Poor James Webb. (Sarcastic grin.) He’s finding out what it’s like to be a romance writer. Actually, he writes war novels, not romances. But he’s getting the kind of treatment we’ve "enjoyed" for years.
Webb is running for the Senate against George Allen in Virginia. And after the Fred Head/Susan Combs episode in Texas, someone on Allen’s staff decided to thumb through Webb’s books looking for steamy passages. They found some, pulled them out of context, and sent them out in a press release accusing Webb of writing X-rated books.
In the past, Webb has made some sexist remarks that made me question his attitude toward women. Ironically, now he’s getting lumped with a lot of women writers who dare to include sex in their books.
How many times have you had a guy pick up one of your novels and thumb through it looking for hot passages–then judge the whole book on those few pages. Sure, I write sensual love scenes. But they’re in the context of a relationship developing between a man and a woman. They’re only part of the story. In my novels, I’m writing about strong, sympathetic characters the reader can root for. I’ve got a plot with a lot of action and mystery. Generally, I’m writing about two people falling in love against a background of danger and suspense. In all of my books, my main characters make a commitment to marry and spend the rest of their lives together.
So why do some Americans object to the sensuality? Are they afraid to acknowledge the joy of a great sexual relationship? Is it our Puritan heritage? Are we afraid to see ourselves as human?
The men and women in my books always end up in a committed, loving relationship, where sex is only part of the equation. So I’m sitting here scratching my head and trying to figure out what’s wrong with enjoying a loving and committed sexual relationship? Or are we being criticized by people who are afraid of feeling any emotion–even when it’s in the pages of a book?