Let’s Talk Romance! by Melissa Foster
A few years ago, if you’d asked me if I’d ever write romance I would have rolled my eyes and said that my brain doesn’t work that way. I would have told you that I need complicated and suspenseful situations that draw on people’s worst fears and are so gut wrenching that when readers come away from a book they can’t leave the premise behind. That was before. Before a friend asked me to write something light hearted that wouldn’t make her cry when she read the last page. I honestly wasn’t sure I was capable of such a thing. A light-hearted book? No deaths? No scary people for me to fear as I write? Then I took a breath and accepted the challenge—and a challenge it was.
I spent months researching the romance genre and how to write it. After all, true romance has one major theme—love. All I could think about was, how the hell do you write an entire book about wanting to love someone—or not? Talk about learning to give up your crutches! Yikes! I ate a little crow as I went down Research Road and learned about heroes and heroines, and challenges of the heart that weren’t life or death, but sure felt like they were. I think I drove my developmental editor, Kristen Weber, crazy (and possibly still do), making sure the theme was weaved tightly enough and seeking direction on what was acceptable in the genre and what wasn’t (although, I’m a total rule breaker, so I do sometimes color outside the lines). I learned the art of crafting romance novels, which, as it turns out, is not so different than crafting suspense. The theme and elements of suspense are different, but the idea behind the writing is the same.
Not only was learning to write romance a challenge, but I have had the added pleasure of once again becoming a romance junkie. Toss me back to the 80s (it goes with my big hair anyway). Shh…don’t tell anyone! On my romance journey, I read romance until the wee hours of the morning and I have come to understand what ravenous reading is really all about.
Here is what I have learned along the way—
- Romance research is a hell of a lot more fun than suspense research **wink wink**
- Writing romance will amp up your sex life
- Reading romance will amp up your sex life (see, win-win situation)
- Men need to read romance. Seriously guys. We romance readers expect our heroes to be fully entrenched in loving us, making us feel beautiful, and basically living their lives for our pleasure. Yup. Read up, boys!
- Sex is not dirty if created from the heart. Okay, so I have always known that. You can’t be sexually repressed and write hot romance novels, but there was a time when I thought too much sex in a book killed it. Now, I can see how too little sex can be equally as devastating.
- No matter who you pattern your heroes after, everyone will think it’s your husband (my hubby loves this tidbit).
- No matter who you pattern your sex scenes after, your friends will think it’s your sex life (I’ll never tell).
- Romance and suspense are a lot alike. The difference is that with most suspense novels the heroines are running from someone. In romance, the heroine is a bit confused, and runs to and from the same person, often hoping he’ll snag her and never let her go!
- While writing suspense is super fun, writing romance adds another element of enjoyment (besides the sex) because you get to meet and fall in love with people who aren’t going to get killed off.
And here’s a little secret. I’ve fallen so in love with some all of my hunky heroes that I’ve asked my husband to read all of my romance books so that when I get old and senile he can read about the “lovers” that I refer to. See, there’s another added benefit. When dementia hits, my mind will be so full of swoon-worthy men that I’ll never be lonely.
What do I think of the genre now that I am fully entrenched? I wonder how I ever got along without it! Whether it’s hot, steamy, or sexy romance, I’m here to stay.
Melissa Foster is an award-winning, International bestselling author. She writes contemporary romance, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.
Wanna check out my romance series? LOVE IN BLOOM is a steamy contemporary romance series comprised of nine full-length novels (no cliff hangers) with alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They’re flawed, funny, passionate, and very relatable for readers who enjoy new adult romance, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. Each novel may be read as a stand-alone novel or for more enjoyment, read the entire Love and Bloom series (featuring the Snow Sisters and the Bradens).
Sisters in Love
Sisters in Bloom
Sisters in White
Lovers at Heart
Destined for Love
Friendship on Fire
Sea of Love
Bursting with Love
Hearts at Play
AND COMING SOON
Five siblings…five love stories
What does this mean for my non-romance readers? Not to worry! I love writing suspense too much to give it up. In fact, I have a women’s fiction/suspense novel coming out in a few weeks, Where Petals Fall. I’ve added contemporary romance to my repertoire and I’m loving it! Once a genre hopper, always a genre hopper.
Learn more and order your copies of Melissa’s books here.
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