When it comes to writing about sex I’ve decided that the definition of erotic is entirely subjective to the reader. What to you and I might be a bit of hanky-panky fun, lightly illuminated and passed over quickly, can to another reader be shocking and extremely rude.
A reporter wanted to interview me about my futuristic romance novellas, so I sent her the cover and a blurb of my first book. When I didn’t hear from her, I rang.”Oh, it’d be far too rude for me,” she said, “It says it’s erotic.” Ergo: no interview, without her even reading it.
I recently discussed with my editor the classification of a new release which has two paragraphs of sex in the whole 42,500 words. Sensual was the classification we finally agreed upon. However, my editor told me that when the writer stops at the bedroom door it is a “sweet” romance. When the bedroom door is open the classification is ‘erotic’: no in-between, no door ajar, no keyhole peeps just a door wide-open erotic classification. Of course there’s the flame rating, but I’m sure the ‘erotic’ classification must put off a lot of readers, who don’t even notice the flame rating. Perhaps the image of door and how far it is open, could become an alternative graphic for the heat rating of a novel.
On the funny side the daughter of a friend recently purchased one of my futuristic romances. She told her mother she loved it and thought it was well written – but she now wonders, she told her mother, how she is going to sit and have a cup of tea with me ever again, having read the sex scenes. I didn’t like to ask if her reading experience has improved my image or tarnished it?
On another occasion I reached the last chapter of a novel without the two main characters having the opportunity to get together for some hanky-panky. I had a choice: leave out the sex and have a sweet romance, or put in a steamy climax and reward the reader for sticking with me the whole way. On asking for advice my editor said. “The choice is yours, but sex sells.” So once again I closed my eyes, stretched out my hands and with flying fingers gave my imagination free reign. Luckily I’m a touch typist and can do this when required to.
Now my grandchildren are reading my romances! Bang goes my reputation, out the window. Fat chance now of being remembered as a sweet old lady. If nothing else I hope it helps them establish a warm, physical, relationship in their mature years. If they are ever stuck they can drag out one of my stories, find the well worn pages, turn to their partner and say “Grandma says………”
In fact I sometimes wonder from the prudery (new word I’ve just found) abroad how the human race continues to increase. Perhaps only the broad minded are breeding.