The first book in my romantic/erotic/thriller series entitled The One is nearly ready for publication. Part of me wants to woohoo with joy. For the heck of it, I looked up the word ‘woohoo’, and discovered that it is also a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Who knew? Considering that my book has plenty of steamy, romantic intercourse in it, oh, and sex too, I guess woohooing is the perfect reaction to completing the first in this series.
What I discovered by exploring and writing about the behind closed doors side of people’s lives is that it is a hell of a lot of fun to write, and even more fun to read. How many times have you read a book, and just when the hero and heroine are about to finally get some serious physical interaction in you find that all you get is an innuendo of what is to come, and then…the chapter ends? You’re left on edge, wondering, what happened when the lights went out, and why you were left feeling gypped and unsatisfied. For instance when Scarlett woke up with that titillating grin and stretched languidly with pleasure as she recalled the night before when Rhett swept her up in his arms and carried her upstairs to bed. Wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the wall during that earth shattering consummation of passion? I’m pretty sure Mitchell’s heroine wasn’t having a “fiddle dee dee!” moment with the macho Rhett Butler.
Real life doesn’t stop, why should a novel? If sex is written well it can only enhance the story and reveal nuances of the characters and their lives that otherwise would be missing. The film and television industries have figured it out, and as for the visual arts, painters have been obsessed for centuries with the object of desire and fulfillment. So, what’s different about the written word? If sex is an integral part of the narrative then by all means let the reader experience it.
The negation of that argument is, yes, the world has changed and the reading public is far more adventurous than in the past, but aren’t you degrading the art of literature, and more importantly can one dare to even call it literature? The answer is, of course one can? If there is an exciting plot, a worthy theme, compelling characters, stylized writing, and a clear voice, there should be no deterrent to enjoyment. After all, a good read is a good read.
How you may ask did I come to write in this genre? First, after hearing all of the fuss about Fifty Shades of Grey I was intrigued just like everyone else. I read the first two in the trilogy, and even though I pooh-poohed the quality of the writing, I found I couldn’t put it down. Fifty Shades led to my reading a few others in the genre. Some were better than others just like in any genre. I did find that the novels I read that were romantic and erotic also tended to be a quick read, absorbing, and oft time’s funny. When an idea came to me for a new novel that had a subplot of crime and murder, I thought why not. Why not enhance the erotic, obsessive angle of the story. After all, so much of the story I had in mind was about passion gone wrong. Why wouldn’t that passion be realized within the pages of the book? Without the development of the sexual relationship between the main characters the driving force of passion would be missing and the story would never ring true. It seemed a worthy challenge, and one that deserved to be attempted. What I didn’t know is how difficult it is to make sex scenes feel fresh and new. That, however, will need to be addressed in a future blog, perhaps entitled ‘Reinventing Sex’.
The fact is, even with my own convincing argument fresh on the paper before me, I still find it necessary to use a penname. Why you may ask? Are you ashamed? No not ashamed, but cautious. I have an award winning novel that I wouldn’t want to tarnish in any way. He who reads one genre doesn’t necessarily read another genre. Why muddy the waters. Then there is the question whether family and friends might find themselves in an uncomfortable situation because of my public persona. Children, grandchildren, wow this really could get ugly. It all added up to my decision to free myself from the fetters of convention and take on a second persona, and so Belle Ami was born. After all who wouldn’t want to be Belle Ami?