I’m sure you’ve already heard about the story of Judy Mays, an English teacher meeting with much prejudice because she writes erotic romance. And yes, I'm simplifying.
Since her story has sparked much interest and support, I thought people might be interested to know that prejudice toward erotic romance writers is not that rare.
I have been denied employment more than once and even lost jobs because they found out I wrote romance novels. People might be surprised to learn the prejudice a romance novelist faces in small communities. I love where I’m from, but they do not support me.
Naturally, I'm not about to name names or start a fuss. I don’t want to mud-sling, but to expose attitudes toward myself and other writers.
For example, I've got a neighbor that I've mentioned before who really seems to believe I and my writing are evil because I graphically describe sex. She prevented me from getting a job at one local business (she works there also, a fact I did not know at the time) by telling the owner I wrote smut.
I worked at a local university for 2 years before getting my first book published. I was so excited that I told someone (whom I thought was a friend) about getting my first contract. She worked in the IT department. A few weeks later my computer was hacked and made to look like I was looking up porn. A coincidence? I think not.
After that I was working in a different business when the owner found out that I wrote erotic romance. He made a point of mentioning that his wife did NOT like him looking at my website. Three weeks later he fired me for no reason at all.
I was interviewed at one place where the interviewer had found out about my writing. She asked what kind of books I wrote. When I said romance she (I kid you not) snorted rudely and laughed until I finally asked, "Is that a problem?"
Needless to say, she did not hire me.
I am truly sorry for what Ms. Jays is going through, but I'm here to say she is not alone.