Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Write Romance in Five Easy Decades

The Wedding Wager is Live!  

Megan leaves the hospital whole but in despair. Can Kevin heal her heart and still save the family fortune?

When people say romance is easy to write, I laugh and say, "Where's your book?" 

Romance is a lovely balance of human interaction, emotional transformation, and page-turning storytelling. For years, people (who didn't read romance) told me to concentrate on mystery and science fiction. Those were the genres that appealed to them. Those were the only stories they felt worth reading. It was no coincidence that many of these people worked at the same university where I worked. They considered romance to be fluff. "Oh, anyone can write that silly stuff!"

Anyone? Really? Again I say, "Where's your romance? Where's your novel about the hearts of two people falling in love?"

Try to tell them that Jane Eyre or Madame Bovary were romance novels and these academics will turn pale and sputter to defend "the classics." My personal theory about academic acceptance of mystery and science fiction is this: Academia is still dominated by men, and men like to read mysteries and science fiction. Female academics who read romance would never admit to that in the presence of their male colleagues.

Well, guess what? I don't work there anymore! I love romance, and I love writing romance! But it didn't happen overnight.

 After years of reading and yes, even studying romance novels, I finally plunged in with a romantic suspense called North Rim Delight. The stars of that book, Terri and Russ, now have their own mini mystery series. Well, I guess I can't call it a series until the second mini mystery is published later this year. But the point is, they moved into a mystery series because it's hard for the same people to fall in love in multiple stories. 

Even so, I felt that the inclusion of the suspense and the mystery forced me to pay less attention to the romance of the book. So I decided to try again, with a completely sweet romance. Because I love dogs so much, my characters love them, too. That inspired my next novel, Calin's Cowboy. The sweet romance was there, but the book also appeals to lovers of cozy mysteries as Calin and Derek solve the puzzle of Calin's forgotten memories when he pretends to be her fiance for her class reunion. Calin and Derek are dog lovers, and their pets provide many humorous moments throughout the book.

Then I read another lovely novel by one of my favorite writers, Sandra Edwards, called The Marriage Bargain. I loved it! I had so much fun reading it, I thought maybe I could write a marriage of convenience novel. After all, I had been reading them and studying the genre for ages. 

The Wedding Wager is my first offering in this genre, but not my last! I had so much fun writing it, even my editor commented that she could tell on every page that I was having a great time. And hopefully my readers will feel the same way.

So don't let anyone tell you writing romance is easy! It may be fun, but it takes all the skills you can muster as a writer to provide a satisfying romance novel.

My other titles:
And my dog books (as Linda White)


  1. Regina,
    I totally agree, writing romance is fun but it's no cakewalk. The other great thing about romance is the support from other romance writers and fans. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Mariposa! I spent years figuring out just the right combination of factors. Now that I think I've got it, I can't wait to start the next one!

  2. Don't you love it when people ask why you write romance and follow it up with, "Why don't you write a real book?" Many of those "real" books make me yawn. I'm a mystery fan, but I like to mix mystery with romance. Maybe romantic suspense is the genre for you, too.

  3. Thank you, Jannine! I spent so long in academic circles, learning to hide the stories I kept in the bottom of my drawer. And at the same time, struggling to write a romance with enough emotion in it! Then one day I was sorting and cleaning (gasp!) and distracted myself by reading the old stories. Wow! There it was on the page. I just had to get in touch with those original roots. :-)

    Thank you so much for dropping by!