Sometimes I love telling people I write romance. Other times, I dread it. Because I know they're going to have some silly/rude/uninformed comment to make or question to ask. No matter the sub genre, if you write romance, I bet you've heard at least one of these comments.
#1 "Will you write about me?"
Ewwww! No. I will not write about you. If I know you on any kind of personal level, I don't want to picture you getting down and dirty while I'm trying to write. And holy smokes, I hope you don't think of me like that. Which brings me to...
#2 "Do you do the stuff that you write about in your books?"
This is normally accompanied by a sly wink and cheesy elbow nudge. My response is usually:
I mean seriously. What the hell? Do crime writers commit the murders they write about? No! It's called imagination, people.
#3 "It must be nice to sit at home all day."
Exterior Christa Response: Yes, it's easy. It's nice not having to commute and I can take Netflix breaks whenever I want.
Inner Christa Response: No, you jackass! It's horrible! I have days where I can agonize for a good hour over one paragraph. I have to carefully check that I haven't given my character octopus limbs in a sex scene. (One hand on his lover's junk. Another holding his face. Another pulling down his pants. Another holding himself up. You get the idea) I can get so into the writing zone that by the time I come out of it, my back hurts, my ass is numb, my hands are cramped, I haven't eaten or peed in hours and my brain is fried. And we're not even gonna talk about the agony of hitting publish and waiting to see if readers like it. So basically:
#4 "I don't read that kind of stuff."
Yes you do. And if you don't, you're missing out. Nothing wrong with a little spice in your literature. And if you still don't want to try it, that's great. Just don't knock what so many others love. Which brings me to question five.
#5 "When are you going to write a real book?"
This is what I wish I could do to people who ask me this question:
What does this question even mean? Write something that is geared towards men? *sharpens feminist claws* Or maybe you meant a literary book? Sorry, not my style. I don't read it, so why the heck would I write it? I think what people mean by this is something that doesn't have sex (because America is a big ole prude) and can be made into a movie or something since those are the books that most people know. But listen, having a book optioned to become a movie and then actually being made is a one in a gazillion chance. I ain't got time for that. I'll write what I enjoy and what I know a lot of other people enjoy as well. They get a few hours of reading fun and I get a little bit of money to buy myself something pretty. It's a win-win.
#6 "Do you get horny when writing?"
Well, I certainly hope so. If I don't, then the people who read my work sure won't. You know what I'm sayin'?
But for real, tho. I don't type one handed or anything like that. But if I'm not feeling the emotions and reactions I'm trying to elicit with my words then how can I expect my readers to feel them? And if readers don't feel anything when reading my work, they won't buy anything from me again.
#7 "You're giving women false expectations for relationships."
No. We're not five. We know how to separate reality from fiction. We read romance novels to escape into what we know will always end well because we understand that real life doesn't always turn out that way. And we don't ask you if you think you're gonna run out and save America or whatever whenever you pick up a Bourne Identity book. Also, stop being sexist! Men (and non-binary people) read romance too.
#8 "Aren't they all the same? Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back."
*insert long annoyed sigh* Yes, there is a basic format to romance novels. But they're so much more than that. The story can be humorous, serious or angsty. (I HEART angsty) It can be sci-fi, western, contemporary, thriller, time travel. The story can play out in so many different ways. The dialogue is different. The personalities are different. Basically, no two romances are the same. And to be honest, nearly every other genre has a format as well.
CRIME: Crime happens. Detective called in. Detective works case. Makes a collar. It's the wrong collar. Detective or his loved one is in danger by the true criminal. Detective finally solves the case, usually after a great personal loss.
FANTASY: Evil happens. A young nobody is told he must go on a quest. He goes on quest. Slays the dragon/kills evil overlord. Takes over the throne. Reigns peacefully for a thousand years.
DO YOU SEE WHAT I'M SAYING?
#9 I don't read romance. But I wrote something really quick and threw it up on Amazon. Why isn't it selling?"
Seriously? Why? Because you're a douche. Also, because you don't understand the genre at all since you don't read it, but you think you'll magically know what it is that readers want? Get over yourself and stop insulting us. Yes, romance is a great way to make money because romance readers are voracious and consume mightily. But we only consume what's good. And something you made up over the weekend without any knowledge of how romance novels work, probably ain't good.
#10 "Can you give me a free copy?"
No. No. Noooooo. I don't come to your job and ask for free whatever it is you produce. Besides, you said earlier that you don't read romance. So why would I give you something that will get thrown in the closet without even being looked at? My work is valuable, yo.
Bonus: "So is it like Fifty Shades of Grey?"
I get tired of hearing this. But I can't even be mad at it. No other romance author has had as much mainstream commercial success as E.L. James has. So as benchmarks go, I'll take it.
So that's it. Ten Things Romance Authors Are Tired of Hearing. But honestly I may occasionally get annoyed, but I don't ever get mad. People are curious and want to know what it's like. I understand that. So I'll hope you'll take this list as it's meant: a fun round up of goofy things people say. Thanks for reading!
Have you ever fallen in love with a band/singer/rapper's first album, then listened to their second and not loved it as much? I have. It's like - you loved Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle so much and you want more of it. But then he releases Tha Doggfather and since it's not exactly the same, you freak out. (Can you guess the years I was a teenager from that reference?)
I've been worried I'm going to experience something similar with The Detective's Pleasure. It isn't technically my second book - that's Bad Boys Need Love Too. But that story was in a different world so it's not really an issue. The Detective's Pleasure, however, is in The Sergeant's world. I know many of you love Logan and Clay (thank you for that, btw!) so my neurotic writer's brain is stressing that people will read TDP, then spit it out and say, "Yuck! This doesn't taste like The Sergeant at all!"
You see, Ryan and Sam are very different people than Logan and Clay. I think we can all agree that Logan and Clay are pretty intense. But Sam is more laid back than Logan, and Ryan is too delightfully snooty to joke around like Clay. They are their own men, and their story is their own to tell. Because they are so different, I sincerely hope that readers will give them a chance and read their story on their own merit, without comparing them to Logan and Clay.
So I get it now. Bands release sophomore albums that are them, but different, because they had different feelings to express through their music. They had new sounds they wanted to play with. As I wrote The Detective's Pleasure, I tried to shoe horn Ryan and Sam into the same type of story as The Sergeant. But Ryan paced and Sam patiently sat and waited until I figured out that the feelings they needed to express and the sound, or tone, of their love is their own. Once I accepted that, their story flowed, and my sophomore album was born.
In the end, Ryan and Sam's story is my style, but different. You give it a try, and I'll keep my fingers crossed The Detective's Pleasure isn't the Crystal Pepsi of the romance world. Cuz man that stuff was gross.
My rambling and not at all edited thoughts on romance novels, writing, and pop culture.