Q & A with Spencer Dryden!
1. Tell us about your newest release.
Bliss is a story of a woman's struggle with sexual shame. My main character, Christina McArdle has been experiencing some great career success but she feels it's come at a price. Her husband, Ben, has lost sexual interest in her. She lacks the tools to deal with her sexual inhibitions so she goes to a shrink where dark secrets are exposed. Her problem is made worse by a misogynistic pastor on a sexual purity crusade among the men of the church where Christina and her husband Ben attend. She must cast out demons of past and present or lose the love of her life.
2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
How different the final story can be from the original concept. Most of my writing is male POV erotic fantasy laced with humor. "Bliss" is a female POV, it's dark and better categorized as a romantic thriller than as an erotic romance. Its all new territory for me.
3. Do you have any interesting or quirks or rituals?
I name minor characters for friends who have passed away.
4. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
I have not had the common writers path of being an avid reader and writer. My bio says humorously that the only fiction I wrote previously was marketing reports. Writing fiction had been hanging around in my mind for a long time though. I finally decided at 62 (I'm 64 now) that I better act on some of my wishes. I started writing. I probably would never have taken any steps toward publishing had it not been for a friend who is a successful playwright and author. He read some of my work and told me I was a natural storyteller and a a good ear for dialogue. Blew me away. He encouraged me to keep working. I have.
5. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
I write under a pen name. If my family friends and associates knew of my interests in writing erotica, they would drop dead in horror. My wife has asked me if I am going to come out now that I have been published. My plan is at my funeral there will be posters of all the tawdry book covers from my work. That'll give them something to talk about.
6. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I am a foodie and a DIY guy.
7. Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
I have another novella, a mermaid story, looking for a home. I have a growing collection of short stories Id like to get published. These are male erotic fiction. I've been working for a long time on a three part series in the scfi/fantasy genre about the Gueschtunkina Ray Gun. One blast from this weapon renders a woman into a high state of sexual arousal. Its fun, funny and wild.
8. How can readers connect with you online?
I am on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/?sk=nf
My website: http://www.fictionbyspencer.com/
Christina McArdle must cast out the demons of her past and present or lose the love of her life.
In the prosperous community of Bliss, New Hampshire, in 1995, Christina McArdle is living a feminist dream. In short order she has become the first female partner of the venerable, male dominated CPA firm of Driscol, Ryan, Jensen and Palmer. The honor followed by her selection as the first female member of the prestigious Maplewood Country Club.
But Christina fears that her career success has come at a terrible price. Her husband, Ben, has lost sexual interest in her. Unable to ignite his passion for her and desperate for understanding of her own inhibitions, Christina turns to Dr. Rachel Morrisey, a sex therapist, who helps her uncover dark secrets from her past. Christina's path to recovery is blocked by a misogynistic pastor who traps her and many other women of her church in a shame bind that serves his purulent interests.
Her path to freedom requires Christina to break bonds from past and present or lose the thing she loves most in life—the love of husband and family.
Dr. Rachel Morissey touched Christina's arm gently and handed her another tissue.
"Mrs. McArdle, I'm a sex therapist and not a family doctor. I find that I need to speak about sex bluntly in order to get through people's resistance." She searched Christina's eyes to see if she was tracking. It had been a hard first session. Taking the first steps in breaking down resistance, confronting demons, bringing up painful personal memories always brought tears.
"Sexuality is a hard discussion topic for couples. I don't mean to diminish your pain, but so far it's like so many others. When you're young, sex may be clumsy, but quantity is a quality all its own. So is time. Now you're thirty-five, a working professional mother of young twins, with an at-home husband. You're both living in a different world from your parents, and there are a lot of demands on your time that sap sexual energy. In this phase of life, you have to be much more intentional about sex." Dr. Morissey paused again, waiting for Christina to process. "Lying in bed in the dark, waiting for your husband to initiate sex, isn't a good strategy for fostering intimacy."
Christina wiped away another nagging tear.
"But there's something else I need to explore," said Dr. Morissey. "I am wondering if you were ever raped or sexually abused?"
"Why? Is that important?" asked Christina.
"Very. It often creates problems with intimacy years later. You seem almost fearful of sex."
Christina hung her head. "I was nearly raped once," she whispered.
"So you were assaulted."
"Mrs. McArdle, I'm sensing a lot of guilt here. Physical contact without your permission is assault. It's another person's crime, not yours. You said nearly raped. What happened?"
Christina shuddered as she recalled the forbidden memory. "We had a boy in our neighborhood that was a bully to the boys and terror to the girls. Nobody would do anything about him. Our parents told us to stay away. But he would hide out and grab girls, rip their clothes off, and grope them. It happened to many of my friends."
"How old were you then?"
"Did he actually do forceful penetration on any of his victims?"
"You sound like the police now."
"It's an important distinction, especially with a minor perpetrator."
"No. He didn't."
"What happened with you?"
"I was taking a shortcut home across the athletic fields one evening. No one was around. He jumped out from between the outbuildings, threw me down to the ground, and jumped on top of me. I tried to fight, but he had his hand on my throat."
Christina unconsciously reached for her throat and pulled on her necklace.
"Sometimes I can still feel him squeezing my throat," she said through closed eyes. "I couldn't breathe. I tried to scream but couldn't. He was pressing down on me with his crotch between my legs."
"Were his pants on?"
"Yes, but he was humping me like some kind of animal."
Christina gasped as if she were going to scream. "Finally, he leaned down and put his cheek next to mine. I was hysterical with fear, that's why I did it."
"I bit off a big chunk of his ear."
Christina rolled forward, put her head between her knees, and sobbed.
"Now we're getting somewhere. What happened after that?"
Christina rose up, brushing away tears with a clenched fist. "He ran away screaming and told his parents that I had attacked him." She had to stop to catch her breath. "The police came to our house and asked me a lot of questions. Nothing happened to him. I got suspended from school. Can you believe it?" The rage faded to sorrow. Christina wept softly again. "I got so much grief for that, Dr. Morissey. Did I do right? I was just so scared and desperate."
Some men are born great, others strive for greatness; still others have greatness thrust upon them. Spencer Dryden is none of these men. In fact, he is so unimpressive, he leaves no footprints on newly fallen snow. He was trained in fiction writing on the job with the many sales reports he produced for his managers, winning the coveted "keep your job contest" three years running. His expense reports are still considered masterpieces of forgery by the bankruptcy trustee of his former employer. He lives an unremarkable life in a suburb of a northern city. His friends and family would drop dead in horror if they knew of his secret life as a writer of erotica. He hates the family cat but still loves to pet his wife.