An installment in the Disrobing Suspense series of interviews with naturist writers
Wallace M Greensage (Wally) has been publishing naturist fiction since 2016, although he began imagining scenarios for naturist storytelling when he discovered his penchant for nudity in his late teens. His New Albion trilogy is named for the fictional island where the novels take place, located somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic – not quite Europe and not quite North America. The books are Who Is This Naked Lady and What Have They Done With My Wife? (2016), The Naked Truth Shall Set You Free (2016), and Farewell to Summer (2020).
Wally states unequivocally that his own naturist “practices and experiences inform [his] books very strongly.” Having married young, in the 70s, he and his wife quickly began a practice of home naturism, finding little information about the greater naturist world other than H&E magazine. “It took a long time to find our way and this has also informed my stories. What are we supposed to do? What are the practices? Where can we go? What about parents and friends? All of these questions and more had to be researched, understood and put into practice. As a result, I have enjoyed a rich history of all aspects of naturism in many countries with a wide array of fellow devotees and have drawn on these experiences to develop my storylines and characters.”
The description that Wally finds most fitting for himself is “naturist writer of naturist fiction,” recognizing that for any given work, “if the underlying theme is naturist, then the term ‘naturist fiction’ is right; if naturism is incidental, then it is some other genre.” Other than the initial uncertainty of one of the main characters, Charlotte, in the first book of the series, there are not many examples in Wally’s writing of hesitancy to disrobe. “I prefer my characters to be dressed or naked and rarely mention in-between stages,” says Wally, adding: “My preference is to build suspense in other ways, usually situational.”
I asked Wally about his world-building of New Albion, and his answer led to a greater consideration of contemporary naturism in the UK and the world at large. He relates that his decision to create a fictional island, and the historically resonant name he eventually chose for it, involved a long process of research as well as accommodation to his own interests, affinities, and heritage as a Brit with Scottish ancestry. Only in passing, he tells me, did he come across the illustration of the mythical figure Albion by William Blake, which I had asked him about specifically since it seemed so apropos.
The idea is that New Albion, according to Wally’s site, “is more ‘European’ and laissez-faire in its approach to naturism than enjoyed in Britain and USA today where naturist cultures lag behind their Western European counterparts. An increasing acceptance of naturism as a lifestyle amongst Albians is developing. Non-sexual public nudity is legal in New Albion – in fact, it was never illegal and commonly practised until a century ago. […] Naturism, however, is not mainstream in New Albion and remains a minority pursuit. Many of New Albion’s population still exhibit ignorance and misunderstanding of the lifestyle, as they do in Western Europe.”
And yet, in contrast to these fictionalized circumstances, Wally finds that one of the real-world positive outcomes of the current pandemic is that people “working from home have taken to wearing less, often nothing at all, and this has made the press from time to time – a BN [British Naturism]-inspired Zoom meeting of naturists went nationwide on TV and in the press. The press […] seems to be more reasonable in articles where nudity and naturism feature (this still sells, of course), and British Naturism has upped its game and openly and publicly arranged online events. BN’s membership surged.” In spite of some white-knuckle control issues on the part of the current INF-FNI old guard leadership, Wally states, “I don’t believe that naturism’s popularity is waning, though, and new devotees will appear constantly. Naturism will change and be less closed-shop. I hope that my books have reflected this; my future books will do all possible to encourage an open and free naturism-tolerant society.” The goal would be to achieve this without being overly didactic, a tone which Wally says he found somewhat unavoidable at first but has progressively left behind after the first novel: “It was not my intention but as Charlotte learned about the lifestyle, all of this came out, naturally I hope. I try hard not to be overly propagandist in my books but, as an enthusiastic proponent, that is hard to do sometimes.”
For a representative excerpt of his work, Wally chose the following dialogue among Todd and Charlotte, the protagonists of the series, and Charlotte’s parents Fraser and Patience, who are also their neighbors. The passage is taken from the second New Albion book, The Naked Truth Shall Set You Free:
‘Hi Fraser,’ Todd said pleasantly when Fraser answered his mobile. ‘It’s Todd. Sorry I wasn’t in this morning when you visited.’
‘Hello Todd. No problem. I didn’t actually do much this morning without you there. But of course it was good to see…to see Charlotte.’ A vision had popped into his mind that he preferred to block out.
‘That’s what I wanted to speak about as well as apologising for not being here. I know you talked to Charley about the location of the pool and I wanted to get your views.’
‘I don’t really have any views, Todd. Actually, I was wondering why this is an issue at all. Why does it matter where it is?’
‘It doesn’t matter too much. It’s just that if we put it nearer to the deck it’ll be easier to get to and, of course, it’ll offer more privacy.’
‘Privacy? That again? Charlotte mentioned that this morning too.’ Todd glanced at Charlotte who was biting her bottom lip, eyes closed.
‘Well, you know how it is, Fraser. Between us men, I quite like to skinny dip and don’t want to scare horses and small children.’ He gave a short laugh.
‘Skinny dip? You mean without clothes?’
‘Well, yes. That’s how people skinny dip.’
Fraser paused. ’So this is something you both do, is it?’ Right on cue!
‘We’ve been known to…’
Fraser interrupted. ‘Todd, is it possible that I saw my daughter this morning through your front window? Was she…was she naked?’ he blurted out. Charlotte’s face drained of colour. Her hand went to her head in consternation.
‘Naked? Well…’ Todd wasn’t able to lie and his words died on his lips. This wasn’t on cue! He wasn’t immediately sure how to handle this.
‘I’ll take that as a “yes”, then, Todd.’
Todd and Charlotte clearly heard a voice in the background. ‘What’s going on, Fraser?’ Patience asked loudly.
Fraser took the phone from his ear and spoke to his wife. ‘I was right, she was naked when I looked through their window…’ That didn’t sound quite right, he thought. ‘For my toolbox!’ he added. They could still hear him clearly.
‘Todd, put Charlotte on right this second,’ Patience yelled down the phone that she’d snatched from her husband.
‘I’m here, Mum,’ Charlotte whispered fearfully.
‘Charlotte, tell me this isn’t true. Tell me that Dad’s got it wrong and he didn’t see you…nude!’ Her voice broke on the last word.
Charlotte couldn’t bring herself to admit it. Todd stepped in for her. ‘Hello Patience,’ he said quietly. ‘I’m sure you’ll both understand that in the privacy of our own home, and because we enjoy it, sometimes we don’t wear clothes. I know that you…’
‘You know nothing about me, young man. I guess that this is all your influence, isn’t it? You’ve forced her to become a nudist, haven’t you? Charlotte would never ever do this unless you…’
Charlotte found her voice. ‘Mum, Mum, calm down,’ she told her mother, gaining strength by the second. She no longer had anything to hide. ‘It’s not Todd’s influence, it’s simply that we choose to live our lives as we do and sometimes that means we’re naked together.’
‘But Charlotte, how could you?’
‘And we both like it very much, Mum.’ There! It was out!
Todd and Charlotte also appear in “Charlotte’s Near Miss,” a short story on Wally’s site, and in “The Chase,” Wally’s intriguing and suspenseful entry in the recent short story anthology Murder in the Nudist Colony. Check out Wally’s site at buffprof.com for more information and updates!