I was telling someone the plot for the next Dreams & Reality novel, when I finished they just stared at me, mouth open slightly, a terrified look on their face, and then walked away. It’s a situation I deal with often. They thought I was insane and I might be, but I’m a writer. Being a writer is weird. Being a writer of thrillers is disconcerting. Being a woman that writes thrillers is like the Unholy Trifecta.
It never fails, when I start talking about my books, I get asked about the love interest. Um, what love interest? Seriously, if you want romance, I can recommend a few writers (also, I know a few erotica writers too if that’s more your thing), but I don’t touch the stuff. Sociopaths trying to save humanity from itself really don’t have much time for dating, let alone time for some red hot nookie… There are things to be done, like saving the world from serial killers. With a Dreams novel, who wants to have a chapter where my killer is skinning a woman alive and then follow that chapter with Cain picking up some guy for explicit sex? Isn’t skinning a woman alive graphic enough?
That’s really the part that bothers me most. I don’t mind the looks of horror when I talk about my serial killer thrillers. I don’t mind being told I’m going to Hell for writing about demons who go to church. I do mind the assumption that just because I’m a woman, my female characters have to have a love interest. It’s hard to get guys to read thrillers written by women to begin with, but I also have to convince them that it isn’t your stereotypical thriller with a romantic subplot. No sex, but lots of blood, guts and gore – definitely not for those with weak stomachs. It’s so bad with the Dreams novels, I find I have actually started inserting the phrase “she’s asexual” somewhere near the beginning of the conversation.
I know, I’ve talked about this topic before, but I’m going to keep talking about it because it is a very annoying cliche. I’m a girl, my books must have romance, especially with a female lead. I believe there are a group of female writers out there just like me, who want more blood and gore and less romance and sex in their books, but are afraid to remove the romance because it is expected of them. I get that sex sells books (this is another reason for having never signed a publishing contract “main character must be able to sustain at least one romantic relationship during the series” and my absolute favorite “Great story line, try putting a little sex in it”… if it’s so great, why does it need a little sex in it?!? Yes, yes, sex sells books, it also sells porn movies, if they want sex, they can buy Bree’s Beach Party)… let the writers write what they want, without expecting them to conform to some gender-based biased. Look at Nicholas Sparks… he writes romance novels! Where the hell is the blood and gore? Why isn’t his main character some bad-ass who’s charming the lady while cutting off some guy’s fingers for information about the lost treasure of the Flying Spaghetti monster?
Yes, it’s unholy… a woman who writes about gore and not love… someone bring out the pina coladas and an exorcist…