If you write long enough, you'll hear it said that every writer has themes in their work. It varies, of course, from book to book and possibly even from theme to theme if you have several. (And most writers do.)
It's no surprise to me that I have themes. I could even guess a few. But it was odd to have a beta reader of mine mention it out of the blue. She said, "Your values really shine through your work." And I thought...is that a good thing? Should that make me nervous? Should I now try to vary those known themes so I become less predictable? I don't think so.
In this particular case, she meant the fact my characters only have sex after they've fallen in love, and it's a conscious decision. An are we sure we want to go there moment for them. While that might limit my appeal, I can't change it. I've tried. LOL
One of my critique partners is forever leaving "where is the sex?" notes in the margin. In this last book, it was more like "I know there can be more sex. Add it here please. kthanxbai."
I have tried to explain to her that I can't force characters to have sex. I mean, I could, but the reader would know it. Worse than that, I would know it. The beauty, for me, of a new relationship, is watching as it unfurls. You only get one first time, you know? And I mean that literally as well as in each new relationship you enter. You want each first to be special, to mean something.
That is not to say I have anything against casual sex or relationships. I've just never had any/been in one, so that theme speaks less to me than others. Which is not to say my theme couldn't overlap it. Ha!
Ex: H/H who have always had no-strings sex decide it's not for them. This time they want someone to work for them, to show they are worth having and not just for a night.
(That actually sounds like a fun dynamic to write.)
Here's a definition I can agree with:
"Theme is a statement, or series of related observations, about some aspect of the human condition, interpreted from the unique viewpoint of the author."
- Dean Koontz
So how about y'all? Are there any themes that pop up unexpectedly in your work? Come on, now. I can't be the only one whose a virgin magnet here, can I? There's got to be some sort of theme nipping at your heels. Spill. ;)