What Do You Mean There’s No Sex? // Author Hadena James Guest Post
During her book tour, author Hadena James was gracious to offer a guest post on horror… and sex! Read on!
I was really surprised that your serial killer horror didn’t contain any sex, since you are a woman.
That’s something I have begun to hear frequently. I don’t always know how to take it. As a woman, I’m sort of offended. As a writer, I’m glad people are taking notice.
I specifically created the main character, Aislinn Cain, to be an asexual sociopath. I could have just as easily made her male, but female sociopaths are rarer than males. Plus, it was a cool name.
However, her status as asexual seems to be the stuff that creates chasms. Some people love the fact that they will never have to wade through the complicated mess that would be her dangerous romantic life. Some people take it as an assault on womanhood. I even had one reviewer declare that I had to be a male writer masquerading as a female. They went on to call me a misogynist pig because no woman could possible not want to be a mother or have motherly instincts. The review was removed after several complaints by other readers, but it made me take notice.
I could have just as easily slapped my initials on the cover instead of a female name, but there aren’t a lot of women who write horror. I’m beginning to understand why.
First, horror readers are predominantly male, yet I do not have a predominantly male reader base. Those that are willing to chance the books are indeed surprised to find that there is no sex or dating or marriage or other romantic notions in the series.
Second, female readers either love Aislinn Cain or think I’m a misogynist pig pretending to be a woman. I hear lots of comments about her lack of sexuality. For those that don’t like her, it’s all about how I’m tearing apart the fabric of femininity. They seem to think that her lack of interest in sex somehow undermines her ability to be a woman. Or they take it to the next step and go beyond her lack of interest in sex to her lack of interest in romance, love, and childbearing and tell me that she might as well have been an alien because no real woman would be like this.
Third, I like a little blood, guts, and gore. I’m not afraid to get into the mind of my serial killer and explain how they tick as well as have some extremely personal time with a victim, usually as they are being killed. This also does not set will with some readers who think I’m promoting violence against women. Statistically speaking, serial killer victims are predominately female. It would be weird to have 9 books where all the victims were male. It would also be weird to have 9 books where all the serial killers were women or gay men, since these groups make up less than 10% of all captured serial killers.
Finally, I get comments about how many people die in my books. Since I’m a woman, they expect one victim that they never meet and the entire book to be about the process of catching the killer. The readers I have that love the Dreams & Reality books jokingly refer to me as a Serial Killer of Fictional Characters. I would argue, but there wouldn’t be much oomph to it. I do let my killers keep killing as long as possible. My good guys even kill, sometimes in surprising ways and for surprising reasons. I’ve asked some male counterparts and they hear this comment far less often than I do.
I enjoy writing serial killer horror. It allows me to be a serial killer of fictional characters. I’m just surprised that people are shocked to find my books are more about death than sex.
Thank you, Hadena, for stopping by. You know what, I like that a horror book actually includes…horror! For me, horror is death and gore, not sex and thrill. What are your thoughts?