Remember how I was having such a hard day on Saturday? (I was sick). Well, today has been such a wonderful day. I just saw the cover for my book that's coming out in the fall. It is GORGEOUS! I can't wait to show you the finished product.
So, I was having a conversation with some friends of mine over the weekend about what is acceptable to be shown as love scenes in clean romantic suspense books. As you all know, I had someone object to a kiss in one of my books because they thought it lingered too long. I was so surprised by the feedback because to me, it was an (almost) innocent kiss before my hero thinks he's going to die. (I guess in a way he does linger. But he thinks he's going to die, people! DIE!) But I am sensitive to the fact that people expect any romance in my books to be clean. And I really thought I had done that, but now I wonder if my definition of clean is sort of not, if you know what I mean.
Of course when you pick up a thriller, romantic suspense, whatever, that is billed as clean, you have certain expectations---maybe your standard is no explicit love scenes. Or maybe it's just a close the door and no explicit descriptions. But we're all so different. It's obvious that what is clean to me might not be clean to you. So I'm curious, where do you draw the line?
During the discussion with my friends it came down to this---when we watch a movie, all of the information is fed to us. We see what the director wants us to see. With a book, we are using our imagination. We bring all our experiences and background to that reading experience, so every time someone reads the book, their experience is different from anyone else who read that book. For the woman who wrote about my characters' kiss being too long, in her experience and imagination it was. For someone else it wouldn't even cross their minds. So how clean does clean have to be?
What do you think? How do you decide what is acceptable for love scenes in "clean" books and what isn't?