Christian Grey versus Jefferson Howie
(Christian Grey according to University of Central Lancashire)
So, with computer science now telling us what '50 Shades of Grey', Christian looks like, and with the prospect of a film of the book, I wanted to come out in defence of the lead man in my debut novel 'A Love That Makes Life Drunk'
the gorgeous Mr Jefferson Howie.
Although Howie often describes himself as 'arrogant and pretentious', because of his ruthless journalism and Henry Miller like novels, there is a charming sexiness about him that makes me swoon. Yes, he's devious, and yes, at times he has no conscience. Yes, he's older than 'Lily', and yes, he walks into 'Coco de Mer' in London to purchase wicked looking objects to please his woman. Financially he's doing well, and he is successful and intelligent.
(Jefferson Howie according to Karen Roderick)
However, Jefferson does not want to dominate his woman. He does not particularly want a woman who doesn't know what she's doing sexually, and he is not that fussed with S&M. He does not want to hurt Lily, and he absolutely does not want her to be his sex slave, if anything, he wants to be hers, and the cool thing about Lily is, yes, she wants romance, and yes, she is in love, but on her terms. She is an intelligent young woman with plans for herself; she does not want to be bare foot in the kitchen.
Writing erotic fiction is a difficult thing. Falling into cliche is easy. With 'A Love That Makes Life Drunk' and 'Hope & Jump' I wanted to show that it's fine for women to lust, love and desire and to act on it, but we do not have to be naive and stereotypical to do so. I like to think I achieved a little of this in 'ALTMLD' by comparing the characters to the acclaimed writer's Anais Nin and Henry Miller's notorious affair in the 1930's.
The creation of characters is very personal to me, as I am sure it is of all fiction writers. Jefferson isn't just one influence, he's many - he's all my fantasies, he's a little Rupert Penry Jones, a bit Tom DeLonge, a little of the guy I see walking around London dressed in a Savile Row suit on his mobile phone, he's the University lecturer, the arty guy in a cafe drinking espresso and scribbling in a note book; I could go on, but I also know that when I pick up someone else's book, that character becomes mine, something probably very different from the author's imagination, and that's cool.
I guess the only attributes a reader can't deny about Jefferson Howie is that he is tall with floppy dark hair and wears uber cool specs, the rest is up to you.