SANDESTIN — A local author is making a name for herself in erotic literature with her top-selling book, “Blindfolded Innocence.”
Alessandra Torre, the author’s pen name for purposes of her adult books, said six months ago she put up her self-published book on Amazon’s online Kindle bookstore. Four months later, she was fielding calls from major publishers ready to make offers.
Torre signed a six-figure, two-book deal with Harlequin Publishing in late October.
“I really had no expectations for the book,” Torre said at her home in Sandestin. “I’ve loved to read my whole life and my husband has always said, ‘Why don’t you write.’ I think it took six weeks and I just stuck it up on Kindle.”
She said the idea for the novel came after she read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the hit erotic novel that focuses largely on bondage.
“After that came out, I knew it was a hot market,” Torre said. “There was an opening in the market. I knew if I wanted to have any type of success, that’s where I needed to go.”
The 28-year-old said through research she found that there was a need for something erotic without whips and chains.
Torre’s book tells the story of Brad De Luca, a divorce attorney known as a “sexual deviant,” and the “innocent college student” Julia Campbell, who starts working with him, according to the book’s synopsis.
In its first six months on the e-reader, “Blindfolded Innocence” sold more than 50,000 copies and was ranked No. 1 in the erotica genre on Kindle.
“Blindfolded Innocence” is now available on Barnes & Nobles’ Nook e-reader. It is set to appear in print in July 2013 as the first in a trilogy of books about the two characters.
“The success has been really surprising and way too easy,” Torre said. “Putting it on the Kindle has enabled me to do something people couldn’t have done even five years ago. This is a huge deal, especially for something that wasn’t a real goal.”
Editors at Harlequin are working on “Blindfolded Innocence” and will follow with Torre’s second book, which already is written and going by its working title “Masked Innocence.”
“I had no intentions of doing a trilogy,” Torre said. “I thought one day I’ll write another book with the characters, but the reader response changed that. I get emails every day asking when the second book will be out.”
She said she hopes to get it to her readers within the next few months.
Her third book, which has yet to be titled, is in the works along with a thriller she is calling “On me, In me, Dead beneath me.” She hopes to have it out by Christmas.
“The thriller has sexual undertones, a lot like ‘Blindfolded Innocence,’ but it’s not erotica,” Torre said. “I like writing about sex and I think it will be a theme in all my books.”
For now, Torre’s kitchen table is scattered with note cards with characters and plots written out as she pieces together her next book. The former banker said she hopes to make writing a full-time job.
“This is an amazing thing that’s happened, especially when all I wanted was just to have someone out there read my book,” she said.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Angel McCurdy at 850-315-4432 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AngelMnwfdn.