Day 27 Lexi Ryan – Healthy Attitudes from Romance

Why I Hope My Kids Read Romance

It happens all the time—usually in a hushed whisper, sometimes with an indignant glare. Someone finds out what I write and they ask, “But would you ever let your children read your books?”

That’s right. I write sexy books. On occasion, I even *gasp* use the p-word in my sexy books (and I’m not talking about popsicle). So it’s only Fall To Younatural that people who’ve read my books and know I’m also the mother to two small children have questions. This is usually the first of those questions. Sometimes it’s asked out of honest curiosity and sometimes with hostility—as if the person is saying, “If you wouldn’t want your children reading it, you shouldn’t be writing it.”

The truth is this: I hope that when my kids reach an appropriate maturity, they read books like mine. Do they need to read my books? Not necessarily. I’ll leave that up to them. But whether they read mine or not, I hope my kids do read books like mine.

I want my kids to read romance novels because I want them to be optimists. Romance, at its heart, delivers the message that we are all worthy of love and a good life, but that we have a part to play in reaching that destination. This is a message worth reinforcing.

I want my daughter to read romance novels because I want her to believe that powerful romantic love exists, and that she shouldn’t ever feel like she has to “settle” just so she won’t be alone.

I want my son to read them for the same reason.

I want my daughter to read sexy romance novels because I want her to understand that, contrary to what young girls and boys are socialized to believe, sex should be as much about her pleasure as it is about his.

I want my son to read them for the same reason.

I want my kids to read books like mine because I don’t want them to think sex is something shameful or dirty, and—as it is rather unlikely that they will be asexual adults—I’d like to foster healthy feelings about their sexuality, whatever that may be.

Am I going to let my kids read my books? It’s a perfectly reasonable question. But I guess it also surprises me. Because my kids aren’t going to be All For Thiskids forever. Now, at ages two and six, reading my books wouldn’t be any more appropriate than having them watch a bloody horror movie. But when they’re older and mature enough to understand the contents, I won’t just allow them to, I’ll encourage it. Because, though my books are sexy, they are about a lot more than just sex on the page.

They’re about love and community and self-acceptance.

They’re about fighting your way toward the happily-ever-after you absolutely deserve.

And, yes, they’re also about sex.

And that’s maybe one of the biggest reasons I think they’re important. One way or another, sex matters. The way we perceive ourselves in relation to our sexuality matters. And I don’t just want my kids to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids. I want them to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.

Recommendations: I have so many favorite authors, it’s hard for me to choose just a few to recommend. I probably fangirl the hardest over Victoria Dahl’s sexy contemporaries, Monica Murphy’s new adult romances, and Kristan Higgins’ small town romances. When I’m looking for something super sexy, I like Kristen Proby and Lauren Blakely’s erotic romance.


Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

I am neither daring nor adventurous, but the first time I rode in a plane, I jumped out. Skydiving is great fun, but I’m okay with going just the once.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I decided I wanted to “be a writer” when I was in the second grade, though at the time I didn’t really understand what that entailed. I’m stubborn so I didn’t waiver much on the writerly aspirations, but it was tough. I finaled in the Golden Heart in 2007 and was sure I was on my way. Not so much… By 2012, after seriously underwhelming performance of two novels with a small e-press and dozens of “close but not quite” rejections from agents and traditional publishers, I desperately wanted to quit. I had a great job as an English professor, a wonderful husband, and two small children. Every minute I spent writing took time away from my family and my work, and I had nothing to show for it but a bunch of rejection letters and a frustrated husband who supported my dream but also really wanted to spend a little time with his wife.

The day I received a rejection letter from a publisher who’d spent two years considering my book, I sat in my car and cried. I didn’t cry because of the rejection—I’d gotten plenty of that. I cried because I felt so damn guilty for wanting to write anyway. I knew it only made sense to quit, and I cried because I didn’t know how. Writing is part of who I am. That’s when I decided to take my career into my own hands and self publish. I’m so grateful for that decision and what it’s done for me, my writing, and my family. And I’m so grateful to the readers who took a chance on me and spend their hard-earned money on my books.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

Jude Deveraux’s KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR was my first romance novel. I was in junior high and fancied myself “a writer,” but when I read this novel, I knew that was the kind of story I wanted to write—with all the love and passion and happily-ever-after. I was hooked on romance.

Lexi is generously giving away a print copy of LOST IN ME for U.S. readers (entry below) and another one for international readers (enter here).


Lexi RyanNew York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lexi Ryan’s novels have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. A former college professor, she now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a neurotic dog. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to chat about books, TV, and her children’s latest antics.

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