NOTE: 28th April 2011, cross-posted from Writers Gone Wild:
We write erotic romance and damn, we’re proud of it!
By Maree Anderson (for Writers Gone Wild)
Something happened today out there in cyber-space which made me profoundly grateful and profoundly uneasy at the same time.
You see, when I first started writing, I told myself I wasn’t writing romance. I was writing epic fantasy. The happy-ever-after didn’t happen until the final book in the trilogy. That’s not romance, right? Turned out I was wrong. I was sooo writing romance! But I didn’t find that out until I joined Romance Writers of New Zealand. And even then, it took me a while to accept that I was truly a romance writer.
I’m ashamed to say, it took me even longer to feel comfortable with telling people that I wrote romance. And longer still, to own it, and not feel like I had something to hide, or that I needed to justify writing what I loved. And, as any “reformed” anybody is wont to do, I’ve embraced being a romance writer, and will vehemently defend those who denigrate romance writers of any genre. I’m not published in category romance, but boy, will I wade in an defend the skill and brilliance of category authors if anyone dares to denigrate the genre. Anyone who espouses crap about it being formulaic had better hope they don’t do it in my hearing, is all I can say.
Now erotic romance. That’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. I’m sick to death of being introduced as “Hey, this is Maree. She writes porn.” by people who haven’t even read my books. Sheesh. Go read one, already. Afterward, click on my blog post about Porn vs Erotica vs Erotic Romance and actually read some definitions. Then come back to me, and we’ll have an adult debate about what exactly it is that I’m writing.
None of this, of course, makes me feel particularly inclined to straight out announce what genre I’m published in when people ask me about my books. I usually just say I write paranormal romance. Of course, there’s always the situations where I’m prepared to take a risk and come clean…. And wait for the reaction. And hope it’s a “balanced” one.
Speaking of balanced reactions. Some of you may know that I write erotic romance under my own name. It just happened that way. And luckily for me, I’ve never suffered any fallout, even when I’ve been interviewed in the local newspapers. In fact, when my kids were at primary school, their teachers inevitably found out that I was an author. Two of them were interested enough to bail me up and ask me all sorts of questions, including the killer: where they could buy my book. Oh noes. It was gonna be kinda obvious when I directed them to the Red Sage Publishing website and they copped a look at the website banner, which at that stage was something like, Red Sage Publishing, the leader in women’s erotic romance.
What to do? I mean, these are my kids’ teachers–what will they think? How will they judge me?
Turned out I had nothing to fear. They were awesome. They even asked for signed bookmarks, LOL.
Okay, so I kinda figured that it was no big deal that I was writing e-rom under my own name. So what, right?
Until today. When I read today’s post on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog. It’s subject is an erotic romance author, writing under a pen-name, and who just happens to be a teacher (and a pretty awesome one, too, according to her students who’ve come out in support of her) who has been “outed” by the parent of one of her students. Turns out this parent had figured out who the pen-name belonged to, and her subsequent actions started a chain of events that lead to the worst kind of scaremongering and a pretty disgusting example of salacious journalism — actually, scratch that. It’s an insult to journalists who value their work ethic to even call it journalism.
This woman, who has every right to be a teacher, and write whatever the heck she wants in the privacy of her own home (OK, so long as she doesn’t bring it to work and read it to her kids, and she’s not done anything of that kind), has been called a pedophile. These people, who’ve never even read an erotic romance, and wouldn’t know one if it bit them on their butts, are saying she’s unfit to teach their children, and they want her school to fire her.
Good. Grief. Take a step back, and take a good hard look at yourselves in the mirror, people. As another author said on the Facebook page that has been set up in support of this author, “What next? Will women who write erotic romance be declared unfit mothers?”
I’m afraid I couldn’t laugh at that because it hits too close to home.
Ignorance is not always bliss. But unfortunately, it seems that the ignorant often have a very very loud voice and hang round like bad smells.
So what to do? Well, aside from supporting this author on the Facebook page, next time someone gives you, or someone you know, a hard time (unintended pun alert *g* ) about writing “porn” ask for their email address. And buy them their very own erotic romance eBook. At the very least, they’ll be educated as to what they’re missing out on. And who knows, maybe they’ll think twice before they toss off some offensive comment. It’s a start.
Finally, I have this to say:
1) I write erotic romance, and damn, I’m proud of it!
2) To my kids’ primary school teachers–you know who you are!–thank you for making me feel proud of my achievements. After today’s debacle, I’m more grateful to you that I can say.
3) If there’s any justice in the world, this author will go on to sell a shitfuckton of books.
(And I hope someone sends a few copies to the parents who are calling for her to be fired. Because if anyone needs educating, it’s not the students, it’s them.)
(Writing as Maree Anderson)