R. J. Covington has had an extensive professional career as an entrepreneur founding and selling multiple start-ups, later serving roles as a C-suite executive and board member of various corporations.
Despite growing up in the city, Mr. Covington has taken flight to the comfort and beauty of a rural mountain town. When not writing while wired on his third pot of coffee, he can be found impatiently struggling to teach his Labrador, Sasha, how to catch a frisbee.
TBE: What inspired you to write Satyromaniac, and what was the writing process like?
R J Covington: The book emerged from a very real and dark period in my life. I tend to compartmentalize everything bad, but the isolation of the Covid lockdowns and prevented me from keeping all of those cubicles in my brain padlocked. Writing about those experiences became cathartic and enabled me to permanently release the contents of those boxes. I wrote the first draft in about 90 days. The editing and refining process took me 9 months.
TBE: What was the most challenging part of writing “Satyromaniac,” both from a personal and a literary standpoint?
R J Covington: The most challenging part of writing Satyromaniac was from a literary standpoint. While I had written several other books, writing a memoir, and using the first-person viewpoint were both new to me. I actually purchased several memoirs, observing style, flow, and story progression to determine how I might tell my story. When writing for pleasure, I would let the characters take me where they wanted me to go and then worry about fixing everything later. But because this book had to be authentically real, I had to write chapter outlines, character arcs and a consistent story line – all before I sat down and wrote one word of the novel itself.
TBE: The book delves deep into the sexual underbelly of America, exploring the experiences of paid escorts and women working in the industry. What kind of research did you do to accurately portray these experiences?
R J Covington: Fortunately, I didn’t have to interview anyone. The characters in the story are all people that I had met prior to writing the book. These characters are sometimes composites of multiple people to protect their identities, and certainly names and locations are fictitious – but the women and their stories are very real. I wanted this memoir to be a raw, unfiltered look at not only addiction, but the people who are in the business of sex.
TBE: What do you hope readers take away from your story and your insights into this industry ?
R J Covington: In this book, I aimed to delve into the intricate nuances of the human experience, exploring themes such as love, confidence, identity, and purpose. These elements are woven into the very fabric of our psyche, shaping our beliefs, actions, and desires.
At the heart of the narrative lies the question of what happens when our ego is stripped of these vital components. How far would one go to reclaim what has been lost? What is the true cost of such a journey, and where do our desires ultimately lead us?
Central to the story is the fragile nature of the human psyche, as we witness the devastating effects of loss, trauma, and addiction. Through the protagonist’s journey towards healing, the author shines a light on the ways in which identity can be shattered and reconstructed.
The book also explores the complexities of power dynamics in relationships, delving into the exploitation that can occur when power is imbalanced.
Especially for women, I sought to provide a glimpse into the male psyche and their contemplations during intimate moments.
As a final intention, I aimed to dispel the stereotypes surrounding individuals working in the sex industry, shedding light on their unique stories and experiences in order to humanize them.
Overall, this book is a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition, offering insight into our deepest desires and the intricate web of emotions that shape our lives. I wanted to leave the reader with a lot to think about.
TBE: The book also deals with themes of self-discovery, redemption, and finding oneself in the midst of adversity. Can you tell us more about your personal journey and how it influenced your writing?
R J Covington: I started at the end. Which began with the question I asked myself during the Covid lockdowns – Why am I so emotionally dead inside and how did I get here? That question made me go back to the beginning of my journey to find the answers. This book IS my journey and although it occurred some time ago, every single emotional pain that I had compartmentalized over the years was opened through the words I wrote.
TBE: The book has received critical acclaim for its raw and honest portrayal of the author’s experiences. How has the response to the book been, and what kind of impact do you hope it will have on readers?
R J Covington: Although the book is categorized as erotica (and those are the primary readers), I am hoping it goes more mainstream as the memoir is about so much more than sex. The graphic scenes are there to give the reader a sense of addiction pushing beyond boundaries and yet a repetitive pattern to instil in the reader a sense of numbness to all of it. The book deliberately ends abruptly without closure because that’s how the actual journey occurred.
At the beginning, I was made numb inside by tragedy. In the end I was just as numb inside from sexual addition. Some readers miss the point and don’t like the ending. The response from women in particular has been overwhelmingly positive. Most say I have given them insight into the male mind, and they are appreciative. Others ask me if I know how they can get into the industry (I wish I were joking). A few ask me things that I would rather not put in writing. Men, on the other hand, congratulate me on my body count, which was not at all why I wrote the book. Surprisingly, I have received a lot of private messages on social media from male sex addicts asking for my help in overcoming their issues.
TBE: The memoir format is a unique and intimate way of sharing one’s personal story with readers. What made you choose this format, and were there any challenges in writing in this style?
R J Covington: Even though I had never written in a memoir style, I felt it might be the best way to convey an authentic journey of sexual addiction. I read the book “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” by Tucker Max as I researched other memoirs to validate my initial instinct. That book not only convinced me that the memoir style was the correct decision, but it influenced my decision to use a see what style I might use for mine. That book influenced my writing style as I opted for a more simplistic vocabulary and straightforward prose to make the story easy to follow and understand.
TBE: The book touches upon subjects of addiction and compulsion. How did you navigate writing about these topics in a way that was both sensitive and truthful?
R J Covington: Addictions and compulsions never really go away. There is no cure. You can, however, learn to control them. Telling the truth about these issues was not a problem as it was delivered raw and unfiltered. It was painful to look back at who I once was, yet that enabled me to express my own vulnerability in words.
TBE: What advice do you have for aspiring writers who want to tell their own personal stories?
R J Covington: I would advise anyone who wants to write their own personal stories to go for it – provided they have an interesting story to tell. The first thing anyone will tell you is that you should write what you know. Congratulations. Since you are writing about yourself, you have cleared the first hurdle. Write part of your story every day. Even if it’s for ten minutes. Share what you have written with trusted friends and have them critique it. Enter writing contests and pay for feedback. Writing is a skill that is no different than shooting a basketball or kicking a soccer ball. It takes practice to improve, but it also takes a coach willing to provide constructive criticism to identify the areas of improvement.
TBE: Are there any upcoming projects that you are working on that you can tell us about?
R J Covington: I am working on several screenplays at the moment. I have do have novels in various stages of development completely unrelated to Satyromaniac. However, given the success of the memoir, I have had a multitude of people in the sex industry asking me to write their autobiographies as well as some interesting people who have asked me to ghost write their memoirs. I’m not sure what path I will take.