Monday, February 11, 2008

Don’t Fence Me In - R.G. Alexander

Today we’re lucky to have fabulous debut author R.G. Alexander as a guest! Her first release Who Wants to Date a Superhero? about a futuristic game show where women via for a date with a real live superhero, is out now! I cannot wait to read this one – I mean, really, who doesn’t want a shot at Batman, right? ;) So, take it away, R.G….

I have always been surprised by the way people view me. In my head I was a mysterious, Lara Croft-esque adventurer with sex appeal and savvy. Yet, people persisted in seeing me as a short, rather curvy cutie-pie. A sweetheart. Naïve. Wouldn’t hurt a fly. Couldn’t possibly write erotic romance without blushing and having the hero turn off the lights. Being patted on the head and dismissed wasn’t exactly flattering…but at least I was under the radar.

This view would never have been tarnished if my older sister, who has always reveled in her talent for shock and awe, hadn’t decided to tell everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life about my website, my recent book releases and their content.
“Romance,” they said. “Oh that sounds like our R.G.—ever the romantic.”
“Um, no,” my sister chuckled. “Romance…with sex. Graphic sex. Have you ever watched porn?”

Sigh. Great. So now I’m a closet porn writer. Not the comparison I would have used. Usually I just say something like, “You know when you watch a romantic movie and the couple’s kiss, you can see the bed in the background and then the scene fades out?”
“Yes?”
“I don’t.”
“Don’t what?”
“Don’t fade out.”

But the cat’s out of the bag and I can tell exactly what they are all thinking.
“She was so sweet. Where did we go wrong? What’s next—streetwalking?”

Don’t get me wrong, I have a very supportive group of family and friends. They may cringe when they see the man nipple on my covers, but they are still counting down the days with me, approaching strangers in lingerie stores and at bus stops to tell them about my upcoming releases. You gotta love family.

Though I think my mother is still hoping this is a gateway genre, and that someday I will find my way to an Oprah booklist with an important work of fiction that will change the world, I’m perfectly content to make my little corner of the planet blush and smile.

But since everything relates to writing (of course), this situation reminded me of archetypes. The innocent Miss and the Vamp. Films in the twenties differentiated these two with incredibly specific hair styles and fashion. But you can look at most ancient mythology, folklore, even present day advertising and you will find these two very different women…begging the question—is it really either/or?

An archetype is a model of a person, personality, or behavior. Often an over exaggerated model. Modern women wear so many hats, maiden, mother and crone—as well as businesswoman, scientist, writer…that the normal stereotypes no longer seem to apply.

I happen to know envelope pushing erotica authors whose normal day to day life sounds like an episode of Donna Reed. I think that’s wonderful. I also know people who write YA and Chick Lit who could teach me a thing or two about Vamping it up. You really can’t—or shouldn’t—judge a book by its cover.

So people who knew me before they knew what I was writing look at me sideways, waiting for me to shorten my skirts, don dark red lipstick and start behaving as the Vamp I have become.
But I am still me. I still prefer fuzzy socks to stockings, I’m still short and too curvy and maybe a bit naïve. It’s only that now, I’m this too. At least through my characters.

Have any of you ever experienced this? That people expect you to behave in a particular way because of your writing style and/or job?

~R.G. Alexander
www.rgalexander.com

15 comments:

Crystal Jordan said...

"What's next--streetwalking?"

Bwah ha ha ha ha! Honey, you kill me! That's just too funny.

Beth Ann said...

And trust me...when you say you "Don't fade out.", you don't! It's in IMAX with living color! Something we're all grateful about!

If wearing fuzzy socks helps to do what you do, I'll send a dozen pairs!

Red Garnier said...

You crack me up, R.G.!!! And Oprah booklist, trust, my mom wants that too. LOL!!! Hey NYT list is better, lolol!

Lillian Feisty said...

Don't you dare write an "Oprah" book. I see one of those books and I run away. I don't need that type of depression in my life.

Gemma Halliday said...

Give me a happy ending over an Oprah slit-your-wrists any day!

I always get the "sweet" thing too! I think there's a short-curvy-curly-haired person bias. I blame Shirley Temple.

~Gemma

dayna hart said...

omg. Shirley Temple is writing porn. There's a headline for us.

I'm in a slightly different boat, in that my family..."doesn't get" fantasy. Of course, they're not thrilled with how dark my books can be...but it's a different bias. (not that they'd be thrilled iwth the dirty stuff, either!) lol I'm depressing myself!

On a serious note, I think we're finally getting to the point where Nice Girls have sex too. (who knew?!) and eventually, someday, we won't have to be Marianne or Ginger, we can just be ourselves.

So...you're actually doing a favor for the next Nice Girl...you philanthropist you!

Angie Fox said...

Ohhh...Your book sounds right up my alley. I love the idea of winning a date with a superhero.

And, I'll never forget a lesson I learned in perceptions. I spent many years as a copywriter in an advertising agency. My standard work wardrobe included lots of jeans, funky tops, etc. It was fun and comfy for work, but when I dress up, I'm a bit more Ann Taylor.

Well, when I started dating this cute political consultant, he'd take me to these cocktail parties after work. Since our local congressman probably didn't want to see me in my Trix logo t-shirt, I'd change out of my comfy clothes at about 4:00 p.m. and put on my grownup clothes. My condo was five minutes away, so it was a great excuse to get freshened up too.

No biggie, right? Well, on one of these "dress up" days, my creative director scheduled an impromptu meeting with our Southern Comfort client. When the boss man saw what I was wearing - a cute skirt and top - he about fell over. "You can't wear that! What happened to you? You look like account service." They were selling the client on our ability to be hip and cool and I'd blown it with my grownup duds.

My boss would rather have me late for the meeting than looking like a business woman, so I ran home real quickly and changed into jeans and a cute, black t-shirt with a shiny Harley Davidson logo.

Everyone was happy. Except for my date, who showed up in the lobby before I could change and asked, "What are you wearing?"

Beth said...

They say you can't judge a book by it's cover. If that was true there wouldn't be so many naked hot guys on book covers these days.
I think the "shock & awe" factor just makes writing the "Don't fade out" novels even more interesting! I mean didn't we all wonder what Mrs Cleaver did with Mr Cleaver to make him so gosh darned nice all the time? Or maybe that was just me...

terrio said...

Another new author. Bah! I need more shelves.

I too am short and curvy and look like the quintessential soccer mom. Though I'm really a softball mom. But I recently dove into the erotic romance arena and I'm curious if I ever manage to sell it how that will go.

My family talks about sex like most people talk about the weather so no biggie there, but I'll be real curious to see what happens if the ex-in-laws figure it out. Southern Baptists who live in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Should be interesting. But they never approved of me anyway. *shrugs*

Off to check out your website to find these books.

Christie Craig said...

R.G.

Ahh, people always want to know if we're ever going to grow up and write a real book.

I just remind them that love, romance and yes, even those scenes that don't fade out, are a very important part of being human.

Thanks for guest blogging with us.

Crime Scene Christie

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Ever wonder how it is people can listen to music that is 99.9% about good / bad relationships and still take shots at books that deal with the same subject?

aprilm said...

I know what you mean... but something interesting - I was on a call this last weekend with four women, all professionals.

And when I told them I was finishing a romance, they oohed and ahhed. Then I mentioned it was a bit steamy and I was surprised that two of them were way more interested than I would ever imagine.

Now, my mom. God... I can't imagine what she'd think. Of course, imagining her reading some of my stuff - YUCK. There are just some things you don't want to think about regarding your parents.

Gemma Halliday said...

Too funny, Angie! I love that your date had the same reaction. :)

~Gemma

R.G. ALEXANDER said...

Thanks guys!

Gemma-LOL-I think you're right about the Shirley Temple comparison.
Angie-That is a great story!
terrio-my inlaws are so supportive and sweet. My mil started reading romance to prep for my releases. But they were sweet romances. My husband had to explain-very specifically, what erotic romance entailed, and why she might not want to share it with her Sunday school class. lol

Leigh Royals said...

I'm impressed RG, what a great blog. I'd read your books over Oprah's list any day.