The Ganymede Quartet books present a different version of slavery than what you’re familiar with from history books. It’s also definitely not a BDSM type of slavery. It’s based entirely on class and economics rather than race; while there are black slaves in the story, there are also black masters.
Historical slavery isn’t my area of expertise, and, for any number of reasons, I have no business trying to speak on behalf of people who were actually enslaved in the United States. My books are not books about historical slavery. Historical slavery isn’t sexy. Contemporary sex trafficking and slavery aren’t sexy. But exploring power dynamics in a slavery fantasy…that can be sexy.
Power dynamics are most often discussed in relation to BDSM scenarios but, again, this is not a BDSM story. Not even remotely. Henry is legally in the superior position, but in every other way he’s woefully out of his depth. Martin wants to do whatever Henry needs, and sometimes that means he has to take charge through subtle means. But there are no whips or collars involved, and Henry would prefer if he never heard the word “Master” pass Martin’s lips.
I had the idea of a slave who was proud of his slave status and the training he’d received, and who was eager to begin work, and a master who was reticent and shy and afraid to use his slave. I wanted the slave and master to be of the same race to further separate my dirty fantasy from historical slavery. I wanted a Victorian/Edwardian setting because I wanted to afford my characters the benefit of electricity and telephones, but I didn’t want it to be too modern. I also wanted to play a little with the idea of a United States where the Civil War never happened, and I imagined a version of the United States where indentured servitude didn’t die out but instead morphed into a slaving industry that would actually breed and train slaves in a quasi-industrialized fashion. There are no doubt many reasons this never could have happened, but this is, ultimately, a fantasy novel; it’s a fantasy with a hefty dose of reality decorating a far-fetched premise.
I’ve gotten the impression that some people expect these books to be BDSM stories because they involve slaves, and are subsequently disappointed when BDSM scenes don’t appear. Slave stories are perhaps typically BDSM stories, but they don’t actually have to be BDSM stories. My take on a slavery fantasy may or may not be to your taste, but I’ve never claimed that it’s something it’s definitely not, and that it was never intended to be. Please enjoy it for what it is.