Monday, June 13, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour presents Sharon Ervin

 As we visit Sharon Ervin on this stop of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour, let's get comfortable. I'll first give a bit of information about this amazing woman and then present the article she wrote for us to share.

About Sharon Ervin
        Sooner born, Sharon has a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Once a newspaper reporter, Sharon now works in her husband and son’s law office half-days, gleaning material for her nine published novels. She is married to McAlester, Oklahoma attorney Bill Ervin and has four grown children.
         I’m happy to say I know Sharon. We’re both members of OWFI (Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc.). In fact, we were at the same conference the first weekend of May, and I got close enough to wave at her across the room, a large room: That’s how busy the conference was. Most of us ran from one session or activity to another.
         Sharon wrote an article for us about, well, with or without?

I write steamy scenes sometimes.
I do not care for characters who hop in and out of beds like fleas changing dogs. Just as I don’t care for promiscuous sex, I also dislike gratuitous violence, obscene language, etc.
However, characters evolve and I allow them to do so, usually. 
Most children have favorite stories. They want the same story read over and over again. As we mature, our tastes change. We want the characters to have different names and the stories to be set in less familiar places, but basically we still want the same story over and over again: “Cinderella,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Snow White,” “Beauty and the Beast.” Oh, yes, we do.  
Years ago, Silhouette identified and capitalized on women readers’ preferences and came up with formulas for familiar plots that worked. The company led the charge in the publication of romance novels. Eventually, even publishers who demeaned romance novels were amazed by the bottom line––profit––and developed romance imprints of their own. Formulas––guidelines––were strictly adhered to: no subplots allowed, few supporting characters, no mixing of genres. People, specifically women, read romance to escape humdrum at home, in the office, train commutes, whatever ruts they occupied. The stories were not intended to provoke thought. The language was uncomplicated, like listening to a favorite song again and again.
Romance was defined. It was a love story between two people. After reading a dozen or so, I wanted more than those early books offered. I like romance, but I like it with some suspense, twists, surprises, sex, humor, God, fantasy. My personal taste runs to mysteries with a little romance, mixing the genres. It’s what I read most, what I write, what I like on TV, and in the movies.
Dorothy Sayers, lauded by some as the greatest mystery writer of the 20th Century, described her last novel, BUSMAN’S HONEYMOON, as “A Love Story with Detective Interruptions.” She is my inspiration. Her love scenes are benign. 
Years ago movies that would be rated PG-13 today, had “Treetop scenes.” Sex scenes sent the cameras to the treetops, and the audience was left to imagine what came next. In my opinion, some movies today might be improved by cameras cutting to treetops.
If romance develops between two characters in a manuscript I’m writing, that’s great. In BODACIOUS, my best seller on Amazon’s Kindle, the characters carried me along like a lazy river at a water park. I wasn’t embarrassed or ill-at-ease because the evolution of their relationship felt natural. I liked the heat they generated. 
If the situation in a book gets hot, I write it hot. If not, not. 
When individual readers ask which of my books I recommend for them, like a waiter in a restaurant, I ask: “Do you prefer your fare mild, medium or hot?” 

        Thanks, Sharon. I’m glad you visited with us today. If anyone wants to know more about Sharon and her writing, here are sites to visit:

NOTE: I'm found on Marilyn's Musings this week.

Next week, Jackie King will be my guest


4RV Publishing said...

Thanks, Sharon, for visiting with us this week, and for an interesting article.


Pat Browning said...


I love your take on romance in mysteries. It cleared up some questions for me. I'm with you. A little romance adds interest to the story when it comes as a logical development.

Pat Browning

Beth Anderson said...

Oh, Sharon, this is such a good blog! All true, all analyzed well, I loved the whole thing and I agree one hundred percent. A little sex is a lot in a mystery, and I tend to write, and prefer to read, mysteries with some restraint in the sex department.

Thank you for writing this, and so well! Great blog!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Good article, Sharon. I agree that a little romance goes a long way in a mystery novel, especially when the women protagonists are 60, as mine are, and a fast-paced storyline leaves little time for sex. I guess it all depends on the age group and the plot.

Jackie King said...

I've worked with you, Sharon, and you DO write steamy scenes! :-) Way steamier than I want to write, but I love reading yours. (If someone doubts me, check out Sharon's novella in CHIK~LIT FOR ROXY HENS. Her story, Rose, will make you start fanning yourself.)

Totally agree about a touch of romance in mysteries. Most women of all ages love romance, and for sure, I do.


marja said...

Sharon, Excellent blog, and you're right, it's all in what the reader is looking for. I believe the mysteries with at least some romance seem to sell the best.

Velda Brotherton said...

Hi Sharon, this was an interesting post. Having read several of your books, it never occurred to me that was how you handled your various characters' romantic inclinations. Hmmm. I like it cause I like your books. See you soon.

Sharon Ervin said...

Thank you, ladies, for your kind comments. Writing is rather isolated work and commingling with this Mystery We Write group has been a happy experience for me. It's made me feel like part of a whole body of workers busily toiling away. Sort of makes one feel like a bee, producing a little sweetness for a lot of people's enjoyment. You know what I mean.

4RV Publishing said...

I agree, Sharon, it's been fun learning more about each other.


Anne K. Albert said...

I am SO enjoying the wealth of info and opinion being shared on the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. Well done, ladies!