Concertina: An Erotic Memoir of Extravagant Tastes and Extreme Desires, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2008.
Susan Winemaker was educated in Montreal, Canada, where she studied philosophy, then lived for a time in New York City before relocating to London, England. That is where she began her dominatrix practice, which she continued for approximately five years. Winemaker enjoyed a successful career in London until the routine boredom of a repetitive position began to outweigh her interest in the field. In an article for Metro, Winemaker discussed her career as a sexually dominating female and stated, "I had approached it as a project, thinking it may open my eyes to a more sophisticated form of sexuality." She added, "There were some terrible sessions at first and a lot of embarrassment." Winemaker also admitted, "Inevitably, it becomes mundane like any job. Your mind wanders, whether you're sitting in an office staring at a computer or sitting in a dungeon suffocating someone."
In 2008, Winemaker published a chronicle of her experiences in London titled Concertina: An Erotic Memoir of Extravagant Tastes and Extreme Desires. A concertina is an instrument that operates through the process of air compression and applied force to achieve its desired audible result; consequently, Winemaker's word choice evokes a correlation between the instrument and the author's profession. In Lisa Grainger's interview for the Times Online, titled "Dominant Female," Winemaker explained that she "was never one of those dominatrixes who made it a lifestyle, who was really into the scene, the whole aesthetic and apparel"; for Winemaker, domination "is about exploring the mind" and "discipline." Jan Moir, in a review for the Telegraph, wrote that "this disturbing memoir lifts us out of the cosy, familiar realm of restaurants and into a far, far darker place; a place where curdled groans, butt plugs, nipple clamps, assorted whips, punctured scrotums and sutured foreskins are all on the daily menu." Moir pointed out that the text contains a romantic subplot, which "is full of shadows and constraint," and language that draws parallels "between being a chef and a dominatrix," such as food-themed descriptions. Furthermore, Moir observed that "favourite themes include the psycho-sexual challenge and breaking down human barriers." Biography contributor Josey Vogels claimed that Concertina moves past the function of "simply catering to our prurient interest" in this type of sexually infused profession, where role playing is a significant element, and stated that the text is "lyrical, poignant, and multi-layered."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Biography, March 22, 2007, Josey Vogels, "Concertina: The Life and Loves of a Dominatrix," review of Concertina: An Erotic Memoir of Extravagant Tastes and Extreme Desires, p. 303.
Bookseller, March 31, 2006, "Dominatrix to Reveal All to S&S," review of Concertina, p. 15.
Chatelaine, February 1, 2007, "Whip and Tell," review of Concertina, p. 81.
Daily Jews Web site,http://www.dailyjews.com/ (August 18, 2008), Leslie Bunder, "Dominating Winemaker," review of Concertina.
Macmillian Web site,http://us.macmillan.com/ (August 18, 2008), author profile.
Metro Web site,http://www.metro.co.uk/ (March 20, 2007), "My Life as Miss Whiplash."
Telegraph Web site,http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ (March 18, 2007), Jan Moir, "How a Chef Became a Dominatrix," review of Concertina.
Times Online,http://women.timesonline.co.uk/ (February 11, 2007), "Dominant Female," author interview with Lisa Grainger.