Where erotic fiction and politics collide
Skin pulsating with desire, thighs clenched in anticipation,
cries, gasps, moans...
It's somewhat surreal meeting an author who specialises in erotic fiction, especially when said author arrives on stage wearing a grey cardigan and jeans. Where are the stiletto heels? The power suits? The eyeliner and stylised coif?
In the flesh Louise Bagshawe is petite, looks far younger than her 37 years; more mother than model. She's also self-deprecating and told her well-worn stories with energy and humour.
Writing novels was a last resort. Fired for being a bad influence on celebrated cellist Nigel Kennedy, Bagshawe turned to Jackie Collins for inspiration to ward off unemployment. She wrote a sample chapter, sent it to a list of agents, and the rest is history.
Bagshawe whipped through stories of life in the music industry, going on tour with Metallica, job references from Sharon Osborne, her life as a Tory MP and her role as mother of three children under five.
It seems that politics and erotic fiction would make uneasy bed fellows, but perhaps this is the secret to Bagshawe's success. For one month each year, Bagshawe leaves staid political discussion behind to delve into a world of yearning need, of throbbing limbs, of caresses from impossibly good looking men.
Bagshawe is currently in New Zealand promoting her latest release, Passion, a novel she describes as "James Bond for girls". Click here to win this book.
Our heroine is the bookish Melissa Elmet, who finds herself swept into a life of espionage and intrigue with old flame Will Hyde, a spy turned billionaire who is prepared to protect Melissa whatever the costs.
Outlandish? Ridiculous? Unlikely? Of course. But this is Bagshawe domain: page-turning fiction which ticks the chick-lit boxes: glamour, successful alpha-males, determined heroines, diamonds, desire.
Bagshawe describes Passion as a cross between Jane Austen's Persuasion and John Grisham's The Pelican Brief. (Perhaps it's safe to say that there has never been another book written with this inspiration in mind).
She believes it is her best novel and it's certainly a departure from her earlier work. Passion, for all its promises, fails to deliver the genre's trademark eroticism. Bagshawe acknowledges this, and says in earlier novels she had to "work it out of her system".
Apparently her dad wasn't quite so keen on listening to his colleagues read excerpts about oral sex from Bagshawe's books at work. You can't blame him.
For now Bagshawe will whip around New Zealand before heading home to face her latest publishing deadline; the demands of her life as MP, her three children.
Sounds like ripe material for her next novel...
Courtesy of the generous team at Hachette Livre, we have three copies of Passion by Louise Bagshawe up for grabs . CLICK HERE to enter this competition.
Passion is available in local book stores now.