Susan has written a passionate essay that all genre writers should heed. Be proud of your genre. Shout it to the rafters. I've labeled Susan's untitled post "I Am a Romance Writer, Hear Me Roar" which only seems appropriate.
Readers with ereaders can also win a copy of Delora's Necklace, the first book in the series by answering Susan's challenge question below which is - If you could live in any period of history, what would you choose…and why?
Well to start things off, my choice would be renaissance Italy in the latter half of the 15th century because after all who wouldn't want an opportunity to meet Leonardo da Vinci.
I Am a Romance Author, Hear Me Roar!
by Susan Blexrud
I’ve already highlighted and earmarked many pages in this little manual, but the words about using my writing as fodder for small talk really hit home. You see, I write romance, and among my hoity-toity neighbors, what I do is kind of a joke. They say things to me like, “Oh, here she comes, cover your necks.” Ha, ha. Yes, I frequently write about vampires. In the past, I’ve chuckled demurely, and then quickly changed the subject, embarrassed to elaborate. From now on, I’m going to say, “Yes, you’d better cover your neck. I could drain you in about thirty seconds.”
What I’d really like to tell the yahoos who think romance is the bottom rung of the literary ladder is that it’s extremely difficult to write believable romance. My writing mentor, a multi-publisher romance author, once told me, “You have to be better than romance to write romance.” She was so right. What she said was not a slam to the romance industry. On the contrary, it was the key to writing multi-layered fiction. You have to study all genres to know that what sets romance apart is not the sex; it’s the love. But it’s not la-de-dah love where the path to the protagonists’ happy-ever-after is paved with crème puffs. No, no, no. It’s the hard-won kind of love where internal and external conflict rule the day until the hero and heroine figure out a way to solve their problems and co-exist. They may have to solve their internal conflicts individually, but it helps if they can come together to solve their external issues. Do you think that’s easy, particularly to accomplish the resolution of conflict in a believable way? And why should readers care? Because you’ve created characters worth caring about.
I don’t typically have enough time in the context of a cocktail party to explain the essential elements of romance, and I don’t want to come across as sanctimonious. But I’m not going to make excuses for writing romance anymore. Romance fiction may be the largest genre in the publishing industry, but it’s also the most competitive. It’s not the easy road to publication. Romance writers have to be grammarians. They have to slice, dice, and polish their stories to perfection before they dare submit. They have to contend with editors who send them back to the computer time and time again to add scenes that enhance the conflict or delete whole sections that don’t contribute to the major dramatic question.
Today, the second book in my two-book Mayan time travel series debuts, and I’m excited to have my hero and heroine, Ashwan and Delora, back in the public eye. At the end of the last book, Delora’s Necklace, they were thrust from 900 AD through the vortex of time travel, and as this new book, Miami Mayan, begins, they land with a whoosh and a plunk on Miami Beach…in 2011. The modern world brings some shocking revelations, particularly for Ashwan, whose loincloth causes quite a stir among the Miami natives. I did extensive research for this series to make my Mayan time period authentic. It was a brutal civilization, but also highly advanced in mathematics and astronomy.
Tell me, if you could live in any period of history, what would you choose…and why? Leave a comment, and one randomly-selected commenter will win a download of the first book in my Mayan series, Delora’s Necklace.