Please welcome the lovely and talented Lucienne Diver to the Naughty Chicks clubhouse today. Aside from working as a successful agent, Lucienne is also a very talented YA author. Thanks so much for coming, Lucienne.
As I sat down to write this guest blog, I wondered if I had anything new to say about erotica beyond, “I enjoy it and my husband certainly appreciates when I read it.” So I wracked my brain. I could talk about the market, which boils down to, “Yes, things have tightened up everywhere, but there’s always room for original stories, well told, the hotter the better, whether they’re labeled erotica or not.”
That won’t do, I thought. They’ll be expecting more. So, I puttered. I made myself dinner. (Okay, I reheated dinner my husband had made because he’s the one with the skillz.) And I thought about it. What makes erotica so successful? What keeps us from skipping right to all the naughty bits? If any of you have heard me talk on the subject of erotica, you’ll know I’ve defined erotica vs. romantica in terms of chick-lit versus romance. Erotica and chick-lit are both more about the heroine’s search for self, whether it’s through sexual expression and discovering her deepest desires or finding the strength to go for what she truly wants, regardless of risks. Chick-lit and erotica are very much about a personal journey. Romance and romantica are a journey as well, but one in which the growth and the happily-ever-after are very much about finding the one and overcoming any obstacles to being with him or her. In romantica, whether it takes place in a sex club, a board room or a boudoir, it’s about a dedicated couple (or trio or…) finding and accommodating each other.
Ah ha! I thought. There lies the true crux of these genres – erotica, chick-lit, romance, romantica…the focus in many other fields is on what the characters have to lose, what’s at stake. It might be their lives in suspense/thrillers, or perhaps their freedom or their humanity in historicals or paranormals. But romantic women’s fiction in all its forms is more about how much the characters have to gain—their soulmates or themselves. It’s that that keeps us reading. Not just the sexy shower scenes or the hot and heavy threesomes, but the transformation, the brass ring at the end, whatever it might be, and the sense of satisfaction when the characters achieve it and the readers have made the journey with them.
So, yes, I like erotic fiction because it’s erotic. But I also love that in each novel or novella the characters haven’t merely thwarted a terror plot or brought a murderer to justice or kept from being burned at the stake—not that the word “merely” really applies to any of these!—but they’ve gained something very precious and truly to be celebrated.
Lucienne Diver joined The Knight Agency in 2008, after spending fifteen years at New York City’s prestigious Spectrum Literary Agency. Over the course of her seventeen-year career she has sold over six hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of over forty authors spanning the commercial fiction genres, primarily in the areas of fantasy, romance, mystery, suspense, erotica and young adult fiction fiction. Further information is available on The Knight Agency website: www.knightagency.net. She also blogs at http://varkat.livejournal.com.