Romance Author University: Love Scene Versus Lust Scene by Jan Selbourne
All of us have expectations of the books we read. Whether it’s a thriller, a wild adventure, political intrigue or romance, we want the gritty bits, the emotions, the triumphs and tragedies and some sex thrown in for good measure. We like the build-up and want to be right there with our characters. The bad ones get their comeuppance, the good ones get justice or find love. A lot of books raise the sexual tension so we, the readers, are swiftly turning the pages only to find the bedroom door is shut in our faces. Those killjoys leave us outside expecting us to imagine what’s going on in there. Prudes. When we are allowed in, the sex might be gentle and loving or it might be a red-hot marathon.
Until the middle of the 20th century sexually explicit books were banned or heavily censored. Contraband copies were smuggled to secret outlets requiring the buyer to look furtively up and down before pushing his copy under his coat. Two that come to mind are Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Fanny Hill, both declared too disgusting for public consumption. The Marquis de Sade certainly left his mark on history, yet his behaviour and the contents of his books were enough to have him committed to an asylum. Those authors wrote about life as it was, but the keepers of our morals decreed raw sexual gratification in print was bad for us. It was going on behind closed doors, in brothels and exclusive clubs and back streets, but our forefathers weren’t allowed to read about it. Of course, what was forbidden became more tantalizing. Today, thankfully, we can choose what we want to read and if we don’t like it, we can discard it.
No matter how torrid the sex is, or how our characters fight through adversity, I really believe we want more than gratuitous coupling. We want the bottom half of our character’s anatomy to meet the top half, and when we turn the last page we want to be feeling happy for them. There are exceptions and James Bond immediately come to mind. Ian Fleming portrayed Bond as a highly trained MI6-00 operator who worked alone. He was a skilled lover but unobtainable; he loved them and left them, or they were killed off. Was he an unfeeling cad or a lonely man? I think all the above and I often wonder why female readers (including me) forgave him and couldn’t wait for his next exciting mission.
I’m a love in sex writer. In my first book, Perilous Love, Adrian’s world was wealth, privilege and an expensive mistress. He was an arrogant snob who despised his plain, uninteresting wife until they were betrayed on the eve of WW1. When a wary trust grows into love, their sex is like an awakening. In my second book. Lies of Gold, my characters had a brief passionate affair that ended in bitterness. Ten years later, treason and danger bring them together, but a lot of water has gone under the bridge. When they do rediscover their love, it is with intense emotion and healing. While the love scenes are fairly descriptive, they are also very emotional. I think its more satisfying for them, and more important, for us.
Jan Selbourne grew up in Melbourne, Australia. Her love of literature and history began as soon as she could read and hold a pen. Her career started in the dusty world of ledgers and accounting, then a working holiday in the UK brought the history to life. Now retired, Jan can indulge her love of writing and travel. She has two children, a stray live in cat, and lives near Maitland, New South Wales.
Lies of Gold
Their love affair ended in anger and painful consequences. Lady Katherine Ashford has guarded a secret through years of abuse. Fighting wars and hard living has numbed Julian Ashford. Then fate steps in. A traitor is smuggling gold across the Channel to Napoleon Bonaparte and Julian is ordered back to Halton Hall and Katherine. It’s her secret and the increasing danger that rekindle the love they once shared, then a murder reveals the shocking truth of the gold smuggling. However, nothing could prepare them for the devastating betrayal when they finally face the mastermind behind this sordid operation.