During a recent newspaper interview, the reporter made an observation that completely surprised me: “Your romance books are about finding men while your women’s fiction novels are about getting away from them.” Huh? I started to write women’s fiction because I had stories to tell that didn’t fit the romance mold, but I’d never thought about it in that light.
Romance novels portray a beautiful fantasy—the forever joining of two souls meant to be together. Since I’m a divorcée it’s pretty obvious that fantasy didn’t work out for me. (And given my bad date stories it might never. Tip for men—during that first-impression conversation, leave out mentioning throwing up your dinner, ripping your underwear with too-long toenails or seeing your 85-year-old father’s naked buttocks.)
That said, I don’t consider my women’s fiction to be a celebration of ditching men, but a celebration of women taking charge of their lives, of stepping off the martyr train and striking out for a destination of their choosing. I could have written about women quitting bad jobs or leaving dull towns but relationships are more important to women and involve more of their identities, thereby giving me the chance to tell a deeper story.
My Harlequin Blaze, INDULGE ME (out this month), is a romantic romp in which my heroine Darcy Wolf pursues wild times and total freedom but finds Tyler Houston instead. July brings my next women’s fiction book, AS GOOD AS IT GOT (Avon/HarperCollins), a dark comedy about three very different characters who meet at a coastal Maine retreat for “suddenly single” women. You can check out excerpts of INDULGE ME and my February 2007 women’s fiction book, WOMEN ON THE EDGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKTHROUGH at my website, http://www.isabelsharpe.com/. Happy reading!