Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Guest post: Kristina Lloyd is Undone

Today's post is from Kristina Lloyd, whose tales of submission and danger are always a filthy and frightening (and exceptionally well-written) treat!

When Lana Greenwood attends a glamorous house party she finds herself tempted into a ménage à trois. But the morning after brings more than just regrets over fulfilling a fantasy one night stand. One of the men she's spent the night with is discovered dead in the swimming pool. Accident, suicide or murder, no one is sure and Lana doesn't know where to turn. Can she trust Sol, the other man, an ex-New Yorker with a dirty smile and a deep desire to continue their kinky game?

“Where do you get your ideas from?” is a question which makes many writers roll their eyes, partly because it’s so frequently asked but also because the answer isn’t easy. However, for Undone, my forthcoming novel, I have a ready reply. Where did I get my idea from? I stole it!

About eighteen months ago, I was lucky enough to attend a writing workshop run by former Penguin editor,  Juliette Mitchell. For one of the exercises, we had to pair up with another attendee and describe an idea we’d had knocking around in our heads for a while. I didn’t have such a thing. I’m a writer, but not one of the lucky ones perpetually overflowing with stories. If I have an idea worth developing, it generally gets written. I’d recently submitted Thrill Seeker, and was clawing my way towards a story for my next contracted book with my publisher, Black Lace. I sat with my workshop partner and outlined a baggy, over-complex tale interwoven across three eras. She listened politely, asked a few questions, then told me her idea for a story which opened with a party and a dead body on a balcony. The body, hidden from view, wouldn’t be discovered until the following day. The identity of the dead man and the circumstances surrounding his death were both a mystery.

It was a classic Who-Dunnit? and heaps better than my offering. I left the workshop with the germ of a novel-idea rattling around in my head.  Undone begins with a weekend party at a hired manor house. In the evening, as blue skies give way to starlight and outdoor lanterns, Lana hooks up with two guys for her first threesome. On the morning after, one of the men is discovered dead in the swimming pool. Lana becomes involved with the other guy, Sol Miller, despite her concerns he may be implicated in the mysterious death.

Of course, I had a lot of work to do after I’d stolen my basic premise from a stranger. (Thank you, stranger!) Setting is important to me, and I wanted to steer clear of domestic interiors for this book. I located most of the action in Saltbourne, the fictional seaside town in my previous book, Thrill Seeker, and made my protagonist the owner of a cocktail bar. I spent a lot of time inventing various bars in my mind, finally settling on the mood and design of a place when I investigated what lay behind an unusual and beautiful, stained glass window I pass regularly in Brighton. This window, I discovered, belongs to a one-bedroom hotel, and the building itself was a chapel of rest in the nineteenth century. I adapted the window for my fictional bar, turning it into blue-green tiled-glass doors opening onto a balcony, and I named the venue, The Blue Bar, in their honour. The history of the building in Brighton, along with the decadent, light-gothic aesthetic of the hotel interior and its barrel-vault ceiling (yes, that is a chandelier made of lego!), were also incorporated into Lana’s bar. I spent so long creating the setting, adding tiny details in my head, that I ended up making Lana a former interior designer who’d quit her job to pursue a her dream of setting up a cocktail bar.

I also located part of the action of Undone in Brighton, my hometown, and the setting for my second book, Asking for Trouble. The Brighton of Asking for Trouble, written in the late 90s, is very different to the town which exists today. Once it was tatty and tawdry, a coastal resort of faded grandeur and full of dubious goings-on.  Brighton’s long been known as London-by-the-Sea and today it’s a slicker, smarter town (officially a city), more deserving of its moniker. But that wasn’t the Brighton I wanted my characters to visit. I was aiming to capture some of the mood of Asking for Trouble, so I plumped for a underdeveloped part of town, fictionalizing it slightly by altering occasional details. Circus Street has that sleazy, shabby, dangerous feel to it, and its where Lana and Sol end up late one night after a row.

Handcuffs were another point of inspiration, specifically a pair of German Clejuso 15s, reputedly the heaviest handcuffs in the world.  They are such fierce, graceful objects that I couldn’t not use them in fiction, once I’d learned of their existence! Lana is openly kinky but her tastes are for primarily for mild play. At least, they are at the start of the book. She has an interest in vintage clothing; a keen aesthetic sensibility; is competent, independent, and she knows what she likes. Giving her a vintage and military-issue handcuff collection seemed a great way to demonstrate these aspects of her character. I’m going to talk more about cuffs later in my blog tour but suffice it to say, the Clejusos are used on Lana during the threesome at the party.

If you’d like to know more about Undone, please hop over to my blog for an excerpt, and check out the other stops on my Sexy September blog tour.

Kristina Lloyd writes erotic fiction about sexually submissive women who like it on the dark, dirty and dangerous side. Her novels are published by Black Lace and her short stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including several ‘best of’ collection, in both the UK and US. She lives in Brighton, England.

Undone is published on Sept 11th, 2014. Pre-order with Amazon:
Amazon US (Kindle) : Amazon UK (paperback and Kindle) : Amazon Canada (paperback and Kindle)


Janine Ashbless said...

Thank you, Kristina, for guesting on my blog. I love an erotica novel with a plot that's a gripping as the sex, and "Undone" looks like a page-turner! Best of luck with publication xxx

Anonymous said...

Belated thanks for this, and for the kind words!

Madeline Moore said...

Oh Kristina, only one of your characters would quit her career as an interior designer to pursue her dream of running a bar. I do so love the way you think.
For a mad moment, I thought you'd copped the idea from *my* novel, Amanda's Young Men. But then I remembered that Amanda's husband's body is found in a seedy motel AND that the idea of waking up with a dead body on yer hands isn't much of a steal. Kudos to you for tipping your undoubtedly fabulous hat (although not, um, your sombrero) to your workshop partner.
I'm working on a dead body story too! May have to steal those handcuffs. You don't mind, do you?