From Historical to Contemporary

NancyNancy Henderson

If someone had told me I’d be writing contemporary romance one day, I would have said they were crazy.  I’m a historical romance author.  I don’t even read contemporary romance.  Surely they were off their rockers.

Then I read one.

I was bored.  I had nothing to read, and my mother tossed the book to me.  “It’s really good,” she said.  “You should learn to write them.”  (Mom does not like history.)

I regret to say I don’t remember the author, but I believe it was a Harlequin Super Romance.  I was skeptical. I was a romance snob.  How could contemporaries possibly hold my interest when there were no pirates, soldiers, or hunky Indians like were in the pages of my beloved historical romances?

Boy was I wrong.  I found romance, hunky heroes, and just as interesting plotlines as the historicals.  So what if there were no battle scenes?  There were cut throat business tycoons and small down disasters.  I devoured the novel.  Then I bought some more and devoured those.  Then something strange happened.

I wanted to write one.

And come on.  How hard could it be?  I had done so much required research when writing historicals.  A contemporary must be a piece of cake.

So I wrote the draft.  Then I let it sit for a month. Then I went back to it and revised.  Easy.

I bragged of my accomplishment to my most devoted fan:  my mom.  She asked to read it for which I had no problem handing it over.  Now mom has been reading contemporary romance since the mid 1950s.  She knows the formula blindfolded.

I thought she’d have the manuscript back to me in a few weeks.  She returned it the next day—TONS of mark ups.  You would have thought she’d been an editor.  She even used a red pen.  I’m surprised to say that her critique was as thorough and calculated as any editor I’ve ever hired.  I told her she should really do this for a living.  She just shrugged and said she’s a diehard reader.  She knows what she likes.

I’ve since revised my first contemporary romance based on Mom’s valuable input.  She was right, dead on with all her suggestions, and her advice made the story stronger and the characters believable.  The best part was the learning experience.  Writing is just hard, no matter whan genre you’re writing.  There is no easy path. My journey into contemporary romance was a learning experience that I will never forget.

Oh, and I plan to keep writing (and reading) them because despite the challenge, they’re a lot of fun!

Nancy Henderson is multi published in historical and paranormal romance.  She hopes to be published in contemporary romance in the near future.  Oh, and she also writes humorous books about cats and her life being “owned” by them.  Visit her website at: or her blog at:

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