Aphrodisia Authors

Saturday, March 08, 2008

On the genre...

It wasn't until I first started writing romances that I became aware of how much pleasure people get in bashing them. I heard, "She reads romances," said in the same tone as, "She eats her boogers." Or, "I can't believe she liked fill-in-appropriate-movie-name-here, but then again, maybe I can. She reads romances."

At first I thought it was kind of funny. My aunt used to pass me Harold Robbins' books, which she'd loved herself, and tell me, "This is great smut!" She'd say the same about Rosemary Rogers and even Danielle Steele (sorry, Danielle—we know you close the door, but you got lumped in all the same). The implication was that these books were about love and sex and they were to be celebrated as such. Personally, I was more than happy to celebrate them as such.

But when I became a published author, someone asked me what I wrote. I laughed and said, Smut! Well, now. I hadn't been so quickly verbally slapped down since the time I said I voted for fill-in-appropriate-politician-name. Their disgust caught me off guard, but I couldn't bring myself to care very much. I planned to laugh all the way to the bank.

I was a party last month, filled with PhDs. One of them asked what made a romance a romance. Was it sex? Was it love? I said, No, it’s the Happily Ever After. He was appalled. You mean the book has to have an HEA? I said, well, yes. Don't most movies have one? We can all name a few movies that have sad endings, but it's a lot harder than naming the movies that have happy endings. We all want happy endings. Just ask Friendly's... or your local masseuse. (Just kidding, masseuses!)

My friend was still appalled by the constraint of a happy ending. But I pointed out that if I didn't like it, I could write something else. No one made me write books with HEAs. No one made me read them. I explained to him that it was my medium, like oil or photography.

But of course, that made it all too high-brow. Choosing to write romances is like a musician choosing to sing pop. She could sing country and add a twang, or metal and add a screech. She could add a blues guitar and go all funky.

Once I explained to my friend that it was a choice, an artistic choice, he wasn't so scandalized the fact that I write graphic romances (aka smut). And I'm just very glad so many people like to stroll through this gallery.

p.s. I'll give away one copy of EROS ISLAND to a random commenter who isn't an Aphro Author. (If you're an Aphro Author who'd like a copy, I'm sure we can arrange a swap!)

Posted by Lucinda Betts :: 10:13 AM :: 15 comments

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