The idea for my novel Insatiable emerged from a simple question: where were all the horny women? I knew that we were secretly legion. In fact, I suspected that I was surrounded by women, sitting on buses, standing in queues, staring out of the window and simultaneously entertaining all kinds of filthy daydreams. After all, millions of us had bought and read Fifty Shades of Grey. Even if half the sold copies were bought by people who wanted to mock it, that left millions of genuinely horny women unaccounted for — and buying the sequels.
In the years that followed, I often thought of Fifty Shades of Grey – and whether there were other women, like me, who felt underserved. As I dreamed of writing my own novel, I revisited Look at Me by Anita Brookner. I had adored this book as a teenager – it is a dry, darkly funny story of a young woman’s friendship with a glamorous and manipulative couple who pull her into their world, only to eject her. I remembered, at 16, being certain that this was a stealthily sexy story. There is an undercurrent of tension, a hinting of a dark and problematic past. What if this were made explicit? Brookner’s novel is about a woman who tries to suppress all of her desires and cravings to seek social success. But what if a young woman found those cravings overwhelming, uncontainable – and that her desire made her desirable? … continued