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CONTACT: Publicity Department, Punctuated Publishing, firstname.lastname@example.org. For a review copy or other requests, please email email@example.com. During August and September of 2016, review copies will be available for download under The Killion Group, Inc. on Netgalley.com.
INTERVIEW: D.M. Barr, author of new kinky and satiric psychological thriller, Expired Listings, real estate agent, former journalist, poet, lyricist and Rockland County, NY resident.
SUBJECTS: Fiction, Genre Fiction, Humor, Real Estate, Validation, Work/Writing Balance, Rockland County.
AVAILABILITY: Nationwide by telephone and Skype video call. In person in New York tristate area.
An Erotic Psychological Thriller
Set in the Hudson Valley and NYC
A Novel by
D.M. Barr (Author)
Paperback: Approx. 310 pages
Digital and Audiobook Versions also available
Publisher: Punctuated Publishing (September 16, 2016)
New City, NY – July 13, 2016—D.M. Barr’s compelling debut novel, Expired Listings, is a kinky and satiric fictional peek into both the inner workings of the real estate community and the world of BDSM, set against the scenic backdrop of the Hudson Valley and New York City. It will be published by Punctuated Publishing of New City, NY on September 16, 2016. Think Glengarry Glen Ross meets Fifty Shades of Grey, but with a body count.
In Expired Listings, someone is ‘deactivating’ the Realtors in Rock Canyon and almost no one seems to care. Not the surviving brokers, who consider the serial killings a competitive boon. Not the town’s residents, who see the murders as a public service. In fact, the only person who’s even somewhat alarmed is Dana Black, a kinky, sharp-witted yet emotionally skittish Realtor who has no alibi for the crimes because during each, she was using her empty listings for games like Bondage Bingo with her sadistic lover, Dare. And yet, mysteriously, all clues are pointing her way.
Along with clearing her name and avoiding certain death at the hands of the ‘Realtor Retaliator,’ Dana has an even bigger problem: she’s inadvertently become a person of interest in more ways than one to Aidan Cummings, the sexy albeit vanilla detective investigating the case. While his attentions are tempting, Dana is torn—does she continue her ironically ‘safe’ but sterile BDSM relationship with Dare, or risk real intimacy with Aidan?
Expired Listings, the title taken from a real estate term describing homes that remain unsold because they are not as they might first appear in their marketing materials (overpriced, etc.), is at its heart, an exploration of the universal need for validation and the toxic nature of revenge. The mystery of who is killing the unethical agents in their small town is only one of the questions the novel raises. The book revolves around the dysfunctional history of Dana’s family and the humor she uses to shield herself from her dark past. Why did her mother abandon her at age six? What tragedy occurred that separated Dana from her first love? Did those incidents lead to Dana’s masochistic sexual tendencies and her recurrent blackouts, the ones that leave her unsure of whether she herself could be the Realtor Retaliator?
The satirical jabs at the real estate industry and Dana’s incessant and witty punning add a light touch to the novel’s dark subject matter.
"Nothing in life is ever as it first appears, and there are always two sides to every story. Those are two constant themes of the novel,” says the Rockland-based novelist, who, like her protagonist, is a real estate broker and former journalist. Barr says her writing style was influenced by other popular psychological thrillers, such as Chevy Stevens’ Still Missing and Laura Reese’s Topping from Below.
D.M. Barr is a pseudonym for a former magazine writer/editor who received a first prize award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her nonfiction work at a travel trade magazine, as well as accolades from the real estate community for her sales figures. Her recent erotic novella was recently published under a different pseudonym by Loose Id. A member of the HVRWA and the NJRWA, she lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, two adult children and two extremely spoiled senior rescue dogs. She is currently hard at work at her second novel, Slashing Mona Lisa.
D.M. Barr reminds readers that she is nothing like the protagonist of her novel. “As a real estate broker, I've never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings or offed one of my problem clients. But that's not to say I haven't wanted to...”
A Novel by
D.M. Barr (Author)
Paperback: Approx. 310 pages
Publisher: Punctuated Publishing (September 16, 2016)
New City, NY
Available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and other fine online retailers.
Author web site: www.dmbarr.com
Subjects: Fiction, Genre Fiction, Humor, Real Estate, Validation, Work/Writing Balance, Rockland County.
Interview with D.M. Barr:
Humor plays a big role in Expired Listings. Who are your favorite humorous writers?
I didn't set out to write a funny book, but I have to admit, I would love to be categorized as a satirist. I definitely have a cynical approach to life and Dana inherited my sarcastic edge. I'm sure we both use humor to shield ourselves from the pain that human interaction often causes. My favorite humorous writers include Marshall Karp and the earlier comic thrillers written by both Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay. In romance, I love Jennifer Crusie. I'm actually not a big fan of movie comedies, though I will see anything starring Melissa McCarthy, Tina Fey or Amy Schumer.
Where do your characters come from? Are they based on people you have met or strictly a product of your imagination?
I know the one question people will ask after reading Expired Listings: Is Dare based on a real person? The answer is yes, in a way. He is a combination of a few people I've met in the 'scene'. There is definitely someone out there with that evil imagination but he is not a writer, nor is he as self-centered or unfeeling as I've painted Dare to be. And no, ladies, you can't have his phone number. There is only one character in the book who is from real life, and that is Davo, who gave me his blessing to include him in the book.
Your main character, Dana, is very into the BDSM 'scene' but in a way we're not used to in erotic fiction. She's not just learning about it, it's an integral part of her life. How did you research that character? Are you in the 'scene'?
I'm no more a part of the 'scene' than I am a serial killer. But I do know people in the lifestyle and I've spent many years listening to them and trying to understand their motivations and their techniques. I think the irony of Expired Listings is that I portray the 'scene folk' as less perverted than the real estate agents. And I say 'perverted' in its most non-judgmental sense; it's how many of the 'scene folk' I've met refer to themselves.
Describe the character Dana and how she changes in the course of the book.
The book is really about Dana's arc, and how she must choose between the ironically 'safe' but sterile relationship she shares with Dare and the emotional intimacy she must risk if she chooses to date Aidan. The readers watch her journey of self-discovery, as she attempts to overcome the demons of her past and find self-worth and validation, no easy task when you were abandoned by your mother at the age of six.
So many characters in your story seems to have two names. Why is that?
There are two sides to every story. Likewise, there are two sides to everyone's personality. That's why so many of my characters in Expired Listings have nicknames, or personas unbeknownst to those around them. It's specifically to underscore that theme.
Why did you write Dana's mother, Cassandra, as so cruel and self-obsessed?
It was probably my way of unconsciously apologizing to my kids for working when they were younger instead of remaining home as a stay-at-home mom, which frankly would have killed me. I also think it was a jab at my own parents, who owned their own business and only talked about work around the dinner table. That character embodies a lot of my own guilt and angst.
Why are there so many streets, times and phone calls mentioned in the book?
That's really a real estate agent's life. We live in terms of this house or that listing, and this appointment or that showing time. That comment by Endie, early on, when he's describing a murder scene by mentioning the color of the wallpaper? That's how we talk, how we jog each other's memory. And everything we do, no matter how early or late in the day, is interrupted by phone calls. I think readers will get that authentic real estate agent vibe when reading the novel.
Do you think that the sex scenes will turn off traditional mystery readers?
I certainly hope not. This is not erotica. There is a depiction of a sadomasochistic relationship (with 'off-page' sex) as character development. There's also some kinky foreplay that I wouldn't recommend for kids under 18, but the play is imaginative and may give readers some ideas they might want to try themselves. Maybe go out and buy a Bingo set and some candles! In a way, it's Fifty Shades of Grey but taken to the next level.
How about real estate agents? Will they take offense at your depiction of the profession?
It's clearly a satire and I expect that they'll read it with the appropriate grain of salt. If anything, I think agents will appreciate the way home sellers are authentically depicted as being incredibly stubborn about pricing their homes 'correctly' and not trusting that we are looking out for their best interests.
What inspired you to write this story?
Two inspirations. First, I wanted to warn real estate agents to take better precautions when going about the everyday aspects of their workday and it sprang from there. Even though many of the brokers in the book die in somewhat amusing ways, the speech that Deborah Lee Decker gives to Detective Cummings about how dangerous our lives are and the risks we take daily, is my warning to my fellow agents. Long after I'd finished the first version of this book, there was an unfortunate string of real estate agent murders in the news. This book was not my way of capitalizing on that hype but it did tell me I was on the right track.
My second inspiration: I wanted to de-demonize and demystify the BDSM world for readers. These are not evil or sick people; they are normal people who have every right to explore sex in whatever consensual way feels right to them.
What's next for you?
I'm starting "Slashing Mona Lisa" which will be a second murder mystery. I don't want to elaborate until it's finished except to say it will be touching on some issues of great concern to the women of today. I hope it will be an important book.
CONTACT: Publicity Department, Punctuated Publishing, www.punctuatedpublishing.com. For a review copy or other requests, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. During August and September of 2016, review copies will be available for download under The Killion Group, Inc. on Netgalley.com.