While I was writing “Volle,” I wanted to show people that you could have a novel that included sex scenes and a good story that made use of those scenes. But my only experience with adult fiction was short stories in which, y’know, there’s a certain pacing. How much sex was right for a novel? Weeeeell… I started out with implied sex, to let people know that this is that kind of book and to show the kind of character Volle was. And then I sort of sprinkled sex in liberally over the book, and although I maintain that all the sex scenes are in the flow of the story, I will also say that having Volle introduced to a brothel partway through the first section opened the story up for more sex scenes than if I’d introduced him to, say, a church.
The point being, I was playing around with pacing and sex scenes. Many people told me that by the latter half of the book, they skimmed the sex impatiently to get back to the plot, which I thought was pretty cool. So okay. Less sex.
Out of Position grew out of three short stories, which form the beginning of that novel, and short stories, as I have said, have their own pacing. So the novel is front-loaded with sex. The second half of OOP and the next three books, so far, have much less sex. I think OOP2-4 have like two explicit scenes and maybe a couple implicit ones per book. Of course, in OOP4 there’s less sex because of the injury, but–oh, wait, you haven’t read that one yet.
Anyway. In general, my furry fans have been much more vocal about wanting story over sex (although someone did comment that “Camouflage” is “good but lacking in gay sex,” to which I can only say “be careful what you wish for”). So it was interesting going to Bent-Con last week and encountering a mostly non-furry gay crowd.
People there were gratifyingly enthusiastic about OOP, but their focus was more on the sex. Apparently while I wasn’t there, one person asked if IP had as much sex and when told “no,” opted to buy “Volle” instead. So okay, it’s a different audience, and that’s great. People like what they like, and whatever level my books appeal on, I’m happy about.
You know, my novels have been getting less sexual, from “Shadow of the Father” (two scenes, a mostly non-sexual story) to “Green Fairy” (no sex; the entire “Dangerous Spirits” series will be no more than R-rated and “Red Devil” isn’t even that). People don’t seem to mind, and it does open them up to a slightly broader audience (I believe that the subset of people who are open to a gay story but absolutely will not pick up a book with explicit sex is small but worth writing for).
But I am not abandoning sex! OOP will of course remain sexual. My Cupcake series in general has been a place for experimentation. “Bridges” is a series of short porny stories with heart behind them; “Science Friction” caused Fred Patten to write that he had difficulty finding a PG excerpt for his review. “Winter Games” is less so, and “The Mysterious Affair of Giles” is non-sexual, but the Cupcake after that (written immediately after I finished “Giles” and possibly in a reaction to it) is full of a gay wolf doing gay wolf things with other gay people. FFS, it starts with him waking up naked at a party trying to remember whom he just had sex with (like you do). So yeah, there will be sexytime stories for those of you who like them, and in the meantime the novels will do what they do. Both the OOP and “Dangerous Spirits” series will wrap up in the next couple years, and after that, who knows? I have a gay romancey tennis book that will have some sex in it, and a fantasy book that doesn’t, and the Calatians novels that mostly don’t (it’s implied in some parts).
It’s cool to know there are people who really like the sex as well as the story. I used to worry that they got in each other’s way, and now I just look at it like this: I’m writing books that appeal to a bunch of different people for different reasons. So that’s pretty cool.