A post fell into my inbox the other day, and I thought I would take the topic up, as it relates very well to me.
The question for me has been, what does it take to write a romance book? And what does it do on the spouse? the husband in this case. I suppose answers will vary, but a lot will fall on the skeptical side.
When I read a crime story, I am absorbed into the steps of the writer, the character, the scene described. I feel the tension, I feel the scare, I feel the adrenaline rush in my veins. The story, for me, is real, living, happening, right at the moment I am reading it. It is happening inside of me. It is no longer a story, but an event, an experience.
The question, is, was the author there, really when that was happening? Did the character really go through that which we are reading? Maybe yes. Mostly no.
Now, romance! By a married woman! Oh my God!
Some friends read my book, A Week is Not Forever. And cut friendship. I am corrupted. I am a slut. I betray my husband. I can no longer be a good friend. I am worthy nothing but divorce. It doesn't matter that the situation described in the book is leading to the 'infidelity', the extral, the taking back of trust. It does not matter what the male spouse does in the story. Just like it is in real life. The woman has to bear the blame of all marital mishaps. The blame in the case of women romance writers is laid on the writer's feet. For, how can you write this if you did not do it!
I laugh. After two marriages and over three decades having sex in various positions and forms, would it be very difficult to create a lovemaking scene? After working many years in international scenes where sex is discussed openly, should it be difficult to make out a perfect love scene. WOuld it be difficult to describe the yearnings of the heart? The sighs of a man who is orgasming?
But then, I take it seriously again. If men write sleazy romance, their women support them. And even supply details to add onto the scene. Maybe even enact it together. And that is alright. When a woman writes, maybe the same, maybe more graphic, the cry is on.
Then there is rocking of the family. The parents are 'ashamed' to call you their daughter. The brothers won't stand my your side anymore. The male friends who used to be there fizzle away. In other cases, the children disown you. Just because you wrote a romance book with a sex scene.
It might differ, the degree being more steep in my African part of the family. But, it is all the same.
So, we women must be careful when we write romance? Does that not make us yet another victim of society? However much we want to smooth the scietal playground, things like this confront us all the time. I was quite scared when A Week is Not Forever came out. I wondered how to present it to my husband. I feared the worst. I saw us having a huge split for the first time, if he did not take well to it. I kept the news away from him for a whole month. I thought it would be better to meet and present the book face to face. I thought there would be fireworks, so it was better to send him a link. All that uncertainty ate into me for a month. Instead of celebrating my book and enjoying that a hard piece of work had come to fruition, I was haggling with myself how to do this. Despite that he had known I was writing a book, the fact that my book turned out to be a romance, sizzling one for that matter, pulled the chair from under me.
Then I ask myself, with the proliferation of media and information and openness, how could it be that men, husbands, are still untrusting of their women when they write romance?
I would love my man to help me in that. And model love scenes with me.
Women romance authors, what do you experience? what do you say?