And since authors tend to write what they love to read, why do I choose to write romance? I like reading novels with some depth, and romance is fluff, after all, right?
Romance provides an escape
I was finishing the second of a trilogy of middle grade time travel books (under another name) and knew I needed a break from the demands of historical research. I thought I was headed for the complexities of Women’s Fiction, which I love, but in contemporary setting rather than the 1830s.
But life happened. I got some heavy duty responsibilities at church that included a lot of pastoral care. I took six months longer than expected to finish that time travel book, and by the time I was ready to work on something else, I really didn’t want to focus my fantasy world on all the problems I was helping people deal with in real life. And since I had turned to light romance when my mind needed a break, why not try that?
I did, and you know what? It’s fun! But here’s the breakdown of the real reasons:
Romance novels offer hope.
In a world where hurricanes demolish towns and school shootings demolish a sense of safety, and in a society where marriages break up at the drop of a hat, isn’t a happy ending a nice thing?
Of course life is more complicated than a romance novel. Of course relationships have mundane moments to them. Have you ever seen a heroine run out of toilet paper? Or deal with a muddy dog every five minutes?
To be honest, romance novels are fantasies, but there are real life elements in them. A story can help me see the good in someone despite their shortcomings. A story can help remind me why I fell in love in the first place. And writing those stories lets me, personally, put together all the wonderful things that I have in my life and I see in others’.
I love being someone else as they fall in love, glow in their happily-ever-after, and take that special feeling from their world into mine.
Writing romance is a viable career option.
OK, I’ll throw in some extra honesty here: yes, money does come into it. At least a little.
I’ve had to admit over the years that my foray into children’s time travel was/is a labor of love. Indie authors make most of their money through e-books and audio, and 8-12 year olds aren’t really buying e-books. Romance readers, on the other hand, devour books as fast as I do and DO buy them online. If I can craft well-written stories that capture the heart, I have a chance of not going back to a day job.
I do write slower than many romance novelists, and I spend time trying to get the details right. (Nothing drives me crazier than easy-to-find answers that get ignored. For goodness sake, It takes much more than half an hour to cook potatoes over a campfire, and you can’t ride a horse astride in a pencil skirt!)
My goal, if life doesn’t throw me too many curves, is to publish several books a year–but not every month! If I succeed in writing well, if I can become a marketer as well as a writer (not easy for those of us who would just like to curl up with our imaginary friends), and if the Amazon algorithm gods smile upon me, we can all escape into a good love story for many years to come.