Romance is, to me, at heart a beautiful dream. It can be contemporary, like a Diana Macomber; it can be futuristic, like a J.D. Robb; it can be Christian, or erotic… the list, as you can imagine, goes on ad infintum. We read them because we want the adventure, risk-free, with all the lust/love/flirtation and none of the consequence. Like many people, I sure as heck identify with the old hack advertisement, “Calgon, take me away.”
A lot of writers know exactly what they “want to be when they grow up” as a writer. I came to romance the long way. I cut my teeth writing horror short stories because they paid me to, to be frank. It wasn’t what I loved, but it was worth it. For a while. I have not been the type, unfortunately, to know exactly what genre I wanted and how to get good at writing it. However, I read a lot- to find out.
After I’d stated submitting horror stories, I was offered a chance to buy into a small publishing company as an owner/editor. That work has helped me hone what I liked as well; it’s the characters that draw me, whether I write it or I read it. It’s the emotion. It’s the feelings that interest me, not the story, though story is of course vital. Meanwhile, I read category romance, mainstream romance, paranormal romance, mystery, historical, you name it. If I could have learned it through osmosis I would gladly have done so.
I kept trying genres. The stories I worked on were good, and getting better, but there was something missing. I kept reading. Kept writing.
My first novel, Learning Life Again, a story about two women who help each other recover from brain injury, is literary fiction. When that manuscript got me accepted into the Iowa Writer’s Program, I was ecstatic. The intense learning process there taught me so much, but most importantly, it was validation that I’d been on the right track. The book was published and there was even interest in it for a movie on the Hallmark Channel, a pretty heady move for a naiive author who barely had her feet wet.
The book was not exactly the genre I wanted, though. I’ve been feeling like it has finally clicked for me. My soon-to-be-released Young Adult novel with Books To Go Now, The Curious Bookshop, is a young adult historical, with a romance that will grow through the three-book series. My work-in-progress, Brambleberry Farms, is a contemporary romance with recipes.
I’ve finally come to get it- maybe by slamming my head metaphorically on the keyboard a few times. There have been successes and hiccups in my writing past, but romance- the proverbial beautiful dream- is the underlying thread that I want to write about. Tell me how they feel, and I’m a happy girl.
About the book:”Imagine yourself a twelve-year-old girl… then take that girl and make her solve a mystery while in the body of Queen Elizabeth the first.”
Jennifer Chambers is an award-winning author who writes from a kitchen table in a full house in the Northwest. She has written horror, poetry, adult fiction, women’s fiction, and young adult novels. Chambers writes a weekly newspaper column and writes and edits for Groundwaters Magazine. Her work has been in national newspapers and magazines. She has been seen on television and radio. Recently, her passion is organic cooking, and she is currently researching her latest project combining sustainable agriculture with the food-to-table movement prevalent in the Northwest.
Social Media Links: Website: www.jenniferbchambers.com/