My mom is infinitely cooler than I am – always has been, always will be. I first started figuring this out when I was a pre-teen and my friends wanted to spend more time talking with my mom than with me because she gives such great advice and is a wonderful listener.
She’s the kind of open, honest person that every girl deserves to have as a parent. When I was young, she answered all of my questions about sex very frankly but also in a way that helped me understand that sex belonged between people who loved each other. It was a special act, but one that had appropriate words. Respectful words.
When I first told my mom I was writing a romance novel, she was thrilled. She’s not a romance reader, but she immediately asked if she could read my novel. For some reason, this weirded me out a little. It’s one thing to be seven and ask your mom where your baby cousin came from. It’s another to send her the sexy novel you wrote.
The first time she asked, I was totally unprepared for the question. I was just writing it to help me stay sane while a nasty hosebeast of a work project tried to drown me. Read my sexy story? No way – no one would ever! So I just cringed and said, “Maybe when it’s finished,” knowing full well that I would probably never finish it.
Then I finished the draft and she asked again. “Maybe after I’ve gotten feedback from a few other people. It’s really rough right now, Mom. I don’t want you to see it until it’s ready.”
After a while, she figured out I was just making excuses and she asked, “Do you feel awkward because it has sex in it?”
“Don’t worry about that,” she said. “I might learn something.”
At which point I silently vowed she would never read it.
I finally told her that she could read it if it was ever published. “As soon as a professional editor has given it her stamp of approval, Mom, I’ll send it to you.”
Of course, that was when my confidence that it would ever be published had disappeared. I thought I was pretty safe making a promise like that. Fast forward a year, and I had a publishing contract and had gone through a few rounds of editing with a pro. When my editor sent me the final version, I knew my excuses had run out.
So I sent my mom my novel last week. I told her she should feel free to skip certain parts. In fact, I encouraged her to. I asked if she wanted me to send her a redacted copy. She said, “I think I can figure out on my own when something’s about to happen.”
Almost immediately, she started sending me emails telling me what she’s enjoying about my story. (“I like the way you present mysteries as the story goes along. Very engaging and intriguing. – Mom”)
I realized how silly I’d been to worry about her reading the sex scenes. It’s not that I worried about her judging me or asking me awkward questions – she’s not like that. There’s just always been something in the back of my brain that made me feel weird about the thought of her reading the sex scenes I’d written.
I skyped with her and my dad yesterday, and she said, “I just want you to know that I’m really enjoying your book. You’re such a good writer, Katrina.”
So I tried to make a joke of it. “I hope you’re not enjoying it too much, Mom.”
And she smiled a little. “I’m enjoying it the appropriate amount for a woman my age.”
Excellent answer as always, Mom.
I might see if she wants to beta read my next book before I send it to my agent.
Have you ever shared an explicit book – either one you’ve written or one you enjoyed reading – with your mom or a close relative? Did you feel a little strange about it, or am I just being a prude? (Wouldn’t be the first time!)