~ By Debra Elise
Some days there’s just too many damn choices. Which brand of creamer, salsa or cookies do I buy today? Well, I guess the last one isn’t that much of a hardship to endure, but my point is, some days I don’t want to have to choose <insert childish whine>. I just want to walk into my local Freddy’s and quickly pick up ten or so items on my list and get on with my day without debating the merits of Brank K vs. Brand W. So, in our hum-drum daily existence (but I really hope your day isn’t hum-drum, we are romance writers after all. We can scale tall mountains in a single edit, and juggle a blog-hop worthy of a top score on DWTS). However, in our daily lives we need to make constant choices our mothers and grandmothers never had to deal with. Need milk? Simple, drive to the store (or go into the barn), walk up to the milk display (grab the squirter thingies), grab a carton (fill the bucket), pay (pat Bessie on the rump) and leave. See? Easy. But alas, nowadays we stand in front of the cold-case freezing our tootsies off and try to decide, “Hmm today do I want…” Local? The national brand that for once is on sale? Oh, don’t forget lactose-free, almond, soy and my favorite-chocolate. And what if you want something spicy? Don’t get me started on the choices in the salsa aisle. Pah-A-lese. It make my head hurt. I think I feel an aneurism coming on. Or maybe I just need a nap.
What has all this silly stuff on dairy products or cookies have to do with writing romance you ask? Great question. My answer—choices. As first a reader then a writer, we have a plethora (l just love that word) of decisions to make. At first, it seems like you’re in the cookie aisle and you want some of those delicious and sweet vanilla wafers, but then oooh, that chocolate chip and caramel sexy delight catches your eye. And now, just like cookies, no longer are romance writers pigeonholed into writing one or two familiar tropes or in just one genre. No, now when we map out a new book, or in the case of some of us, fly by the seat of the pants, we joyfully listen to the characters in our heads knowing whatever we come up with there will be an audience clamoring for it. No longer worrying about an industry that once only bought simple, cut and dried plots with no deviation from the norm.
Today’s author can choose from historical, fantasy, steam-punk, paranormal and hot to inspirational. Even better, we can now create a genre mash-up, writing a wonderful scramble of hot sex set in the Amish country while Aliens produce a mind-control-infused rainstorm. No? Ok, not the best plot, but hey—it could happen.
Back to choices. Did you, when you first began to write, have that question in the back of your mind “What do I want to write?” Oh, maybe it wasn’t with your first book or the second, because yes, you knew you wanted to write a regency, or a small town redemption story, but somewhere along the journey I think we all run up against this question. Or, maybe not. Maybe you’re one of those fortunate few who roll out of bed every day knowing exactly what you want to write. Well, bless your heart. <Sigh> Jealous much? Yah, actually I am because I thought I was one of you, but found out I was quite possibly wrong (What? It could happen). Now here I am baring my soul to all of you nice ladies and must confess I love all genres, but utterly fell in love with paranormal a few years ago thanks to the novels of Showalter, Grant and Zanetti. But could I write one? Should I? Of course, I thought. So I did.
Carry On and Write Again, I say. So I did some soul searching, market research and talked to a trusted writer gal-pal and decided my heart was aching to write a contemporary. Set in my home town. With hot sex and witty dialogue and tortured characters. Light-bulb! I could actually feel the difference in me as I was explaining the story to her. I was nowhere near as excited when I had talked about the first book.
You know, the truth always sneaks up on you—I don’t have to write what I love to read. Duh! Sure, I can always go back to dreaming up a nasty daemon who I secretly want to grab me, throw me up against a wall and rub his hot, hard, body all over mine and…oh, sorry-ahem. So, how about those dragon-shifters? As I was saying, I can still dream up a story where she’s heroically rescued by her fated lover from the clutches of the aforementioned villain. But now, now I’ve given myself permission to use my voice and my talent to create a world and a love story that grabs my reader and keeps them enthralled. In the genre that is calling me…contemporary. I want for my readers what happens when I read my favorite authors, no matter the genre. And that is to become lost in the words, if only for a few hours. Leaving them bereft when the book is done because they had become so connected with the characters I dreamed up.
Maybe someday I’ll revisit my paranormal, but now, today I’ve made my choice. Coffemate vanilla creamer, and dark chocolate encased wafer with toffee crumble please. And my second novel? Well, it just so happens Mr. Bad-Boy meets Ms. In-Control and BAM!*fireworks*–both in my head and on the page. Magic.
Debra Elise is a stay-at-home wife and mother who began writing romance novels almost two years ago. Currently unpublished, she recently earned her PRO status from RWA for her paranormal novel HEART OF THE BRETHREN. Diving into contemporary romance, she is happily working on her second book, a baseball romance. Married to super-supportive Master Chief, and momma to Rooster and Wild child—two monkeys who keep her on her toes when not writing sarcastic & steamy dialogue. Debloooves coffee, wine and chocolate—so she must me a writer, right?