We’ve all read our fair share of Mills and Boon novels over time. There’s nothing quite like spending a rainy Sunday afternoon whiling the hours away with your head in a frivolous book, cup of tea by your side.
But, have you ever wondered why the words ‘penis’ or ‘vagina’ are never used in romance novels?
You’re more likely to see ‘throbbing member’ than ‘penis’ and more likely to see ‘her sex’ instead of ‘vagina’.
Trish Morey is an Australian romance writer and author of the international bestselling Stone Castles.
Her latest book, Cherry Season, is the story of polar opposites – a cherry orchardist focused on his harvest, and the fruit-picking backpacker off to see the world.
And, let’s just say, it features quite a racy sex scene or two.
“His hands moved down and cupped her butt as he lifted her slightly, bringing her sex into line with his. The feel of his erection so close to where she wanted it was as intoxicating as it was frustrating.”
To write those scenes, which Trish says often takes two days, she needs privacy. “I could never do it during school holidays.” Trish has children, though the youngest is now in their late teens.
“It’s personal. I could never do it in a crowd. It’s just something you have to do, you have to forget your mum is going to read it.”
Trish started her writing career while she was on maternity leave after she saw a Mills and Boon advertisement calling for submissions. Although it took her eleven years to be published, Trish now has more than 30 for Harlequin, a romance publisher.
I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask such an experienced writer and romance novelist what she thought of 50 Shades of Grey.
“I think it made erotica accessible, because people didn’t know about that. And there’s much better stuff than 50 Shades of Grey out there that people didn’t realise. So I think it’s opened doors a lot and made people realise there’s writing like that out there for women.”
Trish explained that for her, the erotic scenes are about the connection and the emotion between two people. “I’d usually use something like ‘erection’ or ‘arousal’ but less so. But penis I think is one of the ugliest words in the English language. I also don’t use the word vagina. I don’t want the book to be too clinical.”
Cherry Season is certainly not clinical. Set in the Adelaide Hills, Trish’s writing creates a slow burn of attraction and frustration between Dan, a 4th generation cherry orchardist and Lucy, a Californian backpacker helping to pick the fruit.
Much more nuanced than most romance writing, it’s an easy, light read; perfect for an evening, curled up with a quilt and a cup of tea, which is exactly how I read it.
Cherry Season is published by Pan Macmillan Australia and is on sale now.