Recently, a colleague of mine--very much in her cups--said she admired me for writing stories with sex in them because I taught high school and was "unapologetic" about writing my "steamy" romances. What's ironic is that I don't see my novels as "steamy." Oh, they contain sex. I don't deny that, but they are studies in intimacy--spiritual as well as physical--because what makes a truly romantic scene is that union between two people when their bodies, minds, and hearts are in perfect sync. Call me a diehard romantic, but it's something I've searched for and found elusive. I believe there can be intimacy without sex, but when the intimacy is a complete union of body and soul, we find true bliss. Okay, call me a dreamer, to paraphrase John Lennon--but I'm not the only one.
My books contain characters who search for and find that intimacy of body and soul. In Buried Truths, a couple reunite after a long, devastating and forced separation that almost ruined their lives. Never did they find true happiness with anyone but each other and only their reunion could bring them real contentment. In Pirate Woman, my editor said, "This isn't a strictly boy meets girl story." She was right. It wasn't. It's the story of Grainne "Grace" O'Malley, the Irish pirate. It wasn't a straightforward love story because it's the tale of a woman who forges her own life (which I also find important) but who works to find common ground with the men in her life. Her relationship with a handsome Scottish gallowglass is passionate and intense, and her later relationship with her second husband Richard develops into a marriage of body and soul. In The Doctor and the War Widow, Harley Michel must learn that love can find her again with a man who is not like her first husband but every bit as noble. Their love affair culminates in the rugged port city of Liverpool. Probably the characters who embody this marriage of minds, hearts, and bodies are Nuala and Keith in Love at War. So deep is Nuala's love for her husband that she ventures into enemy territory to avenge what she believes is his death, and Keith forgives what some would call her betrayal to hold her in his arms again. (Check out my books at www.redrosepublishing.com).
I wasn't offended by my colleagues comments. She meant them as a compliment, and they were uttered with admiration. What I pray for all of my readers and friends is that they find this kind of fulfillment that my characters do because intimacy can lead to bliss only when the emotions intertwine with the pulsing blood of physicality.