Angel Dare, the main character in Christa Faust's new novel "Choke Hold," is anything but your average chick lit character -- in Faust's earlier novel, "Money Shot," the retired porn star took violent revenge on a sex slavery ring whose leaders beat and raped her.
"Choke Hold" finds Angel Dare escorting a young mixed martial arts fighter through the seedy underbelly of fight clubs, drug dens and cheap motels as they are pursued by smugglers and ugly
gangsters. "Choke Hold" is pulp fiction at its best, taut, tension-filled and totally cinematic.
Christa, whom Quentin Tarantino once called "s Veronica in a world full of Betties," grew up in NYC and after high school worked in Times Square peep show booths and as a fetish model and professional dominatrix. I got to speak to Faust and ask her questions about what it's like to be a female writer in the male-dominated genre of hardboiled fiction.
You've talked about the "pretty girls shouldn't write nasty stuff" attitude -- how prevalent do you think that opinion is these days?
Never once in my life has it ever occurred to me to consider what anyone else thinks I should be writing. That being said, I am a working writer, so I’m happy to take on all kinds of paying gigs. I
wrote the novelization of SNAKES ON A PLANE, so if you hired me to write about Lisa Frank Kittens in tiny Manolos, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But when it comes to my own personal taste, I’ve never had
any interest in chick lit or rom-coms. I write the kind of stories I like to read. Tough, gritty, real stories about tough, gritty, real women. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.
You are "older" and you said something to the affect of you would be happy to be born 40. What did you hate the most about your youth and what makes you happy about the age you are now?
It’s not that I hated my youth, I’m just glad it’s over. Being wild and impulsive and living out of a backpack can be fun and punk rock and all that, but it gets old when you do. I like who I am now much better because of the hard-won wisdom and self-awareness I’ve gained along the way. I’m also a better writer now and like to think I’ll keep on improving. Maturity is a good thing.
Do you regret your Dominia/peep show, fetish film days?
I’m currently active in the BDSM scene and still take occasional Domme and foot fetish sessions when I have time between deadlines, so that part of my life is far from over. I regret nothing about the decision to get involved in “sex work.” It helped me earn a living while I earned my bones as a writer and gave me some of my best story material.
Angel is a really easy character to fall in love with. Will there be more books focused on her?
I didn’t originally conceive Angel as a series character, partially because I had this preconceived notion that series characters can never change. Now that it’s looking like she will be the center of at
least one more book, it’s more important to me than ever to keep her dynamic and realistic. People change. They are affected by what they live through. Why should series characters be any different?
At the beginning of "Money Shot," she’s a little vain, hung up on her appearance and anxious about aging, although all that changes because of everything she goes through in that first book. She winds up pretty shut down, emotionally speaking. She’s always had serious, deep-seated issues with intimacy. Not sex, which is her personal martial art and not really intimate at all for her. On the other hand, real emotional intimacy is something she’s never been comfortably with, and so she’s totally at a loss when those intimacy issues get confronted head on in "Choke Hold." Of course, it doesn’t end there, because there will be more Angel Dare on the horizon.
How many tattoos do you have?
I like to say I have only one tattoo, a work in progress that will eventually cover my whole body. I got the first at age 30, because I wanted to wait until I felt mature enough to choose images I could
live with for the rest of my life. That first image was a hummingbird, the first of many. I love hummingbirds, because they are little and feisty, just like me. I also have the Hard Case Crime logo on my right wrist, because publishing "Money Shot," my first Hard Case novel, really changed my life.
I have a quote from Raymond Chandler on the same arm; “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.” I look at that whenever I’m suffering from writer’s block. But the most personally significant tattoo I have is the typewriter on my belly. I got that the year I had my tubes tied. It signifies my choice to devote my creative energy to making books instead of babies.
You see, I’m a big believer in what I call “literary DNA.” I‘ve read certain authors who inspired and influenced me over the years. They are my literary parents. Now that I’m a writer, I have young people reading my books. They are my literary offspring. Most literary offspring are sterile, in that their love for books ends with them. However, there are a few out there who may go on to become writers too. Those fertile “children” will pass your literary DNA on to their own offspring. To me, that’s real immortality.
You're a good-looking dame. What are your top three beauty must-haves?
1. Besame lipstick in red velvet: Because vintage red lips never go out of style. Plus, I love the
luxurious, 40s Film Noir style gold tube.
2. Foundation garments. Forget Spanx, the secret weapon every girl needs in her wardrobe is a real, old-school girdle. Rago Shapeware makes several vintage-style girdles and cinchers that give you that classic bombshell hourglass. Select the smallest size you can squeeze into. If you’re slender, a tight girdle creates a higher waist-to-hip ratio and gives the illusion of curves. If you’re naturally curvy, cinching in your waist just turns those curves up to eleven.
3. (and this is the most important) Attitude. It may sound silly, but 99 percent of beauty is attitude. Walk into a room knowing you’re a knockout and everyone around you will believe it. If you don’t think you’re beautiful why should anyone else?
I know that my individual features are not ideal. My nose has been broken. My eyes are close set. My lips are small and thin. But none of that matters, because I make my own beauty. So many women are tormented by insecurity and self-criticism, endlessly pursuing unreachable perfection through crash diets, punishing exercise and even surgery. I wish I could shake them all and make them see that none of that matters. Beauty isn’t a number on a scale or a bra size. Beauty is all about attitude. Best of all, attitude is safe, healthy and free! So rock what you’ve got and make your own beauty from the inside out.