When I first announced the release of my debut novel to friends, family and the public at large I got a very mixed response. Which I expected. Why? Because it was erotica.
Having sex, and writing and talking about it, has been going on since day dot (big surprise eh?) - unless conception is indeed immaculate on a worldwide scale. (And no I don't want to get into discussions on what immaculate conception does and doesn't actually mean!)
So what's the problem? Is it that we aren't supposed to talk about it ('it' being sex, shhh)? Or that we aren't supposed to do it, or write about it, for enjoyment? Is it about embarrassment - that we might actually enjoy reading erotica, that it might turn us on and we really don't want anyone to know?
Having sex for enjoyment, as opposed to procreation, is of course a stalling point for some people. But again, lust and pleasure are not new ideas, think Roman orgy, the sex toy industry and DH Lawrence just for starters. No, no stop thinking - we aren't supposed to do that!
'That book' has stirred a lot of interest in the world of erotica, and whether you love it or loathe it, you have to admit that for those involved in the world of erotic writing (and probably other associated industries) it is a win win situation. More people are buying erotica, reading it and talking about it. And maybe they're doing it?! (There are stats that suggests people who read/write erotica/romance have better sex lives, which I can believe.) But some of those same readers would be shocked if they found out a family member or friend was actually penning the stuff.
So why? I had an interesting conversation the other day, starting with a discreet statement about my rampant sex life (who knew?!) which got me thinking... about perceptions.
When I write contemporary romance no-one assumes I know any millionaires, have had a broken heart, fly off to Paris every weekend, or that I've had a secret pregnancy... they don't assume I've lived the way my characters do. In the same way that readers don't assume crime writers have murdered, or fantasy/paranormal writers have met angels or vampires.
But for some reason if you write about sex, the assumption is it's based on practical experience (unless you're writing paranormal erotica maybe?!)....that the BDSM writer has been whipped into shape until her bum burns, that the menage writer loves nothing more than 3 men with her morning coffee, that being tied to the bed naked is how every Sunday starts, that anal sex is a turning point of her every relationship.... now yeah I've done some naughty things, and I've fantasised about other things, but then there are some ideas that do nothing personally for me at all. But I'm not going to say what does it for me and what doesn't. That's me. And personal.
So to everyone that knows me, and those that don't, I like writing what I write. Which is why it works, and why I do it. And I hope some of you enjoy reading it. But my characters aren't me. And the situations aren't based on personal experience (well little bits might be). I'm a writer: I create, I fantasise.
And no, I'm not standing here in leather, knee high black boots with my flogger at hand as I write this. Just in case you wondered....
If you want to know a little bit more about me, and read a few naughty excerpts I'm visiting Sidney Bristol on Tuesday at http://sidneybristol.com/blog/ Please stop by!
My blog tour starts at the end of May (lots of insights and free excerpts!!) so pop back next week to find out where I'm heading.