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Archive for March 4th, 2009

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GUILT KEPT THEM APART

It’s been five years since Lady Jennette Selby’s fiancé died. Each courting season since has been filled with suitors eager to win her affection. But Jennette’s guilt has prompted her to swear off marriage. For her secrets are as dark as she is beautiful, and the accidental death of her fiancé was tainted by a forbidden attraction…

PASSION BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER

Matthew Harris, the new earl of Blackburn, has been scorned by the ton for unintentionally killing Lady Jennette’s fiancé. Forced to sell his estates and abandon his tenants if he does not marry a wealthy, respectable woman, Matthew turns to Lady Jennette to help him find a suitable wife. But sharing such close quarters only re-ignites an all-consuming desire neither can resist-even as every shadow of the past threatens to tear them apart.

Writing What Your Read

By Christie Kelley

Recently, we had a conversation on one of the author loops I’m on regarding the writing what you know topic. But honestly, it turns out that it’s not writing what you know, it’s writing what you read.

Before I started writing, I read 1-2 historical romances a week. The majority of those romances were Regency Historicals. One day after a particularly awful day at work, I told my husband I just didn’t think I could do this job anymore. My husband looked at me and said, “Why don’t you write romance? That is almost all you read.”

I laughed it off and told him I couldn’t write a book. At that point in time, there was no way I could have written a book. I had a full time job that required overtime, I had a three year old and was trying to get pregnant. Then a few years later, I was able to reduce my hours at work, and my husband’s words came back to me. I decided to write a book.

Now I could have tried to write a series romance (the Harlequin romances) but I didn’t read them. I had no idea how a book like that was structured. I could have written women’s fiction, which was really big then. Again, no clue. I sat down and wrote a western historical romance. Maybe if I was a superb writer, I could have written in another genre but I don’t think it would have worked. After writing two American historicals, an editor sent me feedback and told me my setting wasn’t selling right now. Regencies are selling.

I felt like someone had turned on the light. The majority of what I read was Regency historical romance. I wrote two regency historicals and started getting fabulous feedback from contests. The third book was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart contest. It sold a few months later as Every Night I’m Yours.

What was different about that book compared to the others I had written? I understood the genre from reading it. I could not sit down and write a mystery or a horror story because I don’t read enough of them. I’ve heard several unpublished authors say they can’t read the genre their writing because they are afraid they will copy those authors. I can understand that logic while they are writing the book. However, before they even sit down they should immerse themselves in what they want to write. I have asked some unpublished authors what they read and it isn’t even romance. They just think they can write a romance because it’s easy and there’s a formula to follow. No one ever gave me a formula to follow.

So I would love to hear your thoughts about this. Do you think it’s possible to write a fantastic romance if you don’t read romance?

— Christie

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