Hello, Fellow Readers! Please join me in welcoming Arianne Richmonde, author of Forty Shades of Pearl to the blog. Today, she’ll tell us a little bit about herself and her inspiration behind her novel, Forty Shades of Pearl.
Documentary producer, Pearl Robinson, is a beautiful and smart forty year-old divorcee but has not had a date for over two years. When she hears about Alexandre Chevalier, a young French, Internet success story, she assumes he is a nerd. But when she bumps into him face to face she’s stunned by his charm, beauty and sophistication, and startled by her strong feelings and desire for a man fifteen years her junior. His looks, wealth and worldwide triumph with his social media site, HookedUp, means he can get any woman he chooses, but there is something about Pearl he finds irresistible…
The couple begins a passionate affair and Pearl’s body is awakened in ways she never imagined possible. She is consumed by him and his magical touch. But secrets, jealous family members and other external forces are threatening to pull them apart.
Erotic, humorous, and profoundly tender, Forty Shades of Pearl is a story that will stir your heart, rouse your emotions and touch your soul.
Hello, Read Our Lips! Thanks for having me on your blog and letting me talking about my very first novel, Forty Shades of Pearl. I am an American writer and artist who was raised in both the US and Europe, and I currently live with my husband in France.
I was inspired to write a contemporary romance about a woman who has just turned forty. I think it is a huge mistake to equate passion and beauty with youth. There are so many young heroines in their twenties and I wanted to relay a message - that older women can also find romance and passion - there is no sell-by date with love!. My protagonist, Pearl Robinson, is a very sexy and beautiful woman and, even though she is perhaps unaware of it, she is extremely attractive.
My protagonist, Alexandre Chevalier, is twenty-five. I wanted to address the huge taboo in society about age difference between men and women when the woman happens to be older. Somehow it is frowned upon - yet there is simply no logical reason for this.
Like Pearl, there are millions of incredible women out there of all ages - just because you are no longer in your early twenties doesn’t mean you can’t find excitement and passion anymore, or that the opposite sex doesn’t find you desirable. Quite the reverse. You can find love or discover yourself at any age. I am sure many readers will identify with her.
I stare out the cab window and sigh with relief as the traffic speeds up. I think about all the millions out there trying to find a mate, trying to get “hooked up” - and smile to myself. When was the last time? Two years ago?
It was a rebound disaster waiting to happen, or rather, I was the rebound waiting...hoping to find love again. I hadn’t expected my divorce to knock me sideways the way it did. I didn’t even love him anymore. It was mutual. There was nobody else involved, we just drifted apart. We had got to the point where we couldn’t even watch each other eat.
Yet when those papers came through, the ink hardly dry, I cried myself to sleep for weeks. If Saul and I had had a child, at least that would have given me some sort of purpose, a perspective - but there I was, a two-time miscarriage vessel, empty, null and void - my sell-by date looming.
It’s funny how others see you, though. So many of my friends were envious of my life. They still are. “So glamorous,” they purr. “So free.” No homework to deal with, no snotty nose to wipe, no husband’s dirty socks to pick off the floor. Instead, a fabulous, well paid job with a fabulous, successful film company making top-notch documentaries, meeting fascinating people...and yet.
Yet what? What excuse did I have, do I have to feel unfulfilled? Perhaps everyone feels this way, no matter what cards they hold. Always looking for something richer - something or someone more satisfying to fill an empty hole. Turning forty didn’t scare me until after it happened. “But you look amazing,” said friends after I’d blown out forty candles on my birthday cake. The “but” spoke volumes. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
That last date I went on, just after my divorce - what a fiasco. I thought it might give me confidence – make me feel stronger but I found myself tumbling into bed with a man I hardly knew, after he’d taken me out to an oh-so-expensive dinner. I think he felt I was dessert, and I can only blame myself as I offered myself up as such, accepting a “night cap” at his apartment. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth pucker, as if I had a lemon in my mouth. Bad sex. Grappling, groping, sweaty hands on my breasts, the poking and panting. Ugh, just the thought of it. He sent me flowers the next day, saying what a wonderful evening he’d had.
He was so keen. So well-meaning. So clueless.
Not that I’m any expert. No. Sex has rarely been good for me. My ex-husband was very attractive but his idea of foreplay was rubbing my groin as if I were a horse needing a good rub-down. Rhythmic efficiency. It seems that men have read about the clitoris (the Big C) , the nerve-rich locus of women’s sexual pleasure, and think it’s a target to be zoomed in on immediately.
All those women’s magazines don’t help, either. Nor erotic novels that have women having multiple orgasms at the drop of a hat. One after another, even on demand. Like a wind-up doll. How simple that would be if it were real.
It reminds me of my old Al-Anon meetings – a place for family members of alcoholics to find solace and talk to one another. That was before my eldest brother died, when my family was struggling to understand his alcoholism - his personal demons which were ripping us apart. I was searching for help, for answers.
The meetings, for some odd reason, were ninety-eight percent women. Once we’d all gained each other’s trust, we started to explore other problems and to really open up with one another - problems not related to our families, but our own deep secrets, which turned out to be collective insecurities.
Sex came up. Of course, doesn’t it always? We had all sworn honesty, not to judge each other, not to share our experiences with anyone outside the room. It turned out that many of the women there - in fact, most of the women there - had unsatisfactory sex lives, if any at all.
Several bowed their heads in shame when they admitted they’d never reached orgasm through penetrative sex. Others, that they couldn’t bear to have their clitoris touched (manhandled), or they felt too self-conscious to have their partner go down on them. We all laughed about that scene in When Harry Met Sally. So true. Women faking orgasms so they can get to sleep, take the kids to school, or just get it over and done with.
But you still soldier on, still hoping for that magical person who can wave a wand and make it all happen - hoping that same person will be your soul mate, or at least, that you’ll have a good deal in common. Or that your present partner, or husband, will wake up one day and find you gloriously sexy, and that his top priority in the world is to give you carnal pleasure and become a veritable god in bed.
As for me? Right now my confidence is wobbling and wavering with desperate insecurity like a child learning to ride a bicycle way too big for her. Sex, or any kind of a relationship, is the last thing I feel equipped to navigate my way around. On paper, I look good. Had a great education, a degree from Brown in Comparative Literature. I worked my way up from research and I am now a producer with Haslit Films, a job I love. I own my own apartment, a one bedroom co-op on the Upper East Side.
I travel to a different place in the U.S every year for a ten day vacation, usually in September when the crowds have died down.
My life is wonderful.
But I’m single.
Forty Shades of Pearl is the first part in a trilogy. I am currently working on my next book, the second in The Pearl Trilogy Series. It should be released before Christmas. The working title for the moment for book 2 is Pearl's Dilemma, although that is not written in stone!
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