So this morning I finished reading a book…and it was utterly unexpected.
The cover was naked and racy, the title mimicking the photo on the front so I thought it would be a silly sexy read that I really do love. I crave the escape of books in this genre. The easy push and pull of a new relationship, the heated looks, the whispers of touches that immerse you into their world with the awkward excitement of a new lover. It’s easy to be sucked in.
It’s not crazy intense, it’s not multiple books about middle earth in which you require a guidebook to figure out what the hell is going on. Sometimes you need a simple escape and book covers typically say a lot about what you’re getting yourself into.
But sometimes I am taken by surprise.
It wasn’t like that at ALL, well maybe a little, but once I was finished I stared at the cover for quite a bit. A whole bunch of thoughts tumbling into my busy brain at once and that is when I knew I had to write this out in a blog.
In the end, the book was a love story (plot shocker I know), but not a typical one that I was expecting. It was real and interesting and it took the entire book with years of friendship to happen. I realized that the cover was in no way reflective of how the book looked to me after I was done.
I’ll be honest, a lot of the books I read are smutty and I use that term with absolute endearment. I love the authors I follow, I think they are brilliant and I applaud the way they put themselves out there.
Christina Lauren, Penny Reid, Emma Chase…just a few that I count down to book release day. They mix humour, with characters that are flawed, but interesting. There is sex, but also relationships that are real and honest and not simply ‘Hey I like your boobs, I’m in love with you!’.
These are super smart women who love to write about love and sex and I am always in awe of the worlds they create. In real life Penny Reid works as a biotech researcher and Lauren from the Christina Lauren duo has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience…so like I said, they are SMART women.
Books provide my escape. I want to fall in love, I want to laugh, I want to read witty discussions and I want to be entertained. I don’t want to think about soccer practise, work deadlines, or the endless to-do list. So this book surprised me…and it also made me think.
To be honest I’ve been on the fence over whether I should still continue to write at all. Unsure whether I could let myself pursue it unabashedly and without fear that I will fail. Or knowing that judgement will happen regardless.
I know graphics, I know design, I have succeeded in this life, and I love it still. But when I write I feel inspired and excited. So much so that I would rather write then sleep. I would happily jump into another world that I can completely control for hours at a time. But I haven’t written in months. I sat down to write the second in the ‘Off Limits’ series, and I just felt blocked. I started to doubt. Began to tell myself to smarten up and maybe this is a waste of time.
I forgot about that feeling I get when I write.
I began to think that what I write is crap, so I held back. I stopped talking about it. I didn’t put it out there for anyone but close close friends to read. Friends, who I knew would like it. I started to think that I would be judged by my words or the cover. Like that book I just read.
I finished writing ‘Riley’ in November. I love this book. The few people who have read it, also loved this book. But I still hold back. I sit on it and start the cycle of depression that perhaps they were lying, perhaps it is a dumb thing. Perhaps I should make better use of my time.
I obsessed over how people would react to the book cover. Even though I designed it to be blurry and, I thought, pretty tasteful in relation to others that have naked dudes with girls’ legs wrapped around their bodies.
Would people start to think that it was something that I wrote about from experience? How I definitely must have had an affair with a young guy because that is who my main character is. Or maybe that I secretly want that to happen? I think about male authors and know that this would NEVER HAPPEN to them. No one would ever condemn a guy for writing a sex scene with a younger chick, not ever.
But this isn’t a feminist rant…not today anyways.
Would people make fun of it? Make fun of me for writing it? Would they say good job Kel, but then judge me as a silly mother who had better grow up and adult. It’s these thoughts that have silenced my blogs, my writing, as I continue to sit on something that maybe someone would actually like to read had they known about it.
It’s that line in the sand, that once I cross over, it’s out there. I mean, Finn happened to casually mention to his teacher, last year, that his mom was a writer and god love her, she googled me and found and bought my first book. I had no idea until she emailed me the most fantastic email to tell me how she loved it, that it was not her normal genre to read but loved it regardless and finished it within days. Now, this would be my young adult paranormal series, so it was out there, but again, it has no sex, no openly graphic scenes. So I stress thinking, what if his current teacher were to read my new book, holy fuck, what would happen then?
Someone once told me that I shouldn’t write things I’m embarrassed by and I am most definitely not embarrassed. I’m proud that I wrote it and I love my book characters. So much so that I have 2 more stories floating in my brain, waiting to be processed. But putting yourself out there, crossing that line. It’s a scary place.
I’ve never really cared what people thought of me before and I still don’t. I mean, not really. But this is the most ‘naked’ I have ever felt in sharing some of my art. Naked is a great word really. It’s vulnerable. It’s out there. I mean, my mother in law could potentially read this one day! The thought makes me sweat. But how else do we remain on the right path? And what is the correct path?
I’ve felt thrown off these last few months. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get back on that path. But when I think of my most happy moments, one of them is without a doubt finishing each of my books. Punching that last period and nearly crying with excitement. I think it would be a tragedy if I didn’t continue just for those gratuitous moments that I recall with perfect clarity. Even if no one but me loves them.
This is me.
Book in hand…and being proud of it.