In my formative years, I was as naïve and innocent as can be imagined. I knew nothing about sexuality, at least until I discovered some hidden books in my parents’ house and took a look, with my best friend, at her parents’ copy of "The Joy of Sex". I wrote about this in my very first attempt at an erotic/coming-of-age story, and just for fun, I’ve posted a little of it here:
"Giggling, she promises to come right back, and runs out of the room. In an couple of minutes she's back, pulls a book out from under the loose pajama top. The Joy of Sex.
I'm disappointed. A lot of hairy men and droopy women with saggy stomachs and description of a multitude of positions. I suppose the bodies are supposed to represent reality and not an idealized person, but if I wanted reality I'd buy myself a pair of binoculars and scan the windows of my neighborhood. Books are an escape, I believe.
Anne sighs. "I want to have a boyfriend this summer."
"You want sex?"
"I don't know if I'd go that far. I think we should both meet guys."
It's not a boyfriend that I want, but something physical that I don't completely understand. Something to satisfy my restlessness, the ache within me. Someone on which to release the energy that builds up in me at times, until I feel like screaming and crushing something with my bare hands."
I’m writing erotic romance because it always intrigued me how sometimes men and women can be physically intimate, while not even willing to have a conversation. It intrigues me how the physical part of sex—the caressing, cuddling, touching—gives a sense of intimacy that maybe just isn’t there. And that fascinated me about the role sex plays in romance. I couldn’t see how you could write romance without writing the sex. Getting naked with someone, exploring them, experiencing what you’re feeling (or not), what he’s feeling—what could be more critical to love and a relationship? I wanted to peek behind the bedroom door, because, back when I was a teenager who didn’t know anything, I needed to figure this relationship stuff out.
In my books Blood Red and Blood Rose, I explored male/male relationships. I read stories written by men and found it intriguing that, as Pam mentioned on Friday, it is human nature to wonder about love and to wonder about whether he’s really into you (whether you are a he or she) and vice versa. I remember reading a story in an old-fashioned "confession" magazine. In this confession, a group of eighteen-year-olds set up house together—there are three or four couples. And pretty soon there are jealousies flaring and someone’s boyfriend fancies someone else, and people are going to bed with each other because they’ve just had their heart broken by someone else. I write menage a trois stories for my vampire series, and wonder, would it really work? People do live in successful relationships involving more than one partner. What intrigues me so much as a writer is the process of making that work.
As I was stretching my writing wings and taking that journey to learn about voice and story-telling, I took a fiction writing course at my local university with author Tom Henighan. Tom who looked at my early short stories and told me to write about what is really important to people. Their sex lives was one of the things he mentioned. And I though, yeah, that’s why I was sneaking books out of the bookcase—in the hope that I would learn about life. Maybe I should go there too.
And so an erotic romance author was born.
(Excerpt from "Brash", WIP by Sharon Page ©2007)