I’m known as the no-holds-barred, open to anything, if-you-ask-I’ve-probably-tried-it-once, family member. Sex is no big deal to me. I have it, I love it, I have fun with it. I even had a stint a few years back of working as a consultant for Pure Romance (I highly recommend their products by the way – any questions you’re embarrassed to ask, send them my way!).
My family is mostly the same. The women in my immediate family (including my sisters-in-law) read erotic romance. We share books, favorite authors; my mother and I even watched 50 Shades together. We’re that family. While it would seem (being as open as we are) it was easy to give them each a copy of my novel and tell them to “have at it”; it simply wasn’t the case.
My family all knew I had shifted from the “casual reader” of erotic romance into the “I have a great idea for a story and am going to try and write my own book” mindset about a year ago when I first started the novel. As the book progressed, they would ask how it was going, what my inspiration was, and of course, send the “I can’t believe you’re writing erotica” jokes my way. Throughout the process, they all completely supported me.
As the story progressed and I began writing steamier scenes, I had a moment of uncertainty about the idea of certain people reading my work. It strangely started with my husband. He would come into the office while I was typing away and I suddenly became so embarrassed of what I had written I shut the laptop. On my husband. Who I’ve actually preformed the acts I had written about on.
What the hell?
Writing the erotic scenes suddenly became very personal. It was almost as if people I loved were judging me regarding sex; not just my husband, but my family and friends. Would it be good enough for them? Would they read it and find it arousing or boring? Would it be weird if they became aroused by what I wrote? I even found myself wondering if my mother-in-law would wonder how many of the scenes were “straight from real life”; and this is a woman who was there when I bought a sex-swing for her son and I.
Constantly being asked to read it, and knowing my novel was finished and on it’s way to publishing, I gave in and allowed one of my sisters-in-law to have a copy. It was incredibly difficult. I sent it in an email, pressed the send button, and had a moment of “oh my gosh, can I take it back” panic. Then something amazing happened. She texted me early the next morning telling me how far she had gotten and had loved it.
I was ecstatic. Not just because she loved it so far (that part was awesome), but because it suddenly wasn’t weird. It took her a week to read the book, and she would update me with thoughts, insights, and questions regarding what was going to happen. She let me know what she thought of different scenes in the “this is really realistic” or “I can’t believe he said that!” way. It was as if we were both reading the same book – from another author – and discussing it like we normally would.
It was then I realized while *I* wrote the book, and we all knew I wrote the book, it became just a book. It was the biggest hurdle I had to cross, allowing family to read what came from this imagination (and yes, some real-life inspiration), yet once I crossed the barrier I felt free.
I can’t lie and say I’ve given copies to each family member without any hint of resignation – and definitely can’t promise the idea of the men in the family reading what I wrote doesn’t still scare the crap out of me – yet it’s not as bad as it once was.
Hopefully, the more I write the less awkward it will be, yet I’m prepared for always having the small, lingering, feeling of embarrassment regarding certain people. From what I’ve heard from fellow authors, this feeling is normal. I remind myself I’m still the bad-ass, sex-loving chick I used to be; I just get a little red in the face sometimes now.
Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even let my husband read it.