Monday, March 31, 2014

Faith, Sex, and my Novel Experience

So, I'm pretty active in my church.  It's really the only relatively social event I participate in.  I'm on some committees, in some groups, and I attend every Sunday.  I'm facebook friends with my Associate Pastor, and I read his thought-provoking blog posts and usually comment on them.  He's a friend of mine as well as a spiritual leader.

I also write romance novels.  With sex.  Not too much sex.  There isn't sex every chapter, like some of the novels I read (and my preacher preaches against, I'm sure it's based on media hype surrounding Fifty Shades).  But the sex is explicit, mostly because I enjoy writing it.  And I also feel that sex is an important part of romance books.  I know not a lot of people feel that way about Romances.  They feel the chemistry and emotions can be portrayed another way, but personally, I like books with sex in them, so that's what I write.  I think the emotions and thoughts that run through peoples' heads during sex are a great way to get certain aspects of the story out there.  Because that's a really pivotal part of relationships, and romances without the sex seem lacking to me in some way.

I also write characters that are dealing with Faith-based problems.  This doesn't necessarily make my books Christian Romance, because that's not what they are.  But I think lots of people go through these issues in life, and I want to include them in my attempt at writing real characters.

So, when I'm having a Facebook conversation with my associate pastor, and it comes up that one of my characters is having issues with her faith, and overcomes those issues though a loving relationship (there was more to the conversation than that, but in the interest of brevity, I'll gloss over the details), he expressed an interest in reading the book when I'm finished.

So, now I've got a conundrum.  I actually lost sleep at night over this a couple of times.  I don't want him suddenly adding me to his prayer list for my "sins" but at the same time, I've been working really hard at "owning" my writing.  I've blogged about it in the past, and it mostly had to do with people at church, and how I downplay what I write for them.  So, I'm asking you guys this question:

Do I give him the original copy of my book to read?   Or do I give him an "edited" version, where I take out the sex?   It's about Human trafficking and has a lot of deeper thematic elements (at least I'm hoping it will, when I finish it).  I'd be really interested to hear others' opinions on this matter, if you'd leave me a comment and let me know.  I'm torn on the issue and would like some constructive feedback.

4 comments:

  1. I appreciated your post today, Anne. I, too, am a member of a church (my husband is a retired pastor) and deal with faith-based problems. Also, like you, I believe sex is an integral part of romance. I'm not a fan of erotic romance, but regular, emotional romance. I think romance, love and sensuality are ingredients for a happy life. I used to hide the fact that I read romances from most of my family members who make fun of me for not reading "deep," non-fiction or self-help books. I say that's their choice, not mine. I would not edit a book to give to my pastor...which would be a little like lying about what I do. I would be me, whatever that is. I make no apologies for myself. I believe I lead a "clean," Christian, kind lifestyle, and if I want to read romance with some sex in it, so be it. There's nothing wrong or sinful about it. I realize I'm plain spoken, but that's me. At least that's what I think! jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you for that. I certainly don't want to hide the "real" me, it would seem hypocritical. I have had some issues though, owning my work, especially with my church family, which has become a rather large part of my life. This will certainly be a large step towards that goal, I'm thinking.

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  2. I say give him the original book. Sex in your books is not outrageously graphic or gratuitous. In the context of the book it would not be realistic to avoid it.

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    1. Thanks Michelle. I don't think it is either, although my mother does...But I don't give her edited versions either, so maybe I should look at it that way.

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