Knocking socks off Fifty Shades
Three South African women are about to nudge EL James's Fifty Shades of Grey off its high horse.
Authors Paige Nick, Helen Moffett and Sarah Lotz are editing a first draft to fulfil their commitment to a three-book erotic fiction deal with a British literary agent.
Oliver Munson, of the British agency AM Heath, has been in the thick of auctioning off the rights of this "choose your own adventure" erotica series written under the pseudonym, Helena S Paige.
The story presents the reader with different scenarios and allows her to be in charge of the erotic narrative she most desires.
You want the girl to have sex with a woman, a rock star or the barman? Whichever is your preference, you'll find the narrative thread that suits you. If you don't like the one you're on, you can "abort that mission and choose another", explained Nick.
Jeremy Boraine, of Jonathan Ball, has bought the South African rights after multi-house bidding.
The first title, A Girl Walks Into A Bar . will be published this year.
Boraine said yesterday that "success depends on global noise rather than 'local is lekker' and there has been a lot of international interest in this series".
German publishers are bidding for rights to publish in that region. According to AM Heath , translation rights have been sold in 10 countries.
Little, Brown's Sphere imprint won the UK auction and HarperCollins's Morrow imprint won US rights.
"I've loved co-writing this book; it's easily been one of the funniest projects I've ever worked on," said Nick.
"But writing sex scenes is never easy. I struggle to use the words that name the parts - they are not very nice words," she said.
On writing as a team, she said: "Our aim has been to write this well. To use lots of humour and for it not to be cringeworthy."
Sphere editor Manpreet Grewal said: "The series is inspired. To allow a woman to be in charge of her own erotic destiny, to relinquish control to her completely, is uniquely empowering and made these books stand out for all the right reasons.
"The concept is completely addictive; the storytelling gripping,"
Lotz has published three novels, Tooth and Nailed, Exhibit A and Pompidou Posse, and has co-authored two novels, Deadlands (with her daughter Suzannah Lotz) and The Mall and The Ward (with Louis Greenberg) under a different name.
Moffett is a poet and editor, and Nick a Sunday Times' columnist.