My hero-at- home and I have just had a very nice long week-end in the French sunshine. We stayed in a large Gite just south of Amiens. We went with three other couples, all of whom we have known for over twenty years. Our children grew up together and now most have left the family nests. There was the usual eating of too much rich food and drinking red wine but unlike the rest of the party, and as I am a self-confessed obsessive when it comes to my writing, I took my laptop.
The couples we shared this languid interlude with have watched me struggle to perfect my writing through the tortuous road to publication. Two of the women have read everything I’ve written, even the very old stuff that’s still on my computer. The other one doesn’t read license plates so I’m not offended.
However, they have all commented on the hot nature of the love scenes and now I am with TEB, who exclusively publish Erotic Fiction the secret is out. Shock, horror! My books have scenes with descriptive sex in them. I graphically explain how men and women, look, touch, kiss and pleasure each other, in different ways and in different places.
The men of the group seemed fixated on the very concept of a woman of a certain age and with three grown children thinking about sex let alone writing about it. Their brains struggled with the concept so hard that you could almost smell the burning.
‘So you write porn then,’ one said. I explained slowly, so they could keep up, that all my books were romances and centred the love between a man and a woman. Through my stories my hero and heroine’s love for each other grows as they make love. I also added that I hoped that was the same for them in their lifelong relationship. A couple of my women friends gave me a dubious look at that comment.
Another one asked, ‘so do you use words like penis and vagina,’ I replied that those words were a little clinical for a love story fired with physical need and desire, so as I write historicals I would probably write cock or cleft, as they were more in keeping with the time period.
‘In fact,’ I said, ‘There are some wonderful old English words to describe the sexual anatomy, like tallywag for a penis and a hairy ring for a vagina.’ Stillness hovered over the camembert as they digested the answer.
‘So it's just a lot of people rolling about in bed then?’ I smiled sweetly and painstakingly explained that actually all my stories are minutely researched and there was almost as much adventure in them as hot sex.
‘With all the sex in them Erotic books can’t be very moral.’
‘Actually, my books are very moral,’ I said. ‘Right always wins and the villain always gets his or her comeuppance.’
‘So you must think about sex all the time,’ said another , looking enviously over at my hero-at-home.
‘If only,’ was his comment.
I almost gave up at this point.
‘Look,’ I said, ‘you know the film What Women Want with Mel Gibson?’
The women nodded and sighed while the men looked baffled.
‘Well,’ I continued. ‘Mel’s character had the ability to hear women’s thoughts.’
‘Cor, that would be a help,' said one rather brave male of the group. ‘It would give us a fighting chance, wouldn’t it lads.’
There were Neanderthal grunts of brotherly accord from men who still couldn’t fathom why a new set of saucepans wouldn’t be welcomed as a birthday present.
‘Well,’ I replied. ‘ If you want to know what women really want, read a couple of Erotic stories written by a women for women. It’s the ultimate expression of Women’s lib. Writers of erotic fiction in all its forms, celebrate the wonderful gift of sex by sharing their own fantasies and preference as lived out through our heroines.’
Needless to say my books - that’s to say women’s sexuality - came up again, and each time it was the men of the party who initiated the conversation. After repeating myself several more time I suddenly realised why the men were so fascinated. It was because they had a symbiotic relationship with the whole concept of women writing about sex.
On the one hand, as any woman reading this will know, men are absolutely obsessed with sex and erotic fiction gives them the hope that women are too.
On the other side their very core as an object of desire is threatened by the sizable proportions and stamina of most erotic heroes, and is that what we - womankind -want?
But that’s where they miss the whole point. I don’t write erotic fiction, I write Romantic Erotic fiction. Women want romance and not just sex. That is what women love about erotic fiction and men don’t understand. It’s a world of difference but, as they say in France, Viva la difference!