Writerly Navel-Gazing ~ Week 18: Questions 16, 17 and 18


Part of the 30 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.

16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing?

I do, yes. I absolutely love enthralling, exciting, well-written romances. I especially love slow build-ups, ‘will they won’t they?’s, bad timing, heartbreaking misunderstandings and sex scenes that make you feel hot under the collar. If the author can keep the magic alive long after the chase is over, that’s a win for me too. I also adore cute, long-established relationships where each half of the couple makes the other stronger. So expect to see some of that in my writing — it’s what I’m aiming for (although you may be waiting a while, seeing as there’s very little romance in Book One of The Mayor; the book I’m bashing out at the moment).

As to how ‘far’ I’m willing to go, I presume this means how explicitly I’m willing to write said romantic relationships? The answer is I am prepared to write very explicitly, but within reason. For genuinely romantic scenes I prefer to write poetically and metaphorically, perhaps with a fade to black. This is because in these instances, explicit descriptions might detract from the emotional impact of the scene, and… well… the romanticism of it. If the scene is not meant to be romantic however (e.g. assault, onanism, non-sexualised nudity), then I’ll tend to go more anatomical.

Above all when writing romantic relationships and sex scenes, I want to be honest. The very last thing I want is for a reader to feel as though they’ve stepped into one of my sexual fantasies.

Everyone’s pretty sniffy about romance — especially as a genre of literature — but some of my favourite books are romances, or have some degree of romance in them. Indeed, some of the most highly praised books in the world are romances! Let’s show romantic relationships some love, shall we? And stop disliking them on principle just because they’re considered ‘girly’.

Outlander Season 3 2017
One of my favourite books is the historical romance novel Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. All hail Claire and Jamie Fraser!

17. Favourite protagonist and why.

Bit of a pointless question this one, as I’ve only written one book so far! The answer has to be Melora, as she is The Mayor‘s protagonist.

18. Favourite antagonist and why.

Again, like the question that preceded it, the answer has to be Kale. Whilst he is not the only antagonist in The Mayor, he is the main one. And because the other antagonists — people like Roger Bellamy, Renwick Jarvis and Rourke Marks — are all horrible, horrible people, Kale is also my favourite. At least he has some redeeming qualities (some may disagree…).

And that’s it! At last! I’m all caught up! See you again in another fortnight or two (probably)…

S.E. Berrow


Anniversaries, Corvidae and FIfty Shades of Grey

I’ve had a really lovely weekend. Yesterday was mine and the boyfriend’s one year anniversary. To celebrate, we went out for a Leggara pizza at Pizza Express, followed by a trip to Cineworld to see The Martian. The Martian, based on the book by Andy Weir (which I reviewed on my Goodreads here), is about an astronaut named Mark Watney and his struggle to survive on Mars after he is separated from his crew during a violent storm and left behind. The film was excellent – as good as the book, I would say – and I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone!

I have a few gifts to show off from the boyfriend: a beautiful pot of red roses (my favourite flower); a box of chocolates; an absolutely gorgeous necklace called ‘A Murder of Crows’ by one of my favourite companies, Alchemy Gothic; and – hilariously – a copy of E.L. James’ erotica novel, GREY.

Anniversary Gifts A Murder of Crows

This latter gift was a bit of a light-hearted one as I mentioned back in June when it was released that I wanted to read it in order to have an opinion on it. I don’t believe you can truly say a book is good or bad until you have read it yourself, plus I like to be in a knowledgeable position when people start talking about books. I did the same when Fifty Shades of Grey came out, because people were talking about it a lot. Incidentally you can also read my review for Fifty Shades of Grey here (hint: I didn’t entirely dislike it, but it’s worth noting that I never finished the series).

Love you, Mark, my darling ♥ Thank you so much… This year has been incredible, and has gone by so fast!

Breverton's Nautical CuriositiesSomething else I’ve also been doing this weekend… ~*~WRITING!~*~ However, I’ve not been writing the book I was working on whilst on my Annual Writing Retreat with K.F. Goodacre (Salt). Instead I have picked up my magnum opus again; my enormous historical fantasy epic, The Mayor.

Essentially what happened was, whilst out shopping in Spitalfields for my own anniversary gifts, I found this — quite frankly amazing — book called Breverton’s Nautical Curiosities. Alll I had to do was flick through it and my brain became suddenly awash with ideas and inspiration. Love for my characters and a burning desire to tell their story came rushing back, so I bought it, brought it home and attacked my Scrivener file this afternoon with avengeance! I really recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in the Age of Sail and the Golden Age of Pirates like I do. It has everything in it from myths and legends of the sea, to shipping terminology, information on famous pirates and naval slang. The author, historian Terry Breverton, has a couple of other really interesting-looking books too. His Facebook page is here if you want to take a gander (he doesn’t seem to have an official website).

Until next time,

S.E. Berrow

For more information on both The Martian book and film, please follow the below links:


For more information on E.L. James and her fourth book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, GREY visit:


‘A Murder of Crows’ necklace by Alchemy Gothic England: