On writing a sexy book – and telling your parents you’ve done it
I wrote The Warrior Queen during a long, hot summer, when I was supposed to be studying. It was just one of those times, one of those strange, special times, when the world seems a little bit different, and you slip away from reality. Perhaps it was the heat, perhaps it was just the attractiveness of a displacement activity when I was supposed to be producing several thousand words of academic prose, but I found myself utterly absorbed in the haze of writing a ‘sexy’ book.
I wanted it to be racy, I wanted it to be sexy and exciting. That was the kind of thing that I was interested in reading, so naturally it was what I wanted to write. I dreamed that one day it might be published, but I never really engaged with the idea that if it did, I would probably have to tell my parents.
“What’s the big deal?” I hear you cry. “Your parents, by virtue of being your parents, can’t be totally sex-averse.” True! But being raised in a religious household, going to a Christian school and brought up with the idea that one really doesn’t talk about that kind of thing (that I never quite managed to espouse myself), I was beyond nervous to share the news. What if they were horrified? I thought about sharing it, and then asking them not to read it. Impossible. They would only assume that it’s full of something extreme and/or disturbing. What to do?
What was also unhelpful was the various responses of my friends who had read it in the draft phases. One described it as ‘steamy’ and claimed it left her alternately blushing and white with excitement, whereas another (who was French – not to play to stereotypes at all) simply shrugged and said it was sexy, but not anything to be shy about. Least helpfully of all, my partner simply shrugged and said it would “probably be fine” to tell them. I found myself utterly unable to judge what the threshold for weirding out one’s parents with sexual content was.
It wasn’t that I was embarrassed about anything that I had written, it was just that I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I knew it was something that my mother was uncomfortable discussing on a personal level. I am not a child – have not been for a long time – so perhaps I should have approached the whole thing with more of a casual air of nonchalance, but I could not.
As it turned out, it actually was fine. After a few moments of my mother shouting several times, “You’ve written a bonkbuster?!” (her words, not mine), she calmed down. In fact, they both thought it was rather exciting, and rather funny.
So far, so relieved. My mother then immediately downloaded it, read it, and enthusiastically protested her enjoyment. All excellent. But then, it seemed, the can of worms was open. Rather than being horrified that the little girl they raised had gone on to produce some racy fiction, my parents were so pleased that they told everyone they knew. Including both my grandmothers. One of whom has read it, and recommended it to her octogenarian reading group. I suppose it’s true that you really can’t ever surprise anyone older than you with that sort of thing. Our generation really didn’t invent sex, and what’s more we aren’t even the ones that are most excited about it.
So there we are. Parents can surprise you. In fact, rather than my mother (and grandmother) learning something about me I did not want them to know, it seems that the whole experience taught me more about them than it did them about me…
If you fancy something sexy, The Warrior Queen is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/THE-WARRIOR-QUEEN-Guinevere-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00IPRC0TE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393635696&sr=8-1&keywords=lavinia+collins
Why not share it with your parents?