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How did you get into this genre?

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Zombolly

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Hello, fellow romance writers. I've been away from AW for a while because I was busy popping out babies. I watched the Force Awakens while pregnant with my first, and before the next Star Wars movie came out I'd already had my second kid. My children are 16.5 months apart. I do not recommend this if you want to find time to write. Or sleep.

My darling baby is finally sleeping predictably enough that I do have time to write again. Previously when I was on AW, I was convinced I wanted to do fantasy with a strong dose of romance. Then I realized that was stupid. My kindle is filled with romance novels. Almost everything I've ever written has as strong romance in it. I know romance. I've been reading romance novels since I was 12 when I would sit in the bathroom and pretend to be having the longest poop of all time while "secretively" reading my mother's books. Yeah, my parents totally knew I wasn't pooping. Why I thought being constipated was less embarrassing than reading my mom's steamy Harlequins, I can't begin to explain.

Writing romances is what I should've been doing all along, but the 12-year-old girl in me who would rather talk to her parents about pooping than sex has been hard to beat down! I'm finally shelving my fantasy novel (at least for now), and I'm currently outlining my new paranormal romance. I'm already having a blast with it.

I'm ready to get serious about romance, so I'd like to ask you all...how did you get into this genre?
 

Pisco Sour

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Congrats on the babies! Watch out though, I believe there's another Star Wars coming out in the near future! :)

Re Romance, I've always love reading it, but I used to complain to my husband about whatever I didn't like in the book. This one time in 2012 I was annoyed about a goody-goody heroine-so innocent, so pure, so stupid--and my husband dared me to write my own book and make the heroine super flawed. I did, and roughly 18 months later the book was picked up by Harlequin. Since then I've published romances, erotic romances, and some short purely erotic pieces, which were fun to write. I have to admit I prefer writing 'genre fiction with a strong thread of romance' to pure romance though. However, the world of the HEA/HFN is my go-to happy place, especially after writing something like the book I produced last year.

Good luck with your novel (and getting the babies to sleep!)
 

Fallen

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Huge congrats on the kids... and getting time to sneak away and write again.

Hm, I didn't read romance at all. I was horror and crime. Then I started editing it with a publishing company, and fell in love with it. So I took what I love with dark elements in horror and crime, and rolled with it into romance. I'm dark romance. I love that darkness, but like Pisco above, I love the HEA/HFN guideline. Just means I get to go as dark as I love before that.

Run with what you love. :)
 

MerriTudor

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I started with the "nurse romances". You know, the thin little paperbacks with drawings of a fresh-faced young nurse glancing over her shoulder at a clean-cut, hunky doctor in surgical scrubs looming behind her. My brother was older and married, and when I'd visit him and his wife, I'd sneak one of these forbidden tomes from her bookcase and read as fast as I could before someone caught me. The nurse was always "thrilling at his touch" even though he was pretty much a dick to her for about two-thirds of the book before he finally realized what a dedicated and passionate professional she was and pulled her into the notorious "supply closet" for a burning kiss. Yep.

In high school, I graduated to Harlequins. My reading of choice at that time was heavy duty English, Russian and French literature. But when I needed a breather I'd cut class, go to the mall and snag a Harlequin at the bookstore. I read them sitting in the food court. With my love of history, I gravitated toward historical romances. Oh, and Gothics.

I had been writing ghost and vampire stories, with a couple of historical drama thrown in, since I could hold a pencil. My ambition was to become Anne Rice, but she beat me to it. I was doing some "light" reading of romances and suddenly I had a plot pop up in my head and I just started to write it down. I've been writing historical romance ever since.
 

ElaineA

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Why I thought being constipated was less embarrassing than reading my mom's steamy Harlequins, I can't begin to explain.

Writing romances is what I should've been doing all along, but the 12-year-old girl in me who would rather talk to her parents about pooping than sex has been hard to beat down!

I love this post so hard. Congrats on the bebbies. :heart: My friend had them 13 months apart (!!! yeah, fertile Myrtle + the myth of "you can't conceive while breast-feeding"). She survived the temporary insanity and it's lovely to see you did, too.

Congrats on the babies! Watch out though, I believe there's another Star Wars coming out in the near future! :)

:roll:

Hm, I didn't read romance at all. I was horror and crime.

This was me. (And now I realize why my stories always have an edge of dark intensity! Whoa. It never occurred to me until I saw your post, Fallen!)

I came at romance bass-ackward in my 30's, via Outlander. I think the only romance I ever read before that was a Jackie Collins in the 80's and I did not like it. I was definitely a snob when it came to romance. (But of course I would fight you to the death about how awesome Stephen King books were so...yeah.) I went on a years-long book-reading hiatus after college. Majoring in English took the novel reader out of me for a while. I devoured magazines with long-form articles, because when my boys were little, it's all I had time for.

I came back to reading through historical fiction, eventually arrived at Outlander when the local librarian pointed me to it, and discovered HRom from there. I always intended to become a writer, but I thought it would be lit fic or some such. Writing romance never occurred to me. I still don't have that automatic feel for writing it that a lot of authors do, but I'm managing to get some stuff published, so I'll count it as progress. One of these days PNR will make a roaring comeback and I'll get my Pompeii time travel novel out of the trunk and combine all my loves again. Until then, I'm plodding along with contemp ero rom, poking at a dark suspense, and hoping to get back to my other historical. I guess we'll see.
 

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I read Bridget Jones, and I loved it but also thought "I could write that!" I started writing chick lit...then realized the book was essentially a romance, at which point I spent a year reading lots of romance to learn about the genre. I was also dealing with my mother's suicide around this time, and I liked reading books that I knew would give me a happy ending. Trunked that first novel, but later started writing a novella that I knew from the beginning was a romance...and kept doing it.
 

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I've been reading "bodice rippers" my whole life. If the cover had Fabio on it, I read it. I do have a preference though, I love historical romances. I have read contemporary romances but love historical ones more. I have three grown daughters. Each one is unique in their own way, and your babies are too. Watch everything they do as if its the first time you've seen it, because for them, it's probably the first time they did it! Don't sweat the small stuff and say "ta da" a lot! The writing will come in time, don't stress about it if you don't write today...maybe tomorrow you can try again.
 

Pterofan

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I'm another one who came to romance via science fiction/fantasy, and even got a half-dozen SF/F stories published, until I realized my favorite novels (and even comics) had heavy romance subplots (Anne McCaffrey's Pern series was my absolute fave). With the rise of paranormal romance, I discovered everything I loved in SF/F and horror now came with hot parts. I've been writing paranormal for almost 10 years now, and having a blast. Lately I've veered almost exclusively into M/M paranormal and am dipping my toes into the M/M contemporary subgenre, because Dean and Castiel need to be together and everybody knows it but them. ;)
 

Zombolly

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Oh man, this thread is proving I've found my people! I also love romance for the HEA aspect. Life is crappy enough, why do I want to depress myself with fiction?

Congrats on the babies! Watch out though, I believe there's another Star Wars coming out in the near future! :)

Dear God, I hope not. These two keep me busy enough.

Thanks for all the encouragement everyone. I'm hoping I can start poking back in here regularly now that my toddler has changed her nap time to coincide with her little brother's. :)
 

The Otter

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I've primarily always read fantasy/sci-fi/horror as opposed to genre romance; when I was young, it seemed like most romances were contemporary or historical, which wasn't a big interest of mine at the time. But the novels I gravitated toward in those other genres usually had a strong romance subplot. And when the romance genre began incorporating more elements from fantasy/sci-fi/etc, I started picking up more romance novels.
 

Jan74

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Congrats on the babies! I had two at once....NOT recommended at all and when people tell me they always wanted twins I look at them like they have just escaped the nuthouse.

I never thought I would write romance, I started with more of a fantasy novel but shelved it, then I got into a paranormal and it's on the backburner too, but the romance seems to be a fit and I've been reading as much as I can, I definitely know what I like and what I don't like which has been very helpful for my writing. However I love a good horror or thriller so I do foresee one day dipping a toe in that pond...I think that might be fun since I like writing the bad guy. I have a real asshole in my novel and he's my favorite pov.
 

Zombolly

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Congrats on the babies! I had two at once....NOT recommended at all and when people tell me they always wanted twins I look at them like they have just escaped the nuthouse.

I never thought I would write romance, I started with more of a fantasy novel but shelved it, then I got into a paranormal and it's on the backburner too, but the romance seems to be a fit and I've been reading as much as I can, I definitely know what I like and what I don't like which has been very helpful for my writing. However I love a good horror or thriller so I do foresee one day dipping a toe in that pond...I think that might be fun since I like writing the bad guy. I have a real asshole in my novel and he's my favorite pov.

Twins sound crazy to me!! My husband and I often tell each other, "If people with twins can do it, we can do this!" They are both pretty easy kids, so I shouldn't complain, but going anywhere with them is a wild gamble of diaper roulette.

As for writing, I have a LOT of shelved novels, too. I think...5 or 6? I felt like only one of them was up to scratch, but even after a few requests from agents I decided it wasn't up to scratch after all. Maybe one day I'll go back to it.
 

BenPanced

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I've been writing almost my entire life, writing my first story for a class assignment when I was about 7. I puttered around with more homework stories and shortly after Star Wars first came out, I wanted to write epic science fiction and fantasy. After several fits, starts, and fitful starts, I had no completed work to show for it; I'd noticed I wasn't able to really work through any conflict in the stories. The characters would overcome obstacle A, celebrate, move along, overcome obstacle B, celebrate, move along, repeat until dead.

It wasn't until National Novel Writing Month 2004 where I decided to try an idea I'd been kicking around for a couple years. It turned out to be an m/m romantic comedy (one of the few times I tried working from an outline and failed miserably) and proved to be a lot easier for me because I understand emotional conflict, which drives romance novels. Because I finally had a handle on how to create and navigate conflict, I'd finally discovered my genre.
 
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katfireblade

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I've been reading "bodice rippers" my whole life. If the cover had Fabio on it, I read it. I do have a preference though, I love historical romances.

Hah! I remember when Fabio was big. I did much the same thing, and even read the books written by him. The first one actually wasn't bad. I like historicals as well, especially anything to do with the pageantry and manners of the English upper class.

I blame my mother for getting me into romance. I always read well over my age level, and she had always given me carte blanche to read absolutely anything I wanted...until I wanted to read a romance. Her reaction was so strangely extreme that I agreed not to read one, then picked one up from the library the very next time we went (I'd had my own card for years). I didn't see the big deal, partly because I had picked a truly awful book. But my mom's reaction made me think I was missing something, so my next try was Harlequins and Silhouettes, and for the age I was those were much better. I've been pretty much on that train ever since.

I think almost as soon as I started reading them I started writing them, and I've been doing it ever since. Nothing published, but I have an awful lot of fun just playing around.
 

Sunflowerrei

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Hm. Well, I started reading romance when I was about 12--it was a Harlequin I found at my grandparents' house. Then I found some Barbara Cartland books, started taking those short category romances out of the library (with the librarian giving me dirty looks 'cause I was in high school and look much younger than my actual age). Then a friend bought a Mary Jo Putney historical romance and I basically read historical romance for years and years. I still read them, but I'm pretty tired of reading Regency these days and I've been enjoying reading historicals (and contemporaries) with non-white protagonists and diverse settings and such.

I tried writing historical romance, but it never clicked. I'm outlining some contemporary romances now though and I'm having a lot of fun thinking them up.
 

kssmith626

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I think I have a much less "romantic" route to romance than many. I was a linguistics major in college, then my grad school research was on genre analysis. Once I had my kids (18 months apart, I feel your pain) and became a stay at home mom, I fell into a rut and realized the thing I was missing was mental stimulation. So, I decided to start writing regularly to keep disciplined and give my brain some action. With the genre analysis background, I tried to write things in each genre. I published a sci fi short story, lit fic short story, and then headed on over to romance. Basically just went wherever I could find a tangible goal and deadline to write toward (in romance's case, a SYTYCW contest). The rest is history. I've now nestled on into romance and am debating trying out erotica (my physical scenes are always easier to write than the emotional arcs).
 

Laurasaurus

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I used to be obsessed with a book series called Sweet Dreams when I was a kid, a series of romance books set at high school written by hundreds of different authors - which I now realise was just Mills and Boon for kids.
And I've loved romance ever since, alongside other genres like horror and contemporary. But romance is the one I keep coming back to. I feel like I read about a billion words of romance per month, if you count fan fic.
 
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Jan74

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Twins sound crazy to me!! My husband and I often tell each other, "If people with twins can do it, we can do this!" They are both pretty easy kids, so I shouldn't complain, but going anywhere with them is a wild gamble of diaper roulette.

As for writing, I have a LOT of shelved novels, too. I think...5 or 6? I felt like only one of them was up to scratch, but even after a few requests from agents I decided it wasn't up to scratch after all. Maybe one day I'll go back to it.
I can't delete my shelved books, one I left because it felt like cultural appropriation to me(while I was writing it and so happy and excited about it, all over the Canadian media especially the radio was about appropriation)so I started reviewing and reading what it was and why the uproar etc and decided to shelve my novel. It was a fantasy novel in a different world but using myths from native cultural, legally I had the right to write it, but at the time I felt wrong writing it so I shelved it. I do miss writing those characters and maybe I'll return to it one day when I'm more seasoned. And yes twins are crazy....especially when they were toddlers!

I've been writing almost my entire life, writing my first story for a class assignment when I was about 7. I puttered around with more homework stories and shortly after Star Wars first came out, I wanted to write epic science fiction and fantasy. After several fits, starts, and fitful starts, I had no completed work to show for it; I'd noticed I wasn't able to really work through any conflict in the stories. The characters would overcome obstacle A, celebrate, move along, overcome obstacle B, celebrate, move along, repeat until dead.

It wasn't until National Novel Writing Month 2004 where I decided to try an idea I'd been kicking around for a couple years. It turned out to be an m/m romantic comedy (one of the few times I tried working from an outline and failed miserably) and proved to be a lot easier for me because I understand emotional conflict, which drives romance novels. Because I finally had a handle on how to create and navigate conflict, I'd finally discovered my genre.
I bet you remember your first writing story, I know I was young too, written on full scap both sides....mine was about a haunted house.
 

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Congrats on the babies!

I've been reading romance since I was a teenager and ever since I read my first one I thought to myself, "I can do this!" My first was Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Series and from there I went on a paranormal romance binge. Now I read everything, sporty romances, historical romances, LGBT romances. I has been fun to see the genre change over the years and see the new authors who spring out of it. I love that the genre is full of awesome supportive women and stories that are filled with HEA and men who respect boundaries. ;)
 

BenPanced

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I bet you remember your first writing story, I know I was young too, written on full scap both sides....mine was about a haunted house.

I think there were cats involved. Not sure. Shrouded in the veiled mists of time, so long ago.

And when I was about 14 or 15, I tried writing my first full novel. Approximately 435 HANDWRITTEN pages, using college-ruled paper, of absolutely NOTHING. No coherent plot, fumbly dialogue and character situations, wound up in a dumpster when I moved from Indiana to Wisconsin. The one thing I was certain of, however: I'd already attempted to write my first M/M romance.
 

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I have experience with political thrillers. But in 2017, a number of things happened which aggravated my anxiety disorder to a point that I could not continue in any genre like that. With a desperate need to write still alive within me, I thought hard and settled on historical romance, since this is legitimately the only genre that doesn't trigger me. So, its therapeutic and creative at the same time.

Funnily enough, the ideas that I've come up with romance plots have been much tighter and entertaining than the ones I was doing before.
 

Lex181

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Huge congrats on the kids... and getting time to sneak away and write again.

Hm, I didn't read romance at all. I was horror and crime. Then I started editing it with a publishing company, and fell in love with it. So I took what I love with dark elements in horror and crime, and rolled with it into romance. I'm dark romance. I love that darkness, but like Pisco above, I love the HEA/HFN guideline. Just means I get to go as dark as I love before that.

Run with what you love. :)

I came to it in pretty much the same way. I'd always read a lot of horror/thriller stuff, romance novels just weren't around me (catholic school, conservative family) but I eventually figured out what I loved most about horror was the fear and intensity of it and that is common in a lot of dark romance novels, they tread a fine line I think. I'm curious about what some of your favourite dark romances are? I find it tricky to find one I really love but when I do, I'm loyal to it forever!
 

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