Vicki Doudera here, getting ready to head to the “other” coast in a few weeks for Left Coast Crime in Sacramento, California. I’ll be moderating a panel, schmoozing with other writers, escaping mud season here in Maine, and hopefully selling copies of the third book in the Darby Farr Mystery series, the soon-to-be-released Deadly Offer.
Those of you who follow Darby’s exploits know she is a deal-making, crime-solving, real estate agent from a tiny island on the coast of Maine called Hurricane Harbor. At 17, she stole her aunt’s truck, took the ferry and careened across the country to Mission Beach, California. The first book in the series, A House to Die For, forced Darby back to Maine, and introduced a character who became her love interest, the British investigative journalist Miles Porter.
Darby and Miles have spent several books navigating the waters of early lust. In Killer Listing, second in the series, they made do with Skyping about their deepening feelings, because Miles was in Afghanistan reporting on the war. in Deadly Offer, Miles is once more stateside and by Darby’s side — at least for part of the book. She’s traveled to the lush vineyards of Northern California to help with the sale of a boutique winery, and between the murders, mayhem, and merlot, their romance begins to heat up. A little, anyway. Not quite a full boil, but a good simmer.
I just turned in the fourth book, Final Settlement. It takes place in the dead of a Maine winter, and now things between the two characters start to bubble away. I’m blushing as I type this, but that book contains my very first sex scene. One of my beta readers (okay, it was my husband) wrote in the margin of my MS: “Well done, honey, although a little short.”
He meant the length of the scene, I believe.
The truth is, those two pages of lovemaking were about all I could muster without writhing with embarrassment. Why is it I can write about a surgeon’s savage murder (A House to Die For) or detail a driven Realtor’s repeated stabbing (Killer Listing) without flinching a whit, and yet when it comes to describing a perfectly natural pastime that I myself have tried a few times, I squirm?
Is this the internal editor thing?The “oh-gosh-what-if-Mom-reads it” thing? Or — am I, despite my worldly ways — really one of those dreaded “nice girls,” a.k.a., a prude?
Have any of you writers out there had difficulties getting your characters between the sheets? Were you bashful at first and did it get easier? What about you guys? Is this just a girly problem? Readers of crime fiction, what do you think?
Here’s why I’m wondering. I’m currently reading a mystery that I picked off my sister-in-law in Portland’s shelf on the way to Mexico called Born in Death. It’s by JD Robb, a pen name for Nora Roberts, and I tell you what — that woman can write sex scenes. We are talking full rolling boil cascading over the sauce pan scenes. Scalding! Hot! Steamy! And, yes, I will admit it — enjoyable.
Which brings me back to Left Coast Crime. I see there is a panel that does not conflict with mine called Sex in Mysteries. You can bet yours truly will attend, and that I will be taking notes. Copious notes.
Even if I am blushing the whole darn time.