Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap: 30 Romance Authors Reveal if Their Families have Read Their Books

Happily Ever Answers

Wash Your Mouth Out

As a book blogger, one of my favorite opportunities has been interviewing authors.

I love discovering fun facts, as well as getting a glimpse of how they spend their time when they’re not sharing their talented gift of storytelling with us.

I thought it would be fun to start an ongoing feature called “Happily Ever Answers.”

I’ll ask a group of authors one question for each article and then share their thoughts and anecdotes with you.

Have your parents, relatives, spouse, or the parents of your children’s friends read your books?


Vi Keeland – – My mom read Stuck-Up Suit, which I co-wrote with Penelope Ward.  She was more of a James Patterson fan than a romance reader and had never read a book with graphic sex.  So, I told her Penelope wrote all of our sex scenes. 

Penelope Ward – – Oh, yes! My daughter’s teachers are the worst culprits. They will stop me in the halls and whisper in my ear, “I read your book.” I have no idea typically how they find out I write–I’m not the one that tells them. But people talk, and it only takes one person to tell those at school that I am a romance author. Then they Google me, and the rest is history. 

Robinne Lee – – Sometime very early on in writing The Idea of You, chapter Four, to be precise, I came to the conclusion that my parents should never ever ever read it. But by the time I’d completed it and sold it to a respected publishing house, I’d become proud enough of my story that I wanted to share it with the world. Except for maybe my dad. So I told my mom she could go ahead and read it. It took her maybe 4 months to do so, because as she claims, she had to close the book after every page and say to herself, “Did my daughter really write that???” But in the end, she LOVED it. She was unbelievably complimentary. And like many others, she’s now waiting for a sequel. No pressure. No pressure at all.

R.K. Lilley – – My mom reads all my books first.  It should be weirder than it is, but it’s her fault I’m hooked on romance (I read all her books when I was in my early teens), so it’s just sort of normal for us.  On a much more awkward note, both of my brothers tried reading my books before they really understood what they were getting into.  I forbade them from ever doing that again, and we’re all still recovering from it lol!

Adriana Locke – – My mom demands ARCS like she’s somehow entitled. 😉 Most of my books aren’t really dirty, but there’s one chapter in Sway that deals with grapes and … you get the picture. I squirmed a little when I thought about my mom reading it. Naturally, she called me, “Addy, I loved Sway! Especially Chapter Eighteen.” I died a little that day.

K. Webster – – Yes! Most of my family has read some, if not all, of my books.  They’re insanely supportive, even when I go a little outside of the box.  My grandmother read my first book and said, “It was a really good book, but some scenes were more graphic than I was used to. I hope the stuff you wrote was from your imagination and not your memory.” I replied with shifty eyes, “All from my imagination, Grandmother.” 

Tracey Garvis Graves – – So, my dad and I have an agreement: he doesn’t read my books, and I promise not to ever be upset about that. Neither of us likes the thought of my dad reading a love scene I’ve written (I’m even more mortified at the thought of this than he is). People are often shocked by our arrangement, but it suits us both just fine. LOL. My stepmom always reads my books, and so does her ninety-five-year-old dad. Various other relatives read my books, and so do the parents of my kids’ friends. Mr. Donahue, my eighth-grade English teacher, reads them all.

J. Daniels – – My Mom started Sweet Addiction and never finished it. Not because she didn’t like it. She just couldn’t imagine her little girl writing something like that. 🙂 (Fair. There is SO MUCH SEX in SA.) 

Ginger Scott – – Oh my gosh…yes! All of the above. For my more teen titles, I have had a lot of my son’s friends read them. There was one time when I saw him pulling copies of The Hard Count out of my office, and I asked why? He said he was giving them to girls who wanted to read it!
Now, as for the naughty parts…my mom reads EVERY book I write. She’s actually one of my proofers because she has an eagle eye and proofed massive things for most of her life. When she marks my document up, she works on a PDF. Sometimes, it’s hard to read what her marks are, so we go through them on the phone together. Every now and again, she’ll find something in a steamy love scene. She thinks it’s funny that I want to just move right along, and she’ll say things like “now wait…don’t you want to talk about that one?” She’s evil like that!

T. Gephart – – Yes. My mum, one of my sister’s in law, and parents of my kids have read my books. It was weird at first, but now I don’t even think about it. Although one of the endings of my books (The Fall—IT IS NOT A ROMANCE and I tried to be very clear about it up front) upset my mother so much she refuses to accept it and demands I write her an alternative ending. Sorry, Mum, it’s not a choose your own adventure. The ending stands LOL.

Emma Louise – – True story. None of my family know that I write. I prefer it that way. It’s easier than the endless questions I’d get on the subject otherwise.

Staci Hart – – My father is strictly banned from reading my books, but I let him read my acknowledgments for my first book, Paper Fools, wherein I apologized for using so many swear words and asked them not to wash my mouth out with soap. Honestly, the worst was hand soap. A bar is bad, but having to endure getting Dial pumped into your mouth is just plain cruel.

Devney Perry – – My mother is always one of the first to read my new book. She’s the best supporter I could have ever asked for and was the person who taught me the love of reading. Besides her, my biggest fan is my father-in-law. Yep, a seventy-year-old Montana rancher reads each and every one of my books.

Lauren Layne – – I wish I could say I’m super chill about this, but since the very beginning of my career, I’ve been weirded out by people in my personal life reading my books! My father and father-in-law are strictly forbidden. I just can’t. Beyond that, I just try to grin and bear it when someone I know announces they’ve read my latest, and try not to think about their reaction to reading that sex scene. My husband does read all my books, which is sweet, but I also never want to know when he’s reading one. There’s something very odd about the person beside you in bed, reading your words!

M. Robinson – – Yes, my mother in law has read most of them, which is surprising. She’s the one I didn’t want to read them. Bossman’s (Ben’s) grandmother has also read The Good Ol’ Boys. Every time she sees me, she always brings up Lucas from Complicate Me. Says she was very mad at him for everything he put Alex through. 

Ava Harrison – My mother and my sister read all my books. I always tell my mom to skip the “dirty bits.” One of the moms at my kid’s school decided to read my book called Illicit. I was a bit nervous, seeing as the book is about a forbidden relationship. Well, after she read it, she walked right up to me and said that although she’d liked me before reading my book, she liked me a lot better after reading it. Apparently, “I was so much cooler now.” 

B.B. Easton – – I write extremely open, honest, GRAPHIC books about my actual life–my insane teenage years, my real husband and ex-boyfriends, my friends and relatives–so when 44 Chapters About 4 Men blew up, and I wasn’t able to keep it a secret anymore, I made my family members promise to never EVER read it. Well, they read it. All of them. My 75-year-old uncle, my aunts, my cousins. But the most awkward was my mother. When she done, she texted me–probably to avoid the humiliation of a face-to-face interaction–and said, “I read your book. I have to admit, I skimmed over the lewd and lascivious parts, but it was very funny.” Then she texted me a few minutes later to ask, “Who do you think should play me in the movie?” I guess that means she liked it. 🙂

Rachel Van Dyken – – So my dad is an avid reader, and he’s absolutely obsessed with sci-fi fi (I grew up on Star Trek and dressed up as a Star Wars characters when they were in theaters again), so he loves my paranormal books and in fact gets mad at me if I push the release date back–well a lot of my readers say they’re the hottest books I’ve written, haha I think it’s b/c of all the biting? Meh who knows, the point is, my dad is HORRIFIED that at the age 34 I’m writing about things his “little girl should know nothing about” so whenever he brags to his friends he literally tells them the pages to skip and then misses key conversations characters have because he can’t stomach reading any of the sex scenes. It’s hilarious.  Sometimes I just put things in there to see what he says. Good times. 

Claire Contreras – – Ha! Yes. The minute they were published in Spanish, most of my family members bought the books and read them. Thankfully, the men in the family haven’t really spoken to me about it, but I swear I felt them judging me on Thanksgiving lol. The women loved them though 🙂 

Lucy Score – – My entire family reads my books, including my father. My mom got him hooked on Nora Roberts books years ago, so he’s really excited every time I have a new release! My brother was the lone holdout, but now that he produces my audiobooks, he has to LISTEN to my books. He hasn’t made eye contact with me in a while…

Gianna Gabriela — Nope! None of these people are allowed to read my stories. My books are pretty clean though so there isn’t a fear that they’d read certain things. I just don’t want them to haha.

Jessica Hawkins – – I do have some family members who read them, but I generally run in the other direction if they want to discuss. I’m good with keeping some mystery there! Fortunately, my parents aren’t interested, although my dad has been asking if he should try my latest series since there are some cartel action and suspense. I’ve told him absolutely not 🙂

L.M. Halloran – – I’m not sure this is funny (though I can laugh about it now), but it’s definitely cringe-worthy. One of my mom’s friends read a book of mine and loved it so much she gave it to her husband. Said husband (aka Creepy Mc. Creeperson) cornered me at my father’s memorial and started asking me questions about the sexy times in the story. He wanted to reenact certain scenes with his wife. My response? Awkward laugh, quick escape.

Jill Shalvis – – When my kids were little, and we’d just moved to a new town, there was one mom who wouldn’t let her kids come to my house to play because I wrote “THOSE novels”. (I assume she was talking about how dreadful monogamous love is. 😄)  Years later, Fifty Shades of Grey came out, and I actually saw her reading it on the sidelines of a sports events for our kids. I couldn’t resist asking her, “wow, one of ’those’ novels, huh? Welcome to the dark side.” 

Melissa Foster – – My mother has read a few, and she’s read all of my stand alone titles. I have relatives who have read and enjoyed them, but my children don’t want to think about their mother writing about sex 🙂 I could relay a million funny comments from my kids about mom doing “research” and them hoping the government doesn’t ever confiscate my computer, but for the most part, they’re happy to talk through storylines as long as I don’t talk about the juicy parts. LOL. My husband confiscates the first copy of every book I write. He hasn’t read them but swears that when he retires, he’ll binge read from start to finish. We’ll see… 

Corinne Michaels – – My aunt and cousin do. My grandma has read a few as well. Nothing really funny. They just really are supportive.

Marni Mann – – I was in an airport with my parents, and my dad pulls out a paperback of Seductive Shadows—the first erotic novel I ever wrote—and he starts reading it. Dad was just trying to be supportive. But I immediately snagged the book and made him promise NOT to read me. Dad reading my sexy times? No. Just no. LOL.

Natasha Anders – – My dad keeps reading my books, even though I’ve tried my very best to dissuade him from reading them because CRINGE!!! And he likes to tell his friends about them. And my granny read The Unwanted Wife and said “it’s a little racy, isn’t it?” (snort). I don’t think she read any of the others (good thing because they only got “racier”), but she was very happy to know that I dedicated His Unlikely Lover to her. 

Lila Monroe – – My mom always likes to be supportive and read my books, but she doesn’t want to read the naughty bits… so she prints out a heavily-redacted version!

Giana Darling – – I’m really lucky to have a super supportive partner who has read every single one of my books and short stories. He tells everyone what I do for a living, and he couldn’t be prouder of me. On the flip side, my mother hates what I do and avoids talking about it at all costs. Otherwise, everyone is so supportive. My best girlfriends read my books, and one of my sisters is my biggest fan.  The funniest story I could share is about my man’s mother. I was at her place for Christmas this year meeting most of her extended family from abroad for the first time. There were about twenty-five people in the kitchen and living room as we prepared dinner. There was a lull in the conversation, and then his mother said, “oh, by the way, Giana, I read Welcome to the Dark Side. I love Daddy Z.”  Of course, everyone asked what she was talking about, and she proceeded to tell them all about my dirty talking, ex-con motorcycle club Prez and his teenage love interest. I was mortified, but by the end of the night, nearly every female in the family had downloaded the book and told me how amazing they thought my career was! I used to worry a lot about what people would think of my job writing romance novels, but love is universal, and everyone I’ve ever told has only been excited about it. 

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