Kiwi writer's sexy second novel

21:01, May 31 2011
HOT TOPIC: Geraldine author Leigh Marsden has released her latest novel, which publisher Penguin says is a sizzler.
HOT TOPIC: Geraldine author Leigh Marsden has released her latest novel, which publisher Penguin says is a sizzler.

A Geraldine author's second novel has been dubbed the Penguin Group's most sexually explicit book ever published in New Zealand.

Leigh Marsden's fiction novel Scarlet will be released today.

Marsden moved to Geraldine last year with her husband Ryan, who grew up in Geraldine, and the couple have a three-week-old daughter.

Marsden said she was initially embarrassed by Penguin's description of her book.

"It was a bit embarrassing telling people about it because people have an idea of you [and then after hearing about the book] they think the characters are you.

"While [the sexual aspect] is a big part of the story, it's not porn, it's not erotica."

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Penguin has asked Marsden to write another book of the same genre. That one, Crush, is due for release next year.

Scarlet was the first book Marsden wrote after completing a creative writing course. She said it took two years to write, as she would write after work and whenever she had spare time.

The novel follows George and Cass and their relationship as it evolves from co-workers at an Auckland restaurant to partners in sexually explicit activity all over town.

It flashes back to George's tumultuous childhood in Taupo, which reveals the reasons behind her risky behaviour.

Marsden said Cass was inspired by a waitress she worked with in her university days, but George was purely fictional.

At Auckland University, Marsden studied English and linguistics, followed by a masters in speech and language therapy.

Her first book, Beauty, was inspired by her work as a stewardess on board a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean, where she worked for 18 months with her husband.

Beauty was about a woman named Mena who joins a luxury motor yacht in the Mediterranean and sees the yacht's crew and guests battle with illicit affairs, closet addictions and the pressure of maintaining a slender waistline.

The Timaru Herald