In our house, “heat” can refer to many subjects.
First, there’s the weather. (We live in North Carolina. Yep. Enough said.)
Then there’s the food. (My husband is, as I’ve said many times before on this blog, a native New Orleanian who refuses to dilute his spices for anyone—so over the years I have felt the burn of a yummy hot dish like this:)
Then, of course, there’s the writing.
In this era of 50 Shades of Grey, a writer—especially one who tends to fade out her love scenes like a soap opera director—might find herself in a bit of a fix (ahem, paging Deb Linda!). Does the reading public no longer have any taste for subtler flavors? Do we writers all have to snap off the tops of our own personal bottles of Tabasco sauce and shake vigorously to stay in the game?
Which brings me to the question:
When it comes to heat in novels, how hot is too hot?
Well, I think we can all agree there is no one right answer here. It depends. Everyone’s tastes are different—which is why it is so glorious that we have so many genres—and writers—to choose from. And like all things, only you can determine your comfort level, either as reader or writer.
For me, I tend to fall into the less-is-more category. When it comes to the big reveal, I like to leave the curtains drawn a bit. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have or want heat in my novels! Not at all! Rather, I have come to the realization that writing steamy in-the-thick-of-it scenes is not nearly as easy it looks.
What do you all think? Do you prefer the heat in your romantic plotlines to be mild (think those thermometers on salsa jars) or do you like it cranked up to scalding?