Thursday 28 April 2016

Inside The Author: Why The Romance Genre?


The only one of my books that has been published so far that fits into the romance genre has been WAITING ON YOU. As an adult reader, I do admit to having a bit of a guilty pleasure for romance novels, or what some people call "chick lit". I like to read books by authors such as Jill Mansell or Sophie Kinsella, who have written excellent stories about characters that you can relate to falling in love and living somewhat happily ever after. While there are many other writers in the young adult genre who do the same, such as as John Green and his excellent book "THE FAULT IN OUR STARS", I wanted to challenge myself to write my own romance novel.

So I did, and WAITING ON YOU was the result. I didn't want it to be a generic boy meets girl, girl falls in love, boy falls in love too, boy and girl live happily ever after romance. While it does have some of that in there, it's not the whole story. I wanted to look at two different ends of the spectrum. On one end, there's a girl from a poor family, who has dealt with some form of verbal, emotional and physical abuse pretty much her whole life. She is looking for, and waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for her fairytale ending.

On the other side of the scale there is Zack, who has a rather large, but very loving family. He has a lot of responsibility placed on his shoulders at the young age of sixteen and although his parents care and have provided him and his siblings with all they should need in life, there is the fact that they are rarely home when the children are awake. However, Zack just sees it as normal life because he's never really known much different through his teenage years.

I also wanted to include some aspect of a long distance relationship, as it's something that I have experienced personally, both in a positive sense and a negative one. It's a sign of the times we live in that people can fall in love with someone they have never met in person. There is technology such as Skype, online chat rooms, texting apps and much more that allows people from one country to communicate with someone else who may be around the world from them. While I know of people who have been in successful long distance relationships that began as online only, I also know others who have had a difficult time and a less than positive ending. By no means is the story supposed to comment on the validity of those relationships. As with many things, your mileage may vary.

What I did want when I wrote WAITING ON YOU in 2007 was to show how much more open the world was to people from other countries meeting and cultivating relationships either as friends or romantically. I wanted to show that it was possible for people to fall in love and find, as Zack and Angelina did, that distance can be a factor with being with the person you love. I wanted to tell their story in their own words and for that, I needed to write something in the romance genre. I won't pretend that it was plain sailing for me because usually I am strictly a crime and mystery genre person, with the occasional dabble in paranormal and supernatural. At times I found that it was an uphill struggle, whereas at other times it worked for me and I did enjoy the challenge

As for whether I will ever dip my toes into this genre's sandbox again, I don't know. I am getting close to writing another book that crosses all three genres, though the romance aspect is more subtle and could be considered a minor plot point. As I plan to stick with writing in the Young Adult genre, it's highly likely that there will be more romance novels from me. What they will be, I have no idea. I guess you'll have to wait to find out!

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