What a Romance Writer Really Researches

Let’s face it, when you write romance, you get a lot of questions about your research. But I think when you’re married to a romance writer you get a LOT of questions about your spouse’s research. Always accompanied by a nudge and a wink. I know my husband does. He’s constantly being harassed about having to withstand my “research”.

I always tell people that the sex in a romance book might equal ten pages. For some it will be more and some others less. Ten pages out of, say, four hundred. People rarely ask me about the research needed for the other 320 pages. I was never asked about how I knew so much about gypsies for my book A Forever Kind of Thing. Or how I researched pirates for my book Wherever You Are. Or the Knights Templar and all of my bible references for Her Dark Knight. No, they want to know how I research the sex scenes.

So, here goes my answer. I don’t research sex scenes. At all. I wing them.

I know, big secret, right?

That doesn’t mean I don’t research at all. Because I do. A LOT–just not sex scenes. In fact, I might spend more time researching than actually writing the book. And no doubt I gather way more research than I’ll ever use in the book.

For instance, the other day I was researching French swear words because my current hero is from medieval France and will sprinkle a few French swear words in. The funniest one I saw was “Vous sentez comme le boeuf et le fromage” which literally translates into “you smell like beef and cheese”. Really???? While I got a good laugh out of that, I know I won’t be using it in my current work in progress.

I spent a long, long time today researching medieval names and their meanings. More time than I would have liked. But every name in my story has a meaning specific to the story and I had to find just the right one.

A few weeks ago I researched the Triple Alliance of 1717 and The East India Company.

Except when I tell people this, I can see their eyes glazing over and their attention wander. So, I fall back on the old reliable. I laugh when they mention researching my sex scenes and give them a wink and a nudge, letting them come to their own conclusions.

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4 thoughts on “What a Romance Writer Really Researches

  1. Great post Sharon! Everything you said is so true. Had to laugh though about the teasing your husband withstands….everyone always wants to know about the behind the scenes stuff writers do, thinking its all fun and games, but when they hear the real work involved, it’s not as…well…as romantic is it? It’s just like any other job!

  2. Research sex? Really? Maybe if you were writing about a geisha girl, or harem girl. Maybe. I hate that stuff. I started a new ms about a country music singer, and had a question about the people in the entourage, who they would be. I put that question out, and OMG, I got a full page answer about how Miley Cyrus is Billy Ray’s daughter, etc, etc. Really? LOL I might live in corn country, but I do get internet.

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