Friday, August 22, 2014

Spanking Stories Book Club: For Ben by Kate Richards

Cara Bristol is here today to lead the discussion of Kate Richard's For Ben. Let's see what probing questions Cara has for us...

One of the things that has struck me about the Corbin’s Bend spanking romance series is how family-oriented many of the books are. Although the story dynamics focus on the H/h, the families (children) are brought into the stories. In Kate Richards’s book, For Ben, a child serves as the actual catalyst for relationship change when a childless career-minded couple become instant parents following the death of a family member.

First, the blurb:
Roy Simms is about to make full partner in a big NYC law firm. His wife, Teri, assures him that once they reach their career goals, they can relax and enjoy life…maybe even consider starting a family. He’s not sure how much longer their marriage can survive if they don’t make time for one another. One evening of passion and spanking makes him ache for the connection they’ve almost lost.

Teri Simms doesn’t understand why Roy needs so much prodding to reach for the stars. With his education and talent, he should be senior partner long since. But he’ll get there. Her own vice presidency occurred only  five years into her tenure with the financial firm, and if it takes seventeen hours a day and most of her weekends, so be it. Roy will just have to continue to be understanding.

A phone call from a stranger will change everything. This two-job-no-kids couple is a family, due to the tragic death of Teri’s sister and brother in law. They must fly immediately to Corbin’s Bend, Colorado and take charge of little Ben, almost four years old. The change of scene brings to the forefront everything good and bad about their marriage. It’s time to face some difficult truths.

1     1.       If you were to become instant parents like Roy and Teri, what do you think would be the hardest part?

2     2.      Given the couple’s existing marital problems, in real life do you think the arrival of Ben into their lives would have brought them closer to together – or driven them farther apart?

3      3.    I could empathize with Teri and I liked her even though I did not see her as a likable character (not at the start. Later she changes). She typified a “shrew”: hard, brittle, sharp. If anyone’s behavior needed to be corrected, hers did. Which do you prefer in spanking fiction: a character with some serious behavioral issues—or a more sympathetic one who is spanked for relatively minor infractions such as swearing or not doing the laundry? What are the pros and cons of both?

4     4.       How do you balance the often opposing forces of marriage, work and family?

August 29 - "A Simple Misunderstanding" by Kathryn R. Blake - Discussion Leader: Tara Finnegan

September 6 - "Last Dance for Cadence" by Maren Smith - Discussion Leader: Emily Tilton


  1. Great questions Cara, you're really making me probe my mind this afternoon.
    1. I think adjusting to becoming parents is extremely difficult at the best of times, even when you have been waiting and longing for a child. For it to happen overnight would bring it's own challenges but possibly the hardest for the new parents in this case would be the complete lack of support systems that would be in place, such as schools, babysitters etc. While battling with your own grief, you would have to be ever mindful that you are 100 percent responsible for a child whose grief and confusion is much greater than yours.
    2. It's hard to generalise as so much would depend on the strength of character of the individuals and their desire to pull together but I would say that in the majority of cases, it would probably drive them further apart; for a minority however, it would be a real wake up call to teach them how to pull together.
    3. Generally, in real life, there tends to be two sides to every story, and neither party in a relationship is entirely blameless - I prefer to see that balance maintained in fiction too. Even Doms are human!
    4. LOL, sometimes with great difficulty! There are certain unalterable schedules like school runs, sporting events etc and they have to be worked around. Both my husband and I are self employed and often the best quality time we get is a coffee together after the children go to school. Writing gets shoved in around the family timetable, often late into the night.

  2. Wow...these really are great questions! Writing this book was really an emotional experience and I am so interested in everyone's responses here.

  3. Great questions, Cara.

    1. I agree with Tara, the lack of a support system would be a major problem, but to me the most significant problem would be gaining the child's trust. I doubt that's easy in the best of situations, but for a child who is suddenly made an orphan, trusting people who are essentially strangers would be difficult, at least it would have been for me as a child.

    2. I think a lot of couples believe having a child could cement a broken or teetering marriage, but generally children add complications, rather than lessen them. I'm not sure my husband and I would agree on how to raise a child, and we're happily married. I would imagine becoming overnight parents for someone else's child would initially pull a couple apart, but with work and strong communication skills, the marriage could flourish.

    3. I find stories populated with characters who have serious issues tend to have more at stake, therefore more conflict, than those who spank or get spanked for trivial matters. And conflict makes a story more interesting, at least for me. The downside is serious issues lead to a more serious book, which not all readers enjoy. Some simply want to be entertained by the books they read. I personally like a mix. Sometimes I want light and fluffy, but for the most part, I appreciate and enjoy stories that tackle more serious issues. A perfect story for me is one that can make me laugh and cry.

    4. As for balancing marriage, work and family, I don't think I've mastered the knack to that yet. I tend to get caught up in whatever I'm doing to the exclusion of everything else, so I still struggle with concept of balance in my life. Definitely not easy to do.

  4. Thanks Tara and Kathryn for joining in. I enjoyed your answers. Kate, you write such complex characters. As much as I found Teri grating after while, I could identify with her in the beginning--trying to balance it all. I felt so sorry for the little boy, losing both his parents.

  5. An additional factor for Ben that I really wanted to get into the story was the fact that his mom is gone...and her identical twin is now there, who he didn't know well at all except on Skype. Wouldn't that be confusing? But writing it, he just didn't seem to have the issue with that that I, the author, thought he should. Another character who refused to behave...but I loved him so much!

    1. That does sound like an interesting complication and I would have wondered about that too. Ben sounds like an interesting boy. Can't wait to read about him.

  6. Excellent discussion today.

    1. Becoming a parent instantly would be quite shocking. I think just figuring out what a child needs and providing it could be a challenge, especially if it's not something you were planning (or wanted). Another thing that I think might be a challenge (I haven't read the book, so just guessing in general) is trying to honor what the deceased parents may have wanted. What if they were committed to home schooling or particular religious practices that were different from your own. Do you just say "we're doing it my way" or try to incorporate those things?

    2. A baby is never the miracle fix it to a bad relationship, yet somehow people think it will be. At least this wasn't a situation where they had a baby in order to mend their problems, it all just happened.

    3. Good question. I think even the most unlikeable character needs something likeable about them or I just get annoyed and I also wonder why the hero loves them.

    4. Those are big challenges. I was fortunate that I was usually able to work either part time or for myself when my son was young and that gave me more options, but I see many women (and probably men) struggle with this, especially if you have put a lot of time and effort into your career.


I love getting feedback. Thank you for taking the time to comment!