What inspired me to write my book? I’m not so sure. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a therapist and I listen, I give advice, I encourage, I assess, etc., for a living. I have very specific ethical and legal boundaries that I must adhere to while proving these services to people. When dealing with clients I must not be judgmental; I must be respectful; I must have empathy; and I must treat them with an overall positive regard. My personal feelings and values cannot interfere with my job as a mental health professional. Sometimes it’s difficult to remain objective, and I believe that it takes a great deal of discipline and restraint to keep my personal feelings to myself when I have strong convictions about something introduced in a session. I also thought about the restrictions that I have as a student; in order to obtain my ultimate goal, my PhD, there are specific requirements especially writing requirements. For example, what I publish in the academic community must be in APA format. I wanted to tap into another type of creativity...perhaps a dimension where I would have no boundaries. Well, maybe not ‘no boundaries’, but fewer boundaries, or a different set of boundaries. Writing erotica-type literature has always allowed me this freedom.
Think about the proverbial housewife or soccer mom who lives a secret life as a stripper. What about the nerdy calculus teacher who bartends on the weekends? The accountant who plays bass guitar in a rock band on the weekends? The straight-laced counselor who spend the weekends on her Harley and takes road trips with bikers?
All of these people live lives where they have to work within somewhat legal or societal boundaries. When each of these individuals engages in his/her “hobby”, there are fewer or different boundaries. Their environments evolve into something of an Alice-In-Wonderland-make-believe world where they get to take a break from the problem-solving, analyzing, organizing, evaluating, etc, and explore their creativity. The wild side comes out. The alter ego emerges. That’s what I feel when I write; my wild side comes out on the pages. We all have a wild side whether we want to admit it or not. I choose to write erotica because I want to be able to creatively describe what people are thinking and doing anyway. I want to delve into the world of ‘taboo’. The ever-growing sex industry proves that society has less of a taboo attitude than it once did. People are more open about sexual issues, sexual orientation, erotica, pornography, relationship issues, etc.
I’ve had people jokingly ask me if Serendipity is all fictional, or is some of it autobiographical, or is some of is loosely based on stories I’ve heard over the years in my profession. I can say that none of it is based on anything I’ve heard in sessions, although I probably could write a good book about all of that! And if I did, I would have to make it from a satirical-comedic perspective, just to remove the somber overtones that are usually congruent with most counseling issues. The characters in Serendipity are fictional, of course. Some of the events are very loosely autobiographical, but I would never say which ones. There has to be some mystery. (And, no, the main character does not represent me.) I had to do quite a bit of research on a number of topics, like geography, fashion, cuisine, medicine and several others. I gave just enough detail to make it believable to the readers, but added enough fiction to help rouse fantasy.
Macy Radcliffe, one of the main characters, represents a modern professional woman. She has family wealth, but has acquired her status based on her own achievements. She is beautiful, intelligent, and rather Bohemian. She can easily go from being dressed in a Carolina Herrera suit, speaking to a conference room full of executives; to a comfortable Bill Blass ensemble, as she plays a Mozart concerto; to a provocative pole dance, where she’s teasing her audience with garments by La Perla. She likes to have a good time.
Kyle Ehrenburg, another main character, represents a modern professional man. He also has family wealth, and like Macy, he has acquired everything that he has on his own merits. He’s every woman’s fantasy…great-looking and charming. He looks like a board room executive by day, and a surfer when he leaves the office. He’s able to smoothly transition from the well-groomed handsome GQ model to the wicked bad boy with tattoos on his muscular physique. Kyle likes to have a good time, but he also likes discretion. The two could not be more different if they tried.
The other characters helped to support the main two characters; perhaps I can create spinoffs of this story later with the other characters (Myles, Kathryn, and Rachel). The way the book is written, the possibility is there for me to create several other story lines. The book even includes the main character writing a book (which is loosely based on my next book…Fields of Saffron).
I wanted to write something provocative and racy, but I also wanted for it to have at least some substance. I was not aiming for a psychological thriller or anything where the readers would have to delve into the deep recesses of their mental faculties to ‘figure out the plot’. I wanted for the readers to relax and drift off into fantasy. The book is supposed to be entertaining. Isn’t that what erotica is…art in the form literature, films, sculptures, and paintings, all of which include stimulating or sexually arousing content?
Who knows…maybe people will read the book and discover a side of themselves that they never knew existed.
To purchase the book, go to Amazon.com (Serendipity, by Alaine Alexander)
Erin Alexander has been a licensed therapist since 2003 and is in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. She is a PhD student at the Western Institute for Social Research, where she is doing projects related to relationships.