Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Parliament of Important Secret Knowledge

Ah, good old forbidden knowledge. It's seen my books through some good times. And it's seen my brain through some good times, too, when my brain says "hey, I'd really like to get down to some dirty fantasising. Vagina called me yesterday, and she says she's just not getting the attention she needs so you know. Let's get on that, ok, Charlotte?"

I honestly have no idea why my brain and my vagina talk. And really, vagina has absolutely no reason to feel neglected because I feed her Alex O'Loughlin all the time and he is HOMG to an insane degree.

But anyway, I digress. About vaginas.

Let's get back to why my vagina likes forbidden knowledge so much, shall we?

I think it likes it due to the book Dreamers In Time, by Sarah Copeland. I've talked about this book before, but I'm going to talk about it again because it's orsum and set in the future where everyone's forgotten about sex, and there's something about that...something about the idea of sexual knowledge being forbidden or forgotten that really gets my vagina by the throat.

I mean, just imagine that. Imagine not knowing about sex. Imagine that there's a big book somewhere and it contains all the knowledge of indecent, lurid, physically impossible sex acts - sex acts that no-one knows about because we just go about our day drinking tea and looking blankly at each other - and then one day you sneak into the Parliament of Important Secret Knowledge and oh God it's getting me hot just thinking about it.

I totally want my characters to sneak into the Parliament of Important Secret Knowledge. I want to write a book in which such a place exists, just so I can have them break all the locks and bust down the doors and run away in the dead of night with this mammoth dirty book under their coats.

Because seriously, there's nothing hotter than breaking down walls and busting taboos and bursting out into sexual freedom. In fact, one of the things I always find difficult about writing contemporaries is that there's so little that is forbidden, now, and I heart the forbidden. I want my characters to explore new territory and be breathless about it, be nervous, be terrified.

And I mean, sometimes you can get away with that with a contemporary female character. But it's tough to do with a contemporary male character and even if you do pull it off (which I hope I did with Gabriel, in Control), there are plenty of people who don't want to read about it. Contemporary men usually have to be tough and gruff and manly to reach a wide audience.

But I'm not sure futuristic or fantasy world men necessarily have to be. I think you can get away with a bit more, when you've set your novel in a world where sex doesn't exist, or where it once existed but has now vanished, or where sex exists but not with women because women are extinct (yep, that's the entire reason I wrote Past Pleasures- because of my love of the forbidden and the forgotten).

And I love all of that. For me, forbidden knowledge is not about closing doors. It's about flinging them wide open.


  1. Interesting. I guess there can be a lot of different takes on the idea of 'forbidden knowledge', from the futuristic or historical to the magical or the psycho-analytic, and more besides. As to tough and gruff men - a lot of men aren't, either in reality or in their fantasies, so I'd imagine there's a fair bit of latitude there for different types. I always think the scribe, or scribbler, can be an interesting one and a lot of stories in other genres, certainly, use the idea of the guy who's not 'manly' but curious and lives on his wits rather than his muscle.

    The two books you mention, Control and Past Pleasures, sound intriguing. I'll have to investigate further!

  2. Good post. Makes me think that you could have a man who either knows nothing but vanilla sex, or is young and a virgin, or is a geek with his nose stuck only in his research. Granted it's much easier with a woman to imagine one who doesn't know much about sex especially in a historical but I know if you put your creative mind to it you could find us a man who needs to be taught about the forbidden.

  3. Hi, Charlotte,

    Well, I do think you've succeeded with Gabriel (I'm in the middle of CONTROL now and loving it!) - but I agree, people think they know it all now. So here's a twist to think about: a character who has never had anything BUT kinky sex. Could vanilla be made to be forbidden? (I'll bet you could do it...)

  4. Fulani- you always have such interesting comments! Definitely like the kind of guy who lives on his wits. Was just talking to someone about the Indiana Jones kind of guy, who's more about thinking and kind of bumbling through things than going in all guns blazing. Thanks for commenting!

    She- Oh, those are all my faves! Particularly the geek with his nose stuck in research. In fact, I'm writing one of those now for my latest Xcite novel! Thanks for commenting!

    Lisabet- you just made my day- probably more than you could know. I so hope you like the rest of it. As for that idea- HOMG love it. You know I'm gonna try it, right?


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