Wednesday, May 12, 2010

She Wrote WHAT?!

I’ve known since I was eight or nine that I was a writer. When I wrote my first novel in my mid teens, I was positive that was my path was to follow in the footsteps of the great Stephen King. Back then, had someone told me that my first published works would be erotica and erotic romance, I would have scoffed at the thought: Bashful, timid me? Writing sexually explicit scenes? For others to read?

I have a few friends and family who have purchased my books with full intent on reading them, only to find themselves unable to get past the first bedroom scene. “It kind of feels the same as going through your dad’s sock drawer for condoms,” my father-in-law told my husband, after attempting to read one of my erotic works. “You know your parents are doing it, but you don’t really want to know....”

When I began to write erotica and erotic romance, the first thought that flashed through my head was, “other people are going to read this ... and what will they think?” The thought of strangers reading my work was strangely exhilarating, but I do have to admit that I blush when I consider specific people reading certain works. I find myself in a strange position: I want to share my stories with those who are close to me, but some of the content is simply stuff people don’t normally share with their friends, parents, and in-laws.

With that said, it has also been liberating to write what I have. With Lust in Space, for example, I decided to push my boundaries as far as I could. I wanted to take every aspect to the subgenre I was writing and see how far I might take it. I felt that an erotic space opera merited a unique angle, and so I challenged myself as a writer, finding ways to create threesomes, foursomes, orgies, a bisexual getting intimate with her time-paradox double ... and even a woman falling for an insect-sized vibrating man. I did it to push the limits of my imagination, let go of my inhibitions as a writer, and most of all to see if I could pull all of it off.

I think about books I’ve read or movies I’ve seen that contain strange or unconventional material, and I remind myself: Someone wrote that, not as something representative of his or her as a person, but as an extension of that person’s creative self. As an author now, myself, I know the process that goes into writing something different, risky, or risqué. It’s not easy, but somebody’s got to do it. After all, what would literature, cinema, and the like be without those who have taken such risks with their art?

There are risks to be taken with all genres, but it seems to me that the biggest risks are those taken in erotic venues. I’ve questioned more than one direction my muses have taken me, but more often than not, when all is said and done, every dark turn, exploratory challenge, and disturbing twist proves its literary merit. I feel grateful that I’ve taken the chances I have, as each has allowed me to grow in my art—and in some very surprising ways.

Who would have thought I would have learned anything while writing a “trashy romance”?! Go figure....

Through the years, I’ve found there are few genres I just can’t write. I don’t write Westerns. I have yet to construct a good murder mystery. I don’t think I could pull off an epic poem. I do enjoy writing just about everything else, however, so many genres that I have considered writing under more than one alias. After all, is it a career shot in the foot for a literary fiction novelist to publish erotica, or an erotic romance writer to publish horror? Maybe a couple of authors have been able to pull it off, but not many. The thought of compartmentalizing my collective works was strangely disturbing; I felt like doing so somehow cheapened their value. It also felt like lying. Was I to create a persona for each genre? No, that just wasn’t me; it just didn’t feel right. I realized that I had no choice but to market all of my writing under my real name. I am a horror writer, a speculative sci-fi writer, a screenplay writer, a narrative nonfiction writer, and an erotica/erotic romance writer. I’m all of those; I have many muses, and I’m proud of every last word I’ve written ... even if I did happen to make my father-in-law blush.

Readers and writers, what are your experiences in writing or reading erotica, horror, sci-fi, and others that happen to contain the unorthodox, the uncomfortable, and/or the just plain hot?

5 comments:

  1. I don't write erotica, but I do write "steamy" romance, and I've had the same thoughts that you and other peers have expressed. What will my [insert problem person(s) here--mother, mother-in-law, father, father-in-law, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, friends, coworkers...(especially the coworkers!)] think when they read this? And it isn't just the sex scenes. Sometimes other situations/scenarios/backstory can make me sweat a bit, too. Working with critique partners helped me get over my initial fear of exposing my work to other eyes, but I'm sure getting published--and having it out there for the whole world to see is going to take things to a new level. *raises shields*

    Oh, and just gotta say, your insect-sized vibrating man is hella intriguing.

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  2. LOL, Jim, the one-inch-tall man, was probably one of the biggest writing challenges I've chosen to take on. He was a feat to pull off (without being just too ... weird), but he turned out to be a really fun and well rounded character.

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  3. I agree with Laurie. It sounds intriguing. I've often considered writing an erotic romance, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Thanks for sharing your experience. It's given me something to think about.

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  4. Thankns for the post. I know what you mean about having people you know read your work. I think it is *way* more stressful to have someone I know read my work than a stranger. I'm not really an erotica fan, but your book looks interesting.

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  5. If you're interested in a non-erotic version, its sister novel LOVE IN SPACE is the same story told as a spicy romance. It's available through the Home Shopping Network; links are at my website. ;-)

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