Note: Originally published Monday, February 27, 2012
After I let it be known, with certain members of my family and friends, that I had begun to write in a serious nature, one of the very first questions I was asked was why I chose the erotic romance genre, as I was well known for loving the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, not Fabio. I couldn’t really give an answer at the time as I truly didn’t know myself. It wasn’t something I really did consciously, more the horse was led to water and decided to drink.
Once upon a time, I owned my own hand-crafted jewelry business, alongside my wonderful sister, but fate took an unforeseen turn and we ended up closing down after many years of slogging it out and making a name for ourselves. It was a hard time to go through – I not only lost my income, my passion for achieving something out of nothing, but I also lost a little faith in the process, realizing I couldn’t always trust and count on outsiders so easily. Suffice to say, it was a major life lesson for me, and one I will never forget. But, considering what I have achieved since, I can’t regret the path which led me to being published by Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.
One day I was more bored than usual, with entirely too much time on my hands, and had read everything on my bookshelves at least once. I’d heard mention of many ebooks which could be read for free online, so I enthusiastically started my search, coming across something I’d never heard of before…fan fiction. I stumbled across a web site purely by accident, looking for something entirely different, but I took the time to stop and have a read, and that moment changed my whole perception of erotic fiction. The writers were novices from all walks of life who wrote stories just for the fun of it, and to my surprise, some of them were really good! It got me thinking. Maybe I could write something of my own? And the challenge was set.
I didn’t tell anyone at first, bar my cousin, who I used as a sounding board once I was finished with the first few chapters of what had quickly culminated inside my head. Once I’d gained a little confidence, around the half-way mark, I showed my sister, someone who I look up to intellectually and knew would be a valuable critique partner. I think if she would have told me what I had written was complete and utter crap, I would have believed her and given up then and there. But she didn’t, she told me she could see potential, even though I could see in her eyes it wasn’t yet perfect, no matter how hard she tried to hide it. That small sparkle was enough to make me want to work harder, to make me want my story to be the best I could possibly make it.
I walked away from it for a while (over a year), reading everything within the genre I could get my hands on, knowing I wasn’t ready to give up. I researched other authors, publishers, editors, literary agents and self-help writing books, taking in as much information as possible. Then, I went back to my story, rewriting from what I had learned, and I was actually happy with the end result. I lent my manuscript out to a variety of people to gain some reader opinions and found it to be an invaluable process. I wasn’t always told what I wanted to hear, but that was a good thing. As much as I enjoyed hearing about what was liked, what wasn’t was just as important.
So, why did I choose “erotic fiction”? Well, it just happened that way. I wish I had a snazzier answer, but it’s the truth. I was influenced by what I was reading at the time, and if anyone dear to me care to look a little closer at my bookshelves, they’d see there have always been more than a few scatterings of romance novels throughout my collection, one of them even being a Fabio novel (shock horror!).
Yes, there is a level of embarrassment when sitting at a table full of family, uncles, aunts, cousins–people who have known you since you were in nappies–who ask what you are writing about, but I’m a big girl now, wearing my big girl panties, and I can hold my head up high and be proud of what I’ve accomplished, even if some just don’t get it (and that’s okay too). What erotic romance (romantica) novelists write is not just about sex, it’s not something you’d find in the Penthouse forum, it’s a story behind the sexual encounter, often filled with high emotions, thrilling rides and sometimes even love. These stories are mainly written for women, by women, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to enjoy a little mental stimulation. Are men embarrassed when their porn stash is discovered? Hell no!! I’d even wager that a few could learn a thing or two if they’d let their manly guard down and read some women’s fiction. And I’d bet, “double or nothing”, their girlfriends or wives would be very, very appreciative!