My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?
This week, romance author KT Samois talks about the journey from Nora Roberts to The Story of O.
First romance novel you read:
Now that I think about it, I’ve been reading romance novels for so long that I actually can’t remember my first one! I remember a few that made particular impressions, though, so I’ll share those instead. I must have been in my early teens when I picked up Nora Roberts’ Taming Natasha. By sixteen, I’d progressed to titles like Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, and the worldbuilding and villain were enough to have me hooked. Later on in college, I took a semester of French literature. What started with Voltaire’s Candide ended with Reage’s The Story of O… and after that, nothing else on the bookshelf was about to intimidate me!
How old were you?
I started reading softer romances in my early teens, but by the time I was in college I’d developed a preference for smut. You know how it goes… You start out as a little goth reading Interview With The Vampire in high school, and before you know it you’re purchasing The Taming Of Sleeping Beauty on your very first Kindle and wondering if you burst into flames before or after you read it! (Answer: After. Definitely after. You could have lit a candle off of my blush.)
How’d you get your hands on the book?
My mother’s a huge Nora Roberts fan, so I’d bet money on having found Taming Natasha on a bookshelf at home. On the other hand, I borrowed Kushiel’s Dart from the library the summer I interned there shelving books. Ironically, the dirtiest books I own were purchased at my Campus Bookstore for my French literature course. To this day, I have no idea how that reading list made it past the Dean.
What was the reading experience like?
Reading Taming Natasha felt terribly grown-up at the time, and I’m sure there were plenty of dreamy teenaged sighs at the tasteful fade-to-black scenes. By the time I made it to Kushiel’s Dart, I’d acquired a terrible habit of developing crushes on the villains, and a taste for dark smut written well.
On the other hand, Reage’s The Story of O was the first book in years I read with my back to a wall so nobody could read over my shoulder. The author managed to identify the thread of decadence I’d enjoyed in Kushiel’s Dart and had created a world where that dynamic was writ large. The book’s about as thick as a stack of playing cards, and I’m sure I put it down ten times a chapter… but it made its impression. In retrospect, I think Reage’s use of language — and her ability to titillate and challenge her reader simultaneously — was what attracted me to the genre as an author.
What made the experience special?
I remember having a moment of clarity after reading The Story of O for the first time. There was something about creating an experience that hovered at the intersection of beauty and decay that really interested me as an author, and as a reader. O wasn’t a typical heroine, and none of the men in the novel were heroes as I knew them, but there had been a certain ambition to her that drew me in. She wasn’t carried along by the plot; she was making unapologetic choices, even if they weren’t ones I would have made, and it was refreshing to see a female character written with such agency.
What role does smut play in your life?
Pre-Covid, I was often in the air a couple of times a month for business. A solid book gets me through the inevitable layovers and delays and once in the air, a spicy scene or two keeps me from crying when we hit turbulence. Now that I’ve transitioned from reader to author, it’s a fun opportunity to invite my readers to meet heroines that challenge their assumptions, and heroes that inspire all the best bad ideas.
K.T. Samois is the pseudonym for a duo of high-octane overachievers.
T is an account executive by day and airport insomniac by night, who passes the inevitable flight delays by writing spicy stories long-form. She is shamelessly ENTJ, and has a dog.
K is a published artist, professional designer, and hobbyist hacker who is sustained on Colombian coffee. She is proudly INTJ, and has a cat.
Together, they write romance novels about heroes with a license to thrill, and heroines with killer instincts. Follow them at www.ktsamois.com for behind the scenes peeks, upcoming releases, and the occasional pet and/or travel photo.
Thanks KT! KT’s debut novel, No Time for Caution, released on May 1! We look forward to reading it—watch this space for a review coming soon.
Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.