My next erotica reprint, Lilly's Reward, will be out soon, and it's gotten me thinking. Last summer, my DH and I took a trip to a used bookstore to trade some books. Of course, I took a few erotica novels by my favorite authors along to exchange. During a conversation I was having with the young woman assessing the books, she started talking about things people leave in the books they drop off because she found a really old bookmark in one of my husband's mystery novels. She handed it to me and then rattled off some of the various items that some people had left in their books--bank account statements, grocery lists, even family heirlooms. After she said the last one, she pointed to one of the erotica novels and said something like, "Although we'd never find an heirloom in THAT kind of book."
Excuse me? In THAT kind of book?
Now, I realize erotica is not on everyone's list of favorite genres, and I get that given the mature subject matter, someone's grandmother isn't likely to leave her diamond and ruby antique hair comb in the pages of a book with nearly naked people holding whips and feathers, nor will that book probably be passed down to the grandkids as an heirloom itself. It's not the family Bible. However, I kind of took offense to the young woman's remark. I felt like she thought about erotica like so many people do, that it's just page after page of sex scenes written to titillate with no story at all, or even if she didn't feel that way, she sent the message that someone would be embarrassed to leave an erotic novel to a relative, even if it was her favorite all time book ever.
It irks me that it seems like only books like War and Peace can be considered "classic" novels. Why can't a purely erotic story be a classic? I'm not saying mine are, but I've read some great erotic novels that rival the works of the most famous authors in the world. I didn't take the time to explain this to the book assessor girl, because she finished and gave me my order ticket and it was time to do one of my favorite things: scan the book aisles. But I never forgot what she said and can't help but wonder if the perception of erotica will ever change. In the meantime, I think I'll go get a few copies of some of my books and tuck them away somewhere for the next generation. :)
On a different note, next week, on July 17th, I'll be posting an interview with K. K. Weil, author of the new adult romance At This Stage. She'll be giving away one free copy of her book to the commenter of the day, whose name will be randomly drawn from all the those who comment on the interview. Please feel free to join us next Thursday for a chance to get to know K. K. and her book. We hope to see you there!