Mystery with a Little Sex, or Sex with a Little Mystery?

I admit it, I like to read sexy stuff. Complete erotica doesn’t usually do a lot for me though. I like what I read to have a plot, most of the time. Having two characters get intimate with each certainly doesn’t bother me at all if them “going there” is relevant to the story. That said, I’ve never personally written any erotica or even a full sex scene.

‘Relic’ recently got a three star review on the Big River from a reader that said it was well written but not for her. She said she normally reads romance mixed with smut and a little mystery thrown in. ‘Relic’ is a mystery with just a little romance thrown in and one instance of ‘fade to black’ smut. I’ve shrugged off the review but questions remain in my mind.

My leading ladies in ‘Relic’ will appear in book 2 as well which is tentatively titled ‘Busy Bees’. I’m hoping to make both them part of an ongoing series if I can conjure up enough interesting things to keep a rural county Sheriff busy. Their relationship will, of course, develop if I continue with them. So, now I’m torn. The reader I mentioned above would like some smut and other readers have mentioned they would like a more physical relationship between the two ladies too. I’d love to keep my readers happy but ‘smut’ wasn’t in my original plans for the series.

Patricia Cornwell doesn’t include graphic sex scenes in her novels but it’s obvious that her characters have relationships. Ellen Hart isn’t known for sex scenes in her mystery books either but her characters have romantic relationships too and she certainly sells books that lesbian and straight readers alike devour. They’ve both been extremely successful. While, I might never reach their level of acclaim, they’re great examples that you can make it without writing much – if any – smut.

 What say you? Do you like a little smut mixed into your mystery fiction or does it not matter to you if the story is good?

About Anne Hagan

I'm an East Central Ohio based government employee by day and a fiction author by night. I specialize in mystery fiction featuring lesbian sleuths and cozy fiction featuring women sleuths. I also dabble in romance especially romantic lesfic. I live with my wife and our dogs in a tiny town that’s even smaller than the Morelville of my first fiction series and we wouldn't have it any other way. My wife grew up here and she has always called this little village home. Though it’s an ultra-conservative rural community, we're surrounded here by family, longtime friends and many other wonderful people with open hearts and minds. My wife and I are the co-owners of a commercial haunted house: Hagan's House of Horrors. Much as my dream has always been to write fiction, hers has been to create it through the medium of horror. We went full commercial in 2015. Watch us as we grow!
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3 Responses to Mystery with a Little Sex, or Sex with a Little Mystery?

  1. AR Fiano says:

    I love this question! I think it’s fundamental for an author to figure out what the author is comfortable with sex-wise. Forcing an erotic scene into a book because you think you need it isn’t going to work–as bad as a gratuitous scene in a movie. But if you like to write it, as I do, you still need to edit yourself and ask, does it work? What I’m not gonna be is the mystery with the typical headless-barechested-dude-in-tight-pants I see in some gay-themed genre books.

    While listening to a readers is fine, you may not agree with them. I’ve had some say strange things, like I have too little focus on relationships. I don’t think so! Authors should be true to themselves–be comfortable in what you do, and do what you do well. Those who don’t like it may come around, or find something else more suitable for their reading. What’s important is that ‘well-written.’

    I really like the Meg Darcy Mysteries. That has a touch more eroticism but it’s in the balance of an ongoing romantic tension between the two main characters. And yet how much is too much, or not enough, is so subjective. And it’s that subjectivity that leads me to say be true to yourself.


    • Anne Hagan says:

      It’s interesting AR that you bring up the Meg Darcy Mysteries in relation to this question. I’ll have to find it exactly, but another person on either a Facebook group or a Goodreads group that I participate in held that same series up as an example of a series that relies a bit too much on the erotic element for a mystery series. Everyone truly does have different tastes and different takes on the same thing. In fact, as you said above you’ve had people tell you that you focus too little on relationships. That tells me that they haven’t even read your work! The Book of Joel especially is almost completely focused on relationships!


  2. Pingback: On Writing: Mystery – vs. – Romance…or Both? | Anne Hagan


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