My First Smut

My First Smut: “The books made me look at the women in my life…in a different new light”

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?

This week, A. Perveen, Bookstagrammer Extraordinaire and Aspiring Romance Novelist, talks about finding inspiration in romance heroines.


First romance novel you read

I don’t remember the exact book but my oldest book memories are of Julie Garwood’s The Bride, Nora Robert’s The Gallaghers and Judith McNaught’s historicals.

How old were you?

I was a teenager. And yes, I got a lot of shade for reading age-inappropriate stuff.

How’d you get your hands on the book?

The second-hand book store in my town. They’d get copies from the big city once or twice a month.

What was the reading experience like?

In a word, mind-blowing. The titles mentioned above, especially Nora Roberts, was an eye opener. These ladies fought back and were admired, even loved for it. They left me wishing for empowering heroines who looked and sounded like me.

What made the experience special?

The era I read these in. I grew up in a small South Asian town during a time when most of the local literature/media portrayed brown women in two categories: the beautiful puritan angel, and the modern vindictive vamp (This is still true.) Meanwhile, I was reading forbidden white romances and at first glance, they seemed really different in culture, language and social norms. But as I reread them, I began to see the inherent universal similarities. Be it a medieval/historical romance or late 90’s/early 2000 contemporaries, the battles the female protagonists fought through were disturbingly familiar. The books made me look at the women in my life, especially my mother and grandmother, in a different new light.

What role does smut play in your life?

Well, it’s my most-read genre, so that makes it both comfort and necessity. It’s also the genre I wish to write in.

I came to romance through the classics (English and local) and the writers I mentioned above were my second attempt at reading modern authors. I’d previously tried a few forgotten Mills and Boon titles and wanted something more than the regular over-the-top masculine dominance. One of my most cherished memories is whining about that to my mother as I narrated a recent book plot or fictional character I didn’t agree with (A nightly ritual we still, occasionally, indulge in.) Her response was something like “since you’re so offended, you ought to write it yourself.”


Check out A. Perveen on Instagram.

Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.

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