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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.


  1. Christine


    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


    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


    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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