Ava Marsh Q&A – Exposure
I am delighted to welcome Ava Marsh back to Grab This Book. Last year Ava’s debut novel Untouchable topped my 2015 Top Ten Reads – a dark thriller with a lead character that worked as a high class escort. It pulled no punches and stood out as one of the most memorable books I had read for a long time.
Ava’s new novel Exposure is released today and this time we are being taken behind the scenes of the porn industry following the story of Kitty Sweet.
It is an absolute thrill to have the chance to chat with Ava about Exposure.
For those that have not yet read Exposure, what can we expect?
In a nutshell, a blow-by-blow account of how a young porn star ends up in prison for murdering two men.
Tell me about Kitty Sweet – is she entirely imagined or perhaps a composite of a number of people?
Kitty is entirely imagined, though oddly I came across some notes I made years ago for another project and found I’d used the same name before. Unlike Grace from Untouchable, Kitty was a tough character to get to know. I spent many, many hours trying to get into her head, something I had no trouble doing with Grace. Eventually I realised why I was finding it so difficult, but explaining that might spoil the story.
First it was escorts, now porn – are you highlighting the unseen side of some of the less discussed (and possibly controversial) parts of modern society?
Yes. I feel strongly that these aspects of society are often ignored and marginalised, particularly the women who work in them, often dismissed by people as either slags or exploited. As with escorting, I wanted to explore what the porn world would feel like for someone immersed in it. For instance, I read in a lot of memoirs, that there is a big sense of ‘community’ amongst porn workers – similar, I suppose, to the kind of community you get with other marginalised groups who look to each other for understanding and support.
When we spoke about Untouchable you said you had interviewed a number of escorts to discuss their lifestyle. Have you taken a similar research approach for Exposure?
Sadly I don’t know anyone who’s worked in the porn industry, and I was too shy to approach anyone cold! But there’s plenty who have written about their experiences, and their memoirs were invaluable. It’s also an industry that’s attracted a lot of articles and press coverage, which was useful.
How was the reaction to Untouchable? Were you surprised with any of the reactions you saw or perhaps that there was a fair bit of focus on what became referred to (amongst the bloggers) as “the party scene”?
I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction to Untouchable. I knew I was pushing the envelope with some of the sex scenes – particularly that scene – but almost universally people have said that none of it felt gratuitous, which pleased me a lot. The sex in both books is there not to titillate, but to provide context and understanding of the world these women inhabit. For them sex is largely work, part of their everyday routine.
Away from writing what does Ava Marsh do with her free time? Can you switch off and get away from the book?
Oh yes, I am very good at not thinking about my work. In the early stages of a book, I can only write for about an hour a day – after that my brain kind of burns out. So I’m left with another 23 to fill. I sleep for eight, spend another ten or so pissing around on the internet, leaving just enough time for three meals, a shower, and a few hours vegging in front of the TV. I am very boring.
Can we ask if there is a new project underway?
I have a couple of things up my sleeve. I’m halfway through a first draft of something a little bit different; still a thriller, but a slight change of direction. And I’ve another book I’m brainstorming in case that one goes nowhere.
Are you a bookworm? If I were to see your bookcases what sort of books could I expect to see?
I have all the books! I’ve got one room devoted to them, which I like to refer to as ‘the library’ (using a posh, country-house sort of voice). I also have a scary number taking up space on my Kindle, and a load more on Audible. I need to conduct a purge, but I hate parting with books. I’m a pretty wide-ranging reader. I usually have several on the go at the same time – one in hard copy, one on Kindle, and one I’m listening to. I love literary as well as genre fiction, and spent my teen years reading the bulk of the classics. I’m much lazier these days, and tend to read to please rather than educate myself.
Exposure is published on 16 June by Corgi and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Exposure-Ava-Marsh/dp/0552171212/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466015086&sr=8-1&keywords=Exposure+ava+marsh
Here is the description:
Kitty Sweet isn’t like anyone you’ve ever met before.
She’s an infamous porn star, imprisoned for double murder. As damaged as she is charismatic, as dangerous as she is charming.
But once no different from you or I.
Kitty’s past is full of heartbreak and desperation, of adulation and glamour. Of ruin. She’s descended to an underworld most people can only imagine, and lived to tell the tale . . .
This is her story.