The faux pas in question was just a couple of days ago. A very old friend, not seen for nearly 20 years, was repeating how she had tracked me down. She'd been talking at a book group with a group of girls who turned out, by some circuitous route, to know me of old. And when it transpired that I was now writing erotic romances (or bodice rippers, as they preferred to call it), their comments, repeated by her to me, were: 'Primula? She studied English at Oxford. What on EARTH is she doing writing erotica!'
In other words. Primula is slumming it. Well, is that not what they meant? I can see the wrinkling of noble noses and the sucking of plums in mouths as we speak. What should I be doing? Writing unreadable Booker Prize winners? Literary tomes on the topic of The Faerie Queene? Speeches for David Cameron?
Of course I'm not slumming it. I'm proud of what I do, and so are my editors at Harper Collins. They asked me to write this. I like to think it's on the higher planes of intense, sexy romance rather than pure smut, but even if it is smut, who cares? It's harmless, arousing fun for adults, and it's become one of my day jobs.
Have any of those girls been approached by an editor to write a trilogy?
But they, unfortunately, aren't the only ones who disapprove. Closer to my home, my parents share that view. Instead of being pleased that I'm doing exactly what I've always dreamed of doing, degree or no degree, they feel I'm peddling porn. Yep. The exact words. Just like 50 Shades, they reckon, it's corrupting, dangerous porn. So what, I said, if I made a load of money from it? What would you think then?
It would be ill gotten gains, was my mother's quote.
So, even though they might have walked right past the book in Tesco or Smith, they will keep their eyes averted. Any articles I've written on the subject are an embarrassment and, the crux of the matter, reflects badly on them. Just as becoming a single mother did - but that's another wound too old to open.
So. Ill gotten gains. If they notice I've got a new lipstick, or bag, or kitchen, or holiday, thanks to sales of The Silver Chain and the Unbreakable Trilogy, they'll say nothing.
Well, my lips are zipped, too. It's ceased to matter what they think. While they speak about 'never having time to write, but of course I would if I could' I haven't told them about the fantastic Harper Collins summer party. I haven't told them about the two erotica readings I've done in London. Or the hilarious workshop I gave in York at the writing festival. Or the lovely comments from people on Twitter, Facebook and Amazon about The Silver Chain and it's sequel, The Golden Locket, about to come out.
So thanks to all you lovely people who follow me and read me, and the finger to those who disapprove! And here's a picture of my Oxford college where I learned everything I know!!!