Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Guest Blogger Fiona McGier - Family Readers

In honor of this family-related holiday week, I thought I'd pose a question to all of my fellow writers. Do your family members read what you write? Do you want them to?

I've been thinking about this lately, since being told by one of my sis-in-laws that she won't read my books because she keeps thinking of her brother and me, so feels as if she would be spying into our bedroom. She acted as if it should be obvious why she couldn't feel comfortable reading my M/F contemporary erotic romance books.

Then I asked other family members and found that my other sisters-in-law didn't want to talk about whether or not they had bought my books...so I guess they haven't. I already knew that my MIL wouldn't read them. In fact, I use a pen name because I promised my late FIL that I wouldn't use his name for my writing. I explained to him that I write romance books with sex scenes in them and I was respecting his Catholic faith. He thanked me.

But I thought that was a generational thing, that women of my age and younger would not feel odd reading books with sexual content. And the fact that you know the author would enhance your enjoyment, not detract from it.

My oldest son is 22 and has not read any of my writing, including my free short story on my website. He says that he can't possible read his mother's sexual fantasies. I tried to explain that my characters are NOT ME, get it? The heroes are NOT DAD! My characters are an amalgam of the people I've known along with the fantasy beings that my mind has created to amuse me. They are not real people. They live only in my imagination and now in books. He still refuses to read anything I write.

My second son is 20 and away at college. He hasn't read anything I've written. My third son is 19 and read my first book when it came out 2 years ago. He writes sci-fi and wants to major in English. He said that I "write in a literary style, and do tasteful sex scenes." He's a voracious reader, so I respect his opinion. But he pleads "not interested in the genre", and won't read anymore. My daughter is 17 and read the first book. She said it was interesting, but pointed out 2 typos in English and 1 in Spanish. She prefers books with younger characters and mine are usually adults well into their 30s and beyond. My husband reads everything I write before I even send it out to publishers. He's proud of me for following my dream.

I'm not in any way ashamed of what I write, so I'm feeling kind of miffed that most of my family members don't want to share my joy in writing by reading my books. I can't decide if I should write paranormal erotica, so my family can wonder if I've ever been with a real vampire...or shape-shifter...or demon. Or menage, so my family can wonder if I've ever been in a three+some. Or maybe M/M, so my family can wonder if I've ever been a man involved with another man?

So what do you think? Do your family members read your romance novels?

Fiona has always had characters telling her stories in her head. She thought that everyone did. When she felt it was getting too crowded "in there", she began to write the books that tell the stories of the more insistent voices first. When a book is done, those characters stop talking, but new ones begin to demand attention. She figures at this rate, she'll have to live to be 150 to write them all. She hopes you enjoy her stories of independent contemporary women and men who gradually realize that they were meant to be together.


Meg Benjamin said...

Hi Fiona, welcome to the Naughty Nine. Ah me, different strokes! I'd much rather my family *didn't* read my books since I don't want to think about them reading the sex scenes as I try to write them. The knowledge that my older son actually read my first book after it came out had me freaked out for days. Interesting post.

Juniper Bell said...

Hi Fiona, thanks for stopping by the NNN! It's nice to meet you. I have to admit, I'm with Meg. I prefer that my family not read my work ... but I welcome every ounce of their encouragement and support. ;) My feeling is, it's a very distinct genre that some like and some don't ... and I don't want anyone to feel obligated to read it. Also, I can write more freely knowing they probably won't read it. LOL. Great post!

Kelly Jamieson said...

Welcome to the Naughty Nine Fiona! Great to have you here! My family doesn't read my books - my husband because he just plain doesn't read (I mean, he knows how to read :-) he just doesn't enjoy reading books). My daughter likes YA romance and women's fiction but I think she's afraid to read my books, and my teenage son - well he's so not into the genre. My MIL finally read one of my book (one of my tamest) and seemed amazed that she actually liked it! I don't think my sister's read any of them which kind of disappoints me. Maybe it's for the reasons you mentioned above - I never thought about people feeling uncomfortable because they think those are my fantasies and the characters are me and the hubs!

Cara Bristol said...

Only my husband has read my stuff. I'd be surprised if my family members read my two novellas in Spanked! because I haven't told any of them my pseudonym, the title of the anthology, or even my publisher! Nor do any of my friends know.

Spanking is the tamest thing I write about. My stuff is very graphic and includes menage, the use of sex toys and anal sex.

I'm not ashamed of what I write about, however, I do suspect that it would change the way they think of me.

Lately, I have been seriously considering telling some of my friends. They know I write erotic romance, but I think they have NO idea what that actually means.

Daisy Harris said...

No way!! Even my husband doesn't (though that's just because he doesn't like to read much.) But I'm not sure how I'll ever manage to look in the eye anyone who reads my stuff. :) (It's filthy!)

MJFredrick said...

No no no! I don't want my family to read. Heck, with my last book, I didn't even want my teacher friends to read it!

I actually wouldn't mind if my husband read, though he doesn't seem to want to.

Kinsey Holley said...

Depends. My sister and SILs are all beta readers for me. My FIL read my first one, which kind of icked me out.

My mom is not allowed to read my work and it drives her nuts. She knows the first name of my pen name but not the whole thing and she doesn't know the title of my book.

My mom is a sweet sweet lady and a total prude. She doesn't need to read about blow jobs, you know?

Last weekend we went to visit my mom's cousin, a wonderful lady who recently had a stroke. She's mentally alert but can't talk yet - she tries so hard but what comes out is gibberish.

Anyway - she's always been very cool, much more bawdy and open minded than my mom. So I told her the next I visited her, I'd give her the title of my book, and I'd let her daughters kjnow so they could buy it, and she laughed and laughed.

Mom's gonna find out about my book one day, and she'll read it, and then I'll have to listen to her freaking out over the sex scenes.

Meanwhile - yeah, I'm embarrassed about what I write. Can't help it.

Erin Nicholas said...

Welcome Fiona! I'm right in the middle. I have some great friends and my mom, sis and cousin all read and love my stuff. I also have some really good friends who don't even know I write! So... it just depends. It's not so much about me as it is them. They wouldn't enjoy it and would feel obligated to read and that's just a bad situation for all of us :)
Thanks for the post!

Fiona said...

Thanks for letting me ask a question that seems to have diametrically-opposed answers from other authors! My best friends have bought all of my books, and we discuss them over lunch...maybe dinner and some drinks. They tell me I write the way I talk, which I guess, tells you why I have the kind of friends who enjoy reading my books! And some of us have been friends since college...many, many moons ago. Unfortunately, by the time my first book was published, my Mom, who taught me to read before kindergarten, and who devoured romance novels by the bagful, had progressed in her Alzheimers to where she was no longer able to read. I know she would have loved my books, since she had what she called "a bawdy, earthy sense of humor". I guess I do too. I live in a very conservative town, so what I write is considered porn around here; there are some casual friends I would never offer any of my books to, out of respect for their sensibilities. But since I write M/F with HEA, usually involving a wedding and/or pregnancy, I think of my stuff as relatively tame. Of course I have read lots of excerpts and judged novels for EPIC that gave me insight into whole new worlds...but ones that do not appeal to me as a reader or writer. And my only sibling is a younger brother who has told me about some of the "clubs" downtown that his new wife took him into when they first met...they both have read my books and tell me I'm "hopelessly vanilla".

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Great blog, Fiona, and something we all have thougts about. I don't write erotic even though my stories do have some sex in them--my paranormals more than others. I don't expect my family members to read my books but some of them do. I wanted them all to read The Violin because it was about a relative who died too young but, otherwise, it isn't something I expect them to do. They can be supportive without reading my work.
Wonderful topic, Fiona.

James L. Hatch said...

Only my SIL reads mine--all of them. She acts as one of my beta readers, but she is also the demographic I want to reach. She buys at least one paperback a week. Even though we're retired, my wife has the same issue with time as I do. There's so little time and so much to do. About the only time we can read is on vacation. The only exception is my latest paranormal comedy, "The Substitute." Everyone (friends and family) except my wife read that and laughed all the way through. They want more. Frankly, I think people just need to laugh.

LesleyRH said...

My family is currently reading my book, Coincidence. Originally, I had a lot more sex scenes, however as I continued writing, I decided to remove all but one of them simply because I knew my family, especially my mother and grandmother would be reading that. Plus, I knew they would think it was about me even though it's not and I keep telling them it's not lol. Oh well.

LesleyRH said...

My family is currently reading my book, Coincidence. Originally, I had a lot more sex scenes, however as I continued writing, I decided to remove all but one of them simply because I knew my family, especially my mother and grandmother would be reading that. Plus, I knew they would think it was about me even though it's not and I keep telling them it's not lol. Oh well.

Toni V.S. said...

I hear you! My son won't read my books. His excuse? He's too busy with his work. Real excuse confessed to me years ago? He's embarrassed to think HIS mother could write something with so much sex and 4-letter words (and a few seven-letter ones!). In the 21 years I've been published, he's read one short story and listened to part of an audio book.

Kenzie Michaels said...

My sister is looking forward to reading my work; she's read a few excerpts but hasn't jumped on the e-book bandwagon yet. However, she LOVES both of my sensual print books.

My parents, aunt, cousin, and grandma have read my print ones, although Grandma informed me it 'wasn't something she was interested in' and probably would never reread it (she only read the 1st one).

When I 'fessed up to Mom about the erotic romance, I nearly fell off my chair. Mom objects strongly to my use of the F word, so I knew she would never like the new material. However, she shrugged and said, 'Sex sells. Good for you.'

Later she told me, 'I may not be proud of WHAT you write, but I'll always be proud of your writing ABILITY.'.

Thanks Mom:)

Anonymous said...

She stood defiant in the wondow, naked to the world, a look of 'screw you' in her steele eyes. (That's not sensual...to many)

The sea breeze fluffed her red dress up to just the nip of her shere black panties, a half sinckering grimmace on her angelic face. (That's sensual...to many)

You present your writen world as you see it. If it enlightens, arrouses, or even offends, its how the writer sees it. I don't read gay work, because I'm hetro, that don't mean its not the best work ever written. Judge the work, not the writer. Family should know this...or at least accept this. Read the book blurb first, that will usually tell one how deep their fixing to dive, in the written tabo.

Great insight, Fiona