Sexy psychological thrillers and cake!
How about this for guidelines for authors? Exciting, no?
The erotica-buying public are practically unshockable these days … I’d like [authors] to think about working against convention in terms of women’s erotic fiction. I want to dust off the traces of romantic writing and aim for streamlined, economical prose … Out go masked balls, ripped bodices and pulsing nubbins to make way for more down-to-earth, no-messing stories which take their lead from somewhere other than romance … I would like to see some stories which explore fetishistic practices or where the central female character is driven by desires which are less wholesome than ‘finding a perfect lover’.
The above was sent to Black Lace authors in 1998, sixteen years ago, when the imprint had been going for five years. The guidelines were wonderfully refreshing at the time (and would be now!), and inspired me to write my second novel, Asking for Trouble. The words poured out of me in a way they hadn’t done before and haven’t since. The book has sold more than all of my other books combined, and then some. I was possessed! Asking for Trouble has a sleazy, noirish feel, and a suspense-thriller element to it, something I’ve continued to explore in my writing to this day.
I’d love to write more erotic, psychological thrillers, with a dark sprinkling of the gothic, but that’s a hard sell when the field is dominated by kink-lite erotic romance, and when the pressure to give readers a happy ending is so strong. I’m convinced there’s a market for erotic thrillers, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Undone, out in September in the UK, has something in common with the newly popular and dubiously-named ‘chick noir‘, psychological suspense thrillers aimed at women, exploring how well we know the people we’re close to. I wasn’t aware these books were being hailed as the Next Big Thing in publishing until recently but it’s nice to think that I might, for a change, be almost in step with the world! Obviously, Undone has a lot more depraved, kinky sex than ‘chick noir. I’d call it ‘clit noir’ if that tag wasn’t nearly as awful.
Asking for Trouble, my first foray into erotic-not-romance is fifteen years old next week. So I was deliriously thrilled to see this tweet from bestselling crime author, Elizabeth Haynes.
@kristina_lloyd Just finished Asking for Trouble – was AWESOME. Which one next? xx
— Elizabeth Haynes (@Elizjhaynes) July 6, 2014
It’s so rare for someone outside of erotica to comment positively on our books, and getting the thumbs up from someone who’s massively successful in a genre I’m flirting with is wonderfully validating. If you haven’t yet read Elizabeth’s debut, Into the Darkest Corner, go buy it now! Or check out some of the 1,500 reviews on Amazon, and see if you can *not* buy it!
And if you’re in the South East next week, join me on Tuesday for the inaugural Dirty Sexy Words gig in Croydon, South London. It’s on the 15th July, the eve of Asking for Trouble‘s 15th birthday. I’m not yet sure if I’ll be reading from AFT or Undone or something else entirely. But there will be cake!
Sallyanne, the brains behind this new venture, recently began blogging about erotica classics and gave Asking for Trouble a fabulous write up at the start of her series. She says:
“A part of the book’s appeal is the brilliant evocation of Brighton in the late 90s; the town is almost a character in its own right. Kristina Lloyd also captures the irrational, compulsive momentum of unwise lust. I think the most memorable thing about it, finally, is that it depicts a woman who is both sexually submissive – massively sexually submissive – but also a rounded character who is, ultimately, in charge of her own life.”
It looks like a lot of fun, and it would be fab to see some of you there!