As biased as I am, I always think of S&M as a little gem in my collection. It’s not a particularly shiny, pretty gem, but that’s why I like it. On the surface it’s the antipathy of all gems, because of its dark hues and twisted edges, but that sums up my preferred writing genre perfectly. I like going to the dark places because there is a wealth of unanswered questions there.
The title was deliberate, because you see it and think of something else immediately. Well it’s not about that something else at all, instead of Sadism & Masochism the letters simply stand for Sanity & Madness in this case.
They are the polar opposites which I explored in this book. I wanted to make the protagonist deliberately eloquent, but more importantly, deliberately rational. A rational, sane sounding person but one who has committed a horrendous act.
But even the end product of that horrendous act is described as art. That is what he sees, and no matter how twisted and abhorrent it is, all that happens during this event to him, is sane. His actions are normal and he would expect everyone else to think the same way. That’s his very own definition of sanity as it all makes sense to him.
So who is to say where the real line of sanity of madness is and who has crossed it in either direction? We’ve all had dark, crazy thoughts (don’t try and deny it) that would fall into the madness side of things, but we’re sane people right? But that’s not the entire point, because even the ‘normal’ things that we do, may be deemed as madness by an onlooker.
While there is definition of both, there is nothing to define sanity or madness because both are completely subjective.
That’s where I wanted to get too and the whole motive of why the protagonist does what he does in the book, came from an idea that I had brewing around in my head for a long, long time. What if you loved someone so much, that you would do something so outrageously radical to make sure that no-one else could have them?
In the story there is the woman, Margot, who would everyone would peg as being the sane one. But what she does in the story to her husband would presume her to be otherwise. That’s the thing, it was her sanity that made her commit an act of madness and again the lines between the two are blurred.
Is what she does, worse, better or equal to what the protagonist does?
The only way I felt that I could write this story was to try and put the reader in it. I wanted the protagonist to speak directly to the reader, so that the reader is right there with him as he guides you down the staircase into his basement, while hearing about his ‘sane’ story.
He just wants to show you a piece of art after all, something he’s extremely proud of.