NR: Tell us about the Unbreakable trilogy.
Primula: These three books chart the intense slow-burn love affair between the dark, aloof, troubled Gustav Levi and the younger, feistier red-head Serena Folkes. They each have something the other wants, at first materially (he finances and launches her career in return for her exclusive female company) and then emotionally (when they start to trust and love again, with the aid of red-hot sexual attraction). Any similarity to other erotic romances ends there, because I have woven into the story not only the artistic details of Serena's photography but also lush descriptions of cities and locations, and in The Golden Locket the explosive re-appearance of Gustav's brother Pierre shakes up the relationship just when it looked as if it was on an even keel. No couple in real life is isolated from the rest of the world, and the 'unbreakability' of Serena and Gustav's relationship is constantly tested by the games and threats of various faces from the past.
Primula: I wanted to be a princess when I was a little girl and despite kissing a lot of frogs I did eventually meet and marry my Prince Charming. But although true love is an archetypal theme, explored throughout the history of literature, music, poetry and story-telling, the course of it never runs smooth, and that's what makes writing about it so exciting. A kind of literary soap opera. As a writer you can range far and wide in creating your hero and heroine and the secondary characters. It's often more fun dreaming up the toxic elements who try to separate them. It's also the perfect frame work for erotica writers to write about sex, and lots of it, because sex is ultimately at its most fulfilling and magical when the protagonists are in love. In the end, readers want to follow the same journey, whether or not there's a happy ending, because unlike a crime caper or thriller, nearly everyone can relate the aspects of a love story to some aspect of their own life.
NR: Mills and Boon rejected your work for being too explicit, so how much have we moved on in terms of erotic fiction since this time?
Primula: Mills and Boon themselves have moved on leaps and bounds since that famous rejection slip back in 1994. They have plenty of steam coming out of their characters' ears now in their raunchier imprints, but erotica per se takes flight without any inhibition. The 'new adult' genre suits me because it harks back to the 'old fashioned' idea of romance. There has been a pulling back from the really hard core, dark content I was being asked to write for Black Lace until about two years ago which made me so uncomfortable I was ready to give up writing erotica altogether. Then I was asked by my editor at Harper Collins to try my hand at an erotic romance, and now have the best of both worlds, as I'm able to forge a really intense love story with pretty wild sex scenes woven into it.
NR: You are a legal secretary, have three sons and a husband, so how do you juggle your writing with everything else in your life?
Primula: I've blogged before (www.primulabond.blogspot.com) about how difficult it is living with a writer, especially a writer with a deadline, but although my life is very full (we also take in foreign students) I am very lucky in that I am now able to work part-time, which enables me to devote certain solid days of the week to writing. Even so, I have to make a determined effort to step away from the keyboard when the kids come home from school and focus on getting the supper on, otherwise they might never get fed. My husband is great at taking the kids off at weekends if I'm busy, but we make sure we have plenty of meals out and holidays together, and of course when the deadline has been met and the latest novel is off with the printers, then we all relax! Also, my full life, both past and present, has provided endless material for my writing and I wonder how writers can fill a novel if they don't also have a full life?
Primula: Gustav is around 40 years old, a driven, successful entrepreneur in the art world. Serena has unlocked the passion that has been suppressed after an obsessive, abusive marriage which ended with his wife Margot, in retaliation for him ending the marriage, seducing and running off with the beloved younger brother he had brought up from childhood. He has learned to love and trust again, but now he has to find a way to forgive his brother Pierre when he reappears in his life, while keeping Margot as far out of their lives as possible – not realizing that his brother poses a real threat to his relationship with Serena.
Serena is a spirited red-haired tomboy who has spent her life fighting the coldness and indifference of her adoptive parents and after qualifying as a photographer has left Devon to forge her photographic career in London. She is something of a voyeur, specializing in photographs taken of people who don't know she's watching. When she and Gustav come to New York this fascination extends to her participating in various sexual scenarios while still under Gustav's watchful eye.
Primula: I was brought up in the countryside but all I've ever craved is city life, and went to live in London as soon as I left school. We spent a very snowy New Year in New York a couple of years ago and love the city. I have an American grandfather and wonder if maybe it's my spiritual home. New York feels a sister city to London and is a great platform for Serena to enlarge her circle of clients, to people-watch, and continue her career. The city is a melting pot of slightly cynical, life-embattled characters within the hard edge of city life. It is also where Gustav's brother Pierre, and Serena's cousin Polly, have met and become an item.
Primula: When I started writing fiction, I was a single mother. I submitted all kinds of fiction, literary, romantic to various publishers, until I submitted three chapters to Mills and Boon. And as previously discussed they rejected the sex scenes as too explicit. I enjoyed writing those sex scenes, especially between two impossibly beautiful and exotic characters, so it was an easy leap to turn that into erotica per se, and when my first short story was sold my erotica writing career was set. Short stories are still my favourite genre, because they are so short and sweet, but developing this new genre of erotic romance throughout a full length novel is a fantastic way of creating three dimensional characters as well as making them inhabit their own world.
Primula: I am waiting with baited breath to see how The Golden Locket, fares with the readers, and am editing Book 3, The Diamond Ring. I then have an idea for a 'prequel' story involving one of the secondary characters. I also want to market my indie short stories 'Stabbing the Rain', currently available on Amazon, and I also want to write a mainstream, semi-autobiographical commercial novel under my own name.
BLURB of THE GOLDEN LOCKET
Serena and Gustav arrive in New York to live together and pursue fresh opportunities. Although still passionate about each other, Serena feels drawn to experiment sexually when she is photographing various kinky scenarios, and Gustav agrees so long as he is present to protect her. While Serena's photographic career continues to take off, their relationship is threatened by the arrival of Gustav's attractive, estranged younger brother Pierre who seems intent not only on reconnecting with Gustav but with getting dangerously close to Serena. His intentions become blindingly clear when Serena finds herself alone with him in Venice – thinking he is Gustav..
EXCERPT of THE GOLDEN LOCKET
Gustav shakes me, and the chill of sobriety nags me, because what my lover has produced from under the bed is a big, thick leather phallus, exaggerated in size but exact in anatomical detail, and curved slightly like a scimitar. This is a weapon, not a toy. He holds it up in the air between us like some kind of talisman, turns it so we can see it from every angle, then brings out a tiny jar of amber liquid.
'What are you doing?' I croak. I strain against the silver chain. 'That looks like honey.'
'Lubrication,' Gustav mutters in a deep, gutteral voice, dipping his fingers into the pot and running the honey over the leather. 'To anoint my little sinner.'
I whimper and wriggle as he runs the tip of the now dripping dildo under my nose, pushes it across my upper lip, between my teeth so that I'm forced to suck it like a lollipop, then he hitches up my velvet dress and draws the thing slowly and deliberately up and down my spine, over my bottom, painting me with a languid trail of amber which is already turning from warm liquid to prickling stickiness as it dries on my skin.
'Don't resist, Serena. I saw your eyes watering with desire when those strippers played with their dildos in the club earlier. So I asked them if I could have one for my girl to take home. I actually wanted one of the white ones they'd used, but they said this one was brand new and we could have it as a gift.' He laughs so boyishly just then that it infects me, too. 'They were all for coming home with us to demonstrate how best to use it, but I said no, I wanted you to myself. ButI took their number. For future reference!'
I giggle helplessly and feel my body going all soft and willingas he bends to his gentle task and runs the blunt end down between the cheeks of my bottom and burrows underneath me, pushing open my resisting body, nosing towards the centre. Those strippers oiled up their phalluses with something good enough to lick and then buckled on special belts and aimed them at each other, suggestively at first and then thrusting their pelvises like men, pushing in and penetrating each other, long and slow.
The resistance gives way to melting acceptance, and I revel in the fact that this is Gustav, my lover, who asked those scary strippers if he could have their dildo to take home and is wielding this thing and invading my most private part with it. I don't want anyone else to do this to me, not even some domineering woman I might play with in the future.
'Trust me. I'm your teacher. Although this is a first for me, I have to admit. We're experimenting together, remember? So think of this is not as punishment but as another pleasurable lesson. For both of us.'
I have managed to push away Pierre's presence at last, but I can't look at Gustav while this is happening. Now his other hand is lifting me to get a better angle I suppose. His long warm fingers are wandering over my bottom, following the path of the dildo, and the combination of sensations is emptying my mind of all thought, filling my body with a riot of responses. His fingers find another way in. How dirty can this get?
'I'm here, Serena,' Gustav grunts, reading my mind as always. 'I'll always be here. You're perfectly safe. Give in to it. Go on. See how good it can feel.'
Above my head the sun sinks rapidly over the Hudson River. Around us the city hums and sings.
REVIEWS OF THE GOLDEN LOCKET:
'This is one book that should be read with the AC on full blast with a glass of ice water sitting nearby. The series is proving to be extremely hot and explosive.' Larena's Reviews, Goodreads.
'Bond’s Oxford University roots show, she has an amazing writing style – precise, clean and mature with a literary edge'. Nightlyreading.
'This book is very gripping and hard to put down, you just get lost and captivated in the story and cannot wait till the next page. My only fault with this Trilogy is having to wait till book 3 is released.' J Allen, Amazon
The Golden Locket paperback is in
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and in e-book and paperback at Amazon.co.uk
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