So, many of you might be familiar with the writings of Jacqueline Carey. She is a highly respected author of epic fantasy, among other things. And while she has had critically-acclaimed books in several genres (check out “Santa Olivia” if you want an interesting take on lesbian love in an almost unrecognizable America) she is perhaps most famous for her “Terre D’Ange” series.
The books take place in a Europe that never was, but one that might have been. A Europe where Christianity never gained ascendancy, but where all the native religions survived intact. So you have the Skaldi (barbarian easterners) worshiping Othinn, and the city-states of Caerdicca Unitas (a fragmented Roman empire) worshiping Jupiter and Asherat-of-the-Sea.
To make a long story short, our heroes hail from the land of Terre D’Ange, which is basically the old Roman province of Gaul (France and western Germany). The people who live there are literally children of angels, seven angels who came to earth and mingled their blood with mortals.
“Alana,” I hear you saying, “this is all interesting, but what does it have to do with erotica?”
Well, impatient reader, here’s the deal. In these stories, prostitution is a sacred calling. The angels who came to earth, specifically, Naamah, sold their bodies so their leader could eat. The one credo by which the people of Terre D’Ange live is ‘Love as thy wilt.’ Which means that no love is forbidden as long as both parties consent.
I have made that phrase the foundation of my personal beliefs as far as writing erotica is concerned. Love as thou wilt. Which does not, let me emphasize, condone rape, non-consent, mind-control, or anything underage. In Terre D’Ange, rape is a blasphemy, punishable by death, because it takes away the free will of the one being attacked. And personally, I can’t stomach anything that smacks of violence or abuse. Oh, I know how role-play can add a little spice to the bedroom. But anything more makes me ill.
Incest? Carey never overtly mentions it. However, there is one scene in the first trilogy where our courtesan-heroine Phedre is contracted for a night of pleasure by a brother and sister. And in her second trilogy, our hero, Imriel, (SPOILER ALERT!) ends up marrying his first cousin twice removed (his father was her great-grandfather’s brother).
So, love as thou wilt. Write as thou wilt. Read as thou wilt.
And cherish your freedom to do so.