Friday, June 5, 2015

Why Do You Write That Stuff?

It still vaguely surprises me when I tell people I write Romance and they get that startled look. That look like Romance isn’t “real” writing or that it somehow cheapens what I do compared to what other authors do. Fortunately for me, that look generally only comes from fellow authors and academics, not readers. Readers love Romance, as proven by the gigantic percentage of the book market that Romance takes up.

But do I write Romance because it sells so well, particularly in digital format for Indie authors? Nah, that’s icing on the cake. I write Romance because I love a good love story. I adore watching my heroes and heroines fall in love and overcome obstacles. And for the naysayers out there, yes, it’s escapism, and one could even argue it’s wildly unrealistic. But it’s the dream we would love to see become a reality. I love to dream.

Okay, but why the heck do I write Historical Romance, let alone Western Historical Romance? Aren’t those genres, like, really, really dead?

Those of us who write Historical Romance have been hearing that chant for years now. Historical Romance is dead. Okay, it doesn’t sell as much as Contemporary right now, and if you want to get technical, it kind of feels like Romantic Suspense is queen right now. And yeah, that does make me feel like the ugly red-headed step-child of the Romance world to an extent, but I don’t write what I write because I’m chasing trends, I just love it.

Available at Amazon, iBooks, B&N, and all those places ;)

Take my most recent Historical release, for example. Trail of Destiny is the fifth book in my Hot on the Trail series of romances set along the Oregon Trail. Although this one involves a side trip to a very early ranch in Wyoming. Sure, it’s about the Old West, and there are a few cowboys involved (although they weren’t called “cowboys” back then). But really it’s about a young woman grieving for her husband, who was killed in the Civil War. It’s about a young man who is aching to make something of himself and to move up in the world. Like any other story set in any time, it’s about two people trying to reconcile their feelings for each other and to find their way through the world.

With sex.

Because, come on. That’s the best part of a really juicy Romance novel!

Okay, I’m joking a little, because I also write sweet Romance (no open-door sex). But it is fun. It’s the stuff of life. And yeah, there are a lot of people who like to read that. Sex is an integral part of love and falling in love. Even out in the Old West.

But here’s the thing, I don’t exclusively write Historical Westerns. I do trend chase just a teensy, tiny bit. Partially to keep things fresh with my writing, partially so I can play with algorithms at Amazon and places like that. So yep, I also started a Contemporary Romance series this year. My actual newest release is the second book in that Contemporary series, One Night with a Star.

This one is an Amazon exclusive - and I'll totally do a post about going exclusive or not with Amazon at some point!

One Night with a Star is basically my answer to the question “What if you had a one night stand/summer fling with a huge movie star… and then ended up pregnant with his child?” Of course, the twist is that our heroine, who is now the mother of an adorable baby boy, is someone who the star in question, Simon,  just can’t forget. He always intended to go back to her—after sorting out some of his own major problems—but he is unaware that she’s had his son. And the heroine, Jenny, isn’t the sort to swoon and fall back into any man’s arms.

I wrote this book, this series, because I was looking for characters in the modern world that are equivalent to the dukes and princes of Historical Romance. And, of course, the answer there is movie stars! And who doesn’t want to fall in love with a movie star, or rather, have a movie star fall in love with them. Throw in some gorgeous Maine beach settings and we’re good to go.

So yep. I write Romance. Lots of Romance. It’s what my heart wants to write, and judging by the numbers, it’s what people want to read. But really, the process of crafting and writing these books is what makes me happy on a daily basis, makes me look forward to getting up and doing the work. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

Merry Farmer is a history nerd, a hopeless romantic, and an award-winning author of thirteen novels. She is passionate about blogging and knitting, and lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. Connect with Merry at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.

5 comments :

  1. Romance and mystery/thrillers are the top sellers, hands down. You can layer in virtually any other genre or subgenre under those umbrellas and still make it work. With Indy pubbing, as long as you have a riveting premise, you have a chance with readers as opposed to a long line of rejection slips from publishers when you book doesn't fit the rubric. Marketing is still an issue either way.

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  2. Open-door sex? That conjures up some images! What exactly does it mean and who came up with the expression? Is this a genre term?

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    1. Dani, for years the line between steamy romance and sweet romance was whether the sex took place behind closed doors, so to speak. Open-door sex is a new term to me, but I'm sure genre specific.

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  4. I get those same comments about true crime writing. I hate that people in the industry are so mean to each other.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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