I love asking readers questions. Yeah, you could say I'm a nosy old broad. But how can I write stories for you, that you'll love, if I don't know your tastes? Our choices in romance reading are wide, from sweet to multiple partners and BDSM. The sexual bounds are nearly non-existent--and I often wonder how readers feel about this. Are these sexual boundaries being stretched by the author's rolling pin at the risk of making their plotlines too thin? Are readers after the sizzle or the storyline?
Slowly sex entered our beloved genre. Euphemisms for body parts were used, and we were rarely privy to the actual sex scene. They occurred behind the closed bedroom door or had one measly sentence to tell the reader oh yeah, they did the wild thang.
Over the years, those bedroom doors squeaked open...farther...and farther. Now, we're lucky if they make it to the bedroom. Gee, I sound like a prude, don't I? I'm not. Truly. I write romances from sweet to downright spicy. The "heat level" depends on the characters. To be sure, the amount and placement of sex depends on my storyline, on how quickly--if ever--my characters grow close enough where shared intimacies suits their relationship. For my stories are character driven. If I don't follow my heroine and hero's desires, they wake me up at night and complain.
Recently, I've had a dream fulfilled. I sold a book to Random House. After eight titles with small presses, I've secured a tiny spot with the Big Six. While the editor "adored it", she told me she wants more sex scenes and she wants it earlier in the book. I'd made my characters wait until four chapters prior to the ending before they made love. "Sex sells," the editor said. Well, yes, I thought, but I was trying to build a loving relationship between Paisley and Creighton first before I led them to the bedroom. Was that wrong? Should I have sacrificed storyline for sizzle? Am I being old fashioned in thinking love--or a strong respectful attraction--needs to come before the sex?
What say you?
Meanwhile, one of my historical "sweet" romances is available on Amazon--A MAN FOR ANNALEE. I tried to write a more sensual story, but my heroine planted her hands on her hips and said she was having none of it. And no one pushes Annalee around.