By Lisabet Sarai
For more than fifteen years, Lisabet Sarai has been a fixture in the erotica community. Elusive, exotic, highly educated and widely traveled, Lisabet has published stories in almost every erotic sub-genre, often set in foreign locales. She has edited collections of BDSM tales and vampire stories. She runs several blogs. Still, she’s difficult to pin down. She won’t say exactly where she lives. She avoids personal appearances. She won’t even do podcasts for fear someone will recognize her voice. When prodded to be more public, she cites the fear that the conservative government of her adopted country will link her real-world identity with her off-color literary persona and deport her. Despite her online presence, Lisabet is to some extent a woman of mystery.
It’s time for me to come clean. I’ve been lying to you all this time.
I’m actually a fifty three year old white male, a backhoe operator with a high school education from Queensland. I’m married with three kids. Aside from a couple of holidays in Bali, I’ve never been outside Australia.
But I do have a formidable imagination—as evidenced by my successful charade of more than a decade.
I created Lisabet Sarai in 1999 when I submitted Raw Silk to Black Lace. I’d read my first Black Lace book six months earlier—Portia da Costa’s Gemini Heat, as I’ve explained in my many bios—and decided to see if I could publish my own erotic novel. But Black Lace wouldn’t accept submissions from men. Pissed off (justifiably, I would argue), I set out to create a female alter-ego convincing enough to fool Virgin Publishing and the world.
I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.
Lisabet’s first name was borrowed from our Queen, her last from the star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since my novel takes place in the Orient, I wanted something that was ethnically ambiguous. Originally, I created an outrageous life story for Lisabet. Her mother was a Lebanese belly dancer, her father a French diplomat. She grew up in a dozen countries around the world. She’d been the mistress of sheiks and millionaires. Eventually I scrapped all these particulars. I opted for vagueness instead.
When you’re building a falsehood, too many details can trip you up.
And then, some of the bits and pieces about Lisabet’s life are true. I spent my twenties sleeping with lots of women and hanging out in university libraries. I guess you could say I’m self-educated. When I first encountered BDSM (in Anne Rice’s Beauty trilogy), I knew I’d discovered my true sexual self. I read everything I could find about power exchange. I started writing fantasies I could use to jerk off. By then I was dating the woman who’s now my wife. I proposed that we try some of the stuff I was reading about. She was not enthusiastic. Our few timid experiments were minor disasters.
I took refuge in composing more sexy stories. Then I discovered I could publish them.
Sometimes I think it’s better than the real thing. In fiction, there are no limits.
Some of you may find my confession hard to believe. How can a guy write so convincingly from a female point of view?
Have you read my stuff with male narrators? Just as convincing, I believe. A real author can put himself in any character’s head. Arousal is a universal experience. At least that’s my view.
Then there are the (very) few of you who can claim to have met “Lisabet Sarai” in person. I have to apologize for deceiving you. In the few situations where Lisabet needs a physical presence, I’ve called on my cousin Helen to take on that role. She’s a top manager for a multi-national corporation and flies all over the world, so it’s quite convenient to get her to impersonate me. As open-minded as I am, but a good deal more experienced, Helen loves my sexy stories. She’s one of the only people who knows the truth about Lisabet.
And what about my headshot? A girlfriend from my wild period. She agreed to pose for me, in return for a long session of cunnilingus. Needless to say, I was more than willing to oblige her.
Come on, you didn’t really think someone who looks like this would be a shy and retiring author, did you? A model, maybe, but an author?
Wouldn’t sell many books with this mug, would I?
Anyway, I’m not in this for the cash. I make a good living in the construction business. I write for fun (as Lisabet always tells you), and to turn myself and my readers on. In eight or ten years, I’ll retire and turn my full attention to creating erotica and romance.
Meanwhile, nobody outside the limited audience of this blog will know the whole story about “Lisabet Sarai”.
And even if they read this post, they’ll never really be sure. Will they?
Truth is a slippery beast.