So you think you want to write and you’re thinking Booker Prize rather than a RITA (awarded for excellence in romantic fiction), so why would you want to write romance? It’s pink on the colour spectrum, the candy floss of confectionary and Benidorm of holiday destinations. It receives little or no respect.
I initially chose to write romance for practical reasons – because there are publishers out there actively seeking authors such as Harlequin Mills and Boon. Their competition ‘So You Think You Can Write’ (SYTYCW) is currently under way. I am a big fan of this competition and have learned so much form both participating and observing. I can’t think of any other genre where editors offer so much help and support to new authors.
But the reason I continue to write romance is not purely for practicality. As I slowly learn the craft, I have found it to be immensely satisfying and challenging. It is not easy to write something that will tug on people’s heart strings, to understand the inner workings of your character’s mind so that you know how they are going to react in any given situation. Like anything else in life it takes time and effort to learn how to do it well.
Therapist and author, Ann Smith says ‘By nature we are all addicted to love meaning we want it, seek it and have a hard time not thinking about it. We need attachment to survive and we instinctively seek connection, especially romantic connection. There is nothing dysfunctional about wanting love.’ Perhaps this in part explains why romance novels habitually out sell other genres. Love is part of the human condition and it is only natural that people are drawn to both reading and writing about it.
For the record, pink is my favourite colour, the making of candy floss fascinates me, Benidorm is a fun destination and you always know what you are going to get. We all like what we like and there is nothing wrong with that. I like writing romance and discovered one of the most compelling reasons for doing so when I was browsing the Mills and Boon Facebook page one day. A lady from half way across the world had written ‘I love reading Mills and Boon, they make me so happy,’ and that’s a good enough reason for me.