Friday, March 12, 2010
Kinsey W. Holley is a pen name. Kinsey is the name of my sister-in-law’s dog, W. is the initial of another sister-in-law, and Holley is a family name.
When I first started writing romance a couple years ago, I submitted material to contests under my real name. When I started to place in contests, I thought – holy crap, maybe I can actually get published one day.
Then I thought – Eek! I write graphic sex! There are SO many people whom I wouldn’t want to know about this!
So I made up a pen name.
I'm not ashamed of what I write, but I will confess to a little…embarrassment. One of the sisters-in-law scoffs at this. She says that if she could write books, she’d be so proud of herself she’d tell everyone.
“Okay,” I said. “Pretend you’ve written a scene with the words “clit” and “cock” in it, and then give it to someone’s mother to read. Not your mother, because she’s imperturbable. But someone else’s mother. Or someone your mother-in-law goes to church with. Or one of the guys in your office.”
She thought about it – and agreed that maybe she wouldn’t tell everyone what she wrote.
I've told plenty of people what I do, including one of the librarians I work with. (I just can't see telling my boss. She really doesn't strike me as a romance reader.) Many of my friends have bought and enjoyed Kiss and Kin. But I'm still not ready for people I go to church with, or people Diva goes to school with, or my mother’s husband, or my mothers’ friends – or, you know, my mother – to read this stuff. I may never be. My father-in-law - my father-in-law, people – read my book. Why in God's name did my sister-in-law (that would be the one with the W. initial, not the one with the imperturbable mom) – tell him about it?
Am I being a hypocrite? A coward? If so, I’m not sure I care. Like many people right now, the Hub and I are going through a very rough patch economically; this is not a great time to be a small business owner. I am so grateful every month when I get that royalty statement. If anyone ever criticized me for writing hot romance, I'd point out that my hot romance is paying for my daughter to attend a school we probably couldn't otherwise afford, and for that reason alone I'm glad I do it.
I suppose I could write less steamy sex. But I write paranormal romance, not urban fantasy, and I think most paranormal romance readers expect a certain heat level. I don’t consider my stuff to be erotic romance because the sex-to-story ratio is rather low. I mean, the sex scenes are lengthy and graphic, but they aren’t numerous. In the full length novel I just submitted there are only two sex scenes, and it’s a 100,000 plus word novel.
I’m thinking about this a lot lately because three copies of Shifting Dreams, the anthology in which Kiss and Kin appears, showed up yesterday. I was so psyched! I didn’t even know they were coming. KnK has been available in e format, of course, since June, but yeah – as much as I trumpet ebooks and how wonderful the epub model can be for authors, there is just something magical about holding wood pulp in my hands and looking at my name on the cover:
And then Diva – a reader like her mommy – said, “Oh, a new book! What’s it about?” And I said, “Um, don’t worry about it. It’s a grown-up book.” And she said, “Is it your book, Mommy? The one you wrote?”
Because she knows I write. She knows I’ve written a book, and that it’s been published and that Daddy likes the money it’s brought in. She knows we don’t tell people about the fact that Mommy writes books. But I had to tell her about my writing, because I spend a hell of a lot of time on the laptop and I don’t want her to think I’m ignoring her in order to play video games or something. This is a money-making venture (I hope), and it will benefit her (I hope), and I want her to know about it.
I just don’t want her to read about it. Or tell anyone about it.
Posted by Kinsey Holley at 9:00 AM