Thursday, June 22, 2023

Q&A with Amy Grace Loyd

From my Q&A with Amy Grace Loyd, author of The Pain of Pleasure:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

As preface I should say that I almost called the novel Heavenly High as a reference to the Nietzsche epigraph at the start of the novel, that pain and pleasure are inextricably linked and if one wants a heavenly high, they’d better be prepared for its opposite. I thought about The Habits of Pain, Habits of Pleasure, given our habits at either extreme, and in between, are actually written into our brain, on a synaptic level.

But finally, The Pain of Pleasure just felt most direct. It gets to the thematic stuff pretty effectively—that our pleasures can become our pains—and it’s an intentional reversal on the more familiar S&M phrasing, the pleasure of pain.

The story is largely based in a headache clinic and digs into the science of pain. For migraine sufferers in particular, on a super literal level, a lot of the fun and/or delicious stuff on offer in this life—like booze, too much junk food, too much sugar or salt, getting too little sleep, getting too much, and storms coming and landing hard—can lead to a migraine attack.

Then I also wanted to get to what we do to avoid pain—sex, drugs, whether prescription or illicit, distractions, even obsessions of one kind or another. There’s a missing woman at the heart of things in this novel, a former patient of the doctor who runs the clinic. She’s left behind a journal for the doctor, an account of her affair with a married man. At first, her lover is the answer to a lot of what ails her — she feels “a different woman in a different body.” There are sensual discoveries in store for her, in great contrast to the sensual wallop she gets when she’s stricken, and she believes she’s fallen in love, but that...[read on]
Visit Amy Grace Loyd's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Pain of Pleasure.

Q&A with Amy Grace Loyd.

--Marshal Zeringue