Monday, 1 August 2011

Monday Magic - Nicole R Murphy

Writing sexually active women

In 2003, when I decided that I was fooling myself if I thought I was anything but a romance author, I started thinking long and hard about the type of romance author I wanted to be.

I love romance – have from the moment as a teenager I discovered the towers of Mills and Boons in my grandmother’s cupboard. Later on, some friends showed me into the single title world and I found folks like Amanda Quick and Joanna Lindsey.

But there was one thing about romance that was starting to bug me – the virgin heroine.

I know that there are women who are virgins for some time – I was one myself. I know there are women who have only slept with the one man and have made quite a happy life for themselves in the doing so.

But as I read book after book with virgin heroine, and at times saw the authors do INCREDIBLE things to maintain the heroine’s virginity until she met the hero, I started to wonder what was this saying about women’s sexuality.

We all know that there are a lot of women, probably the majority nowadays, that have more than one sexual partner. There are some women that never settle down with just one person. There were open relationships, and couples that swung and so on.

Because these women had a different sexuality, did that mean they were incapable of recognising true love? Was that the message all the virgin heroines were sending me?

So when I sat down to write the initial drafts of the books that would become the Dream of Asarlai trilogy, I had just one message I wanted to send – that sexually active women could find happiness with their perfect man too.

To make my point as firmly as I could, the very first sex scene in the first book was not with the hero. My heroine, excited by having achieved an ambition and wanting to celebrate, finds a cute guy at the local nightclub and takes him home.

It doesn’t work out – he’s too selfish to be a good lover. It provided me with a perfect counterpoint to the heroine’s first encounter with the hero – his utter selflessness in wanting her to experience pleasure proves that he’s a much better choice.

In the second book, I’ve got a heroine who’s a single mother. Her son is her first priority, and so she steers clear of dating when he’s around. The moment he goes to stay with his grandparents – she’s over the nearest guy she sees. Luckily for our hero.

In the third book, our heroine actively sets out to seduce the hero – at first for nefarious reasons, but then because she just wants him.

In each of them, the woman is actually more confident, more secure, even more experienced than the man is.

I loved it.

And I’m not done in my quest to show non-virginal women finding true love. I’m writing the sequel trilogy to Dream of Asarlai at the moment and I’m having fun with a girl who is not a virgin but is sexually inexperienced finding herself; with a woman in her 50s who finally gets the raunchy romance she deserves; and with a woman who doesn’t actually believe in love, but doesn’t see anything wrong with dating multiple men :-)

In a world where the word ‘slut’ is still too powerful, I’m pleased that I get to combat it in such a fun way.


Thanks so much for visiting me today Nicole.  I love this series!  I can recommend it to everyone who loves great characters with a lot of sexy romance. 

Nicole has a copy of her third book in the Dream of Arsalai series - Rogue Gadda to give away!  It's easy to win...

So leave a comment (including your email address) for Nicole and you'll go into the draw to win!  Good luck!

You can find Nicole at


Nicole Murphy said...

Hi Maggie

Thanks so much for having me on, and giving me a portal to discuss something so important to me ;)


Lisabet Sarai said...

Greetings, Nicole,

I definitely agree with your points. I've never written a virgin heroine, I don't think. ;^) But I wonder whether you get push-back from romance publishers when your heroine has sex with someone other than the hero. I've had books rejected for that reason.

Nicole Murphy said...

Hi Lisabet

I didn't have any issues because Dream of Asarlai is being published by a fantasy publisher (the joy of writing across genres).

I'd be interested to see what the electronic publishers are doing - they seem to be more open to different takes on the genre than say Harlequin.

Camille said...

I'd like to stand up for the virgin heroines of contemporary romances lol sometimes, well, sometimes there's just no time for 'it' XD 23 and still going strong! Though I admire that women in today's society have the freedom to embrace their sexuality- that's great- I don't think I'd enjoy reading about a 'Samantha' (SITC) kind of heroine in a contemporary rom too often, once and a while maybe.

That may or may not have made sense lol excited about your third book where heroine takes matters into her own hands! I do have your first 2 books I haven't gotten to them yet (I WILL! tbr is growing uncontrollably...)

great interview

midnite dot fantasy at gmail dot com

Marie Lisk said...

I have to say after reading the blog here i went and read a little more...It totally took my interest...can not wait to read more of your books. Marie Lisk

Naomi Bellina said...

Nice interview. I also get aggravated when the heroine is denying herself pleasure because she is waiting for "the absolutely right one." Who, by the way, often turns out not to be all that! I've seen publishers state that the heroine can only have sex with the hero, so I guess they are aiming towards that audience. To each their own! That's what makes romance writing so much fun; everyone likes something different. Hey, what if you tried to write a short story with a "virgin heroine?" Maybe as a comedy?

Happy writing!

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Nicole Murphy said...

Hi Camille

I agree - the virgin heroine does have a place, as it is a role model that some women choose. What I objected to (although it's not as big a deal nowadays - romance has become much more accepting) was that it tended to be the ONLY one you saw and sometimes the authors did ridiculous things to keep their heroines virginal.

Hi Marie - thanks, appreciate your interest. Hope you get hold of the books and enjoy!

Hi Naomi - hmm, a comedic romance with a virgin heroine. There might be something in that...

Anonymous said...

It's interesting the contradiction in stereotypical heroes and heroines. It's okay, even approved, if the hero is sexually accomplished - yet almost taboo if the heroine is the same... Saying that, I have written a virgin heroine, but I believed that was in keeping with her character. I have read books where the heroine has slept with other characters - I think it's whether it's gratuitous, or pivotal to the story, that determines whether it will be well received. It sounds like you've given a lot of consideration and respect to your characters to have them develop their relationships in that way. And let's face it, it can be really hot to read, too!
Good luck with your series!

Nicole Murphy said...

Thanks Shannon

That's a good point - if it's a sincere part of the character and who they are, and important for the context of the story, then you can do just about anything!

The virgins that use to really annoy me were the ones where they decided to give her some wealth and a title, so married her to someone, but then did absurd things to ensure the marriage wasn't consummated before the husband died and the hero arrived. *shakes head* Would it have really mattered if she had done the deed with the husband? I don't think so.

Nicole Murphy said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and participating in the discussion - you all gave me a lot of thing to think about.

In the end, I think we agree that a variety of sexual role models is best for everyone :)

Thanks to a random draw, the winner of the copy of Rogue Gadda is Camille! I'll email Camille for her address.

Here's to a good year for us all!

Maggie Nash said...

Huge congratulations Camille! You will love this series :-)