OK, the title is a little harsh, and maybe even a little unfair. I’ll try to be objective.
I “came out” to my family and friends over this last week while I was in New Orleans at the writer’s convention. No, not as being lesbian – as writing erotica. I imagine the reaction might be similar, though (with apologies to my LGBT friends for whom it is often 100 times worse).
1. You write what???
2. That’s niiiice….. (But I don’t really want to talk about it any more.)
3. It’s great that you are doing that, but did you have to use our great-great-great (add a few more ‘greats’) -grandmother’s name? It makes us uncomfortable (And since we know this family has a hard time being honest with each other, I thought I’d better let you know about the elephant in the room)
4. Well, you didn’t get that from me; you must have gotten that from your father.
5. You probably don’t want to bring it up when we’re all together.
6. Well, it’s not the same as REAL writing.
And since I can never think of good replies until long after the conversation, here’s what I really wanted to say:
1. I write erotic romance. You know, people falling in love, happy endings, all the same things you like, plus a few toys thrown in for fun. I’m not going to strip my clothes off and run around naked in front of company. I promise. Unless the company gets naked first. Then it’s just polite to do the same. 😉
2. OK. That’s fine.
3. Uncomfortable? Why? I’m sure there are many Sophie Kiskers in the world. The name isn’t yours to distribute. No one is going to find Sophie in history and trace her back to me (and our family). And why do you think that telling me that it makes you uncomfortable is the best thing to start a dialogue on honesty about? Some things don’t really need to be shared.
4. I wanted to laugh out loud at this one. No, I didn’t get it from Dad. Sorry, Mom. Nice try.
5. I promise, on my honor, to respect the circumstances and the people around me. But don’t expect me to hide what I do behind a closet door, especially when people start to get nosy and full of questions.
6. This one hurt the most. To be fair, she made that statement last year, and now gives me unqualified support, but it left a scar. I have worked and labored over these stories for more than two years now. I have 350,000 words in 3 books, and that doesn’t even count the number of rough drafts and discarded scenes tucked away in my desktop files. I have read endless books to see how others do it. I have researched story writing, erotica writing, obsessed over plot details regarding computer encryption, military maneuvers, and legal procedures. I have gathered two editors and two beta readers around me who give honest feedback. I have been bombarded by vicious critics who have called me misogynistic, anti-feminist, and just plain stupid, and I have developed the beginnings of a thicker skin (not totally there yet, which is why I am writing this post!). I may never make a dime from these books, but don’t you ever tell me that it’s not REAL writing.
OK, rant over. I feel better. If anyone in my family reads this and wants me to post a correction, I would be happy to talk about it with you. I love all of y’all, I really do. And I promise to respect your discomfort and not talk about it all the time like it’s a new baby.
The irony of the whole thing? The two people who thought what I was doing was cool were one of my sisters, and my father. Who’da thunk?