Do romance writers practice what they preach?

I was at the gym yesterday talking with a long lost friend (well hello Laura!), when an older man who happened to be part of an earlier conversation asked me what I wrote.

I replied, “Paranormal romance.”

“You mean the real smutty kind?” he asked, wrinkling up his nose as a grin spread across his tanned face.

I tried to push down the blush creeping across my cheeks. “I write about vampires and shape shifters. You know, suspense and plot-driven…and stuff.” (See how smooth I am when I talk about my writing in person?)

He laughed, a resounding bull-horn of a hoot that echoed through the gym lobby. “You and your husband practice the romance stuff you write, or what?”

A too-tight smile pulled at my lips. “No more than I practice the killing scenes,” I said, and turned before I could see his expression turn grim.

I wish I could say this was made-up…but I can’t.

I can’t believe this stranger was bold enough to ask whether or not I practice the scenes I write.

For those of you who’ve ever thought about asking that question think about it logically…does Stephen King kill people in his basement or get visitors from TommyKnockers late at night in order to write those scenes effectively? Does John Grisham spend all his time in a courtroom to get all those pesky details right? Is Dan Brown a member of the clergy or some secret organization hell-bent on keeping the true holy grail a secret? He’d have to be, wouldn’t he, in order to write so compellingly? Likewise, does a romance writer practice the romantic scenes in a book before they put the hero and heroine into a steamy scene?

The answer to all of these is No…just in case you didn’t know already. After all, I killed off an innocent secondary character in my romantic suspense and have some pretty nasty torture scenes in my paranormal…if I put into practice things I wrote Husband should be very concerned.

Any other writers out there experience something like this? What kind of looks do you get when you tell people you’re a romance writer? Do you tell them at all?


4 thoughts on “Do romance writers practice what they preach?

  1. That's disgusting. I can't believe how rude that guy was. Who asks something like that? I'm so sorry. I generally don't tell people about what I write. I seems the easier way to go something.

  2. He sounds like a real first class jerk who was hitting on you big time. I love your comment about the killing scenes LOL too bad you couldn't practice one of those on him. Maybe next time.

  3. Dude sounds like a tool. WTG putting him in his place with the reply about killing scenes 🙂 If I was in the same situation I would have turned crimson, and began stuttering LOL I’ve had enough folks judge me for reading what they consider “smut, I don’t know what would happen if I started writing it too LOL

  4. Rosie–He was completely rude…and creepy. I think if people ask (whom I don't know) I'm just going to say "paranormal" from now on and drop the romance. But then I start thinking…wouldn't that reaction mean I'm not proud of what I'm writing? That I'm ashamed? Ah, hell, I don't know. I'm just glad I was able to say something in response.Karen–Oh, you better believe I've got my pocket knife ready for next time! I took lessons in evil self defense tactics from one of my villains today! LOL!Christie–If people are giving you hell for reading it, I'm sure you'd get the same reaction for writing it. But I think the real question is…if you really love reading romance so much why AREN'T you writing it?? 🙂

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