I'm not very good at following rules. Contrary to the "rule" of writing in one genre which would allow me to gain a loyal readership, I flit from one category to another. At the moment, I am flitting between contemporary and historical books with stories that are defined as romance, women's fiction, and mainstream with some crossovers.
It took me a while to figure out the difference between women's fiction and romance as it apparently did one of my publishers who accepted my submission of the former and then did major surgery to convert it to the latter. I've never been convinced the amputation was necessary and someday I hope to reattach those missing limbs and offer it for adoption.
I've finally concluded that a romance is about a relationship between two people (in the traditional romance a man and woman), with the focus on these two with no subplots, and the story has a happy ending. Whereas women's fiction can have other relationships, subplots, and end the way real life often does.
Some people say they read books to escape real life and if they want reality, they will watch the TV news. But I maintain that it can be more cathartic for readers to "lose themselves" in a book that mirrors life. If people have problems and sadness in their own lives, I think it helps to know that they are not alone in that. To read about a character who faces a bad situation and overcomes it can offer hope of doing likewise. And isn't it better to cry over an imaginary character than to indulge in a pity party for oneself? The end result is still the release of stressful emotion.
In my books, I sometimes write about controversial relationships. In my March contemporary, To Those Who Wait, the two main characters are married—to other people. But there were circumstances that changed four reviewers' opinions about their extramarital affair. Life ain't always pretty. And in my just released historical, This Time Forever, the heroine was married and the hero was engaged but no reader would want Clarissa to stay in her abusive marriage. Philip's dilemma was more difficult because he was torn between two decent women who loved him.
I would not leave you with the thought that everything I write is gloom and doom. I have other contemporary books released this year that meet the definition of romance in every way. And I have a new historical awaiting release—a whimsical love story about a castle guard and waiting lady-- that will warm your heart and make you smile. Meanwhile, I shall continue on my convoluted writing journey, and hope that a few adventurous readers who like variety will follow me. For more information and examples of my multi-genre flaw, go to www.lindaswift.net
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Swift writes contemporary and historical women's fiction, romance, and mainstream books, short stories, poetry and plays. She is currently contracted with seven digital publishers and has nine books and three short stories available in a variety of genres. Her most recent release is THIS TIME FOREVER, a Civil War saga, winner of LASR's Book of the Week.
She and her husband (in-house techie) spend time between Florida and their native state of Kentucky, visiting their children in Tennessee enroute. She is grateful to her entire family for their encouragement, support, and technical help that enables her to survive in cyberspace.