I started this huge journey into the world of writing when I self-published Falling to Pieces on 26th July 2013. I say I started it then because I strode into this world blindly, flinging my book baby on the proverbial table and proclaimed it good enough to be ‘out there.’
Falling to Pieces is a paranormal adult romance and a true example of raw, unadulterated writing from the heart. I bled onto those pages, and it was the same with the sequel, Falling into You.
Readers loved it. It did very well for a debut novel and I’m proud of what has been said about it. I never submitted it to a publisher, not because I don’t think it’s good enough, but because it’s precious to me and I was not open to change.
However, what was said behind my back by people I knew personally, was devastating.
‘Ugh, it’s about her and her husband having sex.’ Please, allow me to say that I was cornered into calling the male protagonist Marc, lets just say that’s why what happens to him, happens to him.
‘Vampire novels are stupid and you’re stupid for reading it.’ An ex-boyfriend to his wife when she read it.
Even to… ‘Ugh, it’s stupid, there’s a page number missing.’
‘It’s a cross between Twilight and Fifty Shades.’ I liked both of those books, but what an insult to my feisty and strong heroine.
‘No, no, it’s more like True Blood.’ Well, why can’t it be, you know, like Falling to Pieces, FFS!
There’s loads more, but I won’t bore you with the details.
Luckily, I was well into Falling into You by the time most of this got to me, but when I came to the end of the series I felt I wanted to be taken more seriously as a writer and I walked away from the Falling Series and side-stepped into contemporary romance. In all fairness, my ex-husband, Mark begged me not to finish the series at book two. It was possibly the only advice he’d given me that I should have taken.
I got a publishing contract for Kissing Cassie and then for Kissing Katie. I can imagine that caught in a few throats. I hope it choked them. By then I’d left the Royal Air Force camp life and besides a few bits of bait I threw to the hounds I didn’t hear that much from them again.
Away from the nasty circles and with a publishing deal under my belt I thought life would be much easier. I was wrong…
At first I thought it was the vampire thing that made me a lesser novelist in some eyes. I strived to conform to what a romance novelist should be, HEA’s and sunnier characters radiated in my contemporary romances and there was hardly any death or bloodshed.
But still there was the sex. No, not sex, lovemaking. Maybe that makes you cringe but in my view I don’t write erotica, I write adult romance or steamy romance. I’ll come back to what I believe the difference to be at a later date. It’s not that I have anything against erotica, I’ve read a few and they have just sort of made me giggle more than anything.
Not so long ago I congratulated a fellow author on her publishing deal with a very good house and I told her that I was going to read it on my holiday. She replied, publicly on the FB thread, that I may not enjoy it because it’s not that sort of book, as though I’m incapable of reading or indeed writing anything else! I pretended not to be offended and merely pointed out that I’d been reading a lot of thrillers, actually. Funnily enough, I never did buy her book, but I did read two rather good books sans sexual content. I’m sorry if you’re reading this and now know you offended me, because I know you’d be mortified.
Look, it could be that I’m wrong about this. It’s just the impression I get. Maybe I’m just a crappy writer and it’s nothing to do with the sex? But then, I honestly don’t think some of the people who have made snide remarks have even read my books. I would be really interested in hearing from any adult romance writers who may have experienced negativity.
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on all of this over the last few years whilst I haven’t been writing. When my publishing house folded, I re-read, edited, rebranded and rereleased my two contemporary novels. I got the chance to look at them through fresh eyes and I thought they were great if I don’t say so myself! It’s strange what your mind can do to you when you don’t feel very successful and you feel judged by others.
So, will I stop writing? No way. I love it too much. Will I stop writing raunchy scenes? No, I’m good at it and it always seems to be a natural progression for my characters. I don’t sit there thinking, I must write a sex scene now, it just happens. Will I be adding a new book to the Falling Series? Yes, several!
Thanks for reading, please leave a comment if you’re so inclined!