I was sitting in Starbucks writing away and minding my own business when a girl who looked to be thirty-ish asked me what I was writing. Now, I have no problem with this question. And usually, the person walks away from our discussion with my book mark, and zap! another person has heard my name and heard about my book. Win/win, right?
Well, yesterday didn’t follow the usual script. The woman, let’s call her Joan, asked what I was writing and I answered, “I’m writing a book,” then we went into the inevitable, “Are you published?” and finally into “What kind of novels do you write?”
My answer? “This one is an erotic paranormal romance. It’s the second in a trilogy in working on. The first book came out earlier this month.”
This is the point at which I usually offer a bookmark and they take it. So, she threw me when she said in a flustered voice, “Is that all you think about is sex?”
One of my major defense mechanisms is sarcasm and it chose that moment to kick in. I'm not at all ashamed of what I do, but her response really blindsided me, for some reason. She had already mentioned that she was a computer programmer, so I said, “Do you think about anything but code?” Now I did say it lightly, those comebacks are best said with a big smile and a joking manner. And Joan actually stopped and cocked her head to one side looking thoughtful.
“But you WRITE this stuff. You have to immerse yourself in these worlds you create. So, in effect, inside your imagination you are having tons of sex in all kinds of kinky ways. You have to think about it all the time to come up with stuff like that.”
At this point, I really wanted to point out that she must’ve read a lot of erotic romances to know what was in them, but I refrained. Instead, I stayed with what I had. “I’ve worked in technologies. In order to code, you have to steep yourself in the code. It’s very similar to writing, you put on some headphones for some mood music and lose yourself in how to build this site or program, much the way a writer builds characters, a world or a scene. But I’m sure you think about other things than code now and then, right?”
Joan laughed at that point and gave a slight nod. “True. But don’t you feel like you’re…” Joan looks around to make sure no one else is listening and lowers her voice, “becoming more perverted with each book?”
That made ME laugh. “I’m just as perverted as I ever was, but now I get paid for it. It’s a perfect win/win scenario. And not only do I get to have sex with lots of people and in lots of ways inside my imagination, but I’ve also planned and carried out murders, fought zombies and succubuses and shifters, flown, fought battles and even died a few times. I get to play “What If” all day long, just like I did when I was a kid, and that’s my job. I absolutely love it.”
Side note here - here’s the lesson for today, which I should’ve remembered earlier in this conversation with Joan, but didn’t. Usually, when people ask you questions, the question and even the answer you give – is about them. It’s not about you. They are trying to find out how whatever they are asking pertains to THEM.
Anyway, back to our story, after this, Joan let it spill that she had always wanted to write, and especially write HOT. But she was afraid of immersing herself in all that sex, that it would change her and turn her into a sudden nymphomaniac or something. She was also afraid of how people would react, not just her family and friends, but the general public. So, I assured her that my perversion level hadn’t really changed—and that I knew other authors who wrote even hotter than I do, who are still perfectly normal, monogamous and happily married people. However, if she truly was a closet nymphomaniac, or maybe even more sensual than she allowed herself to be currently, that this profession might let that woman out to play. I ended up giving Joan the information for both of my local writers groups, and I do hope she comes.
Now I did hand out four bookmarks right after Joan left to four people who were trying not to look like they were listening into our conversation. And all four of them (sassy ladies in their mid nineties was what they called themselves) had absolutely no problems reading about sex and one actually made a request—apparently it’s her deep dark fantasy to have sex surrounded by a bunch of hunky men who are watching and “enjoying” watching, if you get my meaning.
I told her my first book is already available at all the major book stores…and they happily left to run to the Barnes and Noble down the street, in search of Ceremony of Seduction as well as any other books with that cursive Aphrodisia ‘A’ on them.