How I Became a Romance Author
When I first told my friends and family that I was leaving my job as Communications Director of a non-profit mountain biking organization to write steamy contemporary romance novels, I got some pretty interesting responses. Everything from snickers to laughs to congratulations, to a helluva lot of questions. And this was from people who already knew of my propensity for making drastic career and life changes.
The responses I’ve received from acquaintances and strangers have been even more interesting. Always, they included questions. Lots, and lots, of questions. So, I thought I’d launch my blog by answering the question I’ve received most over the last few years…How’d you end up writing romance novels?
Like most writers, I’ve always enjoyed writing. In school, I was the odd kid excited at the prospect of writing term papers, essays, and scientific reports. I journaled, wrote personal essays, even a little poetry in my spare time.
Also like most writers, I’ve always enjoyed reading, finishing Gone with the Wind and James A. Michener’s The Source before I was ten, followed not long after by The Hobbit and then The Lord of the Rings. By the middle of elementary school I was easily devouring a book a day.
So, while writing wasn’t a part of my intended career path (my degree is in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Education), it wasn’t a hard transition. My adult work life has ended up being a mix of working and playing outdoors, and clicking away on a keyboard. I’ve been everything from an archeologist to an environmental educator, Forest Service Ranger, software trainer, whitewater raft guide, kayaking instructor, ski technician, marketing consultant, journalist, copywriter, non-fiction author, and a Communications Director. Through it all, writing romance novels, or any kind of fiction, wasn’t even on my radar.
I couldn’t begin to picture myself writing a novel a few years ago. Not even when my husband suggested exactly that after I raved about a contemporary romance I’d read.
At the time, I’d just started reading fiction again. For about a decade, I only read non-fiction while I built and ran my marketing business. I simply didn’t have the time to get sucked in to a great story because I’m a read-a-holic. Once I get into a good book, my entire world goes on hold until I’m done. As an entrepreneur that just doesn’t work.
Then I decided to close my business. So I started picking up random novels from the library, used book stores and Kindle. I stumbled across Tracey Garvis-Graves, Shayla Black, Colleen Hoover and more, and fell in love with romance novels for the first time in my life. They had depth, and emotion, and heart, and real sex. I was hooked.
While I’ve read pretty much every genre under the sun, I’ve always loved character-driven stories best. And romances are exactly that. They open a window into someone’s desires, fears, quirks, insecurities and more. They also show us that every one of us is capable and worthy of loving someone, and of being loved.
It took two years for the seed my husband planted to germinate into the idea for a story. At the time, I’d just blown my shoulder and was waiting to get surgery, so I couldn’t join our friends skiing and mountain biking and kayaking on the weekends.
Instead, I decided to entertain myself by writing the story that was floating around in my head. It was so much fun, within three months I told my hubby I wanted to quit my job and focus on writing romance full-time.
It’s been almost two years now, and I’ve already sold my first short story, “Just Friends”, to The Wild Rose Press. I’ve written a novella, and I’m finishing edits on my full length novel—along with plotting and planning many more. When it comes to writing romance, I’ve definitely fallen in love.
Why do you love to read, or write, romance? How did you get started (with either, or both)?