Monday, 10 October 2011

Please welcome Maxim Jakubowski

Maxim Jakubowski is here to share the gossip on his fantastic new novel Ekaterina and the Night.

I have just finished reading Ekaterina and the Night. It is a wonderfully rich tale full of sumptuous scenes and a realism that is enhanced by Maxim's delicious attention to detail. I highly recommend picking yourself up a copy.
Over to Maxim - 


A decade or so ago, I wrote a novella which I titled THE STATE OF MONTANA over the course of a 2 week break in the Maldives. If that sounds like the perfect waste of a holiday, it wasn't altogether the case. I had promised my then (trusting) publishers a new short novel and somehow the deadline got dangerously close, so I felt that writing the book away from home and all its daily distractions might help. The fact that the book's cover had already been designed and printed before I had even written a single word of the book was incentive enough.

We were on a small island, which you could walk around in under half an hour at the most, there was no TV in our hut or internet connection, just what the doctor ordered! I have always been in the habit of rising early and find working in total isolation from the rest of the household, and outside life, often does the trick. So for the duration of the holiday I would rise at 6 in the morning, work until 10, skip breakfast as I usually do, then join my wife on the beach for a few hours, lunch in the island's communal building, and then devote a further few hours to the book while everyone was having a siesta (it was much too hot to spend too much time outside right then), then beach and swim again in the emerald waters swarming with fish, followed by dinner, and another 2 hours at the keyboard before bed. Most of the other tourists staying on the island during that particular fortnight were German and I knew I had little in common with the majority of them and have never been much of a socialiser anyway.

I completed the book in the departure lounge at the airport, and did all the revisions during the 11 hour flight back to London. I have spent most of my life as a publishing editor and edit as I go along and seldom require second drafts. And met my deadline.

The book appeared to the customary resounding silence erotic novels used to in those days, and promptly sold to France, which was a consolation. It's the story of a married woman in the throes of wanderlust (but then, most of my characters are) who meets men for anonymous sex and then abandons herself to the murky world of internet chat rooms. The short novel does not actually take place in Montana; 'Montana' just happens to be Adrienne's handle when she ventures online. Even though it had not been my principal intention when I had initially thought of the story, in the white heat of my Maldives race against time, the story became a sort of curious variation on STORY ON O set on the internet, leading to a somewhat apocalyptic and soul-revealing section set in New York before turning round full cycle on itself in a seductive post-modern fashion. It's still a book I have much affection for, particularly its female character.

A few weeks prior to the publication of the American edition, the book received a favourable review in either KIRKUS or PUBLISHERS WEEKLY underlining the strength of the eponymous female heroine and, within days, I was getting calls from Los Angeles from production companies enthusiastically enquiring about the film rights, not that any of the callers had yet even read the book and realised it was, in truth, nigh unfilmable, unless it was made as a porno movie. As it was, I was already in negotiation with a French producer representing a well-known French female art film director, who had made a small offer for the rights. I knew the director's films and although she was undoubtedly an expert in the erotic, her treatments were always so cold and intellectual and at the very opposite of my own, that I was surprised by her interest. But, hey, being adapted to the big screen doesn't happen every day! I informed my American callers of the European situation, which only served to make them more eager to sign up the property. To cut a long story short, one of them out of the blue made an offer I just could not refuse and acquired the book's rights, amazingly offering 25 times more than the French had. I later learned this was on behalf of a famous A-list actress, who had just featured, with her then husband, in a lavish big budget art movie which dabbled in the erotic (and in which her sublime backside is liberally on show in the opening sequence...). Maybe she thought this was the time to do something even more daring and my book caught her eye? At any rate, I signed on the dotted line and promptly cashed the obscene check before anyone on the West Coast could change their mind.

Several years went by, during which the novel sold in a variety of other countries where it invariably appeared with a 'Soon to be a Major Movie' strapline. Then I get a phone call from L.A. advising me that the actress in question had decided, having now had her first biological child (her previous ones were adopted), that she would no more accept doing nudity in her movies. Therefore, THE STATE OF MONTANA was no longer to be made as a movie (without nudity, it would have in the best of cases been unlikely to last more than 5 minutes...) and would I be interested in buying the rights back? Needless to say, I decided to keep the money in the bank and leave the project in development hell. Goodbye MONTANA.

As a result of all this, the book has proven to be the most popular and renumerative of my writing career to date. And not a month goes by, inveterate movie fan that I am, that I don't see scenes of the film unfolding inside my head, with N.K. in glorious states of undress and nude close-up... But life goes on, and I kept on alternating writing thrillers and erotic novels, but always at the back of my mind was the thought that THE STATE OF MONTANA deserved a sequel of sorts, not so much using the characters again (as they were now in eternal bondage to a Hollywood contract anyway), another necessarily short book exploring a submissive woman's character and life trajectory, a subject that has fascinated me for years and which I will never tire of examining.

Having, with I WAS WAITING FOR YOU, finally exhausted, for now, the possible adventures of my popular hitwoman cum stripper Cornelia, I knew my next book should be somewhat different and devoid of thriller elements. And, one morning, Ekaterina made her appearance in my murky imagination. She is Italian, despite the name (her parents loved Russian operas...) and the book traces her sexual life over a number of years. It was written over an intensive 2 month period, again in a form of white heat and in my mind, this is the second half of the dyptich I began with MONTANA. Again, it is the portrait of a woman struggling with sex and relationships, and the way the two elements affect her life ; well, to be correct, mainly a liaison with an older man, so while MONTANA was my take on STORY OF O, EKATERINA could in a way be seen as my hommage to LOLITA. But I think there's more to the book than that: there's an important supernatural aspect to it (can't tell you too much about this here without spoiling the fun), there is the magic of Venice in winter, there is love and heartbreak, death and a lot of sex. But then that was a given, wasn't it? And even though an author is the worst possible judge of his own writing, I really think that Ekaterina will become one of my favourite characters. I fell in love with her while the book developed on my inner screen, going in all sorts of directions I hadn't planned, surprising me, shocking me, delighting me.

So, when you open the pages of EKATERINA AND THE NIGHT for the first time, say hello to her for me, will you please?

About the book -  

Lolita meets Story of O, another memorable tale of love, sex and feelings from ‘the King of the erotic thriller’

When Ekaterina meets Alexander a shockingly sexy but tender romance develops.

She is a young Italian trainee journalist, who dreams of wild sexual adventures. He is the older Englishman who she believes can fulfill her fantasies. When Ekaterina is sent to interview the ageing writer Alexander in London, she is blinded by his charm and experience. 

Their relationship explodes in a sensual orgy, which defies society’s acceptance.

When a mysterious angel of death who calls herself Emma enters their lives, Ekaterina and Alexander know their days together are numbered.

A shocking climax set in Venice in winter brings the three protagonists together.

A tale of sex and tenderness that ranks alongside Jakubowski classic The State of Montana.

About Maxim

MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI worked for many years in book publishing as an editor (including titles by William Golding, Peter Ackroyd, Oliver Stone, Michael Moorcock, Peter Ustinov, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Paul Ableman, Sophie Grigson, Marc Behm, Cornell Woolrich, etc...) and launched the Murder One Bookshop, which he owned and ran for over 20 years. He now writes, edits and translates full-time in London.



Courtesy of Xcite Books, three lucky winners can get their hands on a copy of Ekaterina and the Night in their choice of paperback or digital format. (International entries welcome)

Simply leave a comment on this post to win. Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in the tour, because the more comments you make, the more chance you have of winning!

Go here to see the blog tour schedule.

PLEASE leave your email address in the body of the comment. No email address = no entry. Winners will be drawn and contacted on the week ending 11th November 2011.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Lily x 


  1. Wow, interesting way for a story to come about! It sure sounds like one I'd like to read :)


  2. great post !! i would love to read it :)

  3. Maxim is the hardest working man in show business, and among the wisest. He even used to publish my erotic short stories...Good luck with this project. It sounds great. Wd love a paperback. The cover rocks.