Sophie Hart takes readers into cafes, sex shops and between the covers of erotic classics in her latest book, The Naughty Girls’ Book Club.
Firstly, many thanks to Booktopia for inviting me onto their blog. I’m here to tell you a little more about my new novel The Naughty Girl’s Book Club. Despite appearances, it’s not actually erotica – in fact, it’s probably best described as ‘chick-lit with a saucy twist’, but there’s no doubt it’s been heavily influenced by the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon which has taken the planet by storm over the past year.
If you believe the press, women of all ages and nationalities are now increasingly experimental in the bedroom, dragging their nervous partners into a whole new world of whips and leather. And while they might not be building their own Red Rooms of Pain, chances are they’ve got saucy with a pair of handcuffs, played around with a spanking paddle, or even shopped online for a set of jiggle balls (sales up by 400% since Fifty Shades apparently!)
From that came the idea of a book looking at what effect all this erotica has had on the ordinary women (and men) who’ve been reading it. In Naughty Girls, divorcee and single mother, Estelle, starts a book club to bring in some extra custom to her recession-hit cafe. The first session sees a mix of attendees – from feisty, 50s-obsessed, feminist librarian Gracie, to newlywed Rebecca who’s keen to put the spark back into her post-marital sex life.
Along with shy student Reggie, and recently retired Sue, the group abandon their plans to read dull, historical classics, and decide instead to devote themselves to erotic literature, covering everything from Lady Chatterley’s Lover to 80s bonkbuster Riders by Jilly Cooper. Over the course of the novel, the characters forge unexpected friendships, overcome their own issues, and grow in confidence both in and out of the bedroom.
As you can imagine, the research for this book was quite an eye-opener! I read lots of erotica (the good, the bad and the ugly…), and came across one or two dubious websites (thank goodness for that ‘delete history’ button). I’ve learnt far more than I ever wanted to know about S&M paraphernalia, and sniggered my way around sex shops to give me a clearer insight into the world of ‘adult toys’. That’s how dedicated I am to my readers!
One thing that’s been really fun is that as a spin-off from the book, I’ve been running an online book club over Twitter! Just like in The Naughty Girls’ Book Club, our first read was the classic Lace by Shirley Conran. Next up was Bared to You by Sylvia Day, which was a hugely popular choice, and the book club even got the approval of Sylvia Day herself! The current read is one that a book club member recommended – Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. If you fancy joining in, do check out my Twitter @Cafe_Crumb – it’d be great to hear your opinions.
With The Naughty Girls’ Book Club, I wanted to create something funny, heart-warming, full of friendship and a little bit sexy too. If that sounds like your sort of thing then check it out – after all, everyone should indulge their naughty side now and again.
Sophie Hart lives in London with her boyfriend and her collection of naughty books. She likes to spend her time going on nice holidays, making half-hearted attempts to exercise, and lusting after Daniel Craig.