Inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, Northern Ireland's own erotic author has penned a red-hot seller
A saucy school teacher says she’s thrilled that her erotic novel has become an online hit in a number of countries.
The Co Antrim woman — who uses the pen name Leonora Morrison — has not yet achieved the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, but her Northern Ireland-based bonkbuster The Bed and The Bookcase is off to a flying start.
The steamy book which is set in Northern Ireland follows the X-rated diary of racy redhead Ginger.
“I had set myself the target of being a bestseller, which I have done already but I’d really like to be the number one seller,” said.
“To do that, I’d have to knock Fifty Shades off the top spot, but I think the book is good enough to do it.”
Featuring local landmarks such as St George’s Market and a well-known Belfast restaurant, The Bed and The Bookcase has become a favourite among US readers and has been a hit in Australia, Canada and Japan.
“It’s amazing that it has sold so many copies because there has been no advertising in the likes of America yet America is the place that people have bought it the most. I’d say probably 40 per cent of the sales have been from there,” she said.
“I knew people would either love or hate the book, but the majority of comments I’ve received have been really positive. I’ve had a lot of good reviews from people all over the world on Amazon which has been nice.”
The author, who admits that she is “usually very quiet”, said she used some of her own experiences as the basis of her raunchy read.
She said: “I’d gone onto dating sites and there were a lot of mental things that I saw on them. It really opened my eyes to men in Northern Ireland. I couldn’t believe there were so many men like that in such a small place.
“The stuff in the book isn’t really necessarily personal experience, but it is taken from being online and I talked to a lot of people about their experiences too to help me build the story.”
She added: “Not many people really know that it’s really me who has written it.
“There’s only about five people who actually know.
“It’s been okay because a lot of people think that I’m very quiet so wouldn’t put two and two together. To be honest, though, it’s quite nice to have an alter ego.”
Refusing to reveal her identity until the book reaches the same stature as EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, she admits that for some people, Ginger’s dirty diary has proved a little bit too much. “It’s funny because not all women that have read it have liked it, but it seems all the men who have read it have really enjoyed it — and a lot of them have not even read a book before so that’s encouraging.
“But I thought Fifty Shades of Grey was boring and other people thought it crossed the line. I got about half-way through and then had to just leave it because I couldn’t read any more.
“There are some local bookshops that obviously view Fifty Shades of Grey as about as dirty as it should get and see my book as being too dirty, but I think you should be giving people the opportunity to make up their own minds about the book, especially because it’s been having good reviews on Amazon. There are some local bookstores who have said they are going to keep it in mind for selling later on in the year, but I’m not sure if that’s just a polite way of them saying that they can’t put it on the shelf.
“I know a lot of people have read it purely because they’ve seen the cover.”
Following the success of The Bed and The Bookcase, the Co Antrim author is already planning her next naughty novel.
“My next book isn’t written in the same sort of style — I’m trying to set it in Victorian times. It’s about the occult and tarot cards so I’m sure that’ll be another one that goes down well with the politicians in Northern Ireland!”