Because here’s the thing: ever since I started writing romance novels full time, I consider it my profession. People ask me what I do, and I say, “I write books.” What kinds of books? “Romance novels.”
So far, I have received a variation of the following three responses:
1. “Does that mean you write porn?”
2. Silence, followed by a somewhat odd look, as though the person across from me has suddenly discovered I am a man-molester.
3. “Cool!” (incidentally, I don’t get this response all that often)
It’s the “pornawgerfee” thing that gets me the most. Because yes, there is some sex in my books. I readily admit it. I can’t imagine why I should be ashamed of it, either. S-E-X, however, does not equal P-O-R-N. At least, not from where I’m standing. As I see it (literally and figuratively) pornawgerfee is something in which the entire story – and I mean, everything – is about sex. Sex, sex, sex. Yeee-haw, sex. Romance novels, on the other hand, are usually (hopefully) complex tales where the focus is on an actual plot: a relationship, commitment, and the adventure of coming together in love. Other stuff, too – including sex. But that’s not the whole story. That’s not the only reason you shell out cash for a book. And if it is, you’re probably not going to like mine all that much.
Oh, but it’s a real pain having to respond to number one on my list. Because even if you say (as I have), “No, I don’t write porn,” the person you’re talking to already has his mind set, and by that point he’s stopped listening to anything you say, because all he’s thinking about is P-O-R-N, and is responding to you with, “So you write about things you want to have happen to you, right?”
Ew. And yes, this has been said to me. And no, he did not seem to understand me when I kept saying, “No, you’re wrong. It’s fiction.”
EDIT: I’d like to add, of course, that there is nothing wrong with writing porn. A good number of people make a living from it. It’s just not the same as a standard romance, erotic or otherwise. Of course, that might just be a matter of perspective.
Side Note: Okay, so I have to apologize to all the people who try to leave comments here and can’t because of the weird dark background in the text entry area. I’ll be honest: on my computer the text area is white, so I’ve never noticed the problem. Also, because of that, when I try to fix the problem, I won’t have any way of knowing if it worked. Hopefully, someone will let me know. I’ll post a note when I get time to take a stab at it.