Monday, February 21, 2011

Sex and the Local Library

Last Thursday, I spoke to the Friends of the Woodland Library in Woodland, California. It was really nice to be asked and the lovely woman in charge of publicity managed to get the local papers to run about four different articles about me and my books. It's hard to beat publicity like that, especially with a new book coming out in a couple of weeks.

I asked if there was anything in particular they wanted me to speak about and the answer was that they wanted me to speak about romance. It was Valentine's week, after all, and I was a romance author. Great. Easy peasy, right?

Except nothing about these talks is easy peasy for me. My sister is a professor and I swear she can pull intelligent and witty lectures out of bodily orifices in about ten seconds flat. She often points out to me that she has been teaching at the University level for thirty years now, has put together a lot of lectures from which she can pull information and strcuture and simply has a lot of experience with it. I disagree. I think she hogged all the good lecture genes, leaving me with strangely stunted and mutated little things that can't create a linear speech.

So I set to work toiling over my talk. I kept coming back to sex. Why did there have to be so much sex in romance novels? Why has it gotten more explicit? What does it mean? Does it mean that our books are chick porn? How has the sex changed? What's it like to write those sex scenes?

Which is how I ended up standing in front of the Friends of the Woodland Library including, but not limited to, the incredibly adorable teacher of Life Stories at the senior center and my spin instructor from the gym and my cousin's husband's brother's wife, and giving an impassioned salute to sex in romance novels.

And you know what? I think they liked it. I had about twenty minutes of great questions after I was done and sold a pile of books. I don't think they even noticed the giant zit that had sprouted on my chin that morning.

10 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

Hilarious - I gave a talk this weekend too and spent the first part of it talking about how worried I was that they WANTED me to talk about sex...I totally understand your stunted worries. If you want me to talk about writing craft stuff - I can go on for days...anything else sends me into a tizzy of doubt.

Your sister sounds amazing! What does she teach?

I can't wait for your new messenger book!!!

Eileen said...

LOL, Molly, we were like two sides of one coin. :-)

My sister is a professor of entomology (and an associate dean). I occasionally doubt that she's human. I think she might be a force of nature.

I'm looking forward to Dead on Delivery coming out, too. Did I mention that it's my first ever Top Pick from Romantic Times?

Maureen McGowan said...

Congrats on the top pick, Eileen!!!! Awesome. :)

And LOL about the talk. Oh, how I wish I'd been there.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Eileen! Congrats on the Top Pick. And your lecture sounds awesome.

Looking forward to DOD!

Sinead M said...

Congrats Eileen! Cannot wait to read it.

the idea of giving speeches gives me hives...

Ms. Lulu said...

Hi Eileen, love your post title "Sex and the Local Library"!
Who cares if it's girl porn, as long as it's GOOD girl porn!!!

Eileen said...

Thanks, everyone. I'm not sure I can describe how thrilled I was with that Top Pick designation. It's embarrassing, but I actually cried a little bit.

Ms. Lulu, we always want it to be good, but I found this really interesting quote from Northrop Frye about the difference between pornography and erotica and it really struck me. His contention was that the purpose of pornography was to stun and numb and the purpose of erotica was to stimulate. One of the reasons I love romance is that, frankly, I love love. So the idea that the erotic part of romance stimulates more love was totally groovy to me.

Ms. Lulu said...

Eileen, I should've been more specific, I was actually talking about the female-friendly type of erotica porn. They could be quite stimulating and very different from the stun and numb type.

Eileen said...

I think that's EXACTLY Frye's point, Miss Lulu. Well said.

Maureen McGowan said...

Eileen. Northrop Frye? LOVE that he said that. I had no idea. LOL. I didn't think anyone outside of Canada had heard of him. :)

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