We all have had those sad jobs we did back in college to pay the bills. Mine was working as a lifeguard (long after I was so old that it wasn’t cool anymore, and it was actually just kind of sad and desperate-looking). And working in a Baskin-Robbins. And delivering magazines to gas stations for eleven hours a day. The humiliating, degrading, minimum-wage list goes on.
It wasn’t really for the money that I decided to write a trashy, beyond-smutty romance novel. It was more for the…oh hell, I don’t know. The experiment? The need to rebel? The fact that romance outsells every other genre by a huge margin? Wait, that would make it be for the money. Hmm.
Anyway, I did. I wrote a completely nasty, clothes-flying-off, chocolate-sauce-going-everywhere, people-tied-to-kitchen-tables kind of book. And it was well-received by everyone who read it and I wasn’t the least bit ashamed of myself.
And then my mom read it.
I think I’m supposed to say something profound about how it’s a new day, we can read and write whatever we want, the publishing revolution lets authors explore outside the confines of their genres…etc. No, instead, I feel like I opened a porn studio and hired my mom to swab the actors with Vaseline every time they start to chafe. She’ll be in good company, since I also now feel like I hired my second grade nun to hand them cups of water between takes.
Only, I think the joke is really on her because if her very short, very shocked email to me says what I think it says, it turns out that my mom buys these trashy books and reads them, only the rest of us think she’s reading high-brow literature and World War I-era biographies of lesser known generals. Her email kind of sounded like she didn’t realize that I was the same person as this romance author. Well played, Mom.