Thirteen things about Thrill Seeker
1. I have three male leads (greedy, I know): Den Jackson, Liam Hamilton and Baxter Logan. It took me months to settle on one particular character’s name while another name practically arrived fully formed. The third character’s name took a bit of bouncing around, a fairly typical part of the naming process for me. These three different routes to the right names relate, in some ways, to the personality and behaviour of my three men. If you read the book, I’m sure you’ll be able to work out which name came fast, which slow, and which was somewhere in the middle.
2. The book is set in Saltbourne, a fictionalised version of Hastings, a faded seaside town about 30 miles from Brighton where I live. I first visited Hastings a few years ago and fell in love with the place.
3. Natalie Lovell, my narrator, is sexually submissive which, if you know my work, will come as no surprise. For years, hampered by shame and guilt about an incident in the past, Natalie has been reluctant to explore her fantasies. Thrill Seeker is the story of what happens when Natalie embarks on a new, more determined path.
4. In the early stages of writing the novel, I didn’t have a publisher and was feeling disheartened about publishing and the erotica scene in general. I was beyond happy when I learned that Black Lace were relaunching amidst all the 50 Shades hysteria – happy enough to sign a two-book deal with them.
5. One scene in the book was pretty much lifted from my life. And no, I ain’t telling you which!
6. Thrill Seeker is 90,000 words long, the biggest book I’ve written. Black Lace used to be strict on word count because, apparently, the paperbacks had to be a standard physical size in order to fit the specifics of their shrink-wrapped packaging. Distribution methods have since changed and so for authors, that means your novel can be the length it needs to be. Hurrah!
7. Baxter Logan, the man who previously betrayed Natalie and broke her heart, is deeply flawed and a few pounds overweight. So sue me. You can read about Baxter here in a sexy, flashback scene from Chapter 3.
8. When I discovered what the current erotica no-nos were for one of the major high street retailers, I rewrote an entire chapter, just in case.
9. I’ve wanted to explore kidnap fantasy for years. It’s a rich fantasy incorporating numerous elements which push my sub buttons: bondage, gags, blindfolds, an edge of violence and threat, powerlessness, the pleasures of torment, fear, and forced submission. Add to that the requirement for a shabby, isolated venue where the hostage is held prisoner, and my imagination, which likes life on the seedy, scary side, is firing on all cylinders. As with a lot of my writing, the challenge for me was to depict consensual engagement in a fantasy of non-consent without removing the key element which makes the fantasy hot. I tread some very fine lines in Thrill Seeker!
10. Facebook friends may recall me going, ‘Oh my word, that’s hot’ (I’m paraphrasing) when a feature on famous writers’ bedrooms was doing the rounds online. A certain something in Ernest Hemingway’s bedroom (right) ended up in Thrill Seeker. When readers ask writers, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ sometimes the answer is ‘Facebook’. Can you guess the object I stole?
11. As my deadline loomed, a holiday to France became a working holiday. For a blissful week, I wrote outdoors on my netbook in the shade in an enormous, sunny garden, had lunch made for me, swam 150-200 lengths late afternoon (small pool!) and relaxed in the evenings. This is the picture-postcard version of the writing life. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I have a fairly intense 9-5 job for four days of the week, and struggle to write in the evenings when my head is cluttered with left-brain crap. I write on Fridays, at weekends, and, as my deadline for Thrill Seeker neared, I’d often get up at 5.30am to do a couple of hours before going to work.
12. My advance for Thrill Seeker was the lowest I’ve received in my career to date. Publishing moves in mysterious ways.
13. Published at the end of Thrill Seeker is ‘Forbidden’ by SM Taylor, the winning short story of last year’s Black Lace/You magazine writing competition judged by myself, Sunday Times bestselling author, Portia da Costa, and our editor, Gillian Green. ‘Forbidden’ is prefaced by a two page introduction from me in which I reflect on the competition, erotica, and on Ms Taylor’s wonderful story. In the intro, I write, “When I first read ‘Forbidden’, I got goosebumps.” And truly, I did!
Thrill Seeker will be published in three days’ time on Thursday, 9th May, 2013!
I’m giving away 6 signed copies on Goodreads. Deadline: 31st May!
‘A sexy and controversial erotic thriller – Fifty Shades Darker than EL James and Sylvia Day’
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