Now that I have everyone’s attention we can proceed with the rest of the blog.
I’ll admit when Ella first asked me to guest blog, I panicked. You see, though I’ve studied critical literary analysis and dissected books through the various lenses, I tend to think in terms of emotions when I talk of plots, characters and genres, not proving theses through analytical prose. The old ghost of “am I good enough” reared its burial shrouded head to taunt, tease and otherwise undermine me. Then the tough chick side of me said, “Come on, you’re talking about erotic romances in sci-fi and futuristics. You know this stuff.” And so I should—and do. Intimately.
To say I fell into writing hotter works of futuristic and science-based romances is indeed entirely accurate. I never really planned to do more than write stories I was interested in reading, no matter the heat level. However, often are the times in a writer’s life when a bit of divine provenance is looking down and smiling. Such was the moment a few years back—I think about ’06—when having finished reading a novel in bed and still not sleepy, I decided to pick up a volume of Red Sage’s Secrets I had received at a writers’ conference. I knew after a few pages into the story I wanted to write for them. Had to write for them. The stories weren’t only sexy, but they were very well written, entire works of intricate world-building, conflicts and resolutions right there in 35,000 words. Granted, the volume I had in my hot little hands did not offer any sci-fi or futuristic plots, but I didn’t even hesitate to decide the first book I’d send them was a world where computers had taken over the government and the programmer responsible now had to undo the damage he’d caused.
Fatal Error became the launching pad for my career. It was not only my first sale, but opened my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t the only one who liked steamy sex along with circuits, gadgets, gizmos and FTLs. There was a whole segment of the reading population out there who enjoyed the same.
Then there are the critics who want no sex or love at all in their sci-fi and poo-poo any and all mention of such. I find this a little funny and ironic since both love and sex are what helps to propagate a species. I went for about six months there where I decided I didn’t want to read any romance at all. Not because I fell out of love with the genre, but because every once in a while I like to cleanse my reading palate. So I go to my local library and browse the sci-fi section to catch up on some older books I hadn’t yet read. Authors like Bruce Sterling and Charles Sheffield, Kim Stanley Robinson and Stephen R. Donaldson fell into my hands like little nuggets from the gods. I devoured their books with a hunger that would have made a Velociraptor proud. Well written, thoughtful, insightful just what I love in a book—and guess what else? If you guessed a secondary love story, you’d see confetti flying and hear the noisemakers squealing. You see, it might not be the primary focus of those authors’ works, and it might not even appear in all of their books – I don’t know because I haven’t even begun to read all their catalogs—but the titles I read did venture into the realm of love.
And why shouldn’t they? Love, desire, want, need for another is a very human emotion. It helps to drive and motivate us as a species. Writing a love interest into a story, even as a secondary or tertiary thread, helps to round out a plot and ground it in reality. At least that has always been my take on the matter. In fact, this discovery inspired me to reach higher in my own writing.
My second book for Red Sage, titled, Falling Stars introduced nanites capable of traveling through the neuro-network of a starfighter to infect the pilot through mimicking both the fluid from the ship and humanoid blood. The more I wrote in the genre, the more evolved the plots became. Like my programmer and my starfighter pilot, I was on a mission. Granted my work was a lot hotter sexually and the relationships more front and center than the aforementioned sci-fi icons’ works, but they did teach me that marrying sex and science could work.
When the ebook revolution hit, it became apparent that I could write bigger, longer more detailed books and really get into the world-building and series stretching story arcs. I reached a state of author nirvana when I sold my first full length sci-fi erotic romance to Loose Id. Bad Religion begins a trilogy with characters determined to set their country free in a time of religious persecution and rampant genocide.
If you are thinking I do not take the easy way out of telling a story, you’d be correct. A lot of my books deal in topics that might make people uncomfortable—but that’s all right. The job of a writer is to highlight, reveal and otherwise expose injustices and bring them to light, even if they are done against the backdrop of fiction and threaded with sex. Books are escapism and education rolled into one. Personally I love to bring people together in my stories and place obstacles in their way—each new roadblock bigger than the one before until it all reaches critical mass. Will they make it, will the villain prevail? Maybe.
Honestly, that’s the most fun of writing the romance angle. Happily Ever Afters are pretty much guaranteed. We know the lovers will be together in the end, even if the world they know is dramatically changed or who they are inside is irrevocably altered—and for me, that’s a pretty good deal.
K. Scott, ‘13
Kathleen Scott writes from her home office located in the rolling hills of northern NJ, surrounded by her hubby, dog and thousands of books. You can find her on twitter @MKMancosKScott or at her website www.MysticKat.com – Kathleen will also be signing books and speaking on a panel about sci-fi at the Twisted World Divine Decadence conference on April 27th.
If you are over 18 and would like a chance to enter and win a copy of her novel Bad Religion: Mystics and Warriors book I, please say so in the comments.