The Lies Have It - the third Sasha Jackson Mystery (coming in Fall 2011) centres on the fetish and S & M world. The idea for this book has been mulling around in my head for many years. I kept getting stuck on the plot, even though the overall idea struck me as a good one.
Sex is a dominant theme in the Sasha Jackson series. If you've read Blood and Groom, you know Sasha worked part time at a phone sex hotline in that book. In Dead Light District, the background to the story is the world of prostitution and commercial sex. And now, this time around, it's all about leather and latex, and whips and chains, and dominance and submission... YIKES!
For Blood and Groom, I just made up all the phone sex stuff (and laughed my head off while I was doing it). Since I really didn't have a clue what I was doing (this was my first book after all) I mostly just showed Sasha's reactions to the smut calls, and I had great fun coming up with sarcastic replies or reactions for her.
In Dead Light District, the research came from an essay I did for my MA. The course was Equality in Context and the paper was about human rights in the sex trade.
With The Lies Have It, the smut stuff is more central to the plot (as compared to Blood and Groom), so I can't just make it all up. So, this is where the research comes in. Believe it or not, one of the first things I looked up was the BDSM entry on Wikipedia! Next up was Google Groups and general Google searches for terms I had stumbled upon thus far. Some of the many topics or subheadings re: fetish and S&M that you'll find via Google are::
Vampire (I vant to suckh your... toes?)
Naughty Nursery Rhymes
Watersports (not exactly windsurfing...)
and on and on and on...
So, this was a bit of an eye opener. (Note to self: clear cookies from computer).
A second look at Wikipedia led me to the section of types of "play". You can probably guess the obvious ones (whipping and handcuffs or things like that) but there's a whole lot of interest in medical role play and there's also a specialty in erotic electrostimulation (ouch).
This list (below) gives names to a long list of quirks or "paraphilias". Who wouldda thunk there'd be so many? From Albinaphilia to Teratophilia and everything in between...
Wow. And I thought writing was about creating settings and coming up with plotlines and writing snappy dialogue...