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Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!
Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!

Friday, 18 August 2017

A Wyvern Rant

I am sorry, but I have to take a break from my backlist party today, to post some more personal considerations.

Ever since Doris O'Connor posted a link to this astonishing article here I have felt a “Wyvern Rant” building up. Those who know me well know that I don’t rant halfway, but no, this time I will be moderate... more or less. We are all authors here and I don’t want to hit anyone on the head (well, I do want, but we can’t always have nice things, can we??)

So why do we write “pornography”?
Unlike some of my colleagues I don’t even object to my books (at least some of them) being called pornography. I didn’t exactly overexert myself coming up with a plot for Black Carnival, for example. Let’s face it, there’s just enough plot to string the sex scenes together. Still, it is considered poor taste to call it Porn. We do strive to write about lovable characters, not just about mating bodies. Still. Nowadays even calling a book Erotica is dicey. So, let’s agree to call it Erotic Romance. Whatever you call it, it’s still sex. 
Why do I write about it? Because I love words, and I love sex. I like flowers, horses, ducks and ships too, and I like to write about all these things too. But I got to admit that writing about sex is more intriguing. 
I don’t think there is anything in life more fabulous that good sex. What can I say.
We all have our little manias. Like, you, Philippa, have this thing for dead kings and queens, and that is fine, fine. I mean, my publisher probably would not touch it because it’s necrophilia, which is considered poor taste in some circles, but it’s ok, I don’t judge you, we all have our little quirks. I have this thing for carpentry. Once had a memorable orgasm, while reading  a very technical book called “The American Built Clipper Ship”. To this day, the words “black-locust trunnel” sends a sinful shiver up my queer wood-working back. As I said, we all get off on something or other, live and let live, right?
Why do we write about sex… Jesus, have you ever written poetry? Have you EVER had an orgasm, Philippa? Tell me, as a writer, is there anything more challenging than describing the utterly indescribable, flirting with disaster, always on the edge of the dreaded precipice, that purple prose, always wondering if that one metaphor is one too many, one too far? Always wondering if you can capture at least the ghost of that fantastic moment… Always wondering, are words, ever, enough?

In the bound red obscurity

Of my blind, tied body

My world is only – you

Your silence is my dark night-sky

Your skin is the warm earth upon which I stand

Your fingertips open the path for me

Your tongue is the river that sweeps me away

From the darkness

Into raging phosphorescent seas

Floating in silver waves – foam and salt tears

And your member - deep inside me

Is the life tree of this world

Its roots hold me fast into time and place

But its wind-blown top

Is the sea-voice of the storm

No, I mean, I am a gardener, and I love flowers, but even a million squillions daffodils won’t bring me to such a pitch of poetic fervour. No, it takes a lover and a good oestrogen high to get me in that state of wordy passion. 
I write about sex because it is beautiful and immensely powerful and ineffable. Because it is alive, it is life, and one good shag is worth a thousand dead kings. Have you ever had oral sex so mind-bogglingly good that you had visions? (yes, this literally happened to me, no I don’t do drugs, and yes, my husband is that good, what can I say, suck it up, Philippa). Have you ever longed for somebody so much that every curve of their body became an object of agonizing worship? Have you ever loved someone so painfully that the first touch of their skin brought tears to your eyes? Are you seriously telling me that these things, some of the most elemental things a human being can ever experience, are not worth writing about, are not worth deploying excellent prose for, when so many words are wasted every day on so many trivial objects?
Why do we write about sex?
Because so much we do and are in our life, whether we like to admit or not is dictated by our subconscious, and boy is our subconscious bashed about by our sexual instinct… I think the way people have sex, tells a lot about them. When I was writing Spellbreakers, there was so much world-building in it, that I seriously considered stripping the sex scenes out of it, and submitting it as a fantasy novel. But then I realized, while rewriting it this way, that I had lost a very significant chunk of the characters’ personas and development. I don’t think you HAVE to use sex to explore your characters’ psyche, but it is one hell of a way to do it. We are (sometimes) at our most raw and unguarded during sex. It is something worth exploring.
Am I saying that all romance is excellent literature? Hell no. But then, MOST LITERATURE is not excellent literature. Quality, or lack of it, is not confined to some genres or other, dear Philippa.
Ok, rant over. Do leave a sexy comment below for a chance to win a e-copy of either Black Carnival or Spellbreakers, your choice. Let’s celebrate.


  1. *stands up and applauds*

    Bravo, Kathleen. Not only was that an epic rant, you summed up beautifully why I enjoy writing sex. We're all the product of it, after all, and truly awesome sex is worth shouting about.
    I always feel sorry for those folks, who can't even seem to bring themselves to say the word.

  2. The sanctimoniousness of Phillipa is what got me. Don't like romance? Fine, don't read or write it. But she struck me as another one of those disdainful lit writers who are jealous as hell about the attention and popularity of tales that don't end in woe. Ironic, considering her work sells pretty well as I recall. Great post, Katherine.

  3. *stands and applauds*

    Well said Katherine! Sex is a beautiful expression of love. Sometimes it's just a damn good shag. Either way, I enjoy reading about it. Why not write it?
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Oh, yes. It's all about the visions!

  5. Hey everyone, the little bits of paper in the jar have spoken and Siobahn is the winner of this giveaway! Thank you so much for taking part, and stay tuned for future giveaways in the next couple months! :)
    Love you all!


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