“Not what we’re looking for at the moment.”
“Like it but don’t love it.”
“I could put it down. Not great for a suspense novel.”
Sheesh! You want to be a writer? You’d better develop a thick skin.
I had three or four finished novels at the time. I could keep writing or try something else—a different genre, for example. Around 2009, erotica was a big deal. Stories of successful erotic romance authors were all over the romance blogs. I’d never even read erotica. Could that be my ticket to publication? How hard could writing a sexy story be?
Erotica embraces all the genres, including sub-genres and sub-sub genres—BDSM, gay, contemporary, paranormal, etc. To keep it simple, I needed to write story lines that were as close to what I’m comfortable writing as possible, only with more, um, sex. After all, would Janet Evanovich or Carl Hiaasen write political thrillers? Would John Sanford or Daniel Silva write cozy mysteries? Though I wrote suspense, my books were also character-driven. I’d concentrate more on the relationships between my characters instead of full-on twisted murderous plots.
At a museum auction, Charlotte is eyed by Alex Andros, an attractive man her lawyer girlfriend describes as the attorney/lover of a Boston mob figure. Alex saves her from an unwanted assault by an old boyfriend at the auction and makes no bones that he’s interested in Charlotte. In spite of what she knows about him, his allure is hard to ignore. Is he straight or is he gay? Should she run the other way?
When I finished the book to my satisfaction, I sent it off to a few of the best online erotic romance publishers, and Loose Id accepted it. They also accepted the next book, The Escort,
My third book, Dark Side Night, was published by Ellora’s Cave.
All these books were fun to write but tricky too. For erotica to work, there has to be genuine chemistry between the characters so the sex has meaning. All three stories take place within a short time period, which makes it more of a challenge for readers to care for the characters, root for them, and feel their passion.
Since their publications, I’ve retained the rights to all three, redid the covers, and self-published them. (Notice I wrote them using a pseudonym.) I’m not sure they’re the kind of erotic work readers of the genre crave. My books are tame compared to some I’ve read. The more erotic, hard-core domination/submission books do far better than mine do. It was a worthy experiment and allowed me to have my books published by good publishers. I even have another almost finished that I might publish one day.
Most writers keep sex scenes “behind closed doors” because a good sensual sex scene is difficult to write. Don’t believe me? Try it sometime.
Polly Iyer is the author of seven novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and three books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, and Backlash. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.