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Why I write romance

I’m not sure when I first realized I liked to write, but in 7th grade I penned my first novel (I use this term loosely to apply to a hand-written story of about 50 journal pages). I still have it somewhere. It even had a romantic element. Hey, I was 12, and I’d always liked boys.

For some reason, I never considered a writing career, though. It seemed daunting, and about as likely to happen as that singing career I once envisioned. It’s still daunting, and the achievement of bestseller status is unlikely–though I’m not opposed to it–but here I am plugging away at the keyboard each day, blissfully hopeful.

For years, I dabbled in poetry, wrote lots of technical documentation, and emailed little bits of inspiration home from work. When I finally quit working two years ago (wow, time flies!) I spent time learning Dreamweaver and writing fitness articles for my lame website. I also considered pursuing freelance writing, but couldn’t get excited about it as a full-time endeavor.

I really wanted to write fiction! The problem? No ideas. Well, not the kind I thought I wanted to write. I’d spent most of my adult life reading mysteries, political/military thrillers, and historical adventures. How on Earth do people like Sue Grafton, Clive Cussler, Ken Follett and Vince Flynn think of this stuff? Talk about intimidating.

Looking back, I was always happier when the story included a romantic subplot, and especially a happy ending. That should have been a clue.

It wasn’t until I picked up a couple of old historical romance novels from the “Free” box at the library that I realized there was a genre for the stories in my head. It really was an epiphanic (yes, that’s a word), slap-your-head sort of moment. I knew historical wasn’t for me (love to read it, can’t write it), but when I started picking up contemporary and romantic suspense books from Suzanne Brockmann, Christina Dodd, Lisa Kleypas, and others, I knew I had found my home.

It’s always fascinated me how the smallest act can have such huge consequences. Would I have come to romance another way eventually? I hope so. It’s likely. But who knows how much longer it would have taken?

I’m just grateful for the ways of the universe, and happy to have found my niche.

0 Comments

  1. Christine

    Reply

    I have a feeling you’ll be on the best seller list, Gwen. You’re so motivated, smart, and talented. You will make it. I feel it. And when you do I’ll be cheering and jumping up and down going YES it is attainable.

  2. Martha W

    Reply

    I’m going to borrow from Christine…

    confession: I had to read epiphanic three times and turn my head sideways before I could pronounce it. 🙂

    This is a good post, Gwen. Like you I’ve always had stories skating around in my head but nowhere for them to land. Once I took a creative writing class (and became friends with my prof) it all sort of clicked together. Who knew? *grin*

  3. Christine

    Reply

    I make up words all the time in my MS’s … Cake-tastrophe is one… woot!

  4. Reply

    Yep, I understand completely. I remember picking up one book (by Anne Bishop) and thinking, yes, here is my niche, and when you had the same “aha” moment that really touched me.

    Now, if I could only learn a way to WRITE faster..and LEARN faster. It drives me nuts. LOL

    • Reply

      It still amazes me when I tell that story, like it’s not real, but that’s exactly how it happened. It’s neat to find that others have had a similar experience.

      Thanks for stopping by, Mary!

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