The word ‘heat’ can apply to a number of different things. You turn the heat up in the winter. Heat rises in the summer. The enchiladas I love so much, while not terribly high in Scoville heat units, definitely bite back. And with the oven turned on to make them – in the middle of a humid 84 degree day – well, more heat.
Then there’s the heat scale in books. Specifically, romance novels.
Some people wonder why all of my stories, from historical, to paranormal, to contemporary fall into the sweet/clean & wholesome categories. And why I don’t bump the heat levels up.
Honestly? I’ve tried to do that twice in my life. When I was about twenty, before I’d written much of anything but short novellas, I decided to try my hand at a sex scene. A few handwritten pages later, and I was patting myself on the back for a job well done. In my opinion, it was as good as anything I’d read in a traditionally published book. And then a single thought popped into my head.
If this book sells, my dad will read it!
I spent the next twenty minutes scribbling out every single word on every single line – to the point where you couldn’t make out one letter from another. And then I tore it to shreds. And I mean I made a paper shredder look like it was cutting full sheets of paper.
And I never tried it again, until maybe 2011 or 2012, before my books started selling fairly well. This time, I decided I’d use a pen name and never tell a soul about it, but I wasn’t comfortable with it then either. At least deleting what I’d written that time was a whole lot easier than getting rid of the handwritten pages!
So, that’s as far as I got in turning up the heat in my career. It did make me feel better when a famous author (can’t recall her name) said that book couples were as entitled to their privacy behind closed doors as real couples. I couldn’t have agreed more.
Now you know why I write what I do. And I guess if you like clean & wholesome/sweet romance stories that focus on couples getting to know each other, and reading about their paths to falling in love – paths that sometimes involve murder, stalkers, and other difficult situations – you might enjoy my books. Like my Coach’s Boys and Royal Sweethearts series’ (those are affiliate links – learn more about them by clicking here)
And if you don’t, that’s okay. There are lots of fabulous authors in other genres out there just waiting for readers to discover them. 🙂
When I think of the stories I write, songs like these come to mind. Why? Because there’s a big difference between sex and romance. And the characters I write know that without one, there isn’t much chance of the other.
(You probably knew I was going to sneak an REO Speedwagon song in, didn’t you?)