Interview with J C Pascoe

Is this your first novel?
Novel yes, book no. I published two technical books, one a best seller, when I was a consultant electronics engineer but that was way back in the 1980s. After retiring in 2007, I restarted my writing activities and have now published a further eight books, all available on Smashwords and elsewhere. My books fit a variety of genres: religion, autobiographical, blog-style essays, and quirks of the English language. So, “Conversations” is not my first book but it is my first novel.
What distinguishes the novel?
“Conversations” is essentially a series of discussions between the two protagonists Abi and Gerry. Abi, a final year university student, is seeking opinions on a variety of topics relevant to her social science degree course whereas Gerry, the divorcé and beekeeper, is more than happy to oblige if only for the company. Inevitably, their relationship progresses through various stages until, finally, in an explosion of sexual activity, described explicitly, Abi and Gerry become romantically entangled. On its own, this concept may not be enough to hold a reader’s interest and so I have woven two extra threads into the story.

The first is to draw parallels between the topics under discussion and the lives of honey bees. Honey bees, like ants and naked mole rats, live in highly-ordered colonies and many problems experienced by humans, such as war and over-population, have been solved by the bees. Gerry illustrates his contributions to the discussions with relevant facts about honey bees.

The second thread is what I call a book within a book. Following every chapter is a shadow chapter that over the course of the book shows how Abi and Gerry learnt about love and sex from puberty to the present day. We learn how Gerry grew up as a teenager in the 1970s, his early voyeurism, his seduction by an older landlady, his marriage followed by divorce, and his post-divorce return to masturbation aided by freely-available pornography available on the Web. Abi, on the other hand, entered puberty nearly forty years later, in 2007, and her initiation into sex happens in a much freer environment. The highlight of her sexual odyssey occurs when at age eighteen she tours Europe for three months with a friend Sally by her side and a variety of condoms in their rucksacks. The two girls engage in a medley of sexual activity as they travel through Amsterdam, Paris, Valencia, Majorca, Rome, Milan, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Prague and memorably on a train travelling from Copenhagen to Stockholm.
Have you written erotica before?
No, and I found it very hard. The first decision I made was to use proper words for body parts. So breasts are breasts, not tits, boobs, knockers, jugs, hooters… Similarly, a penis is a penis, not dick, cock, ... well, you get the picture. This convention can lead to very clinical descriptions of foreplay and intercourse so to counteract this I embedded the activities in an environment that brings out the erotic element. I did this by a slow build-up of increasing sexual titillation and, eventually, a sexual activity that catches the reader out even though it is expected. As you get deeper into the book and are absorbing and enjoying the sometimes contradictory arguments of Abi and Gerry, suddenly something happens that takes you into the erotic zone simply because it was unexpected. I can’t quote an example without spoiling the surprise. I urge you to read the book and see if you can spot it coming.
Are the erotic descriptions based on real-life experience?
Ah, this is the question I was expecting! Some are; some are not. I’ll leave you to conjecture what’s real and what’s imaginary. And while on this subject, I should confess that J C Pascoe is a pseudonym. I’m not sure how my family—wife, offspring + partners, grandchildren—and close friends will react if they knew I was the author of “Conversations” so I have cloaked myself with an invented name. If I am unmasked, I will let you know what happens!
Are you a beekeeper in real life?
No, but during the writing of the book I read a lot of articles on honey bees. They truly are fascinating insects. The fact that the queen bee mates in full flight on what is called the nuptial flight was discovered and proved by a blind naturalist in Geneva in 1788. Blind! It’s an amazing detective story in its own right and recounted in my book.
How does “Conversations” compare with, say, “Fifty Shades of Grey”?
It doesn’t. “Conversations” is first and foremost a serious book exploring attitudes to modern social environments and world current affairs. The sex, when it happens, is incidental to the philosophical content but adds spice to what could otherwise be a dry book to read. It also provides a tipping point for the book. Not much happens in the way of sexual activity between the protagonists until halfway through the book when Gerry steals a glance down Abi’s low neckline top. But from then on, the sexual activity starts to ratchet up and, eventually reaches a climax in the last three chapters of the book when… I’ll let you find out.
Are you planning a sequel?
Yes, I’ve planted several hooks that leave the way open for a sequel and now that the book is published I am starting to think more about how Abi and Gerry, and possibly others, could continue their relationship.
Published 2015-12-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Conversations Lite
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 67,510. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
“Conversations Lite ” charts a series of weekly topic-discussions over a period of 5 months between 22-year-old sexually-experienced social-sciences student, Abigail Scott, and 58-year-old divorcé and beekeeper Gerry Hawkins. Abi is looking for a conversationalist; Gerry for company. Gradually, their discussions lead to friendship and, eventually, aided by the bees, to something more intense.
Conversations
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 104,130. Language: British English. Published: December 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Contemporary
“Conversations” charts a series of weekly topic-discussions over a period of 5 months between 22-year-old sexually-experienced social-sciences student, Abigail Scott, and 58-year-old divorcé and beekeeper Gerry Hawkins. Abi is looking for a conversationalist; Gerry is looking for company. Gradually, their discussions lead to friendship and, eventually, aided by the bees, to something more intense.