Well, like me, obviously.
Or like the rather lovely KD Grace ‘The Initiation of Ms Holly’
Or like Zak Jane Keir ‘Black Heart’
Or even (in case you were noticing a theme here) like Maxim Jakubowski, who wrote perhaps my most favourite erotic suspense EVER ‘Because She Thought She Loved Me’. I read it at sixteen and it changed my world. Or at least the way I masturbated.
Or like Anais Nin, EL James, Eve Berlin or Pauline Reage…in short, like anyone, anywhere, who just happens to write erotica or erotic romance. Yet there seems to be a definite stereotype going on, to accompany the horrendous term ‘mommy porn’. Apart from the fact that we’re predominantly women (and herein lies the problem) I would guess erotica and more generally, romance authors are as mixed a bag appearance wise as crime authors, historical authors etc. Cos we’re, you know, people.
Regarding the popular stereotype of erotica authors, Zak Jane Keir says it best, in this extract from a recent post
‘Just about every feature published (on or offline) about women who write explicit fiction hammers home the same message: the contrast between the writer and the writing. Mothers! Mumsy! Grandmas! They KNIT! They GO TO CHURCH! They wear cardigans and love their hubbies! They offer the hardbitten male journo a nice cup of tea and a home-baked cake! The trouble with the mainstream media’s absolutely frantic casting of female erotic writers as either sweet old dears or nervous virgins is that it perpetuates the idea that women don’t really like real sex. Because, actually, the idea of women liking sex, seeking sex, having sexual autonomy, is really scary and threatening to the status quo. Any media which is set up to cater to the idea of women’s autonomous sexuality gets stifled, compromised, belittled, mocked, and shut down.’
Well I’m a mother, but I couldn’t knit if you paid me, loathe cardigans and certainly don’t love my hubby (that’s why I divorced him). I do like sex though. Rather a lot, in fact. Why the status quo should find this so terrifying I have no idea, but I’m not about to stop liking it just so I can fit someone’s ideal. Sorry.
There’s also the assumption that these nice, mumsy erotica authors are middle-class. I had an – otherwise very nice – photographer come to take my picture for a national newspaper yesterday who expressed surprise at my decidedly working class roots. I’m really not sure why this should be so, to be honest. Perhaps because it’s assumed middle-class women have more time on their hands? Or because girls who grew up on council estates shouldn’t have the literacy levels to spell their name correctly in their own graffiti, never mind write a novel?
Anyway, I digress. Zak was writing in response to a post called ‘Acting Like an Erotica Writer‘ by author KD Grace, which is both funny and informative. KD wrote
‘Writer Jane Wenham-Jones insists that most erotica writers she’s met look more like librarians. Most of us would happily admit to writing in our sweat suits or jeans or jammies. I don’t even own a corset and my feet are most often bare or in fuzzy slippers. Most of my erotica writing friends simply smile at the thought of writing in a basque and stilettos, and when we’re making a public appearance, I suppose we do look more like librarians than sex goddesses. Most of us don’t mind so much when people say we don’t look like erotica writers. I confess the mental picture of me stretched out on a chez lounge with a feather boa and nose bleed heels scribbling away in a velvet notebook with quill is amusing, and it doesn’t bother me that I might look like a librarian when I’m out in public. I think librarians are hot.’
Now I’m not sure if I’m adding to the stereotypical images or not but I feel obliged to point out that I’m a former alternative (read; tattooed) glamour model, complete with basque and stilettos. I also used to work in a library. Not at the same time, obviously. That would be confusing…
My point is simply this. What do erotica authors look like? We look like ourselves…