My First Smut

My First Smut: Sex on a Horse

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, romance author Melonie Johnson talks about reading her first Johanna Lindsey (clinch covers 4-eva!).


First romance novel you read:

Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey

How old were you?

Preteen (6th or 7th grade)

How’d you get your hands on the book?

I was babysitting for a trio of boys who are probably to blame for early gray hair. After the heathens were in bed I noticed a paperback sitting on top of the t.v. The cover certainly caught my attention (keep in mind I was really into the show The Young Riders at the time).

What was the reading experience like?

First, I admit if it hadn’t been for the racy cover of the Lindsey book, I might not have picked it up. My preteen self would have passed right over it and flipped on the t.v instead, hoping to catch an episode of The Young Riders. Oh, what a world I’d have missed. So, despite all the flack spicy clinch covers get, they work. And between those covers I discovered a stubborn redheaded heroine, a surly hero, and sex on a horse – (decades later, I’m still not sure how well that would really work.)

What made the experience special?

After that first book, I cleaned my library out of Lindsey titles, which, if you read romance, you know – is a LOT of books. Ignoring the dirty looks from the librarians who must not have approved of a junior high girl reading massive amounts of “smut,” I moved on to the the other big names of that era like Catherine Coulter and Jude Deveraux, then in high school I fell in love with EVERYTHING from Laura Kinsale. That first book turned me into a lifelong romance reader.

What role does smut play in your life?

Well, I write it for a living now, so that’s a significant role…haha.

To be serious for a moment, writing romance is serious business. At first, when people found out I was a published author and asked me what I wrote, I’d be a bit coy, but now I proudly own the fact that I write I romance. I write it, I read it, I love it. Beyond a career, romance has given me a community of fellow authors and readers, people who have become colleagues and dear friends. And of course I’m still reading it too, though more audiobooks now since it allows me to multitask and gives my eyes a break from screens. Reading smut is a pleasure I don’t feel guilty about – it’s an indulgent escape – a respite that I consider self-care.


USA Today bestselling author Melonie Johnson―aka #thewritinglush―enjoys sipping cocktails that start with the letter m. Declared a “writer to watch” by Kirkus and a “fizzy, engrossing new voice” by Entertainment Weekly, her smart funny contemporary romances include Too Good to Be Real and her award-winning Sometimes in Love debut series: Getting Hot with the Scot, Smitten by the Brit, and Once Upon a Bad Boy. A former high school English and Theatre teacher, she spends her days in her Star Wars office, dreaming up meet cutes. She lives in Chicagoland with her husband, their two redhead daughters, and one very large dog.

Visit her at meloniejohnson.com and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube at @thewritinglush.


Thanks Melonie! Ingrid really enjoyed Too Good to be Real (here’s her review!), and we look forward to reading and talking about more of your books in the future.


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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