I am working on three things, turning to one of the others whenever I block on one. They are: a sequel to the Amelia Earhart novelette STAR CADET, space opera EMPRESS OF UNITY, and screenplay THREE COURTESANS.
COURTESANS is my hardest and artistically riskiest book as it’s not sci-fi but contemporary fiction. Or perhaps erotic fiction, as it is about three prostitutes. I will have to tread a fine line between porn and literature and may not be up to the task.
When THE EONS-LOST ORPHAN and its sequels made a big splash financially (by my modest standards) I began to get emails from beautiful young women wanting to make my acquaintance. I deleted those except for one which caught my curiosity. She claimed to be a third-year pharmachemistry student at UCLA who augmented her scholarship by entertaining “generous sophisticated men.”
Could she be real? A little research uncovered that at least 10% and up to 25% of college women sometimes work as “sugar babies” to help with the crushing cost of education. So I made an hour appointment with her. She would charge me a mere $300, half her usual fee, because she “admired my books so much.”
Instead of retiring to her bedroom in an off-campus apartment gotten through UCLA’s housing program we retired to her favorite nearby restaurant. Near the end of an hour of chatting we returned to her apartment, where she generously allowed me more time with her for free. She disrobed to “cool off from the hot outside” and showed me all her textbooks and lab workbooks.
Though distracted by all the bare flesh I eventually tentatively decided she was for real. It IS possible that I was fooled, but in my years at NASA and Boeing I’ve met lots of scientists and engineers. I know the type, and am one for that matter. We look like everyone else, and for the most part are. But there are some core characteristics that are hard to fake.
In the next few months I researched prostitution. I discovered that there are indeed truly horrible people involved in it. All those police reports and screenplays about them are not exaggerations. But I also discovered that for 99% of sex workers it is just business as usual with little or no drama. They stay discreet and pay their taxes. The police leave them alone except for a few times when they have to impress the politicians and the “good people” and they go all righteous for a week or three.
A few months ago some incident recalled chemist “Polly” to me and an idea popped in my head. Why not write a book about the real world of prostitution, the ordinary world that most people don’t realize exists?
I began, writing it in a prose form that closely follows screenplay form. It can be read as a book but can be easily adapted into a screenplay if Netflix or Amazon or whoever wants to produce it.
Currently there are three main characters, all escorts. One just graduated from high school and is only a few months into “the life.” One is in her late thirties, a veteran escort. The third is mid-twenties. The three get together occasionally for a dinner or drinks and share experiences at work and their private life and support each other.
As the story unravels the lives of these three friends intertwine. And that’s it. Now you know everything I do about THREE COURTESANS.