I was recently asked by a co-worker how much time it takes to write a book. Of course, it varies, but I added that I generally don't count the time I prepare for a novel. They seemed perplexed. Prepare? Isn't that book about sex and relationships? Yes, some of my novels are domestic and even erotic, yet research is still required.
The assumption that domestic fiction won't require research is probably based on the perceived content: it's just about ordinary life and sex!
Well, I don't know anyone, even book characters, that have sex 24/7. Characters have careers, some have disabilities, mental illness and a slew of other issues that the author has never experienced. That correlates to research.
Let's look at my most common research elements:
The manner of research varies. Most includes internet searches leading to blogs, forums, articles and then there is the focused research that includes reading non-fiction books (which is where I get most of my information), or getting out there and asking someone! People love to talk about their work, they really do.
Admittedly, some of my novels contain graphic sex. I don't shy away from this fact and often have to explain it. The novels aren't typical 'romance', the novels aren't 'feel good' chick lit. So why all the sex?
I didn't predict that I'd write graphic sex. Who would have? The first novel I wrote when I was sixteen was a ghost story (The Lake). My second novel, some years later, was a coming-of-age story (The Butterfly and the Moonbeam), my third novel was a police procedural (Secret Lives) and the fourth was fiction (The Farther I Am).
That leads to my next four books, respectively the fifth - ninth book I've written. Each of them, is sprinkled with explicit sex.
The books are standalones, with crossover characters that are involved in some way with an escort service tailored for women and founded by a woman, Alicia Porter. Three of the books are from the point of view of the male escort.
Writing explicit sex occurred by accident. Intrigued by an article about heterosexual women utilizing male escorts, I began thinking about such an proposition. A discreet, upscale male escort business tailored for women.
What would the escorts experience? What would be asked of them? What would these women that used the service be like? How would Alicia Porter find customers? How would she recruit escorts?
I answered those questions in four standalone novels. The books aren't romance. The sex is an active part of the story, there aren't gratuitous scenes thrown in for a quick nipple twist.
*Eyes widen* Understand now how I came to write explicit sex, but not write about explicit sex?
I don't think of the novels any differently, then the others I write. Some have vampires, some have detectives and some have escorts. Capicse?
Be who you are, write what you want. That is what art is all about.
Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook from an artist/author asking for links to books that featured people of color. I thought, oh my book Broken Moon has an Hispanic hero and (one of) his love interest (s) is an African American. I could link that, I thought. Funny thing though, I'd never really thought about that being a 'thing' before; characters being people of color.
Broken Moon's hero, Mannie Romero, Jr., is Hispanic. I grew up in Arizona and I had more friends of Hispanic decent than I did caucasian. When I envisioned the girl he would become interested in I saw a beautiful, long-legged African American girl with an afro (I have a strange admiration for afro's) named, Rain. Was race a choice I made? It didn't feel like it.
In my YA novel, Butterfly and the Moonbeam, one of the heroes is Native American (Dell Kayani) and again, this occurred because of my life. Arizona is home of the Navajo reservation (among many other historical sites), I had friends who lived there. It's part of my influence. I never sat down and said, I'm going to write about characters of color.
Her request for books featuring people of color, and the array of wonderful books that followed, got me to thinking.
Should I start to think more purposefully about the race of my characters? I believe the answer is yes. I realized it is significant that the love triangle in Broken Moon takes place between 3 people of different race (Caucasian, Hispanic and African American). Even thought it happened quite organically, it is something to be valued. The whole, love is universal theme, is a beautiful one. I think romance especially should promote diversity. The world is a colorful palette after all.
Do you consider diversity when you're writing?
I write about: love, fantasy, hate, vampires, jealousy, lust, supernatural, murder, deceit, attraction. And sex.
I write what I like.