Thursday, September 16, 2010

A crash course in writing romance novels!

The night I brought home those three books from our library's "Honor Bin" (anyone could borrow these books without a library card, but were honor bound to return them when finished), remains a blur in my mind. For some reason I honestly can't remember, I decided to sleep on the living room couch that night, sparing my poor husband having a light on until all hours, read the books and figure out the formula for writing them. Easy peasy, right? NOT!

For openers, since my goal was to finish all three books in one sitting, they managed to intertwined with each other in such a way that I never could say where one left off and another began. They all just ran together in my sleep-deprived brain. Despite this, I was surprised to find the books not only interesting, but well written. Of course it didn't hurt that I just happened to choose books written by three of the most talented authors in the business. How lucky can you get? If I'd picked novels by lesser writers, I very well might have given up the whole idea that first night, which would have required me to hit the streets in search of a real job.

Despite not being able to remember the plot lines of each book, I was nonetheless inspired to try my hand at this genre. After few inquiries, I learned that the best way to submit a romance story to a publisher at that time, was to send them the first three chapters of the novel, along with a concluding outline. I bravely swallowed my doubts and set out to come up with some unusual -- and romantic -- ideas.

Searching out the journals I had kept of my travels as an international flight attendant following college, I let my imagination go wild in an attempt to come up with interesting story lines. Happily, one of my flights to New Zealand brought back memories of the wonderful vineyards I'd visited there, and a story quickly was born which would eventually be titled, SECOND HARVEST.

Shortly after finishing this first proposal, I began to imagine a romantic tale set in Japan, another of our flight destinations. Believe me, Japan is one of the most beautiful places in the world to place a romance; the love scenes practically wrote themselves! This book was titled, FLOWER OF THE ORIENT, and eventually went on to become a Silhouette Special Edition.

I set my third romance proposal in France, titling it, TIME FOR TOMORROW. Because my family had originally come from France many years ago, this book was especially fun to write. While researching it, I was excited to find many of the customs, French dishes, and sayings I fondly remembered from my childhood. Although some of the romance scenes made my grandmother roll her eyes and caused her face to flush, I think she secretly enjoyed the book. I know for a fact that she showed it to several of her French-speaking friends, so she couldn't have found it too outrageous!

After a couple of months, and a great deal of work, I finally had three proposals to send out. But how to maximize my chances of making a sale remained the $64,000 question!

(Next: Crossing my fingers, I send out my romance proposals!



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