…until I realized I had written a romance.
So I’ve been writing stories for some time. My first were directionless sprawling epics with “action” and “drama” and way too much black eyeliner. When I realized that those weren’t exactly publishable (without sizable edits I didn’t yet have the skill for) I knew I had to try something else.
“Well, what if I write a story about two guys falling in love?”
But in my mind, I wasn’t about to write a romance. It was going to have “action” and “drama” and way too much post-apocalyptic-equivalent-of-black-eyeliner. And, of course, it did, but it had something else too. Tension. Desire. And as the story unfolded, I couldn’t get enough of it. There’s something beautifully addicting about watching two people fall for each other. It’s inspiring, it’s invigorating. Voyeuristic, on occasions.
Yet I still didn’t know I had written a romance. When the agents didn’t bite, I explored the small presses, but they’re almost unanimously romance-oriented.
“Is this a romance?” I asked myself. “Well, I better read some and find out.”
So I did.
And I was slapped in the face with Tension and Desire and Eroticism. I bloody loved it–even when the characters fell too fast or the sex was over the top. I still enjoyed these narratives, and I saw that my story could be a romance, after some tweaks. So tweak I did and here I am about to publish a debut that’s definitely a romance, though thanks to its origin, it doesn’t always follow the typical romance plots. Which is fine with me.
So I think I’m a romance author. Looking at everything I have lined up to write next, it’s nothing but people falling in love. Different genders and different races and different magics and different species, but some things are the same: The tension. The desire.
Not only do we all want to see ourselves in the books we read, we also want to see those reflections of ourselves experience happiness, or even love, be it emotional or physical. And there are infinite iterations, as each person falls for another uniquely. Exploring those differences of character are just as fun to read as they are to write. Some people resist, some people dive in, some people tiptoe. Some people hesitate to use the “L word” and others say it on day three (I’m winking at you, hubby).
For the record, I’ve fallen in love twice, in two completely different ways. But writing romance lets me fall in love again and again. Reading romance lets me, and you, experience that fall in all its intricacies, all its differences and similarities, in all the richness of experiences that each story has to offer.
So I think I’m a romance author, with the stigma and belittling that it may carry, but also all the camaraderie, excitement, and depth.
Come with me; let’s fall in love.