Thursday, April 14, 2016

Romance or Erotic Romance

The term 'romance' is a very broad category, ranging from extremely chaste in tone and content, to steaming hot love making between the principles.  Yet one thing has never changed.  The romantic relationship always has star billing.  No matter if the main characters are devout church-goers sneaking glances of the hymnal, or mature, experienced adults who enjoy a sexual romp, their emotions must be engaged, not just their hormones.

I confess, there has never been any chastity going on in any of my books.  I started writing traditional romance, both historical and contemporary.  Lots of sexual tension, followed by much teasing and foreplay, eventually culminated in my characters doing the deed at least twice per book.

Orchestrating the act was sometimes trickier in historicals, particularly if the heroine was a virgin like Anora in Anora's Pride, but I enjoyed stretching my creativity to make it credible both for the reader and the character.

I don't know who was more sexually frustrated, my characters or me, but after eight or ten novels I decided everyone should have more sex.  This was the early days of erotic romance so there were no guidelines to follow,  I was pretty much making it up as I went along.

What I enjoyed about what I was doing was the ability to torture my poor characters, who thought they were simply having no-strings sex.  I knew better.  I knew that every time they got naked they became more vulnerable, more connected and more entangled in every way possible.  But the sex was so damn good they couldn't walk away.  They might tell themselves it was just sex, but deep down they knew better.  This was more, much more.  The sex heightened their emotions, which heightened the sex, which heightened their emotions....  Well you get the picture.

And although my characters were previously experienced, once they met there was total monogamy between them whether they liked it or not.  That was an important component for me to stay true to the heart of the romance. 


My timing was excellent.  Brava had just launched at Kensington to much success and other publishers were eager to cash in on the latest sub-genre in the romance field.  My books helped launch Pocket Books' erotic romance,  'romantica' as my editor, Micki Nuding, liked to call it.

They have been translated, e-pubbed, and garnered rave reviews along the way.  Those early erotic romances, which seemed ground-breaking at the time feel almost tame given where the market has gone with menage, BDSM, and same-sex couples.  The bottom line is that a good romance will never go out of style.  And some sex, no sex, or lots of sex, there is something out there for every reader's taste.

Final Heat is an erotic romance thriller where the characters try to pretend the sex means nothing.  It's just how they pass the time while they compete in a high-stakes, lifestyles-of-the-rich and-famous race, and stay one step ahead of whoever is trying to kill them.  Who are they trying to kid?

14 comments:

  1. I must say I think "devout church-goers" are proponents of good sex, too :-), but I love that, just as you said, "there is something out there for every reader's taste." I think in the early days, readers were expected to keep their tastes inside the lines. I'm glad the lines have blurred.

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    1. LOL, Liz. Many of those church goers boasted huge families, not delivered by the stork

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  2. Beautiful post, Kathleen! I find it interesting that books I wrote in the late 90s, and thought were pretty sexy, have now been described as "sweet" by some readers. Sweet? There is sex in there? Oh, but it's just a little sex.... Sigh. Yeah, times have changed.

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    1. Indeed, Maddie. That's what makes this job so interesting.

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  3. Laughing here. As you gained experience, you wrote hotter. I started fairly hot in the 1990s but write much sweeter now! I'm guessing you like writing the sex scenes, Kathleen. Me? Not so much.

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  4. Hey Cheryl, I enjoy the challenge of making each sex scene sound different from the ones that came before.

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  5. I like all the romance you write! I find sometimes I'm in the mood for a little action and then sometimes I'm in the mood for a lotta hotness. You never disappoint!

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  6. I like all the romance you write! I find sometimes I'm in the mood for a little action and then sometimes I'm in the mood for a lotta hotness. You never disappoint!

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  7. Thanks, Gerri. Music to a writer's ears.

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  8. You eloquently presented why sex is more than sex in a romance novel. Good job, Kathleen.

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  9. What a journey...one I paralleled. It's been an interesting and fun ride, Kathleen!

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