Guest Post: M. O’Keefe on Dark Romance and Sexbots

24 Jul

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Happy Monday Lady Smutters! I greet you from not-so-sunny Orlando where I am days away from the 2017 RWA national conference. Today, we have a real treat for you here. My friend, Molly O’Keefe, who also writes dark romance as M. O’Keefe, is visiting Lady Smut today to talk about bad sexbots, making sex integral to the character, and her journey through different genres of romance novels…getting ever sexier as she goes along. She also has 5 free copies of her book, Lost Without You, for 5 lucky commenters. Read on for more details.

Welcome Molly!

Guest Author Molly O’Keefe

This spring, I was asked by a reader why my latest books had gotten so dark, the content so sexual. It wasn’t a criticism, just a question. And I don’t think I gave her a clear answer, because honestly, I hadn’t thought about it. I was well-aware some of my books were darker than others, but had they all become so dark? Why was I drawn to these darker stories? This deeper sexual content?

I’ve been writing romance for nearly 20 years. I was very much a young woman when I started. I was 25-years-old and keenly aware of the fact that my mother would be reading my books. A few of my friend’s parents. My high school teachers! In terms of writing sex scenes–it was a very limiting mind set for me.  There was a lot of internal cringing while I wrote those early books. A lot of fretting about what would my mother think?

And frankly–I didn’t know how to write sex scenes. How to make them pivotal to character growth or plot development. I make a joke about it now, how I worried so much about creating fully-developed characters, but once they got into the sex scene they were like sex-bots. One dimensional and mechanical. Bad, in a word. Really bad sex robots.

Click on image to buy!

Then I found the books of Anne Calhoun and Cara McKenna and Charlotte Stein, and it felt like my world got blown open. Make the sex matter to the characters, make it difficult and fraught with tension and the sex becomes not just interesting but INTEGRAL. To read, yes, hopefully. That’s always the hope.

But to write! How fun, how deeply intriguing to dig into the characters through their feelings about sex. Their hang ups and their turn-ons. Writing Bad Neighbor, which in a lot of ways is just about a woman’s sexual awakening with a slightly dangerous next door neighbor, was one of my favorite writing experiences to date.

Everything I Left Unsaid, which is increasingly dirty phone sex for thousands of words, should have been harder than it was, but when each sexual experience unlocked something about my heroine, I’m not kidding, the book practically wrote itself.

Very few people are truly ambivalent about sex. Most people have some kind of negative or positive feeling about their past, their bodies, what they perceive to be dirty or shameful. About what they want sex to be. Or don’t want it to be.

For me these have become the questions that I ask my characters. That I try to answer in my books. Maybe it’s because I’m 40 now? And 40 is so much more liberating than 25? I’m not sure. But I feel like part of my interest in these stories is simply the product of growing up. Of seeing a wider world, understanding that very little is black and white, and that it is the gray areas that make life and stories interesting. Make us humans more human.

I like characters whose backs are against the wall and are making life-altering decisions. Bad decisions, maybe? But decisions about survival. About wanting more than they have. And being desperate for something better.  My new series–The Debt–is about five foster kids who save one of their own from their abusive foster father. But instead of going to prison, they find themselves indebted to a powerful man with mysterious motives. And no one knows if they’ve been given a second chance or a life sentence.

Click on image to buy!

In every single romance in this series, my characters are desperate for something. Truth. Love. Revenge. Redemption. And they make dangerous choices to get those things they want. Sometimes criminal, sometimes immoral, but never, ever, amoral. They do bad things and they know it and they wrestle with it.

The wrestling with it is what feels human to me. Feels interesting. Well, that and the sex.

So, how about you? Do you like your romances darker? Why or why not? What has been one of your favorite dark romances?

Molly O’Keefe is an award-winning author of over 30 romance novels. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her family and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America. Sign up for her newsletter to get release day news, exclusive excerpts, sale announcements and in-depth author interviews!  Found our more at http://www.molly-okeefe.com.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is a finalist for InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE award! Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

5 Responses to “Guest Post: M. O’Keefe on Dark Romance and Sexbots”

  1. 1313meyersroad July 27, 2017 at 3:52 am #

    Love Mollie’s writing! This is a great interview and I love how Mollie explains how her writing style grew and changed as she grew and matured herself!! Thank you!

    Like

  2. Madeline Iva July 25, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    I love your writing Mollie — and so do my friends! I love the pressure cooker atmosphere of Dark Romance. Women being abused, etc, not so much. But I remember that story of yours with the the tortured virgin hero. Yummy! More of that please. 🙂

    Like

  3. Virginie July 25, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    Dark romance is complicated. I don’t dislike them but they tend to use some of my taboos. I have no problem with characters making bad decisions, having a hard life, pain, sorrow but I’m always queasy with dubious consent in sexual relationships. If it’s hard, sad but consensual I like it.

    Like

  4. Rohan Singh July 25, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    Rohan Singh

    Like

  5. Rohan Singh July 25, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    Rohan Singh

    Like

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