I am normally not a person of great pronouncements—I leave those to my husband, the Main Man—but I will make this one, loud and clear and from any available rooftop. I am one lucky girl to have this gig and being one of the Indulgence authors at Entangled Publishing is the icing and the cupcake!
I came to romance just like many of you. I pilfered the romance novels from my Granny and Mama’s stash and hid under the covers with a flashlight reading until the wee hours of the morning. (It was soooo worth being tired the next day—right?) It was a surreptitious education on friendship, glamorous locales, the consequences of betrayal and deceit, the rewards of becoming vulnerable, striving for your dreams and finding true love. These universal truths were wedged between two paperback covers and every page was full of emotion, escape, and a riveting plot.
And, while I sit here at my writing desk in the early season of 2013, there are still some universal truths about writing great category romance, the expectations of readers, and the challenge of delivering the same great romance in an itty bitty book.
Readers still want to read (and authors still want to write) stories which deliver a satisfying happily ever after. We all know the reality of relationships these days but we still believe in the power of love to last a lifetime and to we pick up a category romance to see that belief fulfilled. And now, as an author writing modern romance, I have so many amazing ways to deliver that HEA to the reader. Will my hero and heroines idea of living the dream be as a married couple or living together in a committed relationship? Will they have children, adopt, or be the favorite aunt and uncle? Will their relationship change locale dependent on their jobs or will they stay in their beloved hometown? Just like the real couples I see around me, the possibilities are endless.
And, speaking of possibilities, the ways to have my hero and heroine to meet are limitless with the technology we have at our disposal. It is so much fun to sit down and think of all the ways I can bring these two people together from across the street or across the globe. I can choose from speed dating, to an online dating site, or a set-up with a guy from the best friend’s job. Maybe they meet on a five hour layover in Paris or in the coffee shop two blocks from where they grew up. They might be linked up at a wedding or co-workers in a heated battle over the primo job. It is just as likely that “The One” is the man halfway across the world and no longer just the boy next door. Every time I sit down at the keyboard the challenge isn’t finding a new idea but choosing one from the buffet in front of me. Any option has the potential to create a storyline which makes every romance fresh, original and exciting.
Can you tell how much I love my job?
So what’s the biggest challenge when I sit down at my computer? Telling this exciting story in a shorter format.
Delivering all this rich, sexy, emotional, fun and interesting storytelling in a smaller package is not just a challenge for those of us writing category romance today. That kind of writing done well, is what kept me turning the pages under the covers years ago and still keeps me up way past my bedtime. When I have full-bodied, robust characters just bursting to get out of my head it can be a little scary to think that I only have around two hundred pages to tell their story. But, like any puzzle—it is a blast to figure out how to do it. And, I think that when it is done well, that is when the reader keeps turning the pages and sits back a little breathless at the end, holding onto the emotion for just a little while longer.
For me, I love knowing that I’m creating a story that will deliver the punch of a longer book in a format which can fit into our busy lifestyles. Unless you’re one of the lucky few, we wedge in our beloved reading between the evil day job, soccer practice, doctor’s appointments, and carpools. We slip our e-readers in our purse and hope that we have few moments to immerse ourselves in the world created on the screen. When I know I’ve done that for a reader, I can float on that feeling for days.
The last year with the Indulgence Imprint at Entangled has been an exciting time for me. I jumped at the chance to write for them because they wanted to create a fresh, innovative new twist on category romance and they gave me the freedom to embrace all of the possibilities when writing my story. I cannot wait to see what the next year is going to bring.