The More Things Change……
I was thinking the other day that being a romance writer has more than its share of good points. For example, you get all the highs and lows and excitement that go with falling falling in love, and (almost) always a happy ending. You know where you are with a romance.
One of the things that I love about writing romance is the variety of sub genres. I write romantic suspense and romantic comedy, but there's teen romance, 'autumn' romance, inspirational romance, gay & lesbian romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, fantasy and futuristic romance – the list goes on. Something to suit every reader – and writer!
Even though the fashions have changed and storylines that would have brought on a fainting attack for our grannies and a flush to the cheeks of our moms are now not only acceptable but often bestsellers. Romance novels reflect social mores and the role that woman play in society with increasing openness. Once upon a time, relationships were only between a man and a woman, only the same cultural background, the woman was a virgin and there was no 'hanky panky' until he'd slipped a ring on her finger.
Today, romance writing has opened up to reflect the many different variations on love experienced between consenting adults, skillfully woven with tenderness by some great writers. Romance writers encompass the vivid colors of love that stripe through our world.
And as the sales figures show, romance sells in huge numbers to people in all walks of life, professional and educational status. I think this is because love is such a central part of our lives – and I know lots of happily-in-a-relationship women (and men) who avidly read romantic novels.
I write romantic suspense, usually with a strong touch of comedy, and I know my leading characters reflect the modern world while respecting the essence of romantic love. They recognize a deep bond and commitment but there's no waiting for that gold ring before expressing the physical side of their love! And certainly, the heroines aren't wilting wallflowers waiting to be rescued. The heroine in my novel Resort to Murder, Ellie Fitzpatrick, is an ambitious police detective prepared to face down thugs & a serial killer while she battles the glass ceiling in her profession. In Winters & Somers, Irish private detective Cíara Somers is struggling to make her way in a chauvinistic man's world and fights tooth and nail to stop the hero, Jonathon Winters, taking over her business. And in Judgement by Fire, Canadian wildlife artist Lauren Stephens hits the protest lines when developers threaten her beloved rural landscape. Oh, and she faces down a homicidal stalker and saves the life of the man she loves, as well!
There's an old saying that 'The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same."
This is certainly true of writing, where there is no substitute for doing the hard work – most overnight successes have been honing their craft for years before hitting the limelight.
At the same time, the whole game is whimsical – who knows why one book gets published and another, equally as good, languishes on a shelf gathering dust?
I've done lots of different work – journalism. teaching at all levels, counseling, coaching, working in a candy store (speaking of dream jobs!) but writing beats them all.
But no-one should remain static, so in the spirit of change I was thinking that perhaps I should experiment by widening my scope. I thought I'd have a crack at some of the more erotic writings that sell so well. Sure, I love royalties as much as the next writer!
So I started writing one of those m/m (male/male romances, for those of you who’ve lived sheltered lives!) but I didn’t get very far. Not because I'm prissy, not because I don’t know any guys who love each other dearly, but because……well, okay, I admit it – I fell madly in love with both the heroes and was too jealous to let them have each other.
How sad is that?
© Glenys O'Connell, January 2010
Winters & Somers is Glenys O'Connell's second novel. She became interested in crime & criminal psychology when covering the crime beat as a journalist for a large daily newspaper. This led to a degree in psychology and qualifications as a counselor - but writing is her first love and she says romantic suspense satisfies her cravings for both romance and crime! Her other novels include romantic suspense stories Judgement by Fire & Resort to Murder, and romantic comedy Marrying Money. She is also published as a children's author, and has written two non-fiction books, one on Irish culture and another on coping with depression. Glenys also has had two one-act plays produced. She also teaches a creative writing course named Naked Writing on Absolutewrite.com
Born in the UK, she has lived and worked in Ireland and Canada - all countries which provide excellent settings for novels. She's currently living in very rural Ontario, Canada, where she can watch bears, deer and raccoons at play and is planning a new novel set in Italy!