Nope, I didn’t quite fall off the face of the earth….

A you can tell I’ve not exactly been speedy with updates to my blog, but I was recently contacted by a writer for The Otago Daily Times for some commentary about the sensation that is 50 Shades of Grey.

Here’s a link to the full piece (also with comments made by Sarah Frantz) and an excerpt:

“It’s  been my experience that the stories that stick with a reader have a lot of plausibility to them – the human condition underpins even the most unusual sexual elements.

“While the sexual aspects of an erotic romance might well be beyond a reader’s sphere of experience, the emotions leading to and within that sexual moment are experienced at varying levels and degrees by all of us.

“So far, I’ve written in the erotic romance and erotica areas. One of my publishers, Ellora’s Cave, coined the term ‘romantica’, meaning that while the story contains explicit sexual content like erotica those encounters are wrapped up in a romantic storyline.

“In contrast, straight erotica [or erotic fiction] often has no romantic overtones at all and while I’ve very definitely enjoyed probably more than my fair share of ‘stroke stories’, I prefer to write romantic sex.”

Douglas, whose titles include Tea For Three and Husbands and Wives and Lovers, says she enjoys depicting the interplay, angst and tension a “hot” sexual relationship can provide.

Another part of the appeal lies in exploring sexual situations “I might not or would not act on”.

Yet are books such as Fifty Shades mere escapism?

Might they possess the potential to redefine sexual parameters within a relationship?

“I think erotic romance can spice up a relationship if the people involved are open to it,” Douglas says.

“I’ve had a number of readers, women and men – yes, men read romance, too – who’ve dropped me a line to say their partner very much appreciated their appreciation of a good erotic romance story. It doesn’t mean they go out and re-create scenes from a story, but they can definitely build on the emotional and sexual arousal it brings.

“If you read a story involving a sexual dynamic you’ve never known, or perhaps understood, it could well be the light-bulb moment you didn’t know you’d been waiting for – for both good or bad,” Douglas says.

“It could be as simple as the knowledge that you aren’t wrong for fantasising about asking your partner to spank you; or it could be the opposite, in that it promulgates a stereotype where power is unfairly held by one party.”