I am the author of Secret Love, The Substitute which is featured in the Dark Desire Anthology, and Femme. I began writing songs and poetry in my youth, but after graduating with a degree in psychology, I developed an interest in writing tales which explored the dark side of the human psyche. My style is expressed through complex characters and descriptions that have been described as poetic. When I am not writing, I spend most of my time reading dystopian novels, watching sci-fi horror movies, painting, going for long walks, and cooking.
Tell us about yourself.
I am an erotic romance author based in the UK. I am especially interested in writing stories which explore the dark side of human nature. I enjoy developing complex characters and writing descriptions with a slight poetic edge.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I think I always wanted to be an author. I’ve been writing since I was a child. I remember writing short stories and a non-fiction book about space when I was 13. Then I went through a dark phase in my late teens and early twenties, and this was primarily expressed through poetry and songs. I decided to have a go at a full length novel in 2015, but I never intended to publish it due to the subject matter. However, after five years of ruminating, I decided to send it out to publishers. In 2021, Secret Love was published by Black Velvet Seductions.
What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
I like to read fantasy, horror, science-fiction, dystopian and crime fiction. Sometimes I also like reading non-fiction books about psychology, wildlife, infectious diseases and space. I don’t usually write in these genres. I tend to write erotic romance stories, though they might contain elements of other genres such as horror.
Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
It’s for adults due to the erotic content.
What is your current release or project?
Femme is my latest release. It’s a short contemporary romance story.
Tell us about the key characters
Lawrence used to get bullied in high school for being ‘different’. Years later, he ends up moving next door to ‘vanilla’ ex-classmate Tatiana. As they get to know each other, Tatiana learns that his idol is Frank N Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show. She experiences a conflict of feelings when she realises that she is attracted to Lawrence, even when he reveals his alternative persona.
What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?
When Tatiana finally decides to accept the inevitability that she will be forever alone, a blast from the past moves in next door. She is shocked to find out that she recognizes Lawrence, who was bullied mercilessly in high school for being ‘feminine’. Mortified that she did nothing to help back then, she is keen to make amends. As they get to know each other, they realise that fate has brought them together for a reason…
Share an excerpt
Over time, Lawrence and I spent more and more time together. We ate dinner together regularly and I discovered that he had interests that were very different from your average male. He liked musicals, loved to bake, and enjoyed dancing and singing. His Rocky Horror Picture Show poster was proudly displayed in his living room. His eyes had lit up when we’d watched the film like he was entranced by Frank N Furter. When it returned to London theatres, he bought tickets and asked me to go with him. He hinted that we ought to dress up to make a real night of it. He wasn’t joking.
When the night came, I put on a black suit, trying to convince myself I was dressing up as Riff Raff. I’d even shoved a cushion down the back of my top to create a hunchback effect. I thought it would be a good laugh dressing as a male character and couldn’t wait to see Lawrence’s reaction.
Lawrence tentatively opened his door while partially concealing his outfit. When I stepped in, my jaw dropped. A strange mixture of shock and awe hit me. He was Frank N Furter brought to life. His makeup was so expertly done I was certain that this wasn’t the first time he’d cross-dressed. I felt conflicted. How could he look so masculine and so feminine at the same time? Mixed feelings stirred inside me as I experienced something I never had before. I was immediately enticed by this strange being. His deep blue, heavily lashed eyes drank in my reaction.
“Oh no, it’s too much isn’t it?” he said anxiously.
“No, it just… you look beautiful.”
“Do I? Really?” He looked down to inspect himself.
“Yes, you really are. I’m afraid I can’t compare to you. I was going for Riff Raff, but I don’t have a blond wig,” I chuckled.
“You’re far too beautiful to be Riff Raff. How about Janet or Magenta?”
I stood there uncertainly.
“May I dress you?” he asked as he took a step closer. I nodded.
I unbuttoned my blazer and removed my makeshift hump from underneath my white top. When I reached for my belt to undo my trousers, I hesitated.
“Would you like me to leave the room, Tatiana?”
“No, it’s okay. I trust you.”
Determined not to be self-conscious in front of my best friend, I held my breath and quickly stripped down to my underwear. As I stood there exposed, I noticed that Lawrence respectfully averted his vision. Then, he looked me in the eyes and took me by the hand, leading me to a wardrobe in his bedroom.
When he opened the wardrobe door, I was shocked to see it filled with women’s clothing. All the times I’d been in this flat, I had never seen this secret collection. I was speechless as he picked a white slip which he held by my feet, waiting for me to step in to. As he pulled it up along my thighs, it wasn’t the cold that made me shiver. There was something sensuous about the act.
From the other wardrobe, he fished out one of his shirts and gently placed it around my shoulders. I put my arms through until it sat loosely open over my bra. As he neatened the collar around my neck, my nipples hardened as his arm made the lightest of contact with my breasts. Although he made no indication that he noticed, I was certain he could sense the quickening of my heart and the gooseflesh forming on my skin.
Then it dawned on me.
I was aroused.
This man, who was masculine with feminine grace, had a profound effect on me.
I was surprised at my bodily responses. What was it about Lawrence dressed this way that caused this excitement? Perhaps it was because he was different from any other man that I had ever met. Perhaps it was that he wasn’t afraid to be himself, no matter how outrageous. Perhaps it was because he’d never touched me like this before.
I shook my head slightly to clear my thoughts and looked into the mirror. I felt very plain beside this glorious deity, so I asked, “Can I use some of your makeup?”
“Of course, you can.” He picked up what looked like an eye shadow case and handed it to me. My hand visibly shook. I didn’t know what had got into me, but I suddenly felt very nervous. I believe he saw my helplessness and asked, “May I?”
Lawrence doing my makeup was both a surreal and an intimate experience. Gentle instruction delivered by a smooth male voice caressed my heightened feelings. I willed my heart to quieten so I could focus entirely on it. When he took the lead, I felt my anxiety slipping away. Inevitably, my mind wandered as he applied eye shadow, blush, and lipstick. I had been wrong about a great many things. I could feel my outlook changing and found myself considering something I never had before. I had some serious thinking to do.
Soon we were ready to leave. As I stepped outside beside my stunning androgynous god, I couldn’t help but feel pride. I was proud to know this person who had dared to be an individual. I looked up at him in admiration as he held the car door open for me. Within moments, the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack blasted through the air and a silky tenor voice sang along. I was afraid to join in for fear of embarrassing myself.
“Come on, Tatiana! Don’t be shy! Sing along!”
“I don’t really know the words…” I trailed off, knowing that was not the real reason. I felt silly for not being honest and trying to make excuses.
Lawrence placed his hand softly on my bare knee and said, “There’s no need to feel like that around me. I want you to feel free to be yourself.”
I absorbed the words he said and they made a lot of sense. “You know what? You’re right. Well, you asked for it! Here goes…”
What followed was a cacophony of noises that resembled singing. We both laughed – not at anything in particular but just because we could. I was on such a high. The giddiness I felt only continued throughout the evening at the theatre. We shouted out along with the crowd and sang along to the songs. And when Frank N Furter entered the stage, the audience went wild.
A few times, I looked to my right to see Lawrence studying me. When we made eye contact, he smiled, obviously not caring about whether I saw him looking. It was strange seeing him through his heavily lashed, eye-shadowed eyes, but it didn’t lessen the effect they had on me. Something I couldn’t quite describe burned in those endless lapis lazuli eyes. He made me feel desirable. Did he see the effect it had on me? Could he sense my thoughts?
My eyes ate up his scantily clad body. I was fascinated by the fishnet tights against the dark hair on his thighs, a bodice wrapped around a well-toned abdomen, and muscular arms gripping the armrest. He watched me watching him. I’d never seen his flesh exposed to the elements like this. He was sexy in a very masculine sense despite the costume he wore. When my eyes dropped down to the bulge in his underwear, I quickly averted my vision. What was I doing? Did I really want to ruin this wonderful friendship with my lurid desires? I didn’t know anymore.
Later that night, as he walked me to the door, I felt confusion invading my thoughts. When he leaned in, presumably to kiss me, I stepped back. I was afraid. So I quickly said goodnight, and hurriedly stepped inside before I could see his response. I was worried that I’d ruined everything, but I needed to see if I still felt the same once the persona he impersonated tonight was gone. I needed to understand why I reacted to him as I had earlier. I needed to understand myself.
Do you have a favorite scene?
Definitely! The school reunion scene at the end (inspired by Romy and Michele’s high school reunion) made me laugh when I wrote it.
What advice would you give a beginner?
If you love writing, then do it! I never thought that I’d be a published author, yet here I am! If I can do it, you can do it, too. Even though it’s not easy at times, I’m still looking forward to future projects.