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About the author:
I’ve chased down bad guys, climbed mountains, searched for dinosaurs and had rather a large number of lovers, though I’m not giving a specific number.
What inspired you to write your book?
I got tired of books about things sensual or sexual being called “dirty” or “smut.” Some are, I guess, but I love my characters. I want women, and men, to love and embrace and find joy in sex.I want them to feel okay about the things they want, the fantasies they have. Lotsa fun sex! Hey, it’s great for your health!
Here is a short sample from the book:
“Why are they all billionaires?” Avia asked in disgust. “Multi-millionaires aren’t good enough to have hot, kinky sex with?”
Janet “J.J.” Johnson, feature editor of national news magazine The Week (cyber-edition) sipped her morning coffee and didn’t bother to answer. She knew Avia, friend as well as award-winning writer, was just getting wound up.
“And not only that,” Avia went on, “How are they all twenty-eight years old with ‘slabs’ of muscle? Bill Gates isn’t exactly ripped. Fifty is young on the billionaire list! Seventy is standard.”
Janet cocked her head and raised an eyebrow.
“Okay, Nathan Blecharczyk’s kind of a cute guy,” Avia conceded, “But he’s a boy next store, not a sexual super-stud. And all these heroines seem to have some kind of neurological disorder. Every one stumbles, falls or collapses into the arms of a wildly attractive rich guy with a rock hard chest. If I stumbled into a man, he’d be a sweaty fat guy with halitosis.”
Avia drank from her own large mug of half hot chocolate, half coffee, settling back into her chair and her argument. “I’m also wondering how all these guys can come for minutes at a time? Or even one? And pump out veritable oceans of cum? I mean, seriously, J.J., don’t we have a big enough wet spot to avoid with the one or two teaspoons we get in reality?”
Janet shrugged and waited. Avia wasn’t close to done; she hadn’t asked the question.
“I mean, I like sex as much as the next woman, I think. I’d love to meet a guy who can go as long as I want, whenever I want, stay as hard as I want and be as big as I want, and be completely focused on my pleasure. But even at twenty-eight, how many men can maintain an eight-hour erection and have multiple orgasms? Every night. Every day. Multiple times a day.”
Janet smiled. Avia was entertaining, as always.
“OH! Oh. Aaannnnnd …” Avia went on, “… the billionaires are ALL damaged by traumatic childhoods. How do so many emotionally screwed-up sex gods manage to build business empires? Who reads this stuff? You know the last time I read fiction was for a college class I was required to take. Why, oh why, would you give me this … assignment?”
The question. Avia had spit out the last word, obviously repressing the urge to say –
“This piece of shit assignment, you mean?” Janet asked equably. This time, Avia shrugged.
“I gave it to you because you’re an investigative journalist. You delve into the deepest layers of an issue and expose every facet of the situation. You find the context, the broader implications. Two city Councilman resigned after your story on outsider influence in city politics. One of whom was later indicted. And …”
Janet held up a hand as Avia opened her mouth to respond, “ … as for who the women are who buy and read these books? The books I gave you to read came out of my own library.”
Avia’s mouth closed and her eyebrows lifted. Janet was one of the brightest, most powerful and self-confident women she’d ever met. Why would she seek out stories that invariably depicted submission to a Dominant male? Suddenly, the assignment was interesting.
Janet put her coffee aside and sat forward. She needed to be Avia’s boss, now. Not always the easiest role to take with her strong-willed star reporter and friend.
“This isn’t trivial or I’d give it to someone else. There’s a story here. It isn’t just that female ‘erotica’ is suddenly so wildly popular and culturally accepted that women are openly buying the books off stacks on tables at big box stores. It’s that they are seeking something in droves that they aren’t getting anywhere else.
“I’m sure the readers do know the physical limitations of men in real life. Is that why they seek the fictional kind? Or is it something more? What do the fantasy billionaires give them that the guy at the next desk can’t, besides a mile-high fuck on a private jet? What are we missing about how women see themselves and what these books supply? Do the research, Avia. eRom readers are educated, adult women. Go find the answers to your questions. That’s your assignment.”
Janet ducked her head to hide a smile. In the middle of her speech, Avia had taken out her ever-present notebook, jotting notes on the questions Janet was asking. Avia was the only one of her staff who still used a pencil and paper, instead of a digital recorder.
“The challenge for you is that you are an investigative reporter. You’re addicted to facts. You need to accept that in a fantasy, there’s never a wet spot.” Janet sat back and picked up her coffee. “That’s not a flaw in the work. Conversely, the advantage of your, let’s call it ‘no-nonsense’ approach to life and work, is that you’ll hone in on the concrete elements and use them to figure out the answers.”
Avia finished writing and sat very still, pen poised – waiting. She was an information siphon who didn’t so much question a source, as allow her subjects to reveal themselves. Regardless of how surprising or even disgusting the revelations might be, she appeared impartial and non-judgmental. She had the gift of inspiring trust.
Janet swung her laptop around so Avia could see the screen. “Do you know who this is?”
The image showed a man in a tuxedo entering what looked like the Performing Arts Center at night. Avia judged him to be in his early thirties, the natural wave of his dark, medium-length hair defeating whatever product he used to keep it in place. Errant curls drifted over a straight forehead above a strong profile.
“No idea,” Avia responded.
“His name is Ben Hart.” Janet looked for a sign of recognition, but Avia shook her head. “You have an appointment to interview him this morning. Which is the only time he had this week.”
“You’re taking me off the erotica assignment?” Avia asked, with a twinge of disappointment now that J.J. had piqued her interest in the topic. She was already thinking of avenues to pursue the story.
“No.” Janet scrolled down to show the headline under the image: ‘Companion’ Sues Sex Toy Maker for Millions Claiming Deviant Sexual Assault.
“Isn’t sexual assault deviant by definition?” Avia asked rhetorically scanning the story. “You want me to get his side of the story, this … sex toy guy?”
“Sure, if he’ll give it to you, but I’m pretty confident he won’t.”
Avia made a note. “Ben Hart … is that ‘Benjamin?’ ”
“Benedict,” Janet corrected. “Ben’s doing me a favor.”
Avia looked up from her pad at J.J.’s familiar use of the man’s nickname.
“We met at Cornell. I consider him a friend. When I called him this morning for a comment on the lawsuit, he demurred. But he did agree to an interview as deep background for your story.”
Janet stood, motioning Avia to follow. “He knows what women want in their ‘sexual support products,’ as he calls them. His publishing house markets a large selection of erotic romance titles. Two of the five best-selling eRom authors are on his list, exclusively.”
“He’s willing to share demographic info with us?” Avia asked.
Janet stopped at the door. “Yes. But I also thought it would be an interesting angle to talk to a flesh and blood guy who represents the typical reader’s dream lover. Maybe find out if any of the heroines would interest him in real life.”
Avia eyed her friend suspiciously. “Hang on. ‘Suing him for millions.’ Don’t tell me. He’s -”
“- a billionaire,” Janet finished. “And he’s expecting you in an hour. C’mon, I’ll walk you out and brief you.”