This blog is about romance and writing, but also about my life as a romance writer.
But, I realized I haven’t posted anything about publishing my first book yet!
The book is called His Brother’s Mistress, and is about what happens when gorgeous CEO Matt Valetta finds Lucy Alberti living in his recently-deceased brother’s apartment in Rome, and assumes she was his mistress.
So here’s my story of publishing this book…
In March I wrote about how the relative status of heroes — alpha, beta, and gamma — affects romantic stories.
I suggested that romance writers tend to pair opposites, like alphas with betas, but that gamma heroines matched with gamma heroes make for more interesting stories.
So in this post, I’m going to put my theories to the test, and find examples of status pairings in romance movies, and see how they impact the story.
So let’s dive in!!
I’ve wondered a bit if the #MeToo movement has changed our vision of the romantic hero. I don’t think abusive men have ever been the norm in romance novels, but they’ve made their appearances. And the arrogant alpha male is certainly a common trope.
Our love affair with alpha males
I personally still like many alpha traits. I grew up reading Harlequin Presents, and they often featured larger than life heroes – think princes, sheikhs, CEOs, shipping magnates… So that still feels pretty standard for me when I think of romance novel heroes.
Remember the opening scene of Romancing the Stone? Remember Kathleen Turner as wildly successful romance novelist Joan Wilder, typing the final lines of her latest manuscript, and weeping at her own words?
Then she reels off that last page, bundles the pages together, and pops open a bottle of champagne (literally) before handing the book to her agent/editor.
Wow! She typed her last line, and she was done!!
Does that mean she didn’t write a draft? Does that mean she just wrote the whole novel from beginning to end, with no revisions??
Unfortunately, for most of us real-life writers, typing the last word of the story is far from the end.
Nope. For most of us, finishing a novel looks a lot different than it did for Joan.
When I was young, I read all of these Harlequin Presents romance novels set in all of these exotic locations — Italy! Greece! London! Sydney! Occasionally some other places!
How delicious to be a wealthy romantic novelist who could travel the world at her leisure, I thought. And, in her spare moments abroad, research future bestsellers.
Alas, at some point, I realized not all romance authors are Barbara Cartland. And many schlub away writing stories about places they haven’t yet had the chance to visit.
So what’s the trick to writing a location authentically, if you’ve never laid eyes on it? And is this even possible?
Romance readers (and viewers) have a love/hate relationship with the concept of instalove (a.k.a. love at first sight); some view it as supremely romantic, while others view it as shallow and unrealistic.
I agree that pure instalove — when the leads have no real interaction at all, yet they declare love and make commitments to one another — is hard to pull off.
If I hadn’t started writing during my commute, I don’t think I would have finished a single novel.
I mentioned my problems with procrastination in my post, My origin story, Part 2: Becoming a romance writer. It was only when I linked writing with the ingrained habit of commuting that I was able to sustain a writing habit.
That’s why I’m a huge advocate of writing while commuting — for those who can incorporate it into their lives.
So, partly to encourage others to try writing during their commute, and partly as an homage to my lost commute, I’ve created this 2-part video series on commuter writing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my “career” as a writer (it’s probably telling that I put that in quotation marks), probably because I’ve been dipping my toe in some new things this past year — joining RWA, launching a website, submitting my first query to an agent, getting my first rejection, etc.
There are plenty of options for writers today, and so much advice floating around. I’ve found it distressing at times, comparing myself to others who seem to have it all together, and wondering if a socially-anxious, introvert like me has what it takes to find readers.
It’s been about eight months since I wrote this article about my romance publishing intentions, so I think an update is due.
No, I’m not announcing a big contract or anything. Kind of the opposite.
When I started reading romance novels, oh, more than thirty years ago now, it seemed like they were all M/F stories, told solely from the female point of view.
But, somewhere along the way, readers decided they liked the idea of getting some insight into the male perspective, and the tide turned in favour of dual POV.
Nowadays, depending on the sub-genre you’re working in, either single or dual POV can be acceptable. I’d say the vast majority of romances are written from dual perspectives, but that doesn’t mean single POV is dead.
So, if anything goes, how do writers choose which approach to use? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? And, is dual POV actually better than single POV??