by Megan Crane
A while back—after rashly agreeing to write a series of dystopian romances centered around futuristic Vikings because sure, that sounded like fun—I had to ask myself a very serious question: what would sex be like after the world ended?
In my Edge series, the world is ravaged by high seas and decades of terrible storms. It’s a long time after any of the civilizations we know have disappeared, leaving only remnants and faded memories. There are greedy men in power who do as they like and sets of harsher rules for everyone else, especially women.
Same old, same old.
But the more I thought about it, the more I figured people were likely to just go ahead and be people no matter the state of the world. The truth is that everything around sex can be political and often is. The way we think about it. The way we discuss it. The words we use and who uses them, and when and how and why. In the Edge word, there are institutions in place to monitor sex, supposedly because everyone’s focus needs to be on repopulating the drowned earth—but maybe also because certain kinds of men like to control women’s sexuality whenever possible and certainly to advance their own interests and scratch their own dirty little itches. The trouble is, while it’s easy to sit around, fully-clothed, debating what’s good for humanity and how sexual acts might contribute to that good, the act itself strips these things away. Sex is private (unless it’s enthusiastically not, but that’s a different discussion). It’s not always controlled, focused, and for the greater good—or any good, for that matter. Desire, hunger, and unconquerable passion are what rule truly naked encounters, no matter where or how or between whom.
In other words, the world might end, but sex is still pretty much sex. In all its raw glory.
One of the best things about writing erotic romance—especially in a dystopian future world I got to make up in my head—is getting to play around not only with fantasies as wild and as out there as I could manage, but to follow them to logical conclusions in ways I couldn’t do if I was tethered to the contemporary world as we know it. In my futuristic world, dark fantasies create the landscape and my characters live and breathe and drive each other wild within the architecture of sexual desire, need and hunger and carnal greed writ large.
A society that piously demands that sex be performed a certain way and for reasons, after all, can be certain that there are a whole lot of people doing pretty much the exact opposite of what they’ve been told to do. Especially women, whose resistance often involves their bodies in intimate spaces.
What happens if you have the hots for the big, hot, kind of scary Viking-ish dude who kidnapped you and holds your life in his hands? Especially when his version of sex is nothing like the tame, sanctioned, good for humanity sex you’ve had before? Is it Stockholm Syndrome if he’s actually the man you’ve been dreaming of all your life?
Or what about if you’re a submissive who’s kept her truest, deepest surrender locked away inside her—only to find her true master in the terrifying man who wants to sacrifice her? Would you quibble about the sacrifice part or would you do what you could to experience your deepest desires while you could?
And what if you’re one of the few women in a starkly male dominated world who’s fought hard to be an equal to the hard ass warriors around you, and succeeded—but you only find what you really want and who you really are while you’re undercover pretending to be the sort of supposedly weak woman you always thought you hated? With the only man who’s ever made you feel like certain kinds of weaknesses might be strengths after all?
I’ve never written futuristic, dystopian stories before, but I’ve loved writing this series. Not just because of the many ways imagined futuristic sexual politics infuse any reimagining of sexual boundaries, though that’s a lot of fun. But because writing about what happens after the world ends, in all its harsh splendor, feels like the best kind of second chance. For all of us. Because the thing about humans is that we keep keeping on. Loving, fighting, living. No matter what.
And oh yeah. There’s hot alpha male futuristic Viking craziness and smoking hot sex, too. If that’s more your jam.
USA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Megan Crane has written more than fifty books since her debut in 2004. She has been published by a variety of publishers, including each of New York’s Big Five. She’s won fans with her women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels as well as with the Harlequin Presents she writes as Caitlin Crews. These days her focus is on contemporary romance from small town to international glamor, cowboys to bikers, and beyond. She sometimes teaches creative writing classes both online at mediabistro.com and at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, where she finally utilizes the MA and PhD in English Literature she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with a husband who draws comics and animation storyboards and their menagerie of ridiculous animals. Find out more about her and her books at http://www.megancrane.com.
Hello Lady Smutters! This is Kiersten Hallie Krum, back from my Californication and the Romance Writers of America national conference. As you may have guest, here at Lady Smut, we’re big fans of Megan Crane and her sexy books. Check out all the hot action in the following posts:
- My review of Megan Crane’s new EDGE series in Post Apocalypse Virgin Nun Meets Viking Raider. Really, what could go wrong?“
- Megan Crane’s Deacons of Bourbon Street (one of my 2015 favorite reads) novel Make You Burn hit the Lady Smut Books We Can’t Stop Thinking About list
- The audio interview with Megan Crane and the rest of the Deacons of Bourbon Street writers along with my review of Make You Burn
Be sure to check out the latest release in the EDGE series, Edge of Control, available now.
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