Sex in the Shugak (Park)

[repost from 2008]

Sex in the Shugak (Park)

Okay, let’s have this conversation.

Sandy, one of the Danamaniacs managers, just forwarded me an email from a fan which read, in part:

“I love the Kate Shugak and Liam Campbell books. I just hope that Ms. Stabenow takes into consideration that some things are best left to a person’s imagination… having the characters smile, kiss, and close the bedroom door is enough information for me.”

Contrast this to a fan who said at one of my bookstore appearances, in a clear, carrying voice in front of fifty people, “Please could you let Kate and Jim have more sex?”

Between such Scyllan and Charibdisian rocks do I sail my little literary dinghy.

Sex is a part of life, and it’s fun, or it’s supposed to be. Love and laughter make life worth living, and there will always be plenty of both in my novels. It happens that I write sex well. If I didn’t, this topic wouldn’t, er, arise. My characters are healthy, red-blooded human beings with all the natural instincts flesh is heir to. Unless they are monks or nuns or charter members of Chaste by Choice, they are going to have sex, dammit.

So, I put it to you. How much sex is too little? How much sex is too much? Have the Kate Shugak novels crossed the line or are they way back in the novel pack? Or the Liams, if you can remember back that far? Go to page 53 of Prepared for Rage and tell me true, would you have been okay if that scene ended with, “I don’t have time to dance”?

58 thoughts on “Sex in the Shugak (Park)

  1. Michael Greenhill says:

    I think the level is just right. There is nothing wrong with expressing it tastefully, which you do. I have enjoyed every book and haven’t thought twice about the level of sex present or not present being wrong. That says that it fits into the story and is not there just for its own sake. Keep up the great work!!!!

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  2. I am a new fan as of this year and I have read all of the Liam Campbell books and 3 of the Kate Shugaks (so far). “Fire and Ice” was one of the best books I’ve EVER read. The sex scene in the beginning was wonderfully written and just set the tone for the non-stop-action of the whole book. I certainly don’t require “sex” in my mystery books, but if it works as a part of your characters – and it does – I look forward to more of the same. Kate Shugak is no Mrs Pollifax and I wouldn’t want her to be 🙂

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  3. margery dieball says:

    Dana your books sell because your characters are “real” and hey guess what real people actually enjoy sex. Imagine that! If there are some readers who don’t want or need any form of love scenes then they can just skim or skip those sections. It would be a shame to alter something that obviously works for the vast majority of your readers. For your books to stay true I would think you would need to stay true to what feels right for you when creating them and not start second guessing your art based on a rare criticism. I just finished rereading “Breakup” for about the zillionth time and still laugh at the crazy occurrences. PLEASE….just keep them coming.
    Don’t change a thing.

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  4. Joanie says:

    I just finished the four Liam books in about a week and a half, the sex scenes between Liam and Wy show the depth of the characters and the feelings they have for each other. As far as them being too much, nah. I happen to think the scenes between Bill and Moses are more raw, but those two have a longer history with each other.

    Any chance of more Liam books? Is Tim in high school? Does he have another girlfriend?

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  5. Sherri Mines says:

    Your characters are the reason I love your books: they are real people, with real feelings. When I read the sex scenes between Kate and Jim, I feel the joy and desire they have for each other. They are small windows into their life and their deepening relationship. Bobby grabbing Dinah, or Jim getting aroused hearing Kate laugh, and many others: long after I have finished the book, I remember these scenes with a smile. Keep ’em coming!

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  6. I love Kate and Liam! I’m 76 years old, and the
    Sex between your characters is so so good. It’s well written & what makes them real. What I want to know is if there’s a 4th Liam book why can’t I find it? I’ve asked at B&N several and have been told it’s not in their computer. Where can I get it. Keep up the good work Dana. I have all your books! Dolores

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