Lisa Jackson's new thriller, Chosen To Die, has just been released, so it's a pleasure to have her do a guest blog today. And, she seems a little surprised about the typical question she gets about her books. Thank you, Lisa, for addressing this vital question.
OH, THOSE HOT LOVE SCENES . . .
Invariably, and usually from a man who has just finished reading one of my books, I get the question: "How do you know so much about sex?"
Even one of my male friends (married to one of my female friends) asked, and he's a doctor!
Really, after reading one of my books, this is the question? Not about police procedure, or a serial killer's motive, or the profession of the heroine or even how to kill someone? Not about racking up the pages and trying like hell to make the story arc make sense? Not about spending days and nights writing under a deadline? Not about creating the characters?
Nuh-uh. It's how I know so much about sex. Usually, I sarcastically toss back, "Because I've lived it all. I only write about what I know personally." Oh, sure. That sets them back a step or two. Then I say, "It's fiction and I'm blessed with a great imagination." That's the true part. And I do know they're just asking--that it's almost a compliment. Really. But I find it a little odd.
Anyway, I think every writer has their assets and flaws. I am a horrible speller and really don't type all that well, or didn't when I started writing. I repeat myself and don't see the errors in my manuscript, but man, oh, man, can I visualize a scene. That's what I mean by the great imagination. I do see the book as a movie. However, putting that scene on paper so that the reader sees what I see and feels what the characters feel is really difficult. Yes, even sex scenes. And that's what they're called by the people who ask about them. They never inquire about a "love" scene.
Now, I'm not fifteen years old. I AM a mother. I HAVE been married. I HAVE had sex (please, don't tell my mom!) Is it really such a stretch that I can write about sex as well as I can write about a car chase, or walking a dog, or waiting tables? Of course sex is not as comfortable (for me) as writing about some other subjects, but it's a part of life and part of my stories, so I try to write really good ones.
I worry about them, just as I worry about every scene. While writing CHOSEN TO DIE, for example, the hero and heroine are separated right from the get go. In fact, the heroine, Regan Pescoli, a tough as nails detective for the Sheriff's Department, has been kidnapped by the killer, so I had to really work to get a love scene into the book. Why bother? Because I think it was important. Now, not every book I write has a love scene, but in the case of Pescoli and CHOSEN TO DIE, it just felt right to let the readers know of the passion she feels for the hero; the love scenes propelled the heroine and hero and hopefully helped the reader understand the characters better.
We'll see if, after someone reads the book, I get asked that same old question.
Lisa Jackson's website is www.lisajackson.com
Chosen to Die by Lisa Jackson. Kensington, ©2009. ISBN 9781420102772 (paperback), 480p.