A woman who sits beside me in my church choir remarked to me tonight that she's enjoying Survivor's Affair.
"You spin a good yarn," she says. "I'm liking it except for the language. I was thinking that doesn't sound like the person that I know."
I took it as a compliment.
If you've read any of my books you know that the first one--Survivor's Affair--has the most explicit language of all of my books. Subsequent novels have the occasional hell or damn or even an ass now and then but that's about it. Even so, those who know me well, know that I don't use foul language in my personal life. At least I try not to.
But Survivor's Affair--and all the Logan novels for that matter--aren't narrated by Rick Nichols. They're narrated by John Logan. Logan is a former Green Beret and spy. He's not a churchgoing person and has friends who are not either. And there comes a time when you have to find that fine line between upholding your morals and being true to your characters.
Once Survivor's Affair was printed and did well and I got a lot of feedback on it, I made a conscious decision along with my publisher, to tone the language down to a more PG or PG-13 tone. It isn't necessary for the Logan series to have a lot of it, as Logan is an educated man and he's always struck me as being the kind of man who doesn't use a lot of profanity anyway. I knew I was risking certain aspects of my characters and this is from a guy who cringes at those movies that are edited for TV and the mob hitman's language has been dubbed so he says "you sonofabrute" or "What the fruit is going on?" Sorry, but it sounds silly, doesn't it? Perhaps it could have written different to avoid the dialogue in the first place but a mob assassin isn't going to have nice language. But I think a little goes a long way. Same goes for sex, too. I've never felt the need to have explicit sex because I've never felt that writing such a scene would add anything to the book. It's enough to hint that Logan and Teri have a healthy and active sex life without going into the details, although you might be surprised at the number of women who've asked me to write some juicy scenes. I've read books that are great thriller reads that have lots of sex and, quite frankly, you could edit those parts out and it would still be a great read.
It is a fine line that I walk in writing my characters to try and not have the writing cross certain boundaries that I've set for myself. Sometimes I do a better job than other times, although I've never had a fan write me and say they didn't like my books because there were too few cuss words in it. I'm sure they can find other flaws.
On another note, COLD DISH is completed in its edit and has been sent off to the publisher. I will let you know the release date when I find out (and I haven't yet.)
As always, thanks for your support. Spread the word to your fellow readers and feel free to drop me a line. I love hearing from you. Blessings to you and your loved ones during the Holiday season! R