o here was the dilemma – I had a 13 year old historic figure who marries her uncle. He, the high priest of Tyre, has agreed to this as a protection for her against her brother the king. The brother wouldnt dare hurt them, given the uncle’s position, right? Sucker. Anyway, as I was writing the story, I saw (like a motorist seeing an obstruction on a dark road, gradually manifesting in the headlights) that there was a problem ahead.
Really, what sort of man is going to take a risk like that and not seek some advantage (i.e. comfort)? And, against our out cultural understandings of taboos, it was not rare at all in 800BC to be married at such a young age, nor to be married to close family, and certainly not to experience sex. It seemed odd that our heroic husband would say, “Ah, Elisha, while you are a young budding flower, I respect the sexual norms of people living in 2008 and hence will refrain from touching you. Also, I will speak only English”.
So I puzzled and puzzled until my puzzler was sore. Eventually I figured out that i could perhaps get around this issue if I made his interests not quite so mainstream. Perhaps a slight deviance, one cute and funny and titillating and yet realistic. And the answer was right in front of me – all I had to do was look down.
Foot fetishment is pretty much accepted in our culture. It’s a slight sexual deviance that, in most forms, threatens nobody. Further, our culture accepts it – look at the number of women who wear sandals in all forms, open toe, lace up, whatever. You can’t say that is done for comfort. And further, men don’t wear such things. When men where sandals it’s a sloppy day-off thing. In fact, sexy women in ads and movies are often shown in toe-pointing barefoot beauty.
As Madge the beautician used to say in those old commercials, “You’re soaking in it”.
So I went back and started adding hints that this was the high priest’s fetish, that when she walked through a stream and left a wet footprint on a rock, she looked back to see him carefully fixating on it. Thus, her wedding night and married life pass in exotic yet non-threatening bliss, with the author walking a tight rope to make it look kinky yet innocent, exotic yet not pornographic, and avoid getting prosecuted as an advocate of child pornography. There were some careful word choices, indeed.
The best thing, of course, was once she aged a bit, once her husband was killed off (sucker), and once she got some straight forward Good–Old– Apple –Pie–American–Sex, she could really make up for what she’d been missing.
My agent for this, who rang me back three days after getting the submission, said he loved it – that it was in a groove that placed it into suburban avant-garde. Then began the long process of looking for a publisher. And next week, we’ll go over the interesting phone call I got from eBooks concering sex and young girls, once they bought rights to it. See you then!