Before I submitted my new M/M science fiction romance Quarantine, I asked a fellow author to read and critique it. She writes scifi and M/M erotica, so I figured she'd be an appropriate person to consult. In general, her reaction was positive, but she had the following comment:
I always have a bit of trouble with people on the run stopping to have sex, but it seems to be a standard of erotic romance, so it's probably okay.
Her observation gave me pause. It's true that my heroes, Dylan and Rafe, spend much of the book as fugitives. That doesn't stop them from having sex every chance they get. They just can't help it – the mutual attraction is too strong to resist. In fact they make love in some fairly desperate circumstances. I hadn't really noticed until K pointed it out, but this is one unrealistic aspect in my hopefully plausible story about the near-future. Should I change this? I wondered. Take out the more unbelievable scenes, or revise the circumstances?
After mulling this question for a while, I decided to leave the book as it was. After all, readers choose erotic romance in order to vicariously experience intense love as well as a fantastic erotic connection. They're not going to complain if the heroes get it on more frequently than would be likely in real life. Furthermore, every sex scene also advances the plot and helps to reveal – or change – the characters. If I cut one, I'd have to do more rework to accomplish the same objectives in some other way.
In any case, K is right: love on the run is an accepted convention in erotic romance. I've read many romance novels that include examples of sex in implausible but dramatic circumstances. That didn't spoil my appreciation in the least.
As I prepared for my recent blog tour, however, I realized I have one really extreme case of this trend. In a scene near the end of the book, Dylan has been seriously injured in a grenade blast. He's lying in the hospital, his entire head bandaged, restrained so that he doesn't disturb the drips and tubes – but he still, somehow, desires Rafe. Is this too much? I hope not! Because it's a sexy and emotional scene. I don't have the space to include the excerpt here, but you can read it on my website.
I like to think that my stories are fairly believable. Sometimes, though, we authors sacrifice a bit of realism in the service of narrative impact. We hope that in the heat of the moment, our readers won't mind.
About the Author:More than a decade ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published four single author short story collections and seven erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.
Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory or her blog Beyond Romance.
When love is forbidden, the whole world's a prison.
Dylan Moore will do anything for freedom. Seven years ago, a gay plague spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centres like desolate Camp Malheur. Since then, Dylan has hacked the camp's security systems and hoarded spare bits of electronics, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility's defences.
Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with Rafe. Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can't resist the other man's charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.
Dylan's plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they're both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, homophobic ideologues and a powerful man who wants Dylan as his sexual toy. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn there's far more than their own safety at stake. Can they help prevent the deaths of millions more people? And can Rafe trust the love of a man who deliberately seduced him in order to escape from quarantine?