Yes, there are those who think I should be in some kind of 12-Step group for this. And others who are enthusiastic, and still others who couldn’t give a flying... uh, fig.
As a little girl, I wanted to be Nancy Drew; as a bigger girl, I wanted to write Nancy Drew. As I wrote in Discovering Our Genre and Our Voice, I tried to write mystery, but it turned into a sex-charged thriller. (While my mentor, who tried to write genre romance, kept killing off her lead characters and decided to join MWA.)
I wrote a lot of short stories in various genres, then my first novel. As many first novels are, it was highly autobiographical.
It served the purpose of helping me exercise my writing muscles and exorcize my ghastly feelings. Though it was thoroughly awful, it hooked me firmly on writing, and so, I decided to keep going.
Next novel was more of a chick lit thing, again with sexual attraction themes. Now what? Should I make the sex scenes as explicit and erotic as I possibly could, or should I go in the direction of euphemisms and lightly touching (pun intended) on the subject?
I decided that if publishers wanted a change in the heat level, it would be easier for me to tone down already written sexy scenes, than to take a barely steamy scene, and try to make it hotter.
That novel scored me an agent (if not yet a sale.) I’m now writing my third agented novel, Close Knit, about the sexual adventures of the men and women of an LA-based knitting group. It’s still not easy for me to write a sex scene - I tend to squirm in my chair when I do (take that however you will.) My sex (writing) is somewhat conservative: a little bondage, perhaps a few menages a trois, voyeurism, but mostly straightforward one male-one female interactions.
I continue to read other erotic material in the current market. Some is similar, some is much more subdued, and some is "Release the Flying Monkeys" material that makes me almost wet my pants, and not in a good way.
To each their own trapeze, I guess.
As far as my family and what they think about my writing... I admit, I held back a bit while my last surviving grandma was alive. My remaining family are all cheering me on, though I tend to feel a little - call it queasiness - over them reading the smexy parts and wondering if it’s about me. Which is kind of silly - does anyone believe that Agatha Christie went about stabbing and shooting people on trains?
I decided to write under my own name, as it seems that many erotic authors who write under a pseudonym, like Judy Mays, find themselves being outed by the "pillars of the community" anyway.
Just don’t try to make me believe there isn’t an elephant in the living room. As a writer, I love the conflict and tension that forbidden love can add to any work. As a reader, I need to see that the feelings are there, and that they are resolved in some believable way, not simply ignored as if the characters were sexless robots. (Unless the characters actually are sexless robots. Though even Wall-E had a girlfriend.)
I’ll be posting sections of Close Knit on my blog as part of the Romantic Friday Writers group, and I also have a short story up on Rose City Sisters that gives a good sample of my smutty style (don’t worry, it’s PG-13.) Come by and join in the fun!
I was going to introduce Beverly at the beginning of her blog, but it was so funny, I thought I would get out of the way and include her bio at the end.
Beverly Diehl writes on the wild side. Tired of too many 19-year-old heroines with perky breasts, she decided to write stories that featured real women. She's a past president of the Alameda Writer's Group, spent four years as columnist in The Working Title, a monthly literary publication, put in six years as editor/contributor to Hoofbeats, a monthly equine newsletter, and writes occasional op-ed pieces for the Los Angeles Times.
She blogs at Writing in Flow, and she's now Tweeting @writerbeverly. Visit her web site to find out more about this author!