NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Dawn Barclay, who works as a local real estate agent, has taken the old adage "write what you know" to heart, albeit with a host of imaginative twists and turns.
Writing under the pseudonym DM Barr, her debut novel, "Expired Listings" is, explained the New City resident, a "kinky and satiric fictional peek into both the inner workings of the real estate community and the world of BDSM" aka bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism.
A launch/signing party, sponsored by Barry J. Dorfman of Liberty Mutual Insurance and Amanda Casey of Residential Home Funding, will be held at Nanuet's Growler & Gill (148 Route 59) on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 5 pm. to 8 p.m. The public is invited and there will be free food and giveaways as well as discounted beer, wine and soft drinks.
Daily Voice sat down with Barclay prior to the party to get the lowdown on her inspiration, how she thinks her fellow real estate agents will react to the story, and why her book includes so many street names.
Daily Voice: What inspired you to write this story?
Dawn Barclay: Two inspirations. First, I wanted to warn real estate agents to take better precautions when going about the everyday aspects of their workday and it sprang from there. Even though many of the brokers in the book die in somewhat amusing ways, the speech that Deborah Lee Decker gives to Detective Cummings about how dangerous our lives are and the risks we take daily, is my warning to my fellow agents. Long after I'd finished the first version of this book, there was an unfortunate string of real estate agent murders in the news. This book was not my way of capitalizing on that hype but it did tell me I was on the right track.
My second inspiration: I wanted to de-demonize and demystify the BDSM world for readers. These are not evil or sick people; they are normal people who have every right to explore sex in whatever consensual way feels right to them.
DV: Your main character, Dana, is very into the BDSM 'scene' but in a way we're not used to in erotic fiction. How did you research that character? Are you in the 'scene'?
DB: I'm no more a part of the 'scene' than I am a serial killer. But I do know people in the lifestyle and I've spent many years listening to them and trying to understand their motivations and their techniques. I think the irony of "Expired Listings" is that I portray the "scene folk" as less perverted than the real estate agents. And I say "perverted" in its most non-judgmental sense; it's how many of the "scene folk" I've met refer to themselves.
DV: Where do your characters come from?
DB: I know the one question people will ask after reading "Expired Listings:" Is Dare based on a real person? The answer is yes, in a way. He is a combination of a few ‘lifestylers’ I've met. There is definitely someone out there with that evil imagination but he is not a writer, nor is he as self-centered or unfeeling as I've painted Dare to be. There is only one character in the book who is from real life, and that is Davo, who gave me his blessing to include him.
DV: Why are there so many streets, times and phone calls mentioned in the book?
DB: That's really a real estate agent's life. We live in terms of this house or that listing, and this appointment or that showing time. That comment by Endie, early on, when he's describing a murder scene by mentioning the color of the wallpaper? That's how we talk, how we jog each other's memory. And everything we do, no matter how early or late in the day, is interrupted by phone calls. I think readers will get that authentic real estate agent vibe when reading the novel.
DV: Do you think that the kinky scenes will turn off traditional mystery readers?
DB: I certainly hope not. This is not erotica. There is a depiction of a sadomasochistic relationship (with "off-page'"sex) as character development. There's also some kinky foreplay that I wouldn't recommend for kids under 18, but the play is imaginative and may give readers some ideas they might want to try themselves. Maybe go out and buy a Bingo set and some candles!
DV: How about real estate agents? Will they take offense at your depiction of the profession?
DB: It's clearly a satire and I expect that they'll read it with the appropriate grain of salt. If anything, I think agents will appreciate the way home sellers are authentically depicted as being incredibly stubborn about pricing their homes 'correctly' and not trusting that we are looking out for their best interests.
DV: What's next for you?
DB: I'm starting "Slashing Mona Lisa" which will be a second murder mystery. I don't want to elaborate until it's finished except to say it will be touching on some issues of great concern to the women of today. I hope it will be an important book.