If you’re as much a romance junkie as I am, you’ve probably had friends, family, or your significant other joke about the way you’ve always got your nose in a book. My love of stories has taken me on many an exciting journey, but it has also caused more than a little conflict. And of the scores of titles I have gone through, none upset the apple cart more than the first romance I dared to write.
When “The Idea” came, by way of a dream where a man bumped into a psychic and gained the ability himself, I had no idea I would spend the next year and a half creating the romance book I wanted to read—and that my marriage would wobble as a result. Hard. Many authors brag about their wonderfully supportive spouses, and I should stop right now to say my own dear husband is currently my biggest fan as well as a frequent sounding board. He even became an author himself. But when I first got this crazy idea of turning my love of reading into writing, he didn’t get it.
Oh, my plan to write a book was amusing for a time, but the longer I spent tucked away, banging on keys in my writing hole, the tougher it became to balance my story and home life. Visions wasn’t anything like the quick mystery/horror stories I’d written beforehand. It was full-blown romance, complete with a well-built, sigh-inducing movie star hero. And as hours turned to weeks and then months, my husband’s amusement faded to tolerance and then outright irritation.
Early signs that my pursuit was causing problems included him walking in (already aware I was working), sighing heavily at the sight of me at the computer, and then walking away. Then it was, “Are you still writing?” or, “How much longer will you be at that desk?”
I tried to fix things, I truly did. I backed away from Visions and my desk. Satisfied we had returned to status quo, my husband relaxed and went back to the million other things he was busy with. But while I sat around not writing, Visions kept nagging at me. My muse would pop up, already aware I wasn’t working, and sigh heavily at the sight of me not at the computer. Characters kept me awake at night, whispering, “You’re still not writing? How much longer before you get back to the desk?”
When I finally caved and resumed writing the book, Visions began to seriously take shape. Trenton Dane showed himself to be a sexy, yet flawed hero both on screen and off, and Glory Windsor was a reluctant psychic with more inner strength than she gave herself credit for. I persisted through the early warning signs this time, which progressed to outright complaints about my “little hobby”. Finally, after working on the book for over a year, there was an explosion about my “damn writing”.
Whoa! It took some doing to get to the bottom of the real issue, which wasn’t the time I spent writing. It was what I was writing. Reading it was one thing, but working that hard on a romance other than our own proved to be a double-edged sword, both sides of which were pointed at my marriage. Was it because my own romance had gone stale? Did I secretly yearn for a more heroic man? Although he didn’t realize it at first, subconsciously my husband feared I hankered to write romance because I longed for something I never had. My jaw fell open when those words came out, and I slowly explained that the hero in my book was inspired by very specific actors—of which my husband was one.
Blink, blink. “Oh.” Pause. “Really?”
I thought a lot about the subject, since like most writers I know, I feel absolutely driven to write. But why romance per se? I know now I don’t read or write romance because I’m sad about what I’ve missed. Romance novels center around That Pivotal Moment, to quote the Faith Hill song “The Way You Love Me”, and it’s a moment that I know well. It’s quickened my heart, consumed my thoughts, invaded my dreams, and propelled me down the aisle on our wedding day. My writing celebrates the all-encompassing experiences that transformed me, body and soul, compelling me to share that wondrous feeling with others.
Now, he gets it.
J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor, submissions director, and internet author promoter, she currently works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads , or visit her blog, The Power of Passion. She loves talking to people!
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