My last blog post was a rant. I don’t usually rant, and I try not to be judgemental, but the way some of those teasers and blurbs are written with the grooming of minors and this predatory sexualisation by people in authority isn’t something glorious to me. In my books it’s a crime. I don’t want to read it, and again, I’m not saying other people shouldn’t write it or read it. I’m saying why I don’t.
There is a particular character in my series who has significant mental health issues and paraphilia, including incest and paedophilia. This is never glorified. It’s a sickness, and it’s dealt with as a crime. And guess what? It’s not a man, it’s a woman. She’s a criminal. Treating people as objects, hurting other people, taking advantage of other people . . . it’s not something beautiful or sexy to me. The other characters fighting against her see her actions as cruelty, degradation, and ugliness, and something they don’t want in their lives.
The reason I write crime and family life, and cover issues of abuse and loss, is because I’m trying to stand up for people. That sounds strange. I’m a fiction writer. But, the ideals that some books have can lead people to believe that men are something they shouldn’t be, and that domestic violence is okay, that sexual assault inside a relationship is okay, that sexualising children and taking advantage of someone you have authority over is okay. It’s not. They all lived happily ever after with their possessive rapist / mother’s ex-husband who was their father-figure growing up / the self-obsessed philanderer who treated women like dirt but suddenly came good just for one special woman? Okay. Why not. It’s fiction, right?
In my stories there are wonderful men. Men who want to understand love, men who want to be loved and treated well, men who treat women with respect, men who want to protect what they love, men who suffer abuse but let it stop with them, men who learn from their mistakes and grow, men who are a good example of all the great things people can be. Men who want a family life, and who know that amazing sex and deep love and fulfilment can happen for them if they’re good men. And there really are good men out there. Like women competing with air-brushed models, maybe these men feel they have to compete with Mr Six-pack Jerk from a “romance” novel.
Here’s some of my stand alone men:
Pocketed – Cameron: a man who was physically assaulted as a child by racist children and teenagers. He never believed he was worth defending, so he never raised a hand to anyone before he had something to defend, and then only in defence. He struggles to understand what “be a man” means in this day and age.
Underliner – Benjamin: a man who was raised in wealth and opulence, and for whom sex was a physical necessity. He had to learn sympathy and empathy, and overcome the affects of early exposure to sex and pornography, to learn what love meant because he never learned it growing up.
Ending Sib – Riley: a man who was abused as a child, but never saw it as right and never passed it on. He took his frustrations out on himself rather than hurting other people. A man who put himself on the line to protect other people, particularly women, from being sexually and physically assaulted because he had the ability and the will to do it.
This isn’t a right/wrong thing. This is me telling you why I write the stories I do. It means so much to me when women say to me they want a man like the one from one of my books, or when a man tells me they want to do better because they know they can.