Friday, April 15, 2011

The naked truth or why I write romances

One of the most interesting aspects of being an Indie published author is that my work is reaching a much broader audience than I ever could have anticipated. I'm even seeing reviews commenting on the reader's surprise to find out Dating A Cougar was a story about a "relationship", which is absolutely the truth.

The very nature of romances as a story form is that they explore all the aspects of "relationship", including the physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual at times. As a genre of writing, romances encompass physical expressions ranging from sweet behind-closed-doors-only-monogamy to the no-holds-barred erotic. Socially, they cover heterosexal to homosexual to every kind of group relationship a reader can imagine ("menages" of one woman and two men being a rapidly growing area). Romances can be historical or futuristic. They can be like mine which are mostly contemporary--I do have others, but that's a different blog. Anyway, the point is that the genre is HUGE and ENCOMPASSING in what it allows writers to explore in terms of "relationship". There are lots of writers, including me, who are utterly, completely fascinated with writing about people finding each other and connecting.

At this point, if you are reading my blog, you have likely read at least one of my "romances", so you know already where my work falls in the mix.  My books have some strong language and are explicit, though my sexual "heat" level is average for the genre.  I didn't choose the heat level because of wanting to be average.  My characters choose it when they come to life and start interacting.  I think that level does say things about me, and readers will form opinions about both me and my work based on it.  Still as a writer, I have to honor what comes, regardless of what I think of as my "squirm factor". If you knew how totally exposed I feel letting previous co-workers and managers read my work, you would laugh your ass off.  Seriously. You would. It's funnier than anything I can manage to write.

Still, I finish one romance and another story comes with more characters waiting for me to help them work out the sticky details of their lives so they can be with that person who makes life more worth living for them. And I know, of course I know, that sex and love are not everything, but they are for most of us a relief from the tragedies that come from being human.

The books I write are not meant to be great works of high literary value.  Read Shakespeare or Chaucer or Milton or any of the poets if you want to feel self-righteous about what you read.  My books are meant to relieve you. They are meant to make you laugh, make you sigh, maybe even make you a little bit turned on so you go that person you sleep next to every night and look at them once more with love and lust.  Because I can tell you what I know from a half a century of living, love and lust the night before make cooking breakfast the next morning and whatever else you have to do in your life a hell of lot easier.  Love and lust--even the temporary kind--are great gifts of being human.  And we forget that all too often.  I hope my books remind you. I appreciate the reader emails that have shared this with me.

One more note for this topic and long blog. It is another surprise I would like to share.  When I was writing romances before in the mid-90's, all I knew was that women craved these stories as much as they did chocolate once a month.  I'm confessing this was absolutely true about myself as well. Along with mysteries, science fiction, and other commercial work, I've literally been reading romances most of my life. I did this in and around my Master's Degree, thank you very much. NOW--and this is a shocker--now that I am publishing in 2011, it is the men that are reading my stories as much as the women.  It is the men who are writing to thank me and tell me they are sharing them with wives (lucky, lucky wives).  Half the reviewers I'm seeing comments from are men.  For me, that's like receiving a Pulitzer about my work. 

Soon I'm getting business cards made. I bet you can guess what I intend to put on them, but let me say it anyway.  Maybe I need to write it to believe it myself.  So here goes.

I'm a romance writer and it's the best job I've ever had in my life.
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