When Nikki Stern left suburban Melbourne for Europe in the early 1980s, little did she know that her life was about to change dramatically.
Adopted into a well-connected family and educated at an exclusive school, she fell instantly and hopelessly in love with a charming and charismatic cartoonist in Amsterdam. Paul and Nikki embarked on a passionate love affair, enjoying the hedonistic days of the 80s before eloping and returning to Australia.
But soon Nikki found herself in a world she never imagined. Descending into the depths of the sex industry - as a dominatrix, stripper, prostitute and porn star - there was almost nothing she didn't do. Despite a stormy marriage, she and Paul starred in and marketed their highly successful Horny Housewife X-rated videos as she became the queen of Australian erotica.
Leading a double life as a mother of three small children, Nikki struggled not merely with censorship but with child welfare authorities and the judgement of mainstream society.
In this extraordinary memoir, Nikki vividly recounts her intriguing past with emotional honesty and great insight, making it an unflinching.
Nikki Stern lives with her children and works as a librarian. In her spare time she indulges in her three great interests: books, music and art.
Not Your Ordinary Housewife
Allen and Unwin
Author: Nikki Stern
Question: What inspired you to write your story, Not Your Ordinary Housewife?
Nikki Stern: It was a conversation with a writer friend who knew about my sordid past! I had just completed chemotherapy, and wasn't sure what the future would hold. My friend convinced me that I had an amazing story to tell and that people would want to read about it; she even said that the fact that I'd never written anything before didn't matter, because it would be the events in my life that made the book a great read, not its literary merit.
Question: Was it difficult reliving certain times you write about in Not Your Ordinary Housewife?
Nikki Stern: Yes, definitely. The hardest parts were the events surrounding my daughter's removal by authorities. I left this chapter blank for a long time and returned to it much later. It was also difficult to write about my mother's death and my husband's callous behaviour at that time. Other painful parts involved the way he abused and manipulated me; as I recalled those conversations in my head and wrote them down, I could hardly believe the way his psychopathic mind worked - and how I let him dominate me so completely.
Question: How important was it to be completely honest when writing Not Your Ordinary Housewife?
Nikki Stern: Really important. I knew from the outset that there'd be confronting issues to deal with, especially aspects of my own behaviour, where it would be easy to gloss over my part. But I knew that to maintain the integrity of the book, I would have to do a 'warts and all' account'... or there wasn't really any point - I may as well be writing fiction then!
Question: What inspired your career as a librarian?
Nikki Stern: I'd always loved books and libraries, but really, it was a practical decision. Although I had several degrees, I'd been out of those areas for decades and would have found it impossible to return. I also needed a career where my past wasn't examined too closely - porn star, dominatrix and stripper was hardly something I could put on my résumé!
Question: What do you hope readers take away from Not Your Ordinary Housewife?
Nikki Stern: The most important thing is just to enjoy the book! If readers join me on my rollercoaster life and laugh in the funny parts and cry at the sad ones, I'll feel I've done my job as a writer!
I would also hope it will give women a sense of empowerment about their ability to control their own destiny - as I obviously failed to do, with disastrous consequences! It's really a cautionary tale about how a few bad decisions can derail one's life. I took way too long to extricate myself from an abusive relationship, but if readers can learn to stand up and be strong, then I will feel my book has served a purpose.