The latest featured writer in this new run of Disrobing Suspense is P. Z. Walker, author of the three-title Naked Crow series. Paul (P. Z. Walker) tells me that he wrote the books “for non-nudists as well as nudists. Nudists like to read books in which nudism is treated as the normal thing it is, and I found there’s a scary lack of decent naturism-centred books. That’s why I started writing some myself.” He goes on to affirm that what he tries to convey to non-nudists is that “nudism isn’t something that has to do with sex and porn and all that. There are all kinds of people in nudism, normal people like you and me, from all ways of life, and they share appreciating the freedom of being clothes-free.”
|The Naked Crow series by P. Z. Walker|
In fact, the books’ main character, Sheila, begins the series as a non-nudist. She works as a dental hygienist, and is also a Wiccan. About this spiritual path, Paul states “I am a Pagan, and many of my female Pagan friends are Wiccan, which was my reason to make Sheila a Wiccan too. My own Pagan path is based on the Druid philosophies but I don’t follow those very strictly. They’re a guideline for me.” When the series starts, Sheila goes into the woods “to prove to herself that doing a Wiccan ritual dressed is just as good as doing it naked. She isn’t planning on becoming a nudist or naturist.” Having read an article on nude Wiccan ritual, Sheila is curious:
Sheila got up and walked around, her dress catching in more twigs and bits of forest. She listened carefully to make sure that she was indeed as alone here as she thought. There were no sounds of cars or people, no barking dogs either. She bit her lip. Would she do this? Would she be brave enough to take all her clothes off here in the small forest, and read a few [Tarot] cards?
After walking back to her blanket she slowly unbuttoned her blouse. She wore her bra under it, it wouldn’t be a problem if people say that. It was a nice bra, after all. Not very confident yet she took off the blouse. It took her longer to gain the courage to unzip her skirt. A little bit of wind came through the trees and caressed her back and shoulders. It felt nice, much better than before. “Okay, here goes.” A few movements later she stood on her blanket in her underwear, arms crossed over her chest, spying around and listening intently. The only thing around was the occasional breeze of warm wind which played around her.
Only because her best friend disappears at a nudist park does Sheila have to adapt to social nudity in order to investigate the disappearance, and Sheila “slowly discovers that being naked is actually pleasant, but she needs to undress a few times before she feels secure in that.”
Regarding any suspense or tonal shifts in the narrative built around the act of undressing, Paul says that he tries “to keep the moment that someone goes naked the first time very uneventful. It shouldn’t be something that people are ‘going for’ as if it’s some porn part when they read it. It has to be a natural moment, although I do try to convey the unease or worry about their body when they first undress.” For example, Sheila arrives at the nudist resort but is not ready to disrobe, and has a conversation with a friend there who’s been a life-long nudist:
“Come on, we’re in a nudist camp so I’m going to be naked,” Wendy grinned as she tossed her clothes in the back of the car and stretched out like a cat in the sun. “Aren’t you going to?”
“Yeah, you. Unless you see someone else here,” Wendy shrugged as she looked around.
“I couldn’t,” Sheila resolutely said, “who wants to see me nude?” She wasn’t sure what to do as Wendy walked around the car, all nude, and stood in front of her.
“It’s not about others,” Wendy said, “it’s about being free.”