Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Keep your hand on your ha'penny! by Cathy Ace

 Q: How do you handle sex in your books? Or, if you don’t, why not?

A. The title of this piece might suggest I do write about sex in my books, and that, when I do, my advice to those concerned would be to abstain. But...I don't write about the act of sex at all. 

Across three short works and nine novels, Cait Morgan and Bud Anderson have met, dated, got engaged, married, honeymooned, and now have a happy - if somewhat peripatetic - marriage. I'm certain they also enjoy whatever they consider to be a happy sex life, but they don't discuss it with me because it's their business, not mine, so it doesn't end up being mentioned in the books I write about them. 

Thanks to Free@LastTV for this wonderful photo!

The women who work at the WISE Enquiries Agency? Carol Hill and her husband must have had sex, because she's just had a baby; Mavis MacDonald and her late husband produced children, but she's very much a singleton-widow, so I think not; Annie Parker wouldn't be averse to a sex life, but probably doesn't think there's much chance of one now she's left her beloved London and got stuck in a Welsh village in the back of beyond...though there's always Tudor Evans, who runs the Lamb and Flag pub next to the church, of course; then there's Christine Wilson-Smythe, the looks of her "bad-boy-beau" Alexander very definitely sexually active - but, again, that's her business, not mine, so I don't write about it. 

In the village of Rhosddraig, Wales, where I set The Wrong Boy, there have been sexual liaisons of all sorts taking place over decades...which is why so many people there have secrets, I suppose. Certainly what has gone on behind closed curtains there isn't something I about which I choose to share the details. But that doesn't stop the local tongues from wagging, of course, nor the poison of gossip fulfilling its destructive potential. 

Why no sex? So far I haven't chosen it to be a motivating force in any of my plots, though in The Wrong Boy passion and desire certainly play key roles...but there's no need for the detail of sex acts to be used in that book for the implications of the passions and desires involved to come into play.

Thus, I haven't written a single sex scene yet, and don't foresee me doing it any time soon. So yes, thank you, I'll be keeping my hand on my metaphorical ha'penny for some time, in terms of writing, thank you. 

The Kindle version of my first two WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries are currently available for just $0.99/99p...CLICK HERE to get to more info and purchasing links. 

If you'd like to find out more about how I don't write about sex, please consider visiting my website to find out more about all my characters: CLICK HERE


Paul D. Marks said...

Interesting to see how different people handle this question, Cathy. Seems from the posts this week that odds are in favor of less is more.

Cathy Ace said...

Yes, it's certainly a question that gives one pause...LOL!

Lawrence Maddox said...

A fun romp! Your "good sex leads to bad writing' should become a writing tenet.