Technically, it’s a week before the tour, but as long as the virtual tour is percolating at Blogher (see the March 2 entry, “A Craven Plea”) I think I should blog every day this week.
It’s 10 a.m. and I’ve produced 1,800 words, an entire chapter. It’s not awful, by first draft standards, and a 2-W (writing/workout) day would seem assured, as I have a 2 p.m. session at the gym with the trainer. At 4 p.m., I’ll do a short telephone interview for the Washington Post Express, which is going to focus on visiting Baltimore. I think. Meanwhile, I have some very nice e-mails to answer, from booksellers and readers I respect.
This week, however, given the BlogHer experience, I suppose I should focus on weighty things, thoughtful things. So I will steal a question from Lizzie Skurnick, who conducted a spoiler podcast with me (available soon from HarperCollins). And the question was: “What’s with you and sex in this book?”
Now, for someone who broke into fiction via erotica, I don’t tend to write about sex very much. And I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that all the sex in WHAT THE DEAD KNOW is . . . well, not ideal. There is hook-up sex that has left one party wildly disgruntled; two proficient adulterous lovers who are attentive to each other’s physical needs, but not even pretending to be in love; an abusive boyfriend whose girlfriend may or may not have turned on him; and at least two women who have esssentially given up sex.
There also is one character’s memory of the era in which the Bethany girls disappeared, and how local schoolchildren were shown two elliptical films, Boys Beware and Girls Beware. That latter memory is mine — although the films were shown because of an assault in a city school — and the primary thing I remember about the films is what they refused to make explicit, the terrifying insinuation that your life could be ruined by sex. And here I’ve written a book that seems to suggest . . .
But, no. WHAT THE DEAD KNOW has no official position on sex. The danger in this book are the usual suspects: secrets, lies, a lack of introspection. Sex is not the enemy. Still, when it comes to writing happy sex, great sex, joyous sex, I cede the floor to my good friend Sujata Massey.