Take some sugary Southern charm, three limes, and a whole bunch of musings both literary and otherwise. Throw in some balmy southern heat (just enough to make everyone feel sexy and sweaty). Juice it up with enough rum to get a little heady. Spice with mint leaves, fresh and feisty. Take a large sip, sit back, and enjoy.
Dana Stabenow, author of the extraordinary Kate Shugak mystery series, asked her readers an interesting question recently about their literary preferences (well, two questions, one subject, which you can find here).
How much sex is too little? How much sex is too much?
My own main character, Tai, is an adult woman of various robust appetites, several of them related to my other main character, Trey, who is a grown-up man with equally red-blooded ideas about the kinds of things two consenting adults can do for fun. Granted, they don’t do much about their mutual attraction in the first book. Oh, there’s a kiss, and they do make some very specific carnal plans, but they don’t end up in bed until maybe fifteen minutes after The End of the book.
But they do end up in bed, oh yes. Just in case you were wondering.
So here I am writing Book Two, which opens with the same characters, only now they’re officially a couple. There is some contention about what that particular designation means, some pondering and awkwardness, but one thing is for certain — they’re having sex. Lots of sex. There’s no more will-they-or-won’t-they for Trey and Tai. It’s all why-yes-I-absolutely-will from this point on.
Which works for me. Writing the sexual tension of a real couple in real relationship is a fascinating creative endeavor. It’s dynamic, it’s fertile, it’s revealing. My novels are traditional mysteries, but the emotional struggles of my characters run in parallel currents to the whodunit. Tai and Trey solve the crimes and save the day, yes, but they grow and change as they do it. And their sexual life together is an important part of this growth.
I’ll confess — I write every sex scene these two people share. For example, in The Dangerous Edge of Things, after Trey and Tai are interrupted in the middle of a long overdue kiss by Trey’s ringing phone, which turns out to be a summons he can’t ignore, he tells the caller, “Give me twenty . . . no, thirty minutes.” The line makes it into the book, even if what Trey does with that extra ten minutes does not.
But I know. Of course I know — authors are the ultimate voyeurs. We have an all-access pass to our characters‘ lives. And it’s important that I see these two in bed, that I make space for their sex life to exist in the universe of this series, even if those scenes don’t get a play-by-play in the book.
So here’s my pondering — while peeking into the bedroom is crucial for me as a writer, how important is it to you as a reader? Do you want to see characters getting it on, or do you prefer the slow fade to the fluttering curtains?
Share share, please. I am rabidly curious.
* Photo Credit to Rutty on Flickr through a Creative Commons License.