Back to Sex (No Sex)

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Thank you to those who responded to my comments last week – I truly do appreciate hearing from you. When I mentioned I was going to return to The Heist and exorcise the sex from the novel, I caused a bit of a stir and I thought I’d follow up this week to clarify what I meant, my motivation for making changes and what that means for any future books I publish.

Some of you were concerned I was caving into the “Disneyfication” of our world, which meant you thought I was cleaning up my act, perhaps bowing to some unmentioned pressure and that this meant there might even be happy ever after tales flowing from my fingertips in the future. Others applauded my decision as they felt I was delivering against the crime fiction promise to describe crimes in intense detail but not to include intimate scenes because they are not part of the mainstream crime fiction genre.

Let me try to expand on my reasons – and forgive me if you find this talk of sex all a bit unnecessary and unwanted. I write because I love doing it but I publish because I want people to read my stories. The more people who read my novels, the better I feel as an indy publisher. My genre is crime fiction – if you read my posts from the start of this year then you will see the tragic consequences of my foray into detective fiction. Not a pretty sight.

As a result, I want as many people to read my crime fiction as possible and that means I listen to my customers, those who read my books. Enough feedback from The Heist has come in for me to know two things. First, the original story as published was too confusing and there was too much perceived repetition across the multiple viewpoint scenes. So I removed them. Second, the amount of sex in the book turns some readers off. Now, up until now I have told myself that the reader learns much about each character within these scenes. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think it matters. What is important to me is that people get to the end of the book having enjoyed the ride and then want to read more of my work. If that means taking out some scenes and replacing them with something else (or nothing) then that is a price I am more than willing to pay.

For the record, this is not going to have a huge impact on my future output. So The Death and Life of Penny Pitstop, which is out on October 21, is filled to the brim with sex and financial crime but The Bowery Slugger, out on November 10, has no sex at all. I shall also try to be clearer in the blurbs when the content is steamy.

Let me know your thoughts. Do you mind if there are explicit sex scenes in my writing? Is it something you like or hate? Do you not care either way and just wish I’d hurry up and finish my next book? Whatever, do tell me.

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