We love Valentine’s Day so much that we are celebrating all week long. Ever curious about why the Mermaids write romance novels? Today we decided to share our answers to the question: What made you start writing romance?
Come back tomorrow when we turn the tables on industry professionals with their very own question. Our celebration will wrap on Thursday with a gift card giveaway. Leave a comment today and tomorrow for extra chances to be entered in the giveaway on Thursday.
Enjoy and smoochies!
What made you start writing romance?
This should come as no surprise to anyone: Fairy Tales are the reason I started writing romance. Fairy tales are full of fantasy, adventure, magic, mystery, blood, and death…but the tales I always found most interesting were the ones that involved true love. This love might end tragically (The Little Mermaid) or wonderfully (Rapunzel) or coincidentally (Briar Rose) or with a heaping spoonful of vengeance (Snow White/The Goose Girl), but the meeting of two soul mates in these unlikely settings gave me hope that I was not destined to be alone in this lonely world.
So the story goes that it was 2008 and I was knee deep into my brand new fascination with Sherrilyn Kenyon and the romance genre. I think it was around her thirteenth or fourteenth Dark Hunter book I’d read when I realized no matter how horrifying or dark the stories became, the couples always clawed their way back out to a happy ending. The stories were so compelling that it honestly took me that many reads to finally figure out that they would all end on a happy note. It also struck a deep chord with me that many of her characters needed redemption and how their path to that came by way of new-found responsibilities toward the person they now loved. I thought about several real-life people I knew and cared about, people with good hearts but who had missed out on that perfect happy ending. I figured out that I could give them that through my stories. I love reading and writing romance! Wishing you all the best on this Valentine’s Day! Fishy Kisses, Carlene Mermaid
Once upon a time, I was on a preschool board and I became friends with another board member, Anita Clenney. Anita is one of the nicest people on the planet and we kept in contact for years after our preschool days were over. One day we were talking and she said something along the lines of, “Oh I have so much to do. I really need to get back to my manuscript.” Intrigued, I asked loads of questions about her manuscript and discovered that Anita was an up and coming romance writer. As an avid reader with an eye for detail, I was thrilled when she asked me to be a beta reader. What she got back was way more than what I think she was expecting – actually closer to line edits than your typical overall impressions.
I have been working with Anita ever since. I can’t express how excited and proud I was when Anita signed a three book contract later that year. And I couldn’t have been more thrilled for my friend when her first book made the USA Today and New York Times bestseller’s lists.
Being a good friend, it didn’t take long until Anita suggested I put some of my great ideas into a manuscript of my very own. It took several months of her prodding, but now I’m so happy she did. I love the outlet writing gives me and I now understand why I’ve had this constantly running loop of ideas and images floating through my brain all of these years… Writing was what I was meant to do.
My journey to writing romance started because of a television show. Yep. I fell in love with an old show named Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and no, not Buffy), but the character Spike—but not because of what he was on screen as much as what was missing from Spike’s tortured existence—romance. At the time, I read horror, mostly, and lots of paranormal, but not necessarily romance, except maybe gothic romance and tragic love stories (always liked to sob with my heroines:). But then I discovered fan fiction (which since 50 Shades of Grey, I no longer need to explain:). Fanfiction writers in the Buffy fandom wore obsessive romantics. I read thousands of pages of fan fiction, and wrote 500,000 words of fan fiction myself (and no it wasn’t all one book:). And through fan fiction, I met a writer named Alicia Rasley (I won’t share her Live Journal name here though:), and she introduced me to RWA, and the idea of writing original romantic fiction. That was quite a few years ago, and I had SO much to learn (which I’m still learning), but that’s who and what started my journey in romance. Buffy, Spike, and Alicia Rasley (http://www.aliciarasley.com/).
I write what I love, and I also write the books I cannot find and would like to see on shelves. The inspiration of strong women who find more than love — they find love with the right guy — proves such men are out there. When they find their happily ever after, it makes me happy. I guess I write because I’d like to spread the happiness around.
The summer before my senior year of college, my mom handed me Nora Roberts’ Sea Swept to read. A couple pages in, I was hooked. That summer I read all about the Quinn’s, the Calhoun sisters and the MacGregor’s, and I haven’t stopped reading romance since. I’d always been a writer but I guess I had never found my niche. What really struck me about romance novels was that everyone got a happy ending. For a twenty-one year old about to enter the very scary and unsure “real world,” nothing sounded better than escaping to a place where dreams come true.
I write young adult romances because I want girls to read about boys who treat them with respect. I want them to EXPECT that. To have those high expectations of boys who will grow into men of good character. To hold out for love.
It’s not that I ever expected my relationships in high school to pan out into a golden anniversary, but those innocent romances helped me discover what I expected from an adult relationship. And really, when you come to think of it, they’re the same. I think the only difference is that we become more jaded and insecure as adults, so teen romances are probably the most pure and real ones out there. When everything is fresh and new and even heartbreakingly real. I write teen romances because I still remember those feelings quite vividly. It’s the promise of something special…something magical…something unforgettable.
I cannot imagine writing a young adult novel without including some element of romance. I believe first love is integral to the teenage experience. An essential part of understanding who we are is discovering who we can be as a result of another person — a person who brings out the best in us, a person who inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. That, to me, is the definition of true love.
I’ve loved reading romance since my early teens, when my family made its annual trek to Georgia and visited family. My grandmother lived with two sisters and me-oh-my, they had half a garage PACKED with grocery bags full of Harlequin books from their shared subscription. Unlimited access to these tiny miracles not only kept me quiet, it gave me my early training. Since I never really stopped reading them, I’ve also never stopped wanting to tell my own stories.
Your turn. Tell us in the comments why you *read* romance novels?