Alison Tyler’s new book Dark Secret Love paints a wonderfully vivid tale of a girl named Sam, a character who is shaped by and based on Alison herself. This book is as true as it can be, and like most erotica tales, has a happy ending.

This story indulged me not only with a tale of steamy, kinky sex, but also with a personal experience of a woman traversing through relationships, both good and bad, stifling and freeing. These adventures Alison shared were ones I connected with on different levels, and I found myself thinking of my own sexual journey and how each experience was a stepping stone to where I am today.

In this book, Alison found the perfect combination of character development and plot progression–the readers learn more about the characters as the story unfolds. The people are real in this book. The characters are alive, with desires, wants, kinks, quirks, what have you, and you really get to know these people in respect to the relationships they form with Sam. I felt like I was reading a sexual diary while reading Dark Secret Love and that made it feel all the more intimate, which I really appreciated.

One sweet, recurring theme is how Sam thinks her desire for submission is a secret, and yet, every time she encounters a dominant man he somehow just knows what she needs. How do they know? They tell her she wears her desires on her sleeve. Sam need not even make a peep, other than one of pleading consent–to surrender, to transcend through the pain and pleasure these men are able to give her.

This book is so thoughtfully written that I think everyone will appreciate the relationships and sexual adventures depicted. Alison’s tale spoke to me in many ways, and I think that this story is brimming with pleasure and value to be gleaned from readers. One of the most effective forms of sexual acceptance and positivity is gained by people telling their truths. This is Alison’s truth, however fictional the details may be.



Alison Tyler graciously answered some questions about her new book. Here’s what she had to say:

I started writing Dark Secret Love back in 2006. I actually can’t remember the specific situation that made me begin, but I uploaded each installment on my blog—one post a day. By the time I stopped, after a solid year and a half, I had almost 500,000 words written. This was in addition to editing for Cleis, writing for Black Lace, and working on short stories.

My goal when writing is to create kinky characters who get what they want and aren’t punished for their desires. Sure, their desire may be punishment—and that’s cool with me (as you can imagine). But I like happily ever afters. People needn’t worry that they’ll be left emotionally demolished after reading my stories.

This was a different type of work for me, because I put myself into the scenes and drew from my own experiences and fantasies.

What was your fondest/favorite sex scene to write about in this book?
The night at the sex club in NYC. There is almost nothing sexier to me than someone who will take the pain for a partner. When Jack covers Sam’s body with his own…that’s my favorite scene. Here’s a snippet:

The crop struck another blow. “Thank you, Master,” I murmured.

“Christ, Sam, tell him your safeword.” Jack didn’t know my safeword, and somehow this gave me a tiny spark of power. Was I topping from below? Had I gone over the edge? Jack had brought me here, to teach me something, and clearly I was failing to learn the lesson at hand.

The crop sliced through the air. “Thank you, Master,” I parroted, my face glistening from the tears now, my voice barely audible. And then Jack did something that made me wetter than I’ve ever been. He moved his body to shield my own, covering me up with his own skin. I could feel his arms tight around me, his mouth against my ear. “Say it,” he insisted, and then his body tightened, and I understood that the Dom—not seeming to care who the fuck he cropped—had let a blow land on Jack’s body. And then another. And another. Jack didn’t flinch, didn’t say a word to me, now, he simply protected me.

And I couldn’t stand that.

Did writing this book make you nostalgic about the past? 
I am always nostalgic. My favorite music is retro. My dream living room would feature a jukebox in one corner and a 1950s style bar in the other. I wear bowling shirts, pegged jeans, too-big silver hoop earrings. I’m always reaching back into yesterday to snag something I love.

Did the fictional aspect of this book feel freeing or restricting to you and why?
Freeing, definitely. I was able to polish and tweak and tie up loose ends. Things you can’t always do in real life because people will complain.

Thank you, Alison Tyler, for the interview, and thanks to Cleis Press for allowing me to review this book! xoxo

Called a “Trollop with a Laptop” by East Bay Express, “a hell of a writer” by Violet Blue, and a “literary siren” by Good Vibrations, Alison Tyler is naughty and she knows it. She is the author of more than 25 erotic novels, and the editor of more than 75 explicit anthologies. Her sultry short stories have appeared in 100+ anthologies. Most recently, she’s decided to try to sell 50,000 copies of her favorite novella, Banging Rebecca.

Visit 24/7, as she’s a total insomniac.