Have you enjoyed meeting your authors this month? I’ve learned quite a few delightful things about some very talented writers. Haven’t you?
So now it’s time to ask you, the readers, a question. What kinds of romance do you typically reach for? Historical? Contemporary? Fantasy? Romantic Suspense? Paranormal? Inspirational? I’d love to know.
I ask because I’m an author trying to find her place. My name is Vonnie Davis, and I tend to write most sub-genres of romance, which makes my agent nervous. She tells me I should pick one or two and build a reputation as an author of those sub-genres. How can my readers find what I write if they don’t know where to look?
Her thoughts kind of make sense, don’t they? At least that’s what I tell myself.
Too bad my characters aren’t listening.
My heroes typically come to me at night, full of swagger and attitude. They introduce themselves, tell me a little about their lives and ask me to write their stories. It is them, not I, who decides the sub-genre of the romance I write. My agent's not having any of it. Sigh...
Take Storm Masterson, who sauntered into my bedroom wearing nothing but a pair of cowboy boots and a Stetson. Calvin snored through the whole episode. Not me, though. I was all eyes. Storm told me about the blue-eyed woman he’d dreamed about for three nights and his twin sister who was dying of leukemia. His story, Storm’s Interlude, was contemporary and has won a HOLT Award of Merit as best single title.
A Harley roared into our bedroom one night. Calvin snorted and rolled over. When the rider got off his bike, I instinctively knew he wore a prosthesis to replace part of his leg he’d lost in Iraq. He removed his helmet and sat on the edge of our bed. He’d met a woman with violet eyes, he claimed. Would I tell his story? Those Violet Eyes won first place in the novella category of the NERFA (National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award).
One night a tumbleweed rolled into our bedroom, followed by a rider on horse, his one arm banded around a little boy sitting in front of him. The horse reared and the man, his face hidden by his Stetson, glanced my way. I need a woman to raise my son and warm my bed. I started my first historical the next day—Tumbleweed Letters.
A French government agent slammed our bedroom door late one night. The sudden sound made me sit straight up in the bed. Wh…what was that? Who…who slammed that door? I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and glanced around the dark room. No sooner had I snuggled back against hubs than someone slammed the door again. This time I saw the scoundrel. He had dark wavy hair and mega doses of French attitude. His name was Niko Reynard, second in command of the French Counterterrorism Unit. He said there was a band of terrorists and an American art teacher who came to Paris and stirred up a mess. Mona Lisa’s Room was my first romantic suspense. It also won the HOLT Award of Merit for best romantic suspense and best book by a Virginia Author.
Then one night a pair of glowing golden eyes stared at me. Slowly a bear’s body formed. I whispered to the bear he had the wrong author’s bedroom, that I didn’t write children’s stories. He shook his head and then shifted into a kilt wearing Scot. He sat on the edge of my bed and I told him he still had the wrong bedroom because I don’t write paranormal. He aimed those golden, glowing eyes at me. “Aye, lassie, ye will. Let me tell ye how bears came to be extinct in Scotland.”
Honest folks, sometimes I’m afraid to go to bed. Lord only knows who might show up next!
Now do you understand my dilemma? How can I only choose one or two sub-genres to write when so many men keep asking for my help? Could you refuse them? I certainly can't.
So fess up, ladies. What's your favorite category of romance? I'm giving away a $10. Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter today. Please include your email so I can contact you. Winning the gift card does not pull you out of the running for the Kindle.
To learn more about me, visit www.vonniedavis.com or visit my blog www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com
Hugs to all!
Vonnie, I think you should write what you please. Look at Jayne Ann Krentz, Annette Blair, and many others who write in multiple genres. I love the freedom to write the people in my head. By the way, my current hero is named Storm, but I didn't copy your Storm. Mine's the brother of a heroine from years ago.ReplyDelete
Oh, Caroline, the more Storms we have in the romance arena, the better. If we don't write the people in our heads, they'll just start screaming louder. LOLDelete
Vonnie, great post, and I agree with Caroline, you should write what you want. As a reader and a writer, I personally prefer historical romances, but even then there are sub-genres. I love to read any good historical romance, but I personally prefer to write either Irish, or Irish-American. If a book is well-written, the readers will come! :)ReplyDelete
I love stories about the Irish, too, Cynthia. I read most sub-genres of romance simply because I love variety.Delete
I've got this same problem, V! How do I look my character in the face and tell them, "No, you can't be from a coastal town in the late 1940s. And stop speaking that way! You're not FROM Massachusetts, I tell you!" They won't have any of it. The longer I'm at this writing thing, the more I've come to realize the characters really do decide. I'm merely the vehicle they've chosen to tell their story. My favorite sub-genre to read and write is fantasy romance! I blame C.S. Lewis. Loved your blog as usual!!ReplyDelete
Vintage/historical romances are where one can submerse themselves into every aspect of the story. If written well, we're educated on all the little nuances of that era. Tnanks for stopping by today!Delete
Vonnie - I'm with you, as an author, but also as a reader. I may be in the minority, and the exception to the rule your agent is being guided by, but I love any number of genres, or genre-mash-ups, or blended genres. I love historical, paranormal, contemporary, suspense. I love historical paranormals, Contemporary horror, erotic horror, erotic historical. I love romantic comedies and paranormal romantic comedies. And I write all of the above! Plus historical women's fiction! I bet you that the readers stick with one genre adage is fast growing outdated as digital titles offer so much to choose from and readers can so quickly find new books, that they'll trust an author, and go with her on her multi-genre journey! I know I do that with authors I enjoy. SO I say keep up the good work! You'll find reading fans for all your genres!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your words of encouragement. So much in the publishing industry is changing, isn't it? Old rules don't always apply and, in many cases, that's a good thing for readers. They now have more choices. As you mentioned, LiseKim, lines between categories are now blending to create richer and more powerful stories for readers.Delete
Great post, Vonnie! You're lucky they show up at night. I've had my characters hit me at very strange times. Isn't it wonderful to be a writer and live the crazy lives we do?ReplyDelete
Oh Geri, I am a romance writer and I love my job. It's the grandest thing, isn't it?Delete
Hi, Vonnie. Just keep doing what you're doing--it's working out fine!ReplyDelete
I like to READ contemporary, American historical, and Regency. And women's fiction. (It gets its own sentence because in all truth, it's my favorite.) When it comes to writing, I've tried historical and inspirational, but always come back to contemporary.
Thanks, Liz. I rarely read women's fiction. Yes, I am a romance junkie. Although I do love political intrigue and mysteries. I'm so glad you stopped by.Delete
You've got to go where your heart and your characters tell you. If not those dang characters just nag the heck out of you, they are such determined, relentless souls. And while I understand your agent's concern about the need to brand your writing so readers know what to expect and reach for you with that expectation in mind, as Caroline said, many great writers produce in a variety of genres and discerning readers never seem to mind. So go with your heart, Vonnie. So far that and your tremendous talent have made you a wonderful success.ReplyDelete
Gee, Darcy, may I hire you as my publicist??? Thanks for your kind words. I'm in agreement. I have to write what my characters bring to me, otherwise my wrods seem too stiff and my storylines quite boring.Delete
Hahaha! I can never hear these stories enough, V. :) But you asked what our favorite genre is? Well, let me tell you--my favorite is ANYTHING WRITTEN BY VONNIE DAVIS! And I'm NOT just saying that because I need the $10 to buy more of said books. I love your books. Heck, I think I'll start the Vonnie Davis Fan Club!ReplyDelete
Oh, Calisa, you are a dearheart and I know the gift certificate didn't have anything to do with your remarks. hehehe Hugs, darlin'.Delete
I'm primarily a fan of fantasy and paranormal. But I do enjoy a good romantic suspense now and again. Great article, Vonnie!ReplyDelete
MIss Snark, have you ever read light-hearted paranormal or paranormal comedy? I think I might be starting a new category. Yikes!Delete
I read a variety of genres. It depends on what I'm in the mood for when I leave the office.
I also write several genres, because my characters nag me until I write their stories.
In January, I sat through a presentation with an editor (I forgot her name) and she encouraged everyone to write a variety of genres as we have more options in today's publishing industry.
Really, Ursula? Oh, thanks for sharing that information. Gee, maybe I'm not so far off the mark after all.Delete
I'm with you, Vonnie. I write romantic suspense, historical romance (multiple time periods), contemporary romance, and western romance. Then people tell us to have a platform. How the heck are we supposed to do that when our books are all over the spectrum? Maybe instead of focusing on a genre, you should focus on finding some other common element in your books as a way to promote yourself. (Gotta keep Agent Lady happy! LOL) I know that isn't easy, either. I thought long and hard, trying to figure out what mine have in common. I finally came to the conclusion they all have strong wilderness or small town elements. I bet if you dig deep you'd find a lot more than just romance distinguishes you as a writer.ReplyDelete
Great post, Vonnie! I have the same problem. I write what I'm passionate about and that comes through in the story. But I also understand what your editor is saying. I'm known for westerns and that's what readers expect me to put out. Unfortunately it isn't always western characters that want their stories told.ReplyDelete
Paty, first congrats on the super award you just won. Whoot! Yay you! We do need to write what we're passionate about, that's for sure.Delete
Good thoughts, Jannine. I usually write with some degree of humor. Hmmmm, I'll have to give this some thought.ReplyDelete
like all genres with an HEA an no cliffhangersReplyDelete
I follow via email
bn100candg at hotmail dot com
I love HEA's too. Thanks for stopping by!Delete
Briefly - Historical, if the research gets the background correct. One consideration, for an author, is that they don't become outdated. I've done a historical - and a contemporary.ReplyDelete
But then I like anything well written. And I realise your agent's words make sense, but that's in a purely commercial light. Write what you want to write, what you enjoy.
Thanks, Monya. Your remarks ring true. We do need to write what we enjoy, don't we?Delete
Fun post, Vonnie. I read mostly contemporary romance, women's fiction and mainstream mysteries and thrillers by favorite authors. Also a little non-fiction.ReplyDelete
As for writing, I'm afraid my OCD is now dictating I stick to contemporary. My knowledge of the mythology of various paranormal characters is undeveloped and while I used to like to read science fiction and dystopian stories, I no longer enjoy them. Maybe it's because they're getting closer and closer to reality. I also used to love historicals, but don't any longer. Couldn't tell you why.
But I agree with everyone else. You should write what you feel like writing.
Jeffery, I've read hisoricals that could as easily, with a few word changes, been contempories. Very little historical detail was given. I like a historical to teach me something about the era--the morals, the politics, the everyday struggles. I joke that I'm a learner, by trade.Delete