Tamara Lush That Girl
I’ve always liked the sexy books.
I was that girl in high school, the one who had the stash of racy paperbacks. This was long before the Internet, of course. Since I spent my teen years in a small New England village, it wasn’t as though more explicit novels were easy to find. Especially for a girl without a car, and with a feminist, hippie mother.
Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, Anne Rampling (Anne Rice’s) Exit to Eden and Jackie Collins’ Chances (RIP, dear, glamorous Jackie) were all passed around my circle of girlfriends with glee.
My mother knew exactly what I was reading, of course. She’d roll her eyes at the paperbacks and grumble that I wasn’t reading “the classics.” She had no problem with me reading about romance or sex, but she didn’t want me reading about “weak women” who “catered to a man.”
She didn’t know that many romances are about strong women making good choices. Sadly, she never gave the stories a chance. I guess reading romance was my way of rebelling against my very liberal mom. But she ultimately defended my reading choices. One day, my friend’s conservative and religious mother approached mine with a worried look.
“Your daughter is reading some very inappropriate novels for her age,” the woman told my mother.
Mom shrugged. “Well, at least she’s reading.”
Now that I’ve written a romance novel of my own, I only wish my mother was alive to read it. She died in November of 2001. She was proud to see my byline in newspapers around the country because of my journalism, but she never saw my name on a book.
I thought of her constantly while writing Hot Shade, mostly because my heroine, Skylar Shaw, lost her mother at an early age. Skylar had a complicated relationship with her own mother, promising her that she’d make something of her life and not “cater to a man.”
And while my book is full of sexy interactions between Skylar and Luca, the hero, the real story is a coming-of-age tale about a young woman who learns to live the life that’s right for her, not the life she promised to live for someone else.
Isn’t that what Romance is about?