This weekend, I will embark upon a journey into an entirely new world; the world of romance fiction. Next week, I’ll be in Atlanta attending the annual conference held by Romance Writers of America.
I confess, I can count on one hand – one finger actually – the number of real, honest-to-goodness romance novels I have read. In fact, I just finished reading it about 10 minutes ago. It was called Crazy Little Thing, was written by Tracy Brogan, and came as a recommendation from my friend and mentor Denny S. Bryce. (I mention Denny often, so just get used to seeing her name in a lot of my posts. She’s my guide into this wild and wonderful new adventure.)
Reading Tracy Brogan’s bio, I learned that Crazy Little Thing is a best-seller, an award-winner, and has been nominated for another award at this year’s RWA conference. I also learned that this was her first book.
No pressure on me as a newbie, though. Nope.
Love has been at the center of almost everything that I have written, though I wouldn’t call much of what I write “romance”. For one, though I’m fond of the HEA (happily ever after) in other works, I don’t always end up there in my own; at least not in the traditional sense. Denny tells me that what I write is the “love story”. I’m good with that. Still, it falls under the umbrella of romance. And, let’s face it, we all love a good HEA. So, now I feel compelled and think of it as a challenge: write a story with an HEA that isn’t sweetened with Truvia and doesn’t give me a cavity.
Like I’ve often said in interviews, I write the kind of stuff that I would want to read. Which brings me back to Crazy, Little Thing and Tracy Brogan.
Before reading it, I had the uneasy feeling that I would feel out of place at RWA. When I think of a romance novel, I think of Fabio. I think of bodice-rippers. I think of implausible scenarios designed for the sole purpose of putting two people together on the path to their equally implausible HEA. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all! It’s just not my cuppa.
What Denny has shown me, and what I confirmed after reading Ms. Brogan’s book, is that the romance novel comes in as many flavours as Ben and Jerry’s. There’s ‘sweet and light’, ‘dark and stormy’ and everything in between. Crazy, Little Thing is grounded in reality, yet has a whimsical feel to it thanks to a simple premise and fabulous characterization. I love dialog that makes you feel like you’re eavesdropping on someone’s real conversation. It is something that I always strive for myself, so it’s nice to encounter a similar voice. I think I may find a place in this world after all, even if I am a seasonal flavour.
Off to read Denny’s other recommendations:
I’ll also be checking out Ms. Brogan’s other work. Reading is fundamental!