Guest Post by Author Sara Allen
Every morning at around 10 a.m., I sit at my desk and prepare to create, to write those words that spill from my fingers. Some days, the words flow like butter off a hot knife. Other days, it’s like pulling teeth without the anesthetic. I take what I can get.
Compared to other authors, I haven’t been writing for what I would consider a good length of time. Although my desire to be an author was fostered many, many years before, I still pinch myself sometimes when I sit at my desk and realize that what I’m doing is fulfilling a dream. It can be a humbling realization.
One of the most difficult aspects of being an author, a fiction writer whose main content focuses on romance and relationships, was that being Muslim was almost a serious deterrent. I had to understand what the doctrine taught to me since reverting meant in light of my writing. For example, was it okay for me to write erotica, to go in-depth on scenes, where intimacy was central? How would Muslim readers react to the words, expressions and sexual scenes that I was conjuring into existence?
For a long time, these questions were one reason I avoided writing about love with any depth, preferring to skirt around the subject and take the reader to the bedroom door, only to leave them outside, unwillingly. The events that went on within the bedroom were private and not for the voyeur, which is a primary attraction for readers to the romance genre.
I still feel that I was confused about my understanding of Islam and sexuality, especially when I had witnessed actions that spoke otherwise. I saw individuals who spoke severely concerning modesty, purity, and sexual restrictions, aiming condescending fingers directly at women and their conduct, purchase sexual aids; dildos, vibrators, crutch-less lingerie, rubs, ointments and Viagra. It was as if modesty and genial conduct was a factor of female society, and men could sidestep the requirements and ‘act’ otherwise.
I found my bearded and upright brethren speak on sexual relationships with sobriety on one hand, while sexting with the other. It shocked me, but also made me reconsider my relationship with my sexuality. It became necessary for me to re-investigate where these restrictions came from—the who, why, and what of the traditions. From the beginning, I understood that every aspect of my life was governed and spoken of, so why not this? To question and seek answers was a requirement for me, and one which I am proud to say has been a guiding factor in my life. How could there be discussions about marriage, childbirth and growing old, but anything pertaining to my sexuality dampened?
My findings are inconclusive, and it is an area that I will continue to investigate. In the meantime, my stories will often carry the reader beyond the bedroom door and into the world of a couple’s intimate relations, because this is a part of human nature and as an author, I strive to be as open and direct as I can. If it’s possible to speak on death, mental illness, childbirth and marriage, why should I avoid intimacy? I find it very difficult to write a sensual story, and more often than not, the characters lead the way along the path of how their story goes. People think it’s a joke when a writer says the story belongs to the characters, it’s not. They decide what parts of their lives they wish to expose.
Do I believe that I mar my Islamic identity with my choice to write erotica? No, I do not. I’m an adult. I question my choices daily. I stay within the boundaries set for me, but I am also very aware of inconsistencies. I also believe that erotica as a genre is something to share, especially between a husband and a wife, and I strive to stay within those boundaries. Although I do not aim my books at Muslim readers, I hope that a reader, regardless of their religious affiliations, will pick up one of my stories and enjoy them, although I bow down and worship five times a day. It should not impact my journey as an author.
Not every story that leaves my fingers falls within this genre. I also write stories for children, teens, sci-fi/fantasy, and historical, most of which have no mention of bedroom scenes.
As an author, I get up every morning, sit at my desk, and wait. What flows from my fingers is a possibility, a weaving together of words I hope will transport readers away from their own lives and into those of my fictional characters. If that character seems to be a person that the reader knows or heard about, then all the better, because I will have accomplished my goal. And that makes me happy.
Be on the lookout this Spring for Sara’s new novel Man in Chains.
**Due For Release Spring 2020**
Gianni ‘The Diamond’ Marcello has one goal. To be the Middleweight boxing champion of the world. He knows it will take commitment, sacrifice, discipline and hard work, and the biggest sacrifice will be love and a meaningful relationship.
He knows that having a vision and a family don’t mix, how responsibility for one’s family takes precedence over everything. Gianni refuses to relinquish his goals like other men he’s grown up with, including his beloved father.
With Shelley, he believes he’s found a girl who understands and accepts his objectives until they’re married and she demands otherwise. Confused, Gianni tries to make room for both of their aims, even though she’s pushed him against a wall for her’s. However, with love comes sacrifice, and before too long everything comes crashing down around their ears.
Shelley can’t believe the boy she fell in love with married her. She’s ecstatic, knowing that Gianni has a dream and is prepared to include her in it. Yet, when the family watches her waistline, wondering how she’s allowed herself not to fall pregnant within weeks of marriage, the fault has to be hers.
Yet Shelley risks everything attempting to appease the family and puts her marriage in jeopardy, from which she can only end up the loser. Gianni is more than prepared to throw in the towel on their marriage, and move on.
Francis; scarred, scared, and damaged, comes into Gianni’s life when he’s not looking. The serious, oddly appealing woman, whose disfigured face and body hide passion and understanding for the goals that Gianni is still striving to master, becomes the rock he never realized he needed.
Their life is perfect until Shelley materializes in Gianni’s life again, and everything he thought he knew about himself is hanging in the balance. The woman he needed has left. The woman who remains is just as difficult as she’s always been. Gianni doesn’t realize what he stands to lose until another man reminds him of what is slipping through his fingers.
Will the familiarity of childhood love hold Gianni, or will the peace he’s come to know, be his final choice. Gianni will have to break the chains to find himself and discover which woman means the most.