There are no love stories to be told, no happy endings and no redeeming features in author Lisa Hilton's psychological thriller trilogy. She rather uses graphic sex to explore the uninhibited desires of Judith Rashleigh, her woman protagonist in the series.
"Sex in my book is quite different and people might find that unromantic. I think a lot of writing about sex relies on extravagant comparison -- on metaphors and euphemism -- but I didn't want to write like that," Hilton told IANS in an interview.
The 42-year-old author was in India to promote her latest book "Domina", the second of the erotic trilogy published by Bloomsbury India. "Maestra", the first book, was released last year and has sold more than a million copies worldwide.
"My character is a member of the Tinder generation. So when I was writing the sex scenes, I had a look at what words people use. And I wanted to use modern language to describe modern situations that young people find themselves in," Hilton, an English graduate from Oxford University, added.
Hilton's Judith is an unapologetic, sexually-uninhibited, self-made woman who loves to break rules and create her own. For Hilton, she is "a bad girl who gets away with it".
The London-based author said her protagonist is a reflection of the "broader change in the position of women" in the world in the last 50 years. She said independence of today's women becomes evident when one compares what they are doing now to the way they were seen socially, politically and economically 50 years ago.
She feels women characters are fitting better into today's literary works. "We are not satisfied with one dimension of women's characters any more. I think there is a woman-driven book market which is seeing more interesting, complex and even ambiguous female characters," quipped Hilton, who has eight other books to her credit.
But like most authors, the journey of her manuscript to a full-fledged book was not a cake walk. She recalled how her manuscript was rejected by several publishers.
"Nobody wanted the script of 'Maestra'. My agent thought it was disgusting. I offered it to my regular publisher for no money, as a present, and he still didn't want it. But truly, I couldn't give this book away. I even thought of self-publishing it at one point because I couldn't get anyone to buy it. So I was very lucky that I eventually found a publisher," Hilton recalled.
As "Maestra" became successful, she was hailed as the new E.L. James and her book as the new "Fifty Shades of Grey". But she finds the comparison unjustified.
"'Fifty Shades of Grey' is a love story for grown-ups, where a virgin woman falls in love with a powerful man. What does that have to do with my story, I really don't know! I would like to warn people that this is not 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. If you love that book then do not buy this book," she said.
Both "Maestra" and "Domina" have garnered film deals and will be soon be turned into Hollywood flicks. Elaborating on her new book "Domina", Hilton said it is a "mix of genres" and has got "all the universal themes -- murders, guns, mafia, exotic European travel and sex".
On her expectations from Indian readers, Hilton said that she finds India to be a much more open and liberal-minded place, unlike the perception in Britain that it is very conservative. She hoped the book would gain readership in the country.
(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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