Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Contemporary Erotica
Josslyn found perfection once, and she knows she’ll never find it again. Now widowed, she seeks the one thing her beloved husband couldn’t give her. Dominance. Lonely and searching for an outlet for her grief and wanting only a brief taste of the perfection she once enjoyed, she seeks what she’s looking for at an exclusive club that caters to people indulging in their most hedonistic fantasies. She never imagined that what she’d find is the one man who’s long been a source of comfort—and secret longing. Her husband’s best friend.
Dash has lived in an untenable position for years. In love with his best friend’s wife and unwilling to act on that attraction. He’d never betray his best friend. And so he’s waited in the wings, offering Joss unconditional support and comfort as she works past her grief, hoping for the day when he can offer her more.
When he finds her in a club devoted to the darker edges of desire, he’s furious because he thinks she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Until she explains in detail what it is she wants. What she needs. As realization sets in, he is gripped by fierce, unwavering determination. If she wants dominance, he is the only man who will introduce her to that world. He is the only man who will touch her, cherish her…love her. And the only man she’ll ever submit to.
So what is Surrender about?
The Surrender trilogy examines and focuses more on the EMOTIONAL aspects of a dominant relationship and less on the more PHYSICAL aspects. Especially in book 2. There is an emphasis throughout the trilogy on EMOTIONAL surrender versus simply physical surrender.
I know that there's a different couple featured in every Surrender book. What is the common thread with these three couples?
The stories actually surround the close friendships of a circle of people and also who have business relationships as well. All of the characters in the trilogy are “family” with the exception of Jensen who is introduced in LETTING GO and then is cast as the hero of book 2, GIVING IN. Aside from him, the other characters are all bound by love and friendship before the stories even start.
How is Surrender similar/different to your other series, Breathless in particular?
In the Breathless trilogy, I focused a lot on the physical aspects of a D/s relationship, though the relationships and romance WAS emotional.
For the SURRENDER trilogy I hone in and focus much more narrowly on EMOTIONAL surrender as opposed to simple physical aspects.
Should readers expect BDSM themes in Surrender? What is the concentration level on a scale of 1-10, 10 being hardcore leather & latex?
Yes there will be BDSM themes in the Surrender books but nothing I would call “hard core” Because as I’ve already explained I wrote this trilogy intending it to be more emotional and romantic.
As far as a scale, that’s really subjective because what is “extreme” to some readers is “tame” to others. I’d say the Surrender books aren’t as “erotic” as the Breathless trilogy but are very sexy, emotional and romantic.
LETTING GO is the first book in the Surrender series and aside from its more adult theme, the heroine, Josslyn is a widow. Can you tell us more about her?
Joss was very happily married to her husband, Carson and at the start of the story it’s the third anniversary of her husband’s death and she’s determined to stop grieving and to let go and move on.
She’s always know that she craved dominance and felt a need to submit but it’s not something she could ask her husband to provide because he came from a very abusive childhood and the idea of hurting his wife in any way appalled him. And Joss loved him too much to ever demand from him something he simply couldn’t give her.
Now that he’s gone Joss is left alone with an ache in her soul and she researches and agonizes over her choice but in the end she takes the plunge and goes to a club seeking respite from the overwhelming loneliness and to attempt to fill a void that’s always been in her.
Wild card question, most heroines play the submissive role. In your opinion, why is this a more attractive fantasy for women as compared to being the dominant one in the relationship? I mean women have fought for equality for a long time and now that we sort of have it, why are women readers leaning towards being supplicant to their partner?
I really can’t speak to the motives of other women because we’re all different in our wants and needs. I think in BDSM literature it’s the fantasy aspect. In my life the very LAST thing I could or would ever be is submissive, lol. Just ask my husband! But I enjoy reading (and writing) themes surrounding female submission. I don’t have to BE a certain kind of woman in order to write her and in fact, none of my heroines are even remotely based on or my preferences. It’s what makes writing so enjoyable because I get to explore aspects or experiences that I wouldn’t necessarily ever gravitate to in real life.
I'm sure your DH enjoys other aspects of your imagination... ehem...Dash, the "meat" of LETTING GO! Man, this dude is in one hell of a dilemma. What kind of a man is Dash?
Dash is indeed a very conflicted man. He’s been in love with Joss, through her entire marriage to his best friend. So imagine loving both people but in different ways and not being able to ACT on that attraction because he’s loyal to his best friend and would never do anything to jeopardize his marriage to Joss, even though he’s been in love with her the entire time.
Yeah that's sure to mess anyone up. Aside from the hot sex, what is the main conflict of LETTING GO?
The conflict in LETTING GO is mostly internal versus external conflict and I typically DON’T write stories that focus narrowly on just internal conflict.
But the conflict manifests itself in many ways. First there is Joss deciding it was time to let go of Carson (her dead husband) and to move on and try to find the missing piece of her soul.
Then there’s the fact that Dash has been in love with her forever and after Carson’s death he stepped in as a steady support for Joss waiting and wishing for the day that he CAN act on his feelings.
And then the fact that Joss finds herself falling in love with her husband’s best friend and both her and Dash’s sense of betraying Carson.
So there is a lot of focus on emotion and internal conflict for this story
True and it sure made a mess of Joss and Dash. Keeping it light for a bit, how do you research/prepare for the intimate (emotional and intimate) scenes? Meaning what kind of research or what not goes behind the scenes?
Honestly it’s my characters who dictate when and how such scenes are written. An author can ruin a story by making things happen too soon and it can come across as forced. So I always try to let my characters lead and tell me WHEN and HOW the love scenes will manifest themselves and I try to write the scene in a manner that fits their characters and their goals.
Which is a good thing because readers can always tell if the story is told by the characters or by the author. If that makes sense. What other projects are you working on?
I’ve most recently been writing the next KGI book and the last SURRENDER book
Already? Whew! You're on a roll! Wow! Where can your fans catch you?
I have an events calendar on my website that lets readers know where and when I’ll be signing or an event. There are a few for this year I haven’t added yet just because I want to make certain I have accurate and detailed information that doesn’t change.
If LETTING GO is on the front page of New York Times tomorrow, what would the headline say?
Well I certainly can’t be SURE what the headline would say lol. Reporting is subjective so it could be glowingly GOOD or horrible BAD. But what I would HOPE it would say is that:
"Maya Banks delivers a sexy, emotionally charged story.”
If it does happen, I'm sure it'll be glowingly good. Thanks for stopping by Maya!
Because my little chit-chat with Maya Banks about Surrender and LETTING GO pretty much covered the important parts, I will go to the meat of things and avoid repeating what's been said so as not to be redundant. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm wary of BDSM erotica so when I do pick up one, I make sure that the plot is as solid as the hot smut. I wasn't wrong in picking LETTING GO because MBanks did good with her word in giving us an emotional story with the physical parts serving as the by-product of Joss and Dash's relationship. I was expecting to be pounded (apologies for the pun) with one sex scene after the next but to my pleasant surprise, the "action" didn't happen til about 30% into the novel and the scenes were sporadic. Joss and Dash didn't rush into things and really explored every nook and cranny of their impending D/s relationship before acting on it which felt very organic IMO.
I never thought I'd love again. I thought I used my only shot at finding my soul mate with Carson... Is it possible to find perfection twice in a lifetime?
Josh and Dash on the surface is an obvious pairing. Dash has been in love with Joss and has been her "crutch" since Joss' hubby, Carson, died in a car accident. But because there's this deep embedded friendship between them, that complicated things down the road. Though Joss is intent on moving on with her life, she still had some mild issues letting Carson's memory go completely. Which caused much insecurity from Dash's part, understandably so as he's witnessed the great love between Carson and Joss in both life and after death. At some point, Dash felt he was competing with a dead man and in a way, I understood his indignation. I also felt that Joss was lacking in reassuring Dash that she's in the relationship not just because of her sexual needs but because she's starting to care for Dash.
Brace yourself, Joss, because now that I know, I'm not going to hold back any longer. I can give you all that you want and need and so much more. So very much more.
Though I appreciate that LETTING GO is really more of an emotional story, I didn't completely connect with the characters. I love great girlfriends but find it odd that Joss at times seem like she's seeking her BFF's approval. And Joss' Carson dreams didn't really cut it for me. As for the conflict, it was a little shallow at first glance but upon further inspection, it's more like the straw that broke Dash's back. It's the confrontation that followed that had my eyes rolling. Their friends got involved in defense of Joss and though I understand their concerns, some of the things they said to Dash was really uncalled for and the tone and the lines were leaning towards daytime soap.
Still LETTING GO is a refreshing BDSM erotica. In fact, I don't think it really is BDSM in essence because of the emotional range and depth that MBanks focused on. And even if I didn't connect with Joss and Dash, I still enjoyed the concept of the series and I'm looking forward to Kylie and Jensen's story in GIVING IN.
Purchase Letting Go
Maya Banks is the #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today and bestselling author of the Surrender Trilogy. Her other chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and Scottish historical romance. She lives in the South with her husband, three children and a variety of pets.