Justine Elyot tells us what Robin Hood and Erotic Amusements have in Common
I’m very pleased to have one of my very favourite writers, the incredible Justine Elyot, as my guest today for The Story Behind the Story. Welcome Justine!
Erotic Amusements was originally conceived as a kind of Alternate Universe fanfiction story about the recent BBC version of the Robin Hood story – specifically the relationship between the Sheriff of Nottingham and his increasingly reluctant henchman, the gloriously brooding and leatherclad Guy of Gisborne.
So far, so whimsical. I contemplated writing it, then realised that, nah, I don’t have time for fanfic any more, much as I love it, so I abandoned the idea.
Some time later, I happened to be preparing some novel proposals for Xcite books, and this problematic relationship came back to mind. Only somehow, the Sheriff and Guy had whizzed themselves through time and space to a contemporary seaside town and had metamorphosed from their medieval counterparts into modern people with different traits and preoccupations. Their problematic relationship – the unscrupulous overlord and the trapped enforcer – remained intact, however (as did Guy – now Rocky’s – black leather outfit). I threw in a clutch of lovers and colleagues et voilà – I had something a bit moody and a bit noir to satisfy my increasing need to write a story with a plot.
In the event, Xcite took one of my other proposals (The Business of Pleasure), so my cast of characters were shoved into a drawer for a while. But I still thought about them, and added bits of their stories in my head until I had a fully formed story just waiting to be written as soon as the opportunity arose.
I couldn’t stay away from it for long, though, and the book almost wrote itself. I had not worked on something so plotty and character-driven since my fanfiction days, and the chance to do it again was a rare pleasure. The seaside setting was another big bonus for me – the town of Goldsands became an extra character, driving a lot of the action.
I sent it to Carina Press on a whim because they were new and fresh but had a wealth of expertise and reputation too. I never, even for a moment, expected them to take it. But they did, and here it is! One for my fellow Guy-fans everywhere.
In Goldsands, there are many amusements to be had for those willing to give in to their deepest desires…
The seaside resort town of Goldsands is a place of dreamers and transients who wash in and out like the tide. But its picture-postcard prettiness conceals some sinister realities. Coldhearted mogul Charles Cordwainer owns most of the local businesses, both legitimate and illicit, and more than a few of its residents.
Michelle, Cordwainer’s submissive: despite her loyalty, he plans to turn her over to another man. Flipp, the new girl in town: she has a dark past and a penchant for bondage. Rocky, Cordwainer’s right-hand man: a sexy biker with eyes for Flipp. Laura, Goldsands’s carnival queen: an über-bitch with her sights fixed on Rocky.
Secrets, betrayals, lovers all become intertwined—and when someone starts digging up the dirt on Cordwainer’s empire, nothing will ever be the same…
Flipp knew from the moment she stepped off the train and smelled the salt-and-chip fat that Goldsands was going to suit her.
It was a place where a new girl in town drew little in the way of notice or comment. A place of comers and goers, dreamers and transients, addicts and bohemians. They washed in and out like the tide on the broad curving beach that gave the place its name. Some of them sank, some of them trod water, and some of them found exactly what they were looking for here. Of course, Flipp didn’t know at the time which of those she would turn out to be, but she was hoping to find out, one way or another.
So, by the time she was established in her little change booth at Caesar’s Palace on the Pier, Flipp knew that she wanted to be in Goldsands. Her resolve was certainly bolstered, though, when Rocky rocked up, interrupting her nail-filing mission and hurling himself slap-bang into the middle of her dirtiest dreams.
“The boss in?” he asked curtly, raising an eyebrow towards the door marked Private: Staff Only.
Flipp didn’t look up at first, registering only a low, grumpy-sounding voice. She pinched her lips together and wondered if Maroon Moon was really the right shade for her.
“Who wants to know?” The mockney accent was getting difficult to sustain, so she only spoke when absolutely necessary.
“Rocky wants to know.”
She looked up at that, taking him in for the first time and liking what she saw. And who would not like a piece of Rocky? Six-feet-two of Herculean man in black bike leathers with accessorising hair and stubble, he was enough to stop most female traffic in its tracks.
“Oh,” she said, laying down her nail file and running fingers through her hair. “So you’re Rocky. The boss said I should watch out for you.”
“Watch out, eh?” Rocky leaned an elbow on the shelf of the booth, peering through the scratched Plexiglas screen, leading the new girl to hope she was casting a spell of intrigue on him. “Did he tell you I was dangerous, then?”
Flipp leaned forward, meeting his devilish gaze, the tips of their noses only prevented from touching by the barrier. “Something like that.” She grinned, wishing she had some gum to chew on. It was so much easier to look cool and indifferent to a guy when you were chewing, for some reason.
“He was right. I’m the big bad wolf. What’s your name? Don’t tell me it’s Little Red Riding Hood.”
She giggled and looked away briefly before turning back to him.
“What kind of a name’s that?”
“No worse than Rocky.”
“Cheeky. I’ll see you later.” Emphasising the “you,” he backed away, pointing one gloved finger in her direction before disappearing through the staff door in a jink-clink of buckles and belts.
Thanks for stopping by and giving us a peek at Erotic Amusements, Justine! I’m a sucker for bad-assed biker boys in leather. Can’t wait to read this one!