Sunday, January 1, 2006

Pink Hearts & other subjects


This month’s release in the UK & Ireland is THE WEDDING SURPRISE. I do hope you’ll look out for it. It’s a story about two people who might never have met if it hadn’t been for a reality TV show. They come from very different backgrounds, have their own reasons for doing the show (neither of which the other knows) and all they have to do is convince friends and family they are in love and getting married… And isn’t the cover sweet? I found out recently that the art work is now being painted specifically for the books and I have to say that I, for one, love the results!

Meanwhile…I wonder if everyone had as long a think over New Year’s resolutions as I did? A fabulous writer for Harlequin Mills & Boon recently talked about how resolutions should be more realistic so we can keep them. And she’s so right! If I made resolutions to eat chocolate when I shouldn’t and avoid dusting then I would stand a pretty darn good chance of keeping them… But I’ve decided to be a good girl and do something pro-active this year. With a little help from some of my new friends I might stand a chance of keeping to it…

I’ve been so lucky to get regular e-mails from people all over the world who have read my books and been encouraged to tell me they did. And this last year I have received several from people here in Ireland who are writing romance and trying to get their first real break. So where are our support networks I wonder?

I started out researching where to send my work like so many people across the globe do; by looking on the Internet. I got lucky. I tripped across the eharlequin site and found a wealth of information and supportive ‘cyber-hands’ to hold mine while I made the journey to getting published. But the one thing that many of my new friends talked to me about was groups like the RNA and RWA and local groups that helped them along. Yet when I sold my first book and went in search of such groups here in Ireland I couldn’t find any. Why is that I wonder?

‘I read romance’ or more specifically ‘I read category/series romance’ seems almost as embarrassing a thing to say these days as confessing to being a cross-dresser might have been in the 1940’s. The genre is constantly run down by people who see it as a lesser form of writing and of reading. People who believe that a shorter format automatically means lesser writing and a weak plot. Yet these ‘lesser’ books still sell millions of copies world-wide! I have read category romance since my teens and have never had a problem reading them in public or passing them onto friends when I find one I particularly enjoyed just as I would with more ‘mainstream’ books that critics would see as more acceptable reading. And I am still in my thirties, I still go clubbing and play sports and have a varied group of ‘Sex in the City’ type friends. So when I discovered that even my own country seems to have problems with supporting people who choose to write for category romance I have to say I was, disappointed.

Or maybe I just haven’t found the groups that read, study or aspire to write the kind of books I love to read and write. Are they out there? And do any of you who are lucky enough to have those kinds of groups nearby have tales of when you just couldn’t have done without them? I’d love to hear about them and I’d especially love to hear from anyone in Ireland who is trying to break into the category romance genre so that I can get you all together…

To that end my first resolution to be pro-active has led to the setting up of a group on Yahoo for Irish based readers and writers of romance. I do hope you’ll come out of the woodwork and join so we can encourage each other! E-mail me or leave a message here if you'd like to sign up....

And my message for today; if you read category romance and you enjoy reading it is this; be proud to say so! And not just to your friends who already love the genre… spread the word! We authors, of course, love to hear from you. We are, by nature of our profession, solitary creatures, and particularly those of us that still find it hard to envisage our work a world away, love to know that you’re happy to have spent a few hours with characters that invariably become very real to us. Like children in a sense. Dear-y me, this is almost sounding like an ‘adopt an author’ campaign, isn’t it? I guess what I’m trying to say, in my long drawn out way, is that there are so many amazing books out there that we have all read and enjoyed and for every person that tries to run down what we enjoy… there should be ten of us to say well, actually, we love it!

Maybe we should even start some kind of a campaign to let all those critics know we are a force to be reckoned with? A pink heart would be the obvious choice I guess…Oh dear, now the promotions gal in me is designing logos! HELP!!


wyn said...

Hi Trish I am an irish woman living in scotlsand I found your blog while seeking inspiration to contiue writing my first romance novel. Since I have started My friends have all been very supportive and we have strangely just all gotten round to "confessing" we read romances. i would love to find an Irish romance writers group but in the mentime will keep getting feedback from my friends

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