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Nudity for Beginners

Selkie Moon is named after the seal people of Celtic folklore, the ones who peel off their skins and dance naked in human form under the moon. Selkie’s a modern woman with a mythical name that comes with an ancestral heritage – every time a selkie peels off its skin it’s symbolic of being reborn. Perhaps for this reason nudity is a theme throughout the series.


In THE FIRST LIE, Selkie’s business advisor suggests she tries running seminars in front of thousands of people. She’s not keen.
“You’re scared as hell, that’s all,” he says. “Good.”


“Good? That’s easy for you to say. You’re at the back of the room counting the money. I’m the one up on stage with no clothes on in front of three thousand people.”


He laughs. “So it excites you.”


Does it?


“Scared and excited.” He smiles.



Nude housework

Later Selkie decides to purge her anger towards her ex-husband by cleaning the flat she shares with Wanda.


I’m not much of a housekeeper but cleaning has always soothed my wounded heart. During my marriage the mop and broom were the only things that kept me sane. Wanda isn’t much of a cleaner either – she’s against all ‘chemicals’ – but there’s a feather duster hanging behind the front door. I look across the room and wonder where to start.


Not in these clothes. I strip off my jeans and top, but don’t stop there. Suddenly my knickers and bra are on the floor too. I’m not much of a housekeeper but I usually keep my clothes on. Not tonight!

Losing the little black dress

Selkie can’t seem to get away from the nudity of her namesakes, the selkies. Here’s the first line of THE SECOND PATH:


I wake on the beach and discover I’m naked.


Selkie’s nudity – and the mystery of her missing little black dress – drive her journey through the book. The garment is very special to her and I had to get right to the end of the book to find out why she’d lost it.


Author exposed

I’d written many drafts of the ending until I thought it was finished. All the themes had come together except this one crucial thread was missing – the reason for the missing dress from Chapter 1! With the realisation of my omission, I was suddenly … exposed.


Exposure = Pressure

Typical of the way I create my books, I actually didn’t know why Selkie had lost her dress. Time to dig deep. I spent a restless night hoping the answer would ‘pop’ and it did. My sleeping mind latched onto a concept in an earlier scene – something symbolic that I’d written without the dress in mind at all – but suddenly that concept provided the answer to the missing dress and the reason for Selkie’s nudity. It’s added a whole extra layer to the story, but I needed the pressure of forgetting the dress to pop this elegant solution.


Go back     to the Objects with Attitude Trail


A version of this post first appeared on Shelley Wilson’s blog.

Image credit: Selkie by Carolyn Emerick 2013 CC