The world of Dominant/submissive relationships has been a hot topic in the gay community for years.
Author Tommy G. gives us a closer look it in his fascinating book Pineapple. The main character of Michael creates a Dom/sub arrangement to avoid a more traditional type of relationship, or so he thought.
Problems get in the way of the relationship like their friend’s opinions, Michael’s feelings for his partner and vice versa and even recurring memories of his physically abusive childhood.
“How does our past affect us and are others willing to accept it?” Tommy writes as part the book’s synopsis. “Do we need a safe word in relationships? Should we need a safe word? Did someone say ‘Pineapple?'”
I spoke with Tommy about his work, where he talked about how Pineapple came to be, if the character of Michael is based on himself or someone else personally and why this is an important read for anyone in our community.
Can you tell our readers some more background on Pineapple?
So often people in relationships experience personal issues, moods, personality conflicts, and a struggle for power—sometimes just to be heard and understood by the other. Why not take out those conflicting parts out of a relationship? Wouldn’t that make everything work out well? Or so I (and Michael) thought.
After all the years in my life, and a multitude of relationships, I was personally frustrated to not have found a partner/lover with whom I was still with for many years. As much as I tried to be a good, committed, loyal boyfriend I found that my partners were not always feeling the same. Personal conflicts always interfered with the relationships, which eventually ended. How, I wondered, could someone have what he or she wants without all that personal drama? So the idea of a controlled relationship came to mind. And through research, and some of my own experiences, I thought a slave would be a good fit for Michael, the main character. However, it turns out that a less extreme relationship of Dominant/submissive could be a better fit. Unfortunately, simply controlling out the parts one doesn’t like doesn’t mean things will always go well.
The character of Michael is very complex. Did you base this on anything personally?
Being a controlling, alpha type person in all aspects of my life, including being in leadership roles in work positions where I managed people and processes, I thought maybe that structure could work in a personal relationship also. So I began putting together a relationship where the main character, based largely on my personality, would set this up somehow. The term “slave” came to mind and so I began researching Master/slave. Through this research I found that a Dominant/submissive relationship was more suitable.
As I was writing the book, a friend who attends a book club mentioned that the group likes books with a dark side; so I wondered how I could add a dark side to this story. Since Michael is based largely on myself, I thought why don’t I really open up and add my childhood experiences. It could also shed some light on how Michael developed into the man he is.
The world of dom/sub has always had its controversy in the gay community. Why choose this as a topic for Pineapple?
Don’t we all want to have a relationship that is structured in a way that works for us? Wouldn’t it be great if we could structure our own relationship to suit our needs/desires?
People say, “Write what you know.” So I took my frustration with relationships, and my current lack of one, and created a situation that I thought might be the answer. I originally thought of Michael having a slave and researched it; I transferred this research to Michael in the book (and for those readers who are not familiar with or knowledge of slaves). Through my research I become aware of the varied and individual ways in which people venture into these relationships. I noticed that each relationship is designed, and/or agreed upon, mutually by those involved, and they can be quite different for each and encompass the reasons why one enters these relationships. I encountered many personal stories that were Dominant/submissive and was more attracted to this.
“Dominant” means something different to each person and must be defined and agreed upon by those partaking in the relationship. In general, “Dominant” refers to someone who is more alpha, controlling, possibly more aggressive, and someone who sets and maintains the rules. Sometimes people translate this into more of a physically abusive encounter. In my opinion, this is not truly an accurate portrayal of a dominant.
A submissive is one who agrees to abide by the rules and takes direction from the Dominant. A submissive tries to please the dominant; however, the Dominant has a responsibility of the submissive’s care; with physical and emotional aspects/desires/limits taken into account.
Michael sets this dom/sub thing up as a way to avoid traditional relationships, but feelings start to happen. Does this happen quite often in that world?
Feelings happen in any relationship. And as much as a more controlled relationship, such as a Dominant/submissive, or even Master/slave relationship, could minimize the affect or role of feelings, there is a bond in any good relationship. One of the attempts I made with this book is to relate to a variety of people and relationships. A Dominant/submissive relationship was thought to be a good choice by Michael, but it also encompasses issues, feelings, and conflicts that occur in many relationships and that most people can relate to–those in a Dom/sub relationship or even a traditional “equal” relationship.
This is the kind of book that could easily be translated into a TV series or movie. Have you thought about optioning it?
While writing the book I envisioned each scene in a movie; I even chose songs for many of the scenes. My goal is to film this story for a movie. Individuals will interpret and filter the scenes in the book to relate to them or dismiss the scene as something they don’t feel or understand. A movie could give a more visual and auditory sense to every scene that may not be fully recognizable by the words of the book alone.
What do you hope people get most out of Pineapple?
Relationships are important for humans and for an individual person’s well-being. I want the readers to relate to aspects of the story, to issues and situations, so they can then look back on themselves and possibly become more enlightened in their own lives. A dominant/submissive relationship was not too extreme to alienate some people and this particular relationship encountered issues and feelings that many of us could relate to.
Communication is a huge part of the story, not only for Michael and Adam, but also for their friends. Allowing things to flow more naturally in one’s life enables the energy of life to move things forward as it should be for each. Doing well to be our best is positive; however, controlling things to such an extent that life’s energy is blocked and cannot progress and grow more naturally can be detrimental and we then have bigger issues to resolve. Let’s be more open and honest, not just with others, but more importantly with ourselves. One thing Michael does not do (in this first book of the series) is to address his own blocking of his past, his physically and verbally abusive childhood. We all have a past; and the question for people is, “How does our past affect us, and are others willing to accept it?”
To learn more about Pineapple, click here.