- Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Meet 76-year-old grandmother Desiree Holt: the world's oldest author of erotic romance, wth over 100 steamy novels and ebooks to her name and counting.
Meet grandmother Desiree Holt — at 76, the world's oldest author of erotic romance. Silver-haired Desiree Holt qualified for a free bus pass in 1996, but has spent her retirement writing over 100 “scorching-hot” sexually explicit novels and e-novels to the delight of fans around the world.
Until now, many readers believed the bestselling author of such steamy works as “On the Prowl” and “Carnal Caresses” was a buxom heroine like the ones featured in her books — released by British erotic romance specialist Total-E-Bound Publishing.
But Holt — whose 'behind-the-bedroom-door' stories often involve kinky sex play such as bondage, dominance and threesomes — has decided to come clean about her age.Holt, who cites the runaway success of British author EL James's number one bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey as helping the genre gain mainstream acceptance, said: “When I first started writing, erotic romance was still looked down on by many people as nothing more than a form of porn.
“But the incredible popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey has really opened readers' minds to the genre, to the point where it's fine to admit that I am a pensioner in my mid-seventies who just so happens to write about passionate, erotic relationships.
“I'm one of Total-E-Bound's best-selling authors of this genre and the demand for my books is growing all the time. I think that's because erotic romance is a powerful form of fantasy — women, and men too, can read it and imagine themselves in place of the characters, doing and feeling things they might be too shy about in their everyday existence.
“Many readers have told me that my stories give them confidence to spice up their sex lives, experiment and express their sexuality. I guess in that respect I'm a bit like an agony aunt, only more graphic.”
Claire Siemaszkiewicz, founder of digital publishing company Total-E-Bound, said: “Desiree has been with us for four years now and in that time has become a firm favourite with readers.“We believe she is the oldest writer of erotic romance in the world, but I’m sure none of her fans will be concerned with her age. The quality of the stories and characters is the important thing to them, not how many candles the writer blows out each birthday.
“If anything, Desiree should be seen as an empowering figure in the fight against age discrimination. There's no reason why sex should be taboo for older people.”
Born in 1936, mother-of-three Holt carved out a successful career for herself in journalism, PR and music management — looking after a number of small-time rock bands — before retiring in 2000 at the age of 64.
At first she planned to spend her golden years fulfilling a life-long ambition to write mystery novels — but became “hooked” on erotic romance after buying a “racy” novel to see what it was like.
With the full support of late husband David, Holt “threw” herself into the underground sex scene to research what would be her first erotic romance novel, 2007's Candy Caresses, joining online forums for the BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadomasochism) and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) communities.
Since then she's published 105 novels, novellas and short story collections, building up a network of regular contacts ranging from mistresses, swingers, and fetishists to Army soldiers — for her latest book, Unconditional Surrender.
Last year, she even visited a bondage club at the age of 75 to gain a better understanding of the worlds she writes about — though, she insists, as “an observer only”.She is now believed to be the world's oldest author of erotic romance.
She said: “The inspiration for the stories comes from every place and research is always ongoing. I based the hero of one book on my doctor — simply because he’s so sexy.“Another book, my novella All Jacked Up, I wrote for my son, because I wanted him to settle down. It's about a man reaching forty who’s still waiting for the woman of his dreams only to have the most unexpected female walk into his life. I think he appreciated my motherly concern.
“Though I've not tried all the things I write about, I do find them all fascinating — far more so than traditional granny pursuits such as knitting. I'm treated well because I respect everyone as individuals, regardless of whether they express their love through kisses and cuddles or whips and chains.”
Holt, who lives in Texas, US, says that though her family refuse to read her books, they approve of her writing and affectionately call her the “Queen of Hill Country Erotica”.But, she adds, there will always be some people who find her choice of career “distasteful”.
“I was nervous in the beginning because, while my kids are all adults, I am still 'Mom' to them and therefore shouldn't know this kind of stuff. But they are my biggest supporters and brag about me a lot. Even my 20-year-old granddaughter thinks it’s exciting.
“But I do live in a very conservative community and occasionally someone will look at me as if I have a contagious disease when I reveal what I do.“I always tell them that maybe they should read one novella and see that it’s really not what they think. At its heart, erotic romance is still about exploring characters' relationships and emotions — the sex just helps reveal the intensity of their feelings."
Desiree Holt’s latest novel, Unconditional Surrender, is available now from Total E-Bound Publishing. Visit www.total-e-bound.com.
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