Might as well ask why we read what we read since for many of us they are inextricably linked. We write what we enjoy reading. I was reminded of this recently during two discussions with non romance readers. The first one asked me to define exactly what sort of books I write, and if “romance” is a long story with some hand-holding, a short story with hot sex? She went on to explain her local librarian has been trying to convince her to write what she calls a romance novel – sort of relationship in the 1800s with a sex scene thrown in about every 40 pages. I sent her to RWAâ€™s website for an idea of the professionalism involved in our genre, and had to point out her librarian is a literary bigot.
The second discussion was less abrasive. A non romance reading friend read My Killer My Love, and was surprised how much she enjoyed it. Up until now her opinion of romance hasnâ€™t been very positive, and the idea of a heroine with glasses and a limp intrigued her. She asked me what I would write next and how I decided what to write.
These past few months Iâ€™ve devoured books of all sorts. Iâ€™ve read Jim Butcherâ€™s entire Furies series along with the latest Harry Dresden. Iâ€™ve enjoyed Tara Lainâ€™s Beautiful Boys and Rebecca Forsterâ€™s chilling “Before Her Eyes.” From the moment I first sat in the Emergency Room with my husband Iâ€™ve had a book or Kindle in my hand, and Iâ€™ve used the words of other writers to help me get through the days. During procedures I filled my time and my worried mind with flights of fantasy and allayed my fears with tales of love everlasting. The often silly, sometimes implausible plot points distracted me at times when I wasnâ€™t ready to face the reality of our days.
Why do I write? I write so someone else can have those few hours of immersion in a story. I write so they can temporarily forget the stresses of their lives and briefly become a part of the lives I created in the pages of my book. Perhaps some of us write to be the next Nora, the next Jayne Ann, but for the most part we write to share what we are with anyone willing to share the worlds we lived in for the months or years it took to create the story.
I writeâ€”we writeâ€”to give someone a distraction while waiting for news of the tests, or as they sit in another uncomfortable chair during procedures, wanting to be there when their loved one goes past, to let them connect with the world waiting for their return. Those scenes and dialogue and setting pour out of our hearts onto the page, sometimes easily, sometimes with great effort, to be sucked up into the minds of readers and allow them a few moments to enjoy something other than the unrelenting sounds of a hospital. I write because too many stories clamor in my head for release onto the screen. And I guess I write because I canâ€™t not write.