Even though I released my novel nearly 10 months ago, I never gave a copy to my parents. I don’t ever intend to, and I really hope they won’t read my book – even though I dedicated my book to my family.
This is mainly because of The Dark Proposal‘s content. I would be mortified if my parents – especially my dad – read the explicit sex scenes. I don’t think I could be in the same room with him if I knew he read that part, at least not for a while. My parents are very conservative when it comes to sex, so to have their baby girl write such a scene would be so awkward for us.
My two sisters read my book, and they were OK with it. They may have teased me a bit, but no awkward moments. That was a relief.
But I could never allow my parents to read my book, or anything I else I write if it has any swearing or graphic sex. It is also because I wouldn’t want my parents to know that side of me, the one that is more at ease with graphic content.
I’ve heard about some authors keeping their families in mind when they write. Some authors have said they wouldn’t want to write anything that would embarrass their parents or their children. “Who would want their parents to know they write gore/erotica?” they say.
Well, first off, there’s always a pen name to give you more creative freedom. And secondly, I think the question that all writers need to ask is, who are you writing for? Are your parents your audience or thousands of potential readers?
Now, I am not saying it is OK to blow off your parents and do what you want (depending on your relationship with them, which is a whole other story). I’m only saying that sometimes, artists need to be true to their vision. If you want to write a romance book that will include plenty of steamy sex, and you want to do this with all your heart, why not? And if your parents don’t understand, well, you’re an adult (I hope) and sometimes you’ve got to live life on your own terms.
Now, I don’t have any children, as of yet. I don’t think when I do become a mom that I will tone down the content of my books. I have a lot of ideas that will take many years to produce, so I don’t want to wait till my youngest is 18 years old so I could finally write that novel that may include explicit sex. I also don’t intend to write any children’s book as of now, so I’ll be writing books meant for older audiences for a while. Once I have kids, I’ll figure out how to explain to them what their mother writes and why. I’m sure having a writer mom will be a good start for my future kids being OK with my books contain.
The thing is, I’m an author. I’m an artist. I have ideas. I have questions to ask and ideas to explore. I think I will feel stifled if I didn’t do all these things. I’m fortunate that I have family members who are not judgmental of what I write. I feel sad for the authors who do, because it must really sting knowing your parents or siblings are dismayed by what you’ve written. All I can say is, you have to be true to yourself in life.
If you are an author – or aspiring to be one – how does your family deal with the content of your work? Are they also bothered by the genre or message? Oh, and if you have any funny stories to tell, please do!