In many ways, I’m the odd (wo)man out here at WriteSex. After all, I don’t write erotica or even romance. I write the Jane True series: mainstream, mass market urban fantasy for Orbit Books, a publisher famous for its Sci Fi/Fantasy rather than its sizzle. Here’s what I write:
So why am I here?
One reason is that, while I don’t write romance, I do write sex. Urban fantasy is a fantastic genre in that it’s like a pick and mix: authors of urban fantasy get to cobble together whatever elements of fiction they like, as long as somewhere, somehow, they have some mixture of the “real” world and some element of the supernatural, paranormal, or magical.
When I started putting together my world, my version of UF, I knew that one of the elements I was definitely going to utlilize was sex. Not romance, per se, but I knew I was definitely going to have sex. The reason being, quite frankly, that I think sex is important. And not merely because I’m a lascivious little wench; it’s also because of my philosophies regarding sex.
Before you roll your eyes, let me assure you that, when I say “philosophies,” I mean philosophies. For one of the other reasons I was asked to participate in WriteSex is that I am a Ph.D. in English literature, whose academic background includes the conjunction of sex and power in contemporary British and American fiction.
As any literary theorist can tell you, sex has never been just about pleasure: not in life, and certainly not in fiction. Humans have sex for so many varied, complicated reasons, most of which we can never understand, nor even know exist.
That said, as thinkers such as Freud, Lawrence, and Nietzsche understood, we reveal so much about ourselves in the ways that we conduct ourselves, sexually; how we communicate about sex; and how we think about sex.
So when I sat down to write my first book, it was important for me to write about my protagonist’s sexuality because my whole book is rooted in her character. Of course plot is important, but Tempest Rising is as much character study as anything else. I couldn’t bring Jane to life without including her unique view of sex and sexuality.
And yet, as I’ve said, this book was published to be shelved, as it says on the spine, in either Fantasy or Horror, not in Romance. So, when it came to writing about sex, I had to make a lot of interesting choices, and defend those choices to myself and others, along the way.
These issues, and why I make the choices I make when writing sex for mainstream publication, are what I’m going to be talking about in my future blog posts for WriteSex. I’ll talk about such topics as how much is too much (learned that one the hard way); why none is too little for me, personally; building, or reducing, character through depicting sexuality; and there will definitely be something on the Dreaded Euphemism: or, “When a Lotus Blossom Should Remain Just a Lotus Blossom.”
Sound good? Let me know if there are other issues you’d like me to address and don’t be shy. I am here for you.