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?