Sharon's Muse.... Let's chat over coffee while I ponder some things

About Me

My Meez


Recent Entries



Interesting Sites




In Stores

Watch mini trailer

Clip of places featured in Again

Need Flashplayer to view. Give time to load.


Short, Short Ebooks

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Romance Writer Who (Gasp)…Doesn’t Read Romance

I am a pretender when it comes to the label “romance writer.” Why pretender? Because basically I am not a true and avid lover of romance. Note, I like all genres of books, but usually I gravitate toward sci/fi/fantasy, thrillers, and mysteries with the occasional horror thrown in (more Gary Braunbeck than Stephen King). As of a decade ago, missing from my reading list would have been any romance books whatsoever. My must-buy authors trend toward Octavia Butler, Guy Gavriel Kay, Tananarive Due, Douglas Preston/Lincoln Childs, Caleb Carr, Terry Goodkind, Mindy Klasky. Not a romance writer in the bunch. (OK, I did discover Janet Evanovich late in the series, but can you really describe her as a “romance” writer, despite the simmering triad of Stephanie Plum, Joe Morelli and Ranger?)

My prior romance reading introduction was nearly thirty years ago when as a teenager I discovered the Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I devoured the book and then eagerly sought out its successors (thankfully my aunt had a closet full), and found myself addicted to the oft-told tale of beautiful virgin thrown into dire predicaments with profligates seeking to ravish her, but who finally loses her virtue (willingly or unwillingly )to the hero (or most often, anti-hero), he of the chiseled chin, perfect hair, piercing eyes, and with the sexual prowess to overcome our heroine’s inhibitions (sometimes without her consent). But the tales became tired and one day I walked into a Jewel’s and took a chance on a sci-fi novel that would turn the tide in my reading tastes – Frank Herbert’s Dune. A whole new world opened up to me and I discovered how far into the stratosphere the imagination can transport you. And after 30 odd years of exploration, I have yet to turn back.

So, what am I doing now marketing a book labelled as a paranormal romance? Because, I have recently rediscovered my original affinity for the sexual tension that arises between a couple. As a matter of fact, I never did lose the affinity; I often sought out and usually found the tension in whatever genre I was reading, even Herbert. But, alas without the torrid love scene. Then one day, browsing for something new to read, I decided to chance a new book by Sandra Kitt called Color of Love. A novel about an interracial couple who are brought together with a dose of angst and a smathering of pain, but who discover love through their turmoils, my avidity returned. Especially as I read (and re-read) the burning love scenes. I appreciated the contemporary realism, the true feelings conveyed. I wasn’t seeking escapism; I wanted to meet Jason and probably could find a friend like Leah in any office or club, they were just that true to life. No bodices, no flowing hair. No hyper-innocence. And Leah was a black woman, besides, someone I could identify with. I read Ms. Kitt’s books as quickly as they were published, but soon had gone through her list. Then I reached a dearth because other books paled by comparison and left me so unsatisfied.

Then came Robin Schone’s Gabriel’s Woman, and I realized that I could appreciate the historical romance. Just give me the angsty hero, someone with so much pain, but who finds salvation through making a sexual – and emotional – connection with the heroine.

When I started Again, I was going for straight horror. But then my characters fleshed out, began doing things that made me blush and wonder who they were. And then the plot changed, and through its incarnations took on elements from all the genres I love: paranormal, mystery, historical, and yes, romance.

So, I guess I can call myself a “romance writer,” but one on the fringe. And I sort of like it that way, because I find that I am without rules, with only my imagination to guide me.

Yet if you have any recommendations of romance novels with angsty, tormented heroes, I may be up for a read.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/07/2005 09:50:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


Layout Design by Hajira Thanks to:Getty Images BlogspotBlogskins