Raven Gregory's Irresistible has been a hot topic here at the Bin. I posed a few questions to Mr. Gregory on the circumstances that brought this supernatural erotic thriller to life. Here's what he had to say:
ComicBookBin: Works of fiction often steam from events in an author’s life. Can readers assume Irresistible is based (in part) on love lost, or possibly even sexual addiction? Or is it simply a stretch of your own imagination?
Raven Gregory: A big part of the story is inspired by my own recent divorce. I tend to write more from life than anything else and going through the whole thing...well, it's been over a year and in someway's I'm still trying to put the pieces back together. It was really one of the most traumatic things to ever happen to me so it's definitely the kind of life experience that tends to leak into the work.
CCB: I find co-dependence and sexual addiction are problems a number of people (male or female) face. While sex and relationships are inherently good things, an over dependence on either is usually the symptom of a bigger problem—the same way people may use alcohol or drugs to hide from their problems. Does this theme ring true for Irresistible?
RG: It definitely is a huge part of the story. There's this idea of love and then there's the truth. And what one person thinks or believes is love is not necessarily the same thing the other person believes. There's what we want to believe and then there's the truth and very often those two are not the same thing. And people become co-dependent on the idea of love, of being in love, of having that person there and living in that comfort zone and never realizing that it might all just be an illusion...a trick we tell ourselves to keep believing in something that's not real. Now, I know that sounds very cynical but there's a lot of people living this kind of life right now and they're just kind of drifting not knowing which way is up or down beyond the fact that they think their content. They don't know who they are and neither does the other person because all they know is each other and they can only define themselves through that relationship and people get lost when they realize they don't even know who they are anymore.
CCB:Typically, a writer has a message behind their story—simply put, what’s the point of writing if you’re not actually trying to say something? Is there any particular message you had in mind while writing Irresistible? Is there anything you think is absolutely vital that the reader walk away with after reading it?
RG: It's really not my place to say. I know the message I want to bring across but everyone is different and I want readers to be able to experience the story pure and make up their own minds and take away from the story what they want to take away from the story.
CCB: Female objectification is a major issue, in real life and in fiction, as evidenced by the Women in Refrigerators phenomenon to the War on Women in the political arena. Irresistible is written from the perspective of a heterosexual male, particularly his inner desire for love, sex and general happiness, so there is some inherent distance between his inner reflection and the women he encounters. That being said, how did you come to write the women in Irresistible?
RG: I write the women the same way I write any character. I try to put myself in the story, put myself in that characters shoes and let them react naturally to the circumstances of the story around them. Once Allen gets his "gift" every woman he meets wants to have sex with him. But you can tell quite quickly that it's not just sex that he wants. He wants something more and he can't have it and that's a big part of who he is as a character and you see how him being of that mindset could go drastically wrong as he begins these sporadic relationships with these various women who might indeed want much much more.
CCB: Are they entirely fictional, based off women you’ve known personally, or a mix of the two?
RG: If you asked me that a year ago I'd have a said a mix of the two but with the exception of issue four every woman you see in the series is in some way or form modeled off of a real woman I know or have known. To say I have lived a crazy life is an understatement.
CCB: Were possible accusations of sexism and objectification on your mind as you were writing the series?
RG: Not at all. Whenever I write a story, especially one like this that draws on personal experiences and demons, I write from the heart. Whatever people are going to say they're going to say regardless. The second you start to second guess yourself as a writer is the day you hang up the pen. You really have to be fearless and allow the story to speak for itself. That's really all you can do.
CCB:Is the curse in Irresistible a metaphor for rape, in that it causes characters to consent to sex outside of their rational mind?
RG: I wouldn't say so although it would be easy to interpret as such. But Allen is a good guy. He doesn't even realize he's been cursed until much later in the story. He just thinks he got his groove back. It's not until shit starts going bat shit crazy that he realizes that something strange is going on. In fact, there is only one time in the whole series where he is actively trying to use the curse to get what he wants only to find out that it doesn't work on the one person he wants it to work on.
CCB: Is there anything you believe women can learn or enjoy after reading Irresistible?
RG: I think there's something truly universal about heartbreak that everyone can relate to. That need, that desire to be wanted. So yeah, I think women will enjoy it just as much as men if not more so as you really get a peek inside how some men really think. Yes, sex is important to men but it really is such a small part of who we really are when it comes to the search for finding that person who we want to be with. I don't want it to come across as too sappy but it is what it is.
CCB: What does Irresistible say about the male sexual fantasy? What can men learn from reading it?
RG: That we watch entirely way too much porn and what we think we want isn't usually the same thing as what we really want.
CCB: I don’t find non-committed sexual activity immoral per-se so long as 1) people are honest with their sexual partner or partners about their intentions 2) they practice safe sex and 3) are honest about their sexual and medical history. However, in a fantasy, danger, deception and consequence are non-existent. I think it’s safe to say most people understand the difference between fantasy and reality, but the catch 22 in Irresistible is that it is a fantasy-turned-reality, and the two do not mess well. Do you believe anyone would habitually engage in constant high-risk, anonymous sex if they were literally given the option like in your story?
RG: Yes, because for every smart conscious person there's a dozen irresponsible ones. But even as a fantasy tale Allen does face some real consequences and risks as the story continues.
CCB: Overall, why should people invest the time and energy to read Irresistible?
RG: It's really is the love spell story like you have never seen it before.