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Kyra Davis’ fictional erotic trilogy of books, Just One Night, which have sold more than half a million e-book downloads since January, have been optioned by Anonymous Content, which plans to develop it for television.
Davis, who recently turned 40, says the success of the book Fifty Shades of Grey has helped her and other female erotica writers find more mainstream acceptance than ever before.
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She says Fifty Shades of Grey put the genre on “everybody’s radar,” adding: “There’s a realization that female readers and viewers have an interest in books and stories that have a high sexual content. The idea that women like sex shouldn’t be a surprise, but sometimes it takes people a while to catch on.”
All three of the books that Anonymous Content has licensed will be published in a single volume in January by Simon & Schuster, which released the e-book versions through its digital sales division. All three have appeared on the New York Times list of e-books in print, even though it is not yet in print.
The first book in the Just One Night series is called The Stranger, the second Exposed and the third Binding Agreement.
Together they tell the story of a woman executive who breaks out of her routine life when — on the eve of her wedding — her best friend convinces her to sleep with a stranger in Las Vegas. What was supposed to be a one-time lark becomes much more.
“The popularity of Fifty Shades woke people up to a phenomena that was already building but hadn’t gotten much media attention,” says Davis. “So it’s not shocking that a book like Fifty Shades would bring it to a whole new level.”
Davis grew up in Northern California and studied fashion design and merchandising. After working as a department store manager for Nordstrom, doing sales and marketing for a sports club and becoming the mother of a son (now 14), she turned to writing for the first time as her first marriage was breaking up.
Her first book published by Red Dress, a division of Harlequin in 2005, was called Sex, Murder and Double Latte. It was part of what became a series of Sophie Katz Mysteries.
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Davis, who recently became engaged to filmmaker Rod Lurie (The Last Castle), says that while erotica has been dominated by male authors, that also has changed.
“The reason is that people who read erotica for the most part these days are women,” says Davis. “So they want sex scenes seen from a female point of view and focusing on things that excite and interest women, which is different from what excites and interests men.”
Anonymous Content is developing the books for TV and not as a movie, says Davis, because they “see it as a continuous narrative” that can keep going, with characters and stories that “lend themselves to television.”
“Obviously we are going to show the sexual aspects,” adds Davis. “But the book is much more about the difficulty and challenges for women in the workplace and the power-games in the workplace.”
The story, she says, is about “a woman who played by the rules and never got ahead. The one time she breaks the rules she gets rewarded for it, and so the question is: If you’re rewarded for breaking the rules, then what is the right thing to do? That is something they felt they could explore in depth in a television show.”
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