSM and we talk about a lot lot more. This is a really interesting conversation. This is Dare I say a vital conversation, and it is one that I think you're gonna get an awful lot out of. But before we jump into it, a quick advert break.

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Michael David Wilson 2:41

Okay, with that said, here it is. It is the final part with Stephanie parent on this is Horror. So let's talk a little bit about the briars. And as I said before, this is such a fantastic and unique story. It's difficult to articulate exactly what people are going to get here. But the way that I would pit here is it's a gothic Shirley Jackson s go story, exploring the human condition set in a BDSM dungeon, kind of poem of Love, Grief and humanity.

Stephanie Parent 3:26

I love that. Can you rewrite my back cover copy? No, that was what was like exactly what I want people to get out of it. So that was great. I love that you said Shirley Jackson Jackson esque too, because you're not the first person to use that comparison. And I mean, she's such a great writer. So it's very good to hear that.

Michael David Wilson 3:51

Fantastic. And so I mean, as we said before, some of this came from your memoir and working in a commercial BDSM dungeon. So at what point did you decide that it was better for you to tell this story or to explore this mode of your life through a novel?

Stephanie Parent 4:20

I mean, I think it happened when the the memoir just wasn't selling. So I just realized the memoir wasn't going to work. But I also kind of realized through that whole process of generating remember that a memoir that not that I'll never write nonfiction and I can enjoy writing like short nonfiction pieces. But for full length books, I really do think that my strength is fiction, even if it's auto fiction, which I guess is very fraught term but you know, fiction inspired by my, my real experience, but just allowing that little bit of the fictional element to join in I think, allows me to create something a lot stronger, probably They just coming from, you know, as a kid having read so many fairy tales and fantasy and things with with a non realistic element to them, that's kind of naturally where my brain goes. So just you know, as soon as I made that decision, it just made sense that like, of course, you know, I just I guess I just kind of thought that the memorial was the right thing to do you know, that that would sell and, but but the novel felt right. And also because her is having such a moment, you know, and it did fit really well, like the BDSM dungeon really works as like a gothic horror setting. So it just made sense that this thing that's already popular right now, like the Gothic Horror, an erotic horror really works well with the place that I want to write about. So the actual agenda that I worked at was actually said to be haunted. So it all kind of fit together. Like I'd already actually had an idea to write a short story about it. But then realized, you know, probably work better as a novel. So

Michael David Wilson 6:02

Well, I'm glad that we are jumping in to the haunted aspect, early doors, and to kind of give us a sense of where you're coming from, I think it would be helpful to know, what are your own personal beliefs pertaining to ghosts and the supernatural or lack thereof?

Stephanie Parent 6:22

Well, I mean, I wish I could say that I believe in ghosts. Maybe there's like a little part of me that believes in ghosts. But I think if you put me to a lie detector and said, like, Do you believe that ghosts are actual entities with minds of their own that are doing things in our earthly plane, then I think I would say no, no, I don't believe that. Like, I'm also just, you know, I'm not religious. I've never really believed in any of that stuff, even though I've always loved like, fantasy stuff. Um, but I do like to think of ghosts as kind of a metaphorical manifestation of an aspect of human experience. And that being that, you know, the way that our past and people or emotions or places or experiences that we've lost in the past tend to cling to us in one way or another, and influence our actions and our thoughts. And that's what a ghost means to me. And I think it's interesting that ghost stories exist in pretty much any cultures, folklore, like it's obviously something that our brains kind of naturally do to make sense of our world and of the fact that we lose things, you know, and keep going. And they sort of keep on existing through our minds.

Michael David Wilson 7:37

Yeah, yeah. Well, I think probably because the ultimate question is what happens after death? And it's far more exciting or interesting to actually come up with an answer that isn't like, well, well, nothing. Yeah, mate. That's not exciting. But we with like folklore and ghosts and the supernatural. It almost adds like not only a little bit more magic to this world, but magic beyond.

Stephanie Parent 8:13

Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Michael David Wilson 8:15

And so working in this dungeon, that was supposedly haunted. How did that affect the atmosphere? How did that affect your other people working there? Were there rumors? Would that people who said that they had seen or experience something? Indeed, did you ever experience anything that was difficult to explain?

Stephanie Parent 8:44

I personally never did, unfortunately. But yeah, there were definitely some women working there who like really believed it. So it was basically pretty similar to the ghost story that's in the briars, which is that the previous owner who started the dungeon that her ghost kind of haunted it and like one of the rooms was named after her. And it was full of pictures of her so it wasn't hard to you know, imagine her haunting the space. And, you know, a dungeon it's like, it wasn't literally a dungeon like it wasn't below the ground. It was like house, but you know, there, it was dark. There were little electric candles everywhere. Lots of dark corners, lots of dark furniture, creepy stuff. So it was just the kind of space that felt like it would be haunted. And I well, I would say so I very rarely worked at night. So even though you would think a place like that would only be open at night. It was actually open all day at night. Like it was open 11am to 10pm or midnight, but I usually work day shifts. It just kind of worked out that way. So it was a little like if I had worked late at night and had to close up late at night, I might have been more likely to feel like I felt the haunting or you know, but I didn't I worked the day shift. So I never really felt on thing, but there were like little things that happen that had logical explanations, but that people would say was the ghost and one of the most frequent ones ones was the water. So like the old house that the dungeon was in had bad water pressure. So if you had the water running a little bit, and then you flush the toilet, the water would stop, while the toilet was filling back up. So people would think that they had turned the water off, right, and they would leave the room, leave the bathroom. And then like, two minutes later, the water when the toilet had filled, the water would just start running. Like loudly even though there was nobody in there. So I haven't a lot, it was kind of creepy. So that was something that people would always say was the ghost. And that was kind of how I came up with the idea of using all the water stuff in my, in my book. So that was a big one. And then also just you know, like, it wasn't all buildings, so of course, they're gonna be like creepy little creaky noises or, and there are a lot of people in these rooms. So like, things being out of place or not where you thought you put them or getting moved around. And and you know, there's probably logical explanations for this stuff, but kind of fun to get to blame it on a ghost. And then I think, you know, what we did was like, not always super dangerous, but there was always, you know, the risk that that something unpleasant was going to happen to you in session. So it was a nice idea to think that there was this like ghostly presence washing over that would keep anything too bad from happening. So just kind of like a nice little budget and nice little idea to have, I think.

Michael David Wilson 11:38

Yeah, well, many clients so aware of the potential ghost indeed. Was that ever used as a selling point?

Stephanie Parent 11:47

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think there definitely were some I mean, because we had like a lot of elderly clients that was in the book. And that was really based on my real experience, who had been going there. So you know, some of them they knew her when she was alive. And her name was it wasn't lady Lilith. It was Lady Laura was the real, the real owner. Like the newer so they didn't know they and some of the clients have been coming there that long. They wanted to feel like they were like part of the family. So they would maybe even say like, Oh, I know, I know about Lady Lara's, you know, like trying to, to ingratiate themselves a little bit. So yeah, there were some but like the average person just coming in? Didn't didn't know. No.

Michael David Wilson 12:27

Yeah. And I wonder, how did you start working at the dungeon? And indeed, before that, how did you get into that line of work?

Stephanie Parent 12:38

I always kind of been fascinated by it. It kind of went along even with my interest in fairy tales and stuff. Since when I was little because I was interested in like the darker versions of the fairy tale of the chat a lot of masochism and violence and things along that nature. And I also always liked like noir detective stories. So it was always kind of fascinated by bondage. And then, like Bettie Page type stuff like pinup models and like spanking videos, and all this stuff kind of fascinated me. So I always wanted to do something like that, like wanted to do stripping or burlesque dancing or something. But I just didn't really know how to get into it. I was pretty shy. But then when I was living in Los Angeles, because I'd gone to grad school for writing there, I found a interview with a professional submissive at a dungeon and I hadn't known that was a thing. So I read the interview, I was like, really fascinated by it. And I started to Google, the dentists in Los Angeles. And I found the main one, like the biggest one was basically the one that I ended up working at. And they basically hired you know, any woman who wanted to work there, like you just have to send in some pictures and they weren't really you know, they let in. Women have a variety of like, ages and body types and, and stuff. They weren't really they weren't like looking for supermodels or anything, they just kind of, you know, if you did have like, if you were were maybe like heavier, had more of an alternative? Look, they might warn you like you might not do as well, you know, like, unfortunately, the stereotypical like, blonde, blue eyed white girl is always going to do the best because, you know, we live in a racist society, but but they wouldn't let anybody really try it out. So, yeah, so you just sent in your pictures in your bio, and they let you try it out. And it was kind of Thinkorswim like a lot of women would just work a shift or two and be like, this isn't for me. And a lot of other women would just absolutely fall in love with it and with the community there and stay for a long time. And that was more my experience was the latter one. So yeah, kind of like just fell into it. And it really worked out well for me because we work shifts there and you did. It was a little unfair because he had to work a shift and you didn't get paid unless you had a session and there was no guarantee. So sometimes you would just be sitting there all day without getting paid but because I was writing and also Editing books and stuff, I would just bring my computer and I could always do my work while I was there. So it didn't really feel like a wasted time it was really not that different from like if I had been working in a coffee coffee shop or a library or something, which I would do on other days. So it just worked out for me to continue working there for a really long time.

Michael David Wilson 15:20

Yeah, yeah. So does that mean then that you are literally writing some of the memoir, and indeed the Breyers boss in the dungeon,

Stephanie Parent 15:30

Naco Breyers, because so the Breyers. So I actually kind of got like, I didn't quite get fired from the dungeon, I quit, but I knew I might get fired. I was starting to write about it. So the main book that I wrote, while I tried to write while I was in the dungeon was the one that I never finished, which I kind of talked about earlier, that was kind of like my reentry into writing. And I was trying to write this like noir mystery, which had a lot of BDSM elements. And that one I did write a lot of while I was in the dungeon. But then I started trying to transition to doing this more like nonfiction memoir, little pieces and things. And that was actually like the first transition, it started at the advice of an agent, not the one who ended up being my agent, but just somebody else. And it was maybe not the best advice, but I took it. So I was like trying to write these little articles about the dungeon and get them published and stuff. And that I did do while I was working there. And some of them did get published. And then the owner found out about it. And she was really mad. I had to quit. And then when I quit that was when I really started that memoir in earnest was actually like after I quit, and that was the kind of the motivation to try to really work on it a lot and write it quickly. It was like, Oh, my God, I lost this job. And I lost it because of my writing. So now I really I really in it, like I really got to do. So that's what I was doing. And you know, I was working really hard, it was actually almost done, and ready to query agents and stuff. And then the pandemic happened. So everything kind of fell apart. And at that point, the dungeon I wasn't working there anymore anyway. But like, obviously, they closed completely for a while, and I moved back to Baltimore. So that's why I'm in Baltimore now. And eventually, the dungeon did close completely from the pandemic. So they just weren't even open that whole time. So I was back in Baltimore. By the time I started the briars, which I think was another reason I was really motivated to do it. Because I was, you know, really far away from Los Angeles and from all the women that I had been friends with there who worked with me there. And it was really a way to, like, bring that back and remember it. So it was, you know, lonely in the stall jig for it. And also knew, I think the dungeon permanently closed, like maybe when I was partway through writing the book. So I kind of knew that it was going to be like one of the last, you know, testaments to, or memories ever representations of this place that would continue to exist. Even if it's not exactly because obviously, I changed some things, but pretty close. So um, so that kind of helped me have some urgency and in writing it.

Michael David Wilson 18:12

And do you think the anger kind of surrounding you writing about it was just because of wanting to I guess, maintain some secrecy or some

Stephanie Parent 18:27

I'm certainly not the first person to write about it. So there's actually two memoirs written about the dungeon that I worked at. One of them the more recent one, which was kind of written in like the 50 shades hay day does not like use the dungeon by name or anything, but the older one, it's from like the 90s. It actually even names the dungeon and like even puts the dungeon phone number in the book. It's really they just randomly put the dungeons phone number in the book, and I'm pretty sure it's because the person who wrote the book, like really, really didn't like the dungeon owner was just trying to get back at her. But yeah, so the dungeon owner, she, she always like would get very angry if somebody wrote about it. And she had fired women for writing about it before, like somebody had tried to sell a movie script about it, like, Oh, that's so and it's basically just, you know, the idea that like clients don't like the threat that they would be written about. So they would be less likely to come and just that she wants to maintain this veil of secrecy about the whole thing. So basically just that, you know, didn't want people writing about it and especially like writing anything negative about the clients and I do under I mean, I do feel badly sometimes because I definitely did write negative things. But you know, luckily for one thing, it's closed now, but obviously don't use anybody's real name or information are really there's no way that anybody I think who knew them even from outside of the dojo would be able to identify them at all. So it's not like If you're outing them, you know,

Michael David Wilson 20:01

yeah, it seems to be the I mean, a limitation of working for commercially rather than independently is that you have to tread more carefully with what it is that you then kind of say, for fear of backlash.

Stephanie Parent 20:19

Interestingly, I mean, I think it was, so I know, some, like women who do this independently, like their dominatrixes and are still, you know, still doing it. And like, I think some of them have been asked, like, why didn't you write them? Why haven't you written a memoir? Like it would be, you know, they're much more famous than I am like, kind of internet celebrity dominatrices, and that could very easily get them at Mar published, but like, I think that is the issue is that they would have to be ready to retire. Because even if they only wrote about people they had permission to write about, I think a lot of like, clients or prospective clients would see it and be like, Oh, I can't see this woman anymore. I don't want to be part of something that's public. You know what I mean? So yeah. So yeah, it it's definitely tricky.

Michael David Wilson 21:02

Yeah. What do you think of some common misconceptions regarding sex work?

Stephanie Parent 21:09

Oh, sex work in general? Or the BDSM sex work? Or both?

Michael David Wilson 21:13

Well, we can start with sex work in general, and then go more specific to BDSM?

Stephanie Parent 21:20

Yeah, um, I mean, there's so many, like, one a big one would be that, you know, it's never a choice. It's always something that people are forced into. by circumstance, you know, and there is that, like, survival sex work, I think is what people think of. First, you know, and that would be like sex work, because your drug addict kills your homeless, this or that, like, desperation. So there is this, this misconception that everyone who does sex or is desperate. And that's not really true, especially nowadays, it certainly has been changing because I'm like friends with with some older sex workers, so I can see even, you know, just recently how much it's changed because it's become more kind of like with woke culture, it's become a bit more accepted, just as we tried to become accepting of so many different, you know, members of society. So, so there is this more this kind of acceptance, and this idea that it's almost a cool thing to do, especially like onlyfans, type, stuff like that. So I think there are a lot more people, especially women, I'm gonna say people, though, because there are men and you know, trans women and non binary who do sex work. But a lot more people getting into it now, and not feeling the kind of shame or because just because our culture has changed, even like 10 years ago, there was more shame, even when I started the dungeon, which, what what, like what that was, but at that point, there was like, you know, a lot of the women at the dungeon were very, very careful to make the distinction between what we did at the dungeon and between full service sex work, because, you know, they were like, I don't want to be associated with anyone who's doing prostitution, like that's different. I don't do that. So there's this kind of like levels and homophobia, we call it. So that has been somewhat changing, not entirely, but you know, there has been more open minded more recently. But further back, you go definitely this this conception, that it's only done out of desperation that everyone who does it is a victim in some way. That it's not something anyone would want to continue long term that it's just like a means to an end to get out of a bad situation or to fund school or something. But that, you know, this idea that it's going to always stop at some point, I think is another misconception. Because there are certainly many women, especially dominatrixes. You know, who can do it till they're quite, quite old, and still make a good profit. I know women in their 60s, you do it. So yeah, those are big ones. Let's see what else. Yeah, I mean, that those are the big ones either. I guess that idea that a sex worker is either a victim or a hustler, that very, like narrow two sided view of it. This idea that, like sex workers would only be people who are on the fringes of society, you know, like drug addicts, or homeless people or things like that, when in fact, most people probably know sex workers and don't even realize it, because so many people do this. Because you know, our normal jobs don't often pay the bills, and especially if we are students, or you know, if you're an artist of any type and you want to fund your art without working full time, sex work can be a great way to do it. Yeah, so I think that would be some of the main ones. have any other specific questions about it? Repeat the questions that you have in your mind.

Michael David Wilson 24:57

You spoke about Yeah, There's more acceptance in terms of writing, I guess set sex worker centric stories. But I feel much like I mean, we've seen with Eric la rockers, LGBT stories that, that there's always still like a limitation in terms of the stories they people want to hear. They want to hear more kind of a story of positivity, or of empowerment. And then when he or she will actually, here's a little bit of a more nuanced critique. People don't want to hear that. So

Stephanie Parent 25:45

absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I think that was part of what I was running up against when I tried to get them Mr. Published to because I was talking about like, being a submissive and having some bad experiences. And I think people just had this idea of like, oh, this powerful dominatrix, like showing men who's boss and oh, this awesome feminism. And yeah, there is that. But that's not all it is, you know, and it's a job. And it's going to be exploitative, in some ways, almost all jobs in our culture are. And this one in particular, you know, because depending on where you're doing it, it may not be legal, you may not be getting support from your community in whatever ways. So there's all these ways in which those exploitative elements can get worse. So of course, there's going to be negative aspects to it. And yeah, our culture is very black and white, even the writing world can be very black and white in some ways that people want to see, like only the good side of something. And in fact, that's true for the BDSM world, too, for both the BDSM and sex work communities, I think because our communities have been portrayed so negatively for so long, there's this push to go the other way and like only show the good parts, the empowering parts, the healthy parts, but that's not really realistic either. When it comes down to it, so really, you know, everything has the possibility of being negative being unhealthy. Like because we're people we're not, we're not perfect, we're not morally perfect, or emotionally healthy, healthy all the time. So in order to create like a realistic work of art, it's going to show both the negatives and the positives.

Michael David Wilson 27:20

Yeah. And it's just living in some fantastical world, you know, if we're not going to paint humans as, as humans, we are flawed. We are deeply flawed. Yes. And yeah, that was a tweet, in fact, that I saw from Connor Habib rather recently. I don't know if you're familiar with Connor, but he was an adult performer. And he is now a novelist. He wrote Hawk Mountain, which is just wonderful. And I've actually written this tweet down so that I didn't, you know, just paraphrase and butcher it as I am want to do. But he said, When I consider that I am one of the only adult performers ever to crossover and be as recognized for work that is not set. So adult related. It is not with pride, but anger, how hard it was to do. I can only hope what I've done makes the path easier for others. People who curate culture are mostly unable to confront their fear and prejudice about sex work. So they are unable to support performers doing new work, curators, undeveloped views, tangle with oppression, and performance self stigmatization, we all deserve better. So, I mean, firstly, does that resonate with you? And if so, what can we do? You know, society to be better?

Stephanie Parent 29:09

It definitely resonates. I think most sex workers who are writers or intellectuals are in the academic world, because they're a lot, I think, what most would say and I would, I would agree is to the best thing we can do is to like let sex workers speak for themselves. Because anytime there's a big news story about sex work, like most recently, it was the Long Island Serial Killer getting out. There's always like a bunch of people who want to give their opinions about it, who really don't know anything about it, because they are not sex workers, you know, and, and we listen to them, and we don't listen to the actual voices. And when it comes to issues like decriminalization, like nobody listens to what the actual sex workers want. There's just people who are like, Oh, I'm gonna protect everybody by making all these anti trafficking laws which which aren't very effective and don't actually protect anybody and actually make things much less safe for sex workers. So yeah, I think people would say like published sex workers, stories and nonfiction and just all their work and interview them when you're writing articles or let them write the article, you know, instead of having a be some reporter who doesn't know what they're talking about, um, I think that would be the number one thing. But yeah, I think that definitely, there's so much prejudice still in our society. And honestly, like I don't, I don't really know what the solution to that is, except to like, publish more stories and let and have people you know, read more stories that are from viewpoints outside of their own. I think that's always the best, you know, solution is like finding empathy and putting yourself in other people's shoes, and not making assumptions. But yeah, it's hard. And social media tends to be very polarizing, like, because, you know, everything is reduced down to these tiny little sound bites that are over simplified. So it does make it harder, but trying to get beyond that, I guess, is the best way to go.

Bob Pastorella 31:12

Now, I know a lot of the problem is that, especially in the US that and I've noticed this my whole life that people are very hypocritical when it comes to sex.

Stephanie Parent 31:22

Yes, yes. And

Bob Pastorella 31:25

it seems like there's this, you know, and I think we're seeing it more and more and more, it's like the people who are screaming about, you know, things that they see with sex and sex work is being immoral or things like that. To me, that's projection. That's that, you know, psychology background, that I have saying, Oh, you're just projecting there seems to be some tepid, we still have this guilt and shame when, when it doesn't need to exist. And we see this in and I've noticed this since I was a teenager, that we've just really, really hypocritical when it comes to even talking about sex or, you know, are talking about anything that would be considered, you know, horny or anything like that? And it's like, oh, we don't want to talk about that. Why not?

Stephanie Parent 32:14

I totally agree. I totally agree. And then it's also kind of hard in terms of like my book being marketed as like erotic horror and stuff like that, like, I feel like people get so as soon as something gets marketed as erotic or having erotic content, they're like, Oh, well, then it can't be literary. It can't be serious. Like it can't have more character development. And seems like a lot of the reviews that I've read, like people are, like, come into the book expecting it's not going to have fully fledged characters and themes about the human condition and stuff like that, because it's erotica. And like that, that doesn't mean it will. It's not right, because it's erotic has erotic content. But like, that doesn't make any sense. Because, you know, sex and erotic things are part of the human condition. So of course, it all goes together. And that's part you know, that's character development, when a relationship is being formed. Sex is part of that it's not like this separate thing. And yes, our culture like definitely tries to make it this separate thing, I think, because of our, because we're, you know, Puritans founded this country.

Bob Pastorella 33:12

Right. And it's laughable, you know, and I'm, I've mentioned this to people, and I'm sure I've talked about on this podcast, but it's like, even when it comes to pornography and things like that. We're talking about a multi billion dollar business. There's not one billionaire who's buying it. All. Right. Okay. So it's, I think that if we can get past the shame, of even talking about sex, if we can get past this guilt that they ingrained into society, that we would be a much better society. Yeah, but yeah, it's, you know, but godly man, you know, the big the big. The big bearded man in the sky says that's bad. And I kind of think and he's like, No, actually, it's not. Definitely.

Michael David Wilson 34:09

Yeah. And I think for anyone who's actually read the briars, rather than made I don't know some bizarre value judgment based on Boyle probably based on their own misconceptions. It is obvious that this is a gothic literary novel. That is what it is it has elements of the erotic within it is sat in a BDSM dungeon primarily, but you know, if something called sat in a gas station, it doesn't mean oh, this is the gas station genre. This is the flavor that there is sex because that is part of life. You know, just like you know that is violence in a lot of novels? That doesn't mean that this is the genre is violence? I mean, some novels come close to that. But, you know, it's, it just seems like an absurd statement this this is it and such an injustice. This is primarily about the human condition. And I mean, so linked to that. What do you think the sex work can teach us? What, what perhaps is it taught you about the human condition and psychology?

Stephanie Parent 35:40

Oh, my gosh, that's like, that could be a whole nother hour long discussion. Yeah, I mean, it's really interesting doing this type of work, because you do get to know a broader range of people on a very, very personal and intimate level that I can hardly imagine any other job allowing that, like, I would say, maybe if you're a therapist, you're getting to know somebody's emotions that much on the level, but if you're doing that, you're not getting the physical part of it. And for a lot of people, like the physical and emotional are very tied together. So the type of intimacy you're getting when you do sex work is like, you know, most people probably only get that with a couple people in their life, if that and like, I've gotten out with hundreds people, which is crazy, which is not to say that every session would be that intimate, but like, just as examples, you know, like, I have had sessions where the client is like, going on their own experience of being like, emotionally abused as a kid and not feeling like they were loved. So they want me to pretend to be their aunt, like mother figure who was thanking them, and then hugging them and saying that they were loved. So like something that intimate and it's, it wouldn't be the same if they were just talking about that in a psychologist, it's because the actual like spanking and hugging is like a big part of it, you know, and that's one of the reasons that BDSM is such a powerful thing, because it is so physical, because when we get back to like our deepest childhood emotions, that often leads then to like, our sexual preferences later in life, but they, they really are very physically linked, like, it's about our need for affection, or the punishment that we received as a kid or the affection that we did or didn't receive, you know, from our caregiving figures, just influences so much. So, it's just fascinating to see like how much people hold back in their everyday lives. You know, because in our culture, we're not, we're not supposed to be needy in that way. In general, so so many people are just walking around with all these kind of like, hidden desires, hidden needs, that they've never really showed anybody. And it is weird, being a sex worker, like, it's a weird feeling to think that you've had these super super intimate moments with people. And then sometimes you never see them again, or sometimes you do, but then you don't see them for a long time. And it's like, it's just weird. It it can be very challenging if you're doing it for a long period of time, because it's like, kind of emotional, it's obviously emotionally draining and exhausting, and it could be physically draining to, you know. But yeah, I think just the idea that like humans are very multifaceted and have an I don't think that most most humans try to live I think in our jobs and our everyday life, we try to live by separating our emotions and our thoughts from our body. But really, that's not really possible because we feel everything comes up in the body desires pain and pleasure. It's all it's all linked. So yeah, it's fascinating to like really see that and I guess it's how out of touch most of our culture is with with our emotions and with our physical experience. Yeah, so I think I think that that's kind of what sector has taught me and maybe what it could you know, help could teach other people like I don't think that anybody should feel shame for seeking out a sex worker for whatever reason, especially if it's like to explore something psychological or something you're not able to get in your regular life like to try something new that you've always had a desire about like there shouldn't be this shame or this idea that you have to be desperate to see a sex worker because you can't get it anywhere else like because that's not true like there are plenty of people who see sex workers could who could get it for free but for whatever reason they want to do it within this like safe environment with clear boundaries that you get when you're hiring somebody you know, so yeah, I think it just needs to be d stigmatized and talked about more, which is hard and a long road and also like not treated as a joke or not treated as something that's just meant to be titillating and nothing else.

Michael David Wilson 40:05

Yeah, there are so many thoughts and half formed questions that are being conjured up in my mind as we're talking about this. And I mean, something that you'd be obvious for anyone listening to you is just how important and vital this work is. And I am mad. Yeah. And you know, there are times where you feel the weight of responsibility in terms of what you're doing. Because for some people, I mean, when they go and they see you, this is the highlight of their month, it might be the best moment of their life, because this is, this is more than, you know, just satisfied. This is therapy. This is about healing. And I think that is an aspect that people don't really look at often or they don't think about, they, they almost just see it as, like, I guess the big misconception is almost like transaction or sex, which is such Yeah.

Stephanie Parent 41:17

I mean, not to say that, that doesn't happen to I mean, that was part of sex work as well. And honestly, there's nothing wrong with that, if it's two consenting, consenting adults. Yeah. But yeah, there's like a huge, huge, huge range. And it can be it can be a great thing. Like, I remember having, like, you know, some session a session where, like, I spanked a guy, and he'd like, never been spanked as an adult. But he'd always fantasized about it, and was just so amazing, because like, you know, he was finally getting this thing that he'd, he'd always wanted, it was really amazing to watch, like, how happy he was. But then it also knew that like, if he almost like hoped he didn't come back. So like, if he comes back, it's never going to be as good the second time. So there was like, a little bit of a, he didn't come back, but at least not to me. But there was like a little bit of a bittersweet kind of element to it. Which is interesting. And then like, in terms of it being like an emotional release, and that therapy, it can be really great that way, but it can also be kind of dangerous that way, if if a client like does take it too far, or kind of expects too much, or asks for too much, like there's a lot of emotional labor asked of a sex worker to. So again, like, yeah, like we were saying earlier, that's like, not black and white, you know, there's positives and negatives. But yeah, you definitely, as a sex worker, you gotta learn boundaries. And you can see in the book that like, some characters have better boundaries, like, physical and emotional boundaries, you gotta have like boundaries and protect yourself, if you're gonna do this work without, you know, it negatively impacting you.

Michael David Wilson 42:53

Yeah, and what are come some, what are some of the boundaries that you put in place for yourself? And what kind of boundaries do you put in place for your clients? And I mean, do you have any, for one of better phrasing protective practices, perhaps things that you will do before or after? You know, after a particularly emotionally draining session?

Stephanie Parent 43:23

Yeah, well, that's one of the one of the was one of the greatest things about working in the dungeon environment. And one thing I miss about, like not working there anymore, is having the other women around, because it would always work just with other women around so I think that was really the best way to like, protect yourself both before and after was having this community of like minded women who understood because like before session, a lot of times it would be as you'd see this in the book too, but like, it would be clients that other women knew. So they could kind of warn you or guide you of like what to do and not to do in this session. So there was that support. And then after a session, you know, if you had a bad session, you will usually have somebody there that you could like, talk to about it or physically hug them. Or like I remember having like a couple of really upsetting sessions where I like asked if somebody could come help me clean up after and like they were both helping me logically or, or practically by cleaning up, but also like giving me that emotional support. So that really helps if you're doing it independently, it's a lot harder. You have to try to get relationships with other sex workers in your area and like people you can text like just venting. Talk to ask for advice, same thing, but it's just not as immediate. But yeah, I think giving yourself a lot for me, like because I'm such an introvert, giving myself alone. Lots of alone time is like a good protective measure. Like lots of just walking by myself and listening to music and just kind of giving myself that time to be alone helps. In terms of bout like physical boundaries. When I started doing this work, I was very into it. Like I had a lot of fantasies and hadn't done it before. So I did not have a lot of boundaries. Like I pretty much let people do anything like I was very masochistic. So I would let people you know, hit me really, really hard or do like all the bondage, all the gags all of the blindfolds, but it did get to be too much. So I had to learn to renegotiate my boundaries, which is really hard. But so now like, for me still, like in the moment, sometimes it can be hard to assert boundaries. So my very firm boundaries, I just make sure to say like beforehand, like I do not wear gags or blindfolds ever anymore. So that's just like a firm boundary beforehand. So things of that nature. And then emotionally, it's hard because like, I am an empathetic person. So I do, like, let myself get too emotionally involved in feel guilty and things sometimes. So it's a hard balance to learn. But I try to actually try to not be empathetic, which sounds awful, but because like I'm naturally empathetic, I like literally trying not to care sometimes, because it's like, the only way to protect yourself. And I still still do care. But like, by trying not to care, I maybe only care, like 50 to 70% instead of 100%. Because if you're carrying 100% For all these different people like then you don't have anything left for yourself. So yeah, it's a lot.

Michael David Wilson 46:16

Yeah, yeah, in a bizarre way, empathy can be a blessing and a curse. I mean, I think we all need a little bit of empathy, because we've seen where that can lead if you have no empathy, whatsoever. But yeah, particularly, you know, in sex work in your profession in like, you know, nursing and medical care in therapy work, there are things we even if you've got a great deal of empathy, you want to be able to just turn a little bit of it off, because yeah, I guess like, yeah, that, as you say that there's almost like a finite amount to go around. And if you use all of it up on over people, then you've got nothing left for yourself. And I do think you know, like the kind of aeroplane secure your own seatbelt first or secure your own oxygen mask? I don't know, it's still early here would make sense for us. But you got to, you got to look after yourself. First of always, can you really help for people?

Stephanie Parent 47:28

Yeah, absolutely. And then going back to like what we were talking about before about, like, how can we make sex work more accepted and all that stuff? Like, that's why, like, if we did have like more, you know, decriminalization or just more talking about in society, then we could have more resources on like, how can can both clients and workers approach this help probe approach to this in a healthy manner and like what isn't isn't appropriate, and we could have more therapy options, like low cost therapy for suckers, all these kind of things that we could do if we were just more comfortable talking about it and accepting that it's a part of our society?

Michael David Wilson 48:01

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Bob alluded to it earlier. But I mean, almost one of the saddest things is, it seems to be the people who are most vocally against it, we then find out it's actually comes down to self hatred, because you know, that they are even visiting sex workers or consuming the very pornography that they purport to be adamantly against. And so really, if we just fucking accepted ourselves more, if we loved ourselves, if we had less shame, than we probably have a better society and more accepting society, because it just seems to come down to self hatred. That's what it's about.

Bob Pastorella 48:48

Yeah. I mean, it's, it's true. I mean, and like I said, we, we see so much projection, especially in the news and social media and stuff like that. And to me, it's, it's it's this prudishness. You know that? That? I don't know, I'm seeing it my whole life. And it's just it gets it gets tiresome. It really does. And it's just what do you how do you fix it? That's, that's, that's the key. No, I have no idea. Yeah. You know, and I think as I've gotten older, I've become more accepting of who I am. And in all realms of life, and I'm at the point to where expense ama cheat and being a 56. I mean, and I have very few fucks left to give, you know, it's, you know, you have to, you have to come to a point where you accept yourself, you don't give a shit what other people think, you know, and I think that if we, if we kind of instilled that an early age, we would you know, it's I can't even read the news now, because it's like, they don't want to talk about things that we need to be talking about in high school. Because they want to keep these. We got to keep the kids. It's probably a good thing. I don't have children. But yeah.

Stephanie Parent 50:14

Same Same for me. No kids.

Michael David Wilson 50:19

Well, let's talk a little bit about Claire. So she's a former ballerina, so we can see how this ties in with your desire. You dated to be a dancer when you were younger? I wonder. I mean, when you were coming up with Claire, how conscious were you of kind of putting some of yourself into her? And then how conscious were you to make sure that, you know, she was distinct from yourself and, you know, removing some of those autobiographical elements? Yeah,

Stephanie Parent 50:59

I mean, she was definitely like, the closest to me overall. So I kind of knew that going in, like, and, you know, because I was coming from having written a memoir, before I was kind of thinking of, like, this was also a my memoir, in a way, you know, like, this was me telling my story in a way so she is the closest to me. Um, but again, it helps me to write fiction rather than memoir sometimes, because it just helps me to, like, make a better story. So like, I knew that I had to exaggerate certain things, you know, like, I never went to ballet school, like she does, or, or had like, one incident or an instance but like one inst incident of like sexual harassment, like she does that just tips a table, that's kind of like a literary thing, almost like, you know, one representative thing that, that you can use as a symbol. So that kind of stuff, you know, I made up the details. And then I did put, because especially as I was doing the Ruby, Claire sigil relationship with Ruby being the other main character, interestingly enough, like I put some of my qualities into Ruby and some of them into Claire, in ways that Ruby and Claire kind of turned out as like opposites that complete each other in a way. So like, Claire is very codependent. Like, she's not somebody who ever wants to live with her on her own, like she's very afraid of breaking up with her boyfriend. Versus Ruby is very much a loner Who's afraid of getting too close to somebody. And in that way, I'm actually much closer to Ruby. Like, it's very hard for me to live with somebody. I've never really lived with somebody like that was one of the reasons things didn't work out with my, one of my boyfriends, who was kind of a model for Claire's boyfriend too, in the book. But, um, but yeah, so I did give her some traits that were kind of the opposite of me. I guess just make make the characters more well rounded. In that way. So and also, you know, because it's a book, I feel like, I feel like the characters are a little better than me. Like they're better people like Claire's, like nicer. Maybe, like she always sees the best in people like that, and can't always do that. So

Michael David Wilson 53:08

yeah, it can be difficult getting that balance between writing a protagonist that is on some level and likable, but also realistic. Because I think if most of us have to be honest, like if everyone knew inner thoughts, our inner moments and we wouldn't be fucking likeable.

Stephanie Parent 53:39

Yeah, yeah, to kind of filter it when you're making a character. You can't put everything

Michael David Wilson 53:45

Yeah, yeah, I was like, I found you have to almost go one of two directions. You have to filter it Oh, you kind of just go to Patrick Bateman route and you make them a complete ass so and I randomly like found this with like one of my I told you about the kind of free works in progress. They're all about 50,000 words. But one of them the struggle I'm having is like I feel the character. He's almost too realistic. So he's like an asshole enough. Yeah, just be an asshole. But he's not. He hasn't taken it so far. That he's like kind of Patrick Bateman or Joe Goldberg levels of charisma. Like I gotta decide are we go in for last solar? Are we rain in the sea? And then that can be one of the most difficult things to do.

Bob Pastorella 54:45

Yeah, for sure. One of the things that I really liked about the book, and I don't see it too often, is that in between the different narrating parts, you have the this first person narration who's never named, which I, when I finished I was like, Okay, this this person is not a person. It's it's the book that they write the story there their parts in. Okay, I'm not actually seeing the parts, but it's actually the book. Yeah, so and I love that. And it's, you don't see it very often Was that was that like something that you use to kind of get you into the story were those were those put in later because I loved

Stephanie Parent 55:39

the for not all of them. But like that was my first like the very beginning of the book kind of came to me and it came to me that it was going to be this like we voice first person but like also using we like a plural first person. So my idea in my head as I was writing it was that it was kind of like all the women of the Briars together, like telling the story. And like it could be that they wrote it down, like in their book. So it could be that. But when I was first conceptualizing the story, I was thinking that there were going to be a lot more like point of view characters, and then it was going to be less centered on like Claire and Ruby and their romance. So I was thinking there were going to be a lot more of this, like we and then maybe like four main characters that are alternated between. But then when I started writing it, I was like, Stephanie, you're making this way too hard on yourself, you cannot have this, you're a new author, I can't do this right now. So just do to just do Ruby and Claire, that's enough. So it didn't work out that way. But it was kind of like my idea of it was how I kind of, because it does go into different women's point of views and those we sections. So it was kind of my way of like, including all the women's voices that was important to me, because it you know, this being a sex worker story, and the idea that like sex workers should all have voices, and they're all different. And there's not like one type that is a sex worker, you know, and that's why we see like, like one of them. You know, she was in medical school, one of them is an artist, one of them's kind of like a more of a homemaker who likes to cook like, they're just all different kinds of women get into this like, and so that was important to me. So I think having those sections like that, like that idea of the collective voice telling the story, it was important to me. So that was actually kind of how it started. Really,

Bob Pastorella 57:30

man, and it was cool, because yeah, you have this collective voice. But yet each, each voice is distinct in their own. And I really, really liked that. It's, you knocked it out of the park with that, that's for sure.

Michael David Wilson 57:45

I think it was a bold, creative decision that probably, you know, that's the kind of thing that a traditional publisher may have asked you to cut. And they're like, Oh, we're not, we're not sure about this, because I imagine that it's going to be or it may have been divisive, you're going to have people that absolutely get it, they love it, you're gonna have other readers that are not so sure about it. So I mean, did you anticipate when you were writing it that polarization? Was there any reluctance to do it was there much back and forth in terms of the editing? And I mean, talking about the editing, how was that process in general?

Stephanie Parent 58:37

Um, so I, I had like a couple of different editors along the way, because I, it was, I had to edit it before I got my publisher with cemetery gates. But nowhere along the way, did anybody asked me to cut the resections. And that did surprise me. Like, I was thinking that somebody might either ask me to cut them or ask me to move put them in third person. So I was really surprised that nobody ever did. Yeah, I mean, I just, I think the editing for me was mostly and this was like pre cemetery gates. But, like, amping up the tension, like there wasn't quite as much going on in the first like, things weren't quite as dangerous for the women in the first draft. So it was just like, kind of adding that and I think that's more for a certain type of reader to like, like type a reader who really is reading it for like a scare and like to feel that bad things are gonna happen and they want to read to find out that the bad things are gonna happen. Like for that kind of reader, I needed to add, like more danger. You can probably tell that personally, I'm more drawn to like the ideas and the character rather than a plot so so I had to add that like, just kind of AMP everything up, I think. What else like I had to cut a lot because I'm an overwrite or for sure. Yeah. Just like a lot of The descriptions and stuff and I had to like consolidate some characters because I also was concerned about it being too long. Like, I don't think it's too long, I think I think actually could have put back a couple of things that cut. But, um, but like I was concerned that was gonna be too long for first book. So like I had to, like, there were some characters that I had to like cut, because there just wasn't room for them. So then I had to rewrite a few scenes to like, try to take a character who came in later and make him cut, like, combined two characters, basically, you know, just practical stuff like that. But by the time it got to the cemetery gates, there was really not too much content editing at all, which I really appreciated. Joe is very, like, dedicated to preserving author's voice and like letting me have the final say on everything. So that was really great. You know, now that that was my first full length adult novel that I've written. So now that I have done it, like, if I were to start over there are of course, some things that I would do differently. Now that I kind of know, like, my tendencies to override other things. But But yeah, like, overall, I think I'm happy with it. Like, I'm happy that I got, I thought that maybe I would have to cut like some of the sections where I go into the characters past like, I was prepared to be asked to cut some of that stuff down. And I'm glad that I didn't because I think I think it works in the story to have those backstory sections, because it's kind of like the characters literal hauntings, which makes sense with the ghost story. And then it also, you know, makes sense with the idea of exploring, like sex work, and how people come to this profession and such a three dimensional way that's different. So. So I'm glad it turned out the way it did.

Michael David Wilson 1:01:43

Yeah. And in terms of the whole things, I mean, there are a lot of ghosts within the story. So I'm wondering, I mean, how many real life ghost Did you research in? Creating? Yeah, the bryozoan.

Stephanie Parent 1:02:02

I read, I read ghost stories about like women, basically, from pretty much every culture I could think of I read them. Like, especially stories about like, kind of young female ghosts who died in tragic ways. Because, well, it's fascinating to find how similar these stories are across cultures. And like all the common elements they share, which you realize have like folkloric significance, and if anybody listening to this, I mean, I as I said, like I'm not really a plot writer, but if you are like at all concerned about spoilers, the stuff I'm gonna say next might be a little bit of spoilers, but across cultures, so read from a lot of Eastern European stories, because I am Eastern European, but also like, British, South American, Asian, Arctic, Southern American, like all these different colors. So some of the common elements would be that these female ghosts are often wearing white, either because that's the color of like, that a young woman would wear before she was married, or it's the color of her wedding dress, or it's the color they were buried in. Often, they would have long kind of messy, unbound hair. And that would be because young, unmarried women, before their wedding would be allowed to have hair like that. And after getting married, they would often be expected to wear their hair up in various cultures. So it's this idea of these ghosts being women that died because they were outside the bounds of a normal married adult women, female light for whatever reason, it could be because they were having affairs because I got pregnant out of wedlock because they were sex workers because they were just temptresses, they were loose women, whatever it was, in these various stories that led to them dying and becoming ghosts who couldn't rest. So it was kind of like a comment on women's sexuality that if you step outside the bounds of of what's considered proper sexually if you have an affair, if you have sex outside of marriage, or if you just don't want to get married, if you're an independent woman, if you're a sex worker, this or that, if you divorce your husband, whatever it is, you're probably going to die and end up a miserable ghost haunting other people that was kind of like this cultural message that seemed to exist across many cultures. It just, I think, is a manifestation of how uncomfortable most human cultures are with female sexuality and with like the inherent power and disruption to patriarchal cultures that exist in female sexuality. And that all gets represented through these stories of these dangerous ghosts. Who were young women who died before marriage or tragically in marriage or whatever it is. So I was definitely inspired by a lot of those stories, which again, are very similar and had similar imagery across so many different cultures.

Michael David Wilson 1:04:53

And sounds like in even just preparing to write this book. He became a kind of scholar on the kind of supernatural in all sorts of coaches. So

Stephanie Parent 1:05:10

I was just looking for inspiration of like, what should happen in the story. So I ended up combining like a lot of stuff. And I also have like a lot of little easter eggs in the book, like different references to ghosts from different cultures. And some of them I've kind of forgotten. And then I'll like look at a random page and be like, oh, yeah, that's, that's that ghost. That's that ghosts. So I don't know how many people are gonna pick up on them all. But

Michael David Wilson 1:05:33

yeah, yeah. Did you find in researching so much that it spawned ideas for future stories, or you found things that you couldn't put into the briars? But you know, I'm saving that one for later?

Stephanie Parent 1:05:50

Um, you know, not really, to be honest, like, I did kind of put it all in the price, but it's definitely a part of like, my aesthetic is those kind of like being inspired by these old tragic stories? I'm sure. I'm sure it will pop up again, somewhere in the future.

Michael David Wilson 1:06:08

Yeah, yeah. And I mean, you said, of course, earlier that you don't write every day you have this on off relationship with writing? Yeah, I'd love to know. And I think our listeners really enjoy hearing about writing routine. So I'm wondering, What does your writing routine look like? What is a typical day where you are writing? And then perhaps what is a typical day in general?

Stephanie Parent 1:06:43

Yeah, well, so when I was writing the friars, because that was when I was like, very serious about wanting to write the book. And I also didn't really have a very strict work schedule, then. So I would just always, like, I'm not a morning person. So it wasn't really mornings. But like, once I was up and like ready to work, I No matter how much other work I had, like, if I had a lot of editing work that I had to do, because I edit for other people, I would always just work on the priors first, because I was like, I want to when my mind is freshest and the most energy, that's when I'm gonna work on my book. So always do that like until I was too tired, basically. So it's kind of like what you were saying with the like, you only have a certain amount of time, you can do that. And I will also say that I always started by rereading and editing a little bit, at least what I written the previous day, if not, several previous days, like I know a lot of authors who do this. So I do like edit as I go along. And it helps me kind of catch things as I'm going along, like, oh, this image is kind of becoming a thing, I should keep working on this, bringing this image up, or, Oh, this is feeling a little inconsistent, I better like decide where I want to get you to sit, it helps me to go back and read and edit the previous stuff. So do that, like, I would usually start as far back as I could. And then once I'd read a certain section, like maybe three times without changing anything, then I'd be like, Okay, I don't have to start there anymore. I'll start at the next chapter. So that would be it. And there were times when I got really into writing it where I could go for longer. So like I would write during the day, but then I would still be inspired enough that after a break, I could write some more at night. And like I do remember one. So because this has never happened before that I and I know there are many writers who will write like 10,000 words day in it occasionally. And it's like not a big deal for them. But for me anything over 2000 is like a huge deal. So I remember when I got inspired to write the scene where Ruby and cleric kiss for the first time, I was just like, so inspired. And I was writing some of it in the morning, and then I had to stop. But then I came back to it. And it was just like flowing, it was coming out with out me even thinking about it. And I was writing it to like two in the morning and I finished it. And I think it was like 3500 words, that whole chapter. And that was the most I ever wrote in a day. So that was pretty cool. But again, like I had to get through a lot of the book to get to that point. So yeah, so that was when I was like really seriously writing something. Nowadays, it's much more sporadic. I kind of have like a bunch of different freelance jobs. So I don't really have a routine right now. Like it's just kind of like when I get up, do I have to go somewhere and do something or do I get to stay home? So that's probably one of the reasons I'm not writing right now is that I don't have a routine. So it's a terrible answer. But yeah, if I have time and I'm like inspired, I will I will write a bit. I'm working on several different projects at the same time, like, as I mentioned, trying to put the short story collection together and then like working on these old essays that I've been doing for a long time. But it's much more just kind of sporadic whenever I can fit it in, which is not really what I recommend to anyone. But But yeah, my life is just kind of like I worked a couple of different jobs they they out the house for some appointments like To exercise teaching, so it's it's just all over the place on every day is different really? Yeah. So I guess that kind of answers your question.

Michael David Wilson 1:10:11

Yeah. This is a personal question. Do you have an animal in the room review? These noises

Stephanie Parent 1:10:25

are quiet. I'm like holding her with both hands. And she's getting very, she's starting to get restless. Not go too much longer, because she's getting very impatient, unfortunately.

Michael David Wilson 1:10:36

Yeah, yeah, it's like,

Stephanie Parent 1:10:40

and that's another part of my writing routine is like when I'm walking her is when I will think of things over and have ideas and stuff.

Michael David Wilson 1:10:46

So yeah, yeah, I always like, you know, I'm fairly sure we can hear an animal. But is this gonna be like a hugely offensive question? It's like, No, I reckon this

Stephanie Parent 1:11:02

was my animal. It might have been a little offensive. But yeah, the camera, you would have been able to see her because she's at this point. I'm like, holding her to keep her from running around.

Michael David Wilson 1:11:16

Yeah. Well, I mean, this has been really fascinating. Interview. So we thank you for spending so much of your evening chatting with us. And indeed, for sharing the Brian's with us is a fascinating book, I hope that a lot of people off the back of this interview are then gonna pick it up and read it because well, if you don't, then you're missing out, quite frankly.

Stephanie Parent 1:11:46

That's true. Well, thank you for saying that. Yeah. And I'm glad that we got to, like, get into some of the topics that we did, because I really like, like talking about, you know, sex work and people's misconceptions. And I thought that you both had really great takes on it. So I really appreciate it.

Michael David Wilson 1:12:05

Well, thank you very much. And what is next for you? So we know. They're in early 2024? Of course, as we mentioned before, you've got the nonfiction chapbook. My dungeon love affair. Is that the next release? Do you have other projects that you're cooking up?

Stephanie Parent 1:12:26

Yeah, I mean, I have a poetry book that's finished also that I'm trying to find a publisher for. And that's also about the dungeon but in a different way. So if by like some chance that gets a publisher, it could, I guess, come out before my judging love affair, but probably not. It will probably be after if it does come out. So there's that and like, I'm going to try to do the short story collection, maybe sometime next year would be great, too. I do have like a short story that's really personal and meaningful to me. That was in I don't know if anybody who follows Twitter a lot might know the sag have this, like there was this big anthology called horror that represents you that had like a publisher called Cat stone that then was like a very unscrupulous publisher that like, disappeared, and then it went from one publisher to another to another to another, but I think it finally is going to come out at some point. So I have a story in there that AI is meaningful to me a lot. So that's definitely coming out. And then I do have an idea for another novel, and I have a lot of notes. I just haven't started writing it yet. So we will see if that happens. But it's it's kind of like it's going to be different. But dealing with some some similar themes like sex work characters, and, and some erotic elements. Maybe more of like a thriller, vibe, rather horror slash thriller. But trying to make it a little more I'm thinking about having hoping to do single it's a little more like along the lines of suspense and like a quick read in that regard. page turner. That's the word I was looking for. So yeah, so hopefully, maybe, probably to 2025. I can't imagine it would be any sooner than that at this point. But at some point, it will it will happen. And until then, we got the nonfiction that poetry and the short stories.

Michael David Wilson 1:14:19

Yeah, well definitely sign us up for the erotica tinged thriller. I know that that is exactly the kind of thing that young Bob gravitate towards. So we are excited for that one for sure. And it's so good that there is so many things on the horizon. Sounds like you're gonna be on as it were for quite some time yet.

Stephanie Parent 1:14:47

Yes, absolutely. Thanks for asking. And yeah, I appreciate talking to you and everything you asked to look great questions and

Michael David Wilson 1:14:57

yeah, what should you Be kinder to yourself about?

Stephanie Parent 1:15:03

Oh, my gosh, that's an interesting question. Um, yeah, I mean, I think just like, No book that I put out is going to be perfect because no book from anybody is perfect. Like, I can think of every favorite book that I've ever read. And I, there's something that I would have done differently. But you know, just the fact that, like, I put a whole book out into the world about like this very unique experience and, and hopefully made some people think about that line of work differently. And think about the people who do it differently and see them as three dimensional characters. I think it took like a lot of courage to write about that and to, you know, bring my identity out. So publicly. So definitely, that I think is something to be proud of,

Michael David Wilson 1:15:45

I think so to where can our listeners connect with you?

Stephanie Parent 1:15:52

So my website is www dot Stephanie parent.net, Ste pH and IE, then parent, if you just Google my name and writer, it should come up. My Twitter is SC underscore parent, and then my Instagram recently got hacked. So if you're following the old one, hopefully you blocked it, figured it out and blocked it. But there is a new one. It's also SC underscore parent. So I'm any social media that I joined in the future, I'm going to try to keep it all as SC underscore parent if I can. But right now, it's mostly Twitter and Instagram. I have I have a Facebook, but I don't really use it. But you're welcome to follow me on there as well. But I certainly will announce any new writing I have published on both the Twitter and the Instagram. And I do check my DMs. So if you ever have any questions or want to chat about something, feel free to reach out. There's also a contact form on my website. So yeah, I think that that's about it.

Michael David Wilson 1:16:54

All right. Do you have any final thoughts to leave our listeners with?

Stephanie Parent 1:17:00

Yeah, write a review. If you read the book, and you feel like writing a review, I love reviews, including negative reviews, I just like just the fact that I know somebody read my book and add a reaction to it. Like, that's what keeps me going. That's what makes me want to write. So any it can be one sentence, like one word once. I don't think they let you publish one word, but like, you know, it doesn't have to be like long or beautifully written. But any review just makes me feel so happy. Even if it's saying that you didn't like the book just makes me so happy. So if you feel like writing a review, then that would be great.

Michael David Wilson 1:17:36

Thank you so much for listening to This Is Horror with Stephanie parent. Join us again next time when we will be chatting with Sadie Hartman, also known as Mother horror. And she has recently released a fantastic nonfiction book, dare I say an essential nonfiction book. It's up on the coffee table of everyone. It is called 101 horror books to read before you are murdered. And this is such a visually exciting book too. So it's definitely one way you're going to want to get the physical edition paperback. So that is something to look forward to next episode. If you want the conversation ahead of the crowd, get it the way that you always can by becoming a patron@patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror. We've got conversations coming up with the likes of Keith Rosson, we got another one with Josh Malerman soon, Daniel Krause to name but a few. You also get to submit questions to each interviewee you get exclusive podcasts such as story on box the horror podcast on the craft of writing. To do head over to patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror and see if it's a good fit for you. Okay, before I wrap up, a little bit of an advert break.

Bob Pastorella 1:19:04

House of bad memories the debut novel from Michael David Wilson comes out on Friday the 13th this October via cemetery gates media. Dini just wants to be the world's best dad to his baby daughter. But things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather Frank, then Frank winds up dead and Denise held hostage by his junky half sister, who demands he uncovers the cause of her father's death with the need to feed his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions. Clay McLeod Chapman says house of bad memories hit so hard, you'll spit teeth out once you're done reading it. Preorder house of bad memories by Michael David Wilson and paperback at cemetery gates media.com or an ebook via Amazon. The handyman method the thrilling new novel from Nick cutter and Andrew F celebrant is on sale now. Best Selling Author of chasing the boogeyman Richard chizmar says this book isn't nightmare territory, cutter and Sullivan have created a modern masterpiece. The handyman method is available wherever books are sold.

Michael David Wilson 1:20:09

As always, I would like to end with a quote. And as I am want to do, I have got a quote from one of the stoics says something to ponder before you get on with your day. And this is from Epictetus, who then is invincible the one who cannot be upset by anything outside there reason curious. I'll see you in the next episode with Sadie Hartman. But until then, take care yourselves. Be good to one another. Read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day.

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