Crafting a story, for me, is much like playing out one of my own fantasies. Whether the fantasy be a grand adventure with dashing people, a wild horseback ride through the Montana mountains, or stepping back in time with heroic Highlanders and mountain men. No matter the adventure I choose to play out, I've only ever once made a conscious decision to add a mildly graphic scene to one of my books. We'll get to the "why" in a minute.
My bookshelves will confess that among my many research texts and respectable novels, I have plenty of "naughty" books in the form of romance novels, most of which are historical. I also have plenty of "nice." As authors, it's nigh impossible to please the tastes of every reader. I've seen authors pose questions such as, "Should I add more than one sex scene?" or "Will readers read clean romance?" Because pleasing everyone is not an option unless one wishes to fall into—as Anne Shirley would say—"the depths of despair," I've adopted a simple practice to write what I want and what feels right for the story.
My books aren't religious or inspirational, neither are they steamy or graphic. They fall somewhere in between clean and sensual, wholesome and gritty. Sometimes they lean more towards one and sometimes more towards the other.
Why? Because I write what's best for the story and for the characters. The one story with an actual sex scene written in (which is mild compared to the standard in romance) was written because of a dare of sorts. You see, I was always the "good girl" in the family growing up. I didn't swear, drink, or otherwise get into trouble. I followed the rules, got good grades, and did all the things I was supposed to do.
Boring, right? Well, I never thought so, but as we got older, it became kind of a joke between me and my younger sister. The mildly graphic scene in Alaina Claiborne was added on a dare from said sister. She didn't think I'd actually keep it in the book.
I do so enjoy winning a dare. When my younger sister passed away, I decided that regardless of whether or not the scene added to the story, I would leave it in because she loved the story just as it was written.
For those who have asked and wondered about the "naughty" vs "nice" in my books, now you know.
The video below has absolutely no tie-in with anything in the post. I just really liked it and wanted to share it here. Enjoy!