Too Much Sex in Beyond the Quiet?

Since my novel, Beyond the Quiet, hit Amazon’s top bestsellers in Suspense, Kindle edition, I’ve had quite a few reviews. And I appreciate them. Some seem to really like the story. Others slam it as hard as they can, most due to the sex scenes. One reader even sent an email asking why I chose to be so detailed.

Beyond is the only one of my novels that includes sex scenes, so why did I write them? And why so detailed?

I’ve given it a lot of thought. I could delete them if I wished, but I’m reluctant to do so. And after further reflection, I’ve decided to let the novel stand as written.

What made me decide in favor of the sex? Am I a porno-loving woman? Did I merely want sensationalism?

I don’t think I’m either. I’m a mature, divorced woman who’s still discovering her own life. Lisa, my main character in Beyond, has, like me, has taken a journey to find her life, her ‘self’ and to follow her dreams.

But it’s taken her quite a while to do so, and even then, it was forced upon her after a series of traumatic events.

Isn’t that the way of most of us? Don’t we plod along day by day, following the rut we’ve carved out for ourselves? And doesn’t it take a major event for us to gather the courage to step out of it and try a new lifestyle?

I’m living a totally different life than the one I’d led for nearly most of adult life, one I thought I’d live until the end of my days. And I didn’t enter the new lifestyle by choice.

However, now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But as a new widow, Lisa was also forced into another lifestyle – and she was sinking fast. She also had another problem, a major one. Outwardly, she’d been cold, remote, forced in childhood to hide her emotions. And to survive in her marriage, she’d had to continue in that deception. As a result, she was heartbreakingly estranged from her only child, her daughter.

As the writer who wanted to tell her story, what could I do to help her connect again with her daughter? I decided she needed to first connect with her feelings – to recognize and acknowledge them instead of hiding them. Only then could she set them free.

How to do that?

First, I wanted her to learn to love freely, emotionally and uninhibitedly, and be loved in return. And in the process, I wanted her to learn about her own body, to learn that passion and sex are not vile, but expressions of love shown in its ultimate form.

So I decided to have Lisa experience it in as much detail as I could provide.

Then the question was, how to write it for the readers? I could say she had sex and it was glorious, and she was awakened to every sensation imaginable.

But does that show the reader Lisa’s awakening?

And later, if I write in another intimate scene that Lisa finally emerges from her constricting emotional cocoon to freely show love to her partner, would that show how she finally gloried in her own body? I chose to write it out.

Then, by emerging from her repressed emotional cocoon, she could begin to repair the damage she’d done to her daughter. Finally she could show her all the love she’d always felt but didn’t know how to express.

There will still be readers who’ll disagree with me, and that’s understandable. I don’t agree with every writer, every story.

But this was my way of telling Lisa’s story. I hope you like it, but if you don’t, I hope I at least provided some entertainment and allowed you a look into another woman’s life.

And while the main characters in my new mystery/thriller, With Full Malice, also experience emotional problems, there is no sex – at least no detailed sex.

Beyond the Quiet:

Ten Times Guilty:

With Full Malice – my new mystery/thriller novel to be released in 2012:

I'm a novelist, short story writer, and I currently serve as CEO for L. Cooper Press, a service for writers. Thomson-Gale bought one of my novels, With Full Malice, for their 5 Star Mystery line, then Harlequin WorldWide Mysteries bought the mass market paperback rights. I lead a novel critique group in Redlands, CA, so if you're in the area and writing a novel, join us: When I can't attend, Amy Fletcher leads the group. You can always contact me through my websites:

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July 2011
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