Erotica + mom, an awkward affair. . .

My mother is awesome. I’ve been a writer for a long time, mostly poetry and technical manuals for the last couple decades. When I told her I decided to write a romance novel a few years ago all she said was: cool! When I mentioned that the novel had been accepted by Siren-BookStrand earlier this year, and oh, by the way, it’s an erotic romance, she said: congratulations! Whoa. Totally unfazed, my mom.

When The First Time is the Sweetest was published, she bought a copy and read it. On her computer in the living room. With my dad looking over her shoulder (I am so NOT talking about him right now). I was delighted! Then I remembered I’d written a menage romance. A really steamy menage with some serious guy on guy action as well as the usual threesome activity. Did I remember to warn her about that? Hmm, I thought I did. I remembered saying: this book is really naughty, mom, okay? Just so you know.

I felt somewhat disconcerted, not because I was embarrassed, but because I didn’t want her to be. When I called her up, she told me she “just skipped those parts.” And then she informed me that she told everyone she knew that her daughter wrote this great book, and oh, by the way, it’s erotica. She asked for some business cards to hand out.

My reaction to this? —> !!!!

Okay, I thought to myself. That was cool. I mean, I know I wrote a bit of plot for the novel, but the bulk of it revolves around the three main characters and their relationship. My mother grew up in a small town (and lives there still) with very little exposure to the larger, liberal society that I inhabit so unconsciously now. Not to say that she is sheltered, because the opposite is true; she’s a tough cookie. But aside from vicariously traveling through television or books, she just hasn’t been to a lot of places. She is not a feminist. I worried about this when I told her I was writing erotica until I remembered that she’s the one who lent me A. N. Roquelaure’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. Then I remembered that she was also the one who gave me Fanny Hill by John Cleland. Oh yeah, I thought to myself. That’s where I got started with erotica, all those years ago.

So, after I swallowed my surprise I said: Sure! Next time I see you I’ll give you some cards. Tell everyone you know! She laughed, then launched into a discussion about my niece’s daughter as though we hadn’t just had the most amazing conversation.

My mother is really cool.

I’m a lucky girl. And really, I shouldn’t have been surprised. These books are very popular, it just never occurred to me that the people who read them were women like my mother. Clearly I was wrong.

Has anyone else been surprised to find erotic romance on your mom’s bookshelf? Or stuffed in your best friend’s closet? Inquiring minds want to know.

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