Please welcome guest blogger, Susan Lyons!
Want some character growth along with that sex? By Susan Lyons
Interesting things are happening with romance – in the book world at least. It’s getting hotter. In the last couple of years, many publishers have started lines that are labelled erotic.
Some readers dismiss these books as “porn” and won’t go near them. For some reason, they assume that simply because a book is sexually explicit, it’s going to be poorly written.
There are a lot of publishers and authors, including me, who beg to differ. Our books have a story line, a heroine to identify with, a hero to fall for, and a happy ending. An erotic (or highly sexy) romance is, first and foremost, a romance.
To me, romance is about character growth. One character (and often both) starts out with a flaw that comes from their personal experience (what we writers call “back story”). For example, she’s afraid of men because she was abused; she doesn’t trust men because she caught her fiancé cheating the night before the wedding; his beloved wife died and he’s afraid to love again; his father taught him to be work-obsessed and he doesn’t believe love matters as much as career success.
This character may live a perfectly normal life in most ways, but when it comes to love she/he is basically stuck. Not moving forward. Unable to open her/his heart, to risk and trust, to believe she/he is lovable or has the ability and strength to love. The character could go on this way forever.
Except, we writers aren’t going to let that happen. We’re going to introduce that character to a man or woman who is their dream and nightmare all wrapped up in one, because this is the one person the character could actually fall in love with. And she/he is starting to do it. But in order to love, the character has to move past their emotional logjam – to face past traumas and find the courage to risk and love again. And that’s not going to be an easy journey. We writers do like to torture our heroines and heroes! But seriously, there’s a good reason for that. We’re testing them. If they’re going to win love, they’re going to have to struggle and prove themselves worthy.
This is the journey in a well-written romance. The character arc. If the romance is a sweet inspirational, intercourse won’t be part of that journey – though some degree of sexual tension may be. If the romance is erotic, you can darn well bet sex will play a significant role in the journey. And sex is ideally suited for that, because it’s intimate. A character may be able to maintain emotional distance in a business meeting, during a walk in the park, even over a candlelit dinner – but it’s really hard to do it when she/he is naked in a lover’s arms, sharing tenderness and passion, a giggle here and a gentle touch there. Sex is a physical act that can break down emotional barriers and shoot cupid’s arrow straight past the walls the character has built around her/his fragile heart.
In my erotic romances, both the heroine and hero start out with their own flaws. Meeting each other is the catalyst that begins the tough process of growing and changing into a better person – a person who can love, and who deserves love in return. The path to love is rocky (and it’s sexy!) and there are laughs and tears along the way as each couple earns – and gets – their happy ending. That’s what romance is all about!
(Please visit my website, where you’ll find blurbs, excerpts, review quotes and other goodies.)
Readers, you can learn more about Susan Lyons and her books by visiting her website: http://www.susanlyons.ca/
Her upcoming release, She’s On Top, will be out this April!
Susan also generously donated a prize to one lucky winner!
One winner chosen from the comments left below will win their choice of any of her titles.
Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on January 21!
It is up to you to return to see if you won and to contact me if you see your name!
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