Cali is a graduate student paying her way through school giving sensual massages to strange men at an apartment with several other girls, where she leads a double life and internally struggles with the job she has chosen, the friendships she has made, and the lies she must tell.
At the university Cali is a star student trying to finish her master’s thesis on California archaeology. What the other students and professors must not know is that by night she makes money giving massages with a happy ending to strangers. At first, she truly enjoys working at the apartment, since it brings out the sensual side she lacks as a student. She forms a close friendship with two of the girls and a few of her regular customers, but struggles with the fact that she is doing something illegal, dangerous, and looked down upon in American society.
Intimate Encounters (by Sierra Michaels) is a humorous and occasionally serious account of the inner workings of the sensual massage business and the unique and sometimes pathological characters that work at and visit the apartment, as well as Cali’s life and struggles as a graduate student in doubt about her chosen field and her future.
Tell us something about yourself.
Sierra Michaels was born in Cincinnati then moved to Los Angeles as a young adult. Because of her passion for culture, both past and present, she pursued a Master’s degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology. During her years in college she had the opportunity to travel widely and study culture first hand. She also realized that Los Angeles gave her a unique opportunity to observe the many subcultures within the city. It is one of these subcultures that inspired her to write Intimate Encounters.
Sierra currently resides in Florida with her husband, her loving diva dog Yoda and three rebellious cats. Most of her writing takes place at her second home in Bimini, a small island in the Bahamas. Intimate Encounters is her first novel, but not her last.
What inspired you to write this book?
I knew about the sensual massage industry while living in Los Angeles, I actually had a friend that worked in the business. That combined with my own experience as an archaeology student inspired the novel.
How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?
I got frustrated looking for agents and getting rejections, so I went straight to the publishing houses. I got as far as “B” in my queries. In December 2009, Black Rose Writing accepted my manuscript and we have worked well together ever since.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, so one day I just picked up my laptop and started writing Intimate Encounters. It was a learning process along the way, but I am proud of the end product.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Editing, It takes discipline and I have to really concentrate on the details.
What are you reading now?
I’m so busy on social networks, that I’m not reading anything on the moment. I listen to audiobooks when I run, and right now I’m listening to “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I like Chick lit and some suspense novels. Nora Roberts, Dan Brown, Michael Chrichton, Tracy Quan, Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemmingway. They all write really well and spur my imagination. Quite a diverse group of authors which reflects my taste in reading.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write for yourself and worry about publishing later. The publishing industry is a hard one but stay with it and if you really want to be published, you will find a way.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
Everything possible. It really comes down to the author for book promotion, unless you are already an established author with a big publishing house. Lots of internet promotion such as facebook, blogging, forums, and other social media websites. Also, book signings are important and I’m in the process of scheduling signings in my area.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
My facebook fan page is: Intimate Encounters