“But I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or at other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.” * ~ Jane Austen
I recently read the above Austen quote and instantly felt a kinship with Jane Austen. This was a lady who would not be cowed into writing what others wanted. She wrote for her own amusement as much as for the hopes of being paid a pittance for her efforts.
Each of us interprets Jane Austen’s writings in our own way. I see her as a pioneer of the Moonlighting school of romance where it is all about the journey and not the destination. In almost every Pride and Prejudice variation, whether Regency or Contemporary, Lizzie and Darcy end up together, but how many intrigues, how many quirks, how many bumps will occur before they admit to their destiny?
Having interviewed over five hundred men for an investigation I performed on the male mind, I know it takes a long time to bake a wedding cake. There will be lots of adventures before you get to the altar. And those adventures can be funny, titillating, and even heartbreaking.
I prefer good banter over snogging. One my greatest thrills is when a reader “gets” the one-liners and movie references I hide in the dialogue of my comedy mysteries.
Many, many years ago my family adopted a well-known author as our uncle. I shall call him Uncle C.
Uncle C was visiting my home in Florida when snail-mail brought the story guidelines I had requested from one of the top romance publishers at that time.
A big bear of a man, with thick messy hair, and a booming voice, Uncle C paced my family room, the guidelines in his hands, his theatrics a commentary on the pre-packaged rules for crafting a romance acceptable to that publishing house.
I fell to the floor in a giggle-fit as he diced the list to shreds making funny faces and sarcastic comments. Each rule had him clutching his chest or yanking on his impossible hair.
- The heroine must be between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six and a virgin.
- She must be employed in some traditional position such as teacher, nurse, or flight attendant.
- The hero must be at least five years older than the heroine but no more than thirty-five. He must hold an interesting career for which he is well compensated.
- Neither heroine nor hero shall have been previously married.
- There will be no sexual contact or innuendos.
- No kissing until the last quarter of the story.
Uncle C threw the guidelines in the air and bellowed, “How dare anyone bind a writer with %$#&* like this?”
Not just anyone can pick up a pen and turn out a memorable romance ~ especially by following publisher specific rules, as they will completely miss the free-form magic that a romance book captures for a reader.
I never gave romance writing a try, because like Jane Austen, I can’t write a serious romance, but I greatly admire those authors who are able to create such lovely tales.
My humor is unharnessed and sometimes zany. I find pleasure in writing about the bumps in the journey knowing the destination will always be there, warm, waiting, and romantic. If I can add giggles to the love scenes, I am delighted.
My heart skips when I hear from readers who tell me of the joy they derive from reading my series and how they long for the next book. I feel blessed that although I cannot write a serious love scene, I can bring giggles mixed with romantic suspense to readers.
With love & laugher!
- Prince Leopold via his private English secretary had suggested Jane Austen write a historical romance and dedicate it to the prince.
Mister Darcy’s Templars
Coming May 2015
Wordlessly, Darcy extended his hand and I took it. We were both breathless as we stepped into his bedroom.
I stood on tiptoe and touched my lips to his. We struggled to shed our clothes without breaking our embrace. I thought of how silly we must look desperately stripping with lips locked. I burst into a giggle.
“Oh please don’t…” Darcy groaned.
But it was too late. Silvery laughter took over and I flopped on the bed. My sense of silly overwhelmed my amorous feelings. Darcy lay next to me, smiling as he patiently watched me run out of giggles.
“May I begin?” he said grinning like a hungry lion.
I lifted my chin to expose my neck, and nodded. My heartbeat thrummed in my ears as I enjoyed non-giggling lovemaking.