I get this question a lot.
Usually it’s from folks who stick their nose up at anything genre let alone romance. Never mind the fact that romance outperforms other sectors of the book market. When I was searching for my first writing group, I ran into a lot of these literary snobs. I carried on and found a great group of trusted readers, but the experience shook me up a bit.
Happy endings, romance, and history—not only to provide a framework but also an endless supply of conflict and complications? What’s not to like?
But I do have a confession. My book didn’t start out as a historical romance.
When I was a teenager, I wrote a story about a girl and her horse on a desperate ride to get away from a powerful warlock. She traveled over mountains and through forests and hid herself in a remote village after she became injured. There she met a handsome farm boy and shared a passionate kiss in a hayloft…
I never finished that story. In part because I was way more interested in writing the romantic scenes instead of fleshing out the fantasy world, which admittedly was rather silly and full of every cliché you can think of.
But I had sunk a lot of time into that story and wanted to do justice to my characters. I realized the aspects I liked best were the horses, the castles, and the swords. And the kissing. Can’t forget that. That’s when I decided to turn it into a historical romance and set it during a time where castles and knights weren’t out of the question. So that’s what I did.
I came at this book kind of sideways. Many historical romance authors love history and write their stories out of an extension of that. Don’t get me wrong. I love history, but that wasn’t the driving force behind the story. Instead, I had two characters I was fond of in a hayloft and had to figure out a way to justify their connection.
The thing of it is, that scene never made it into the finished book. Ah well. The tradeoff’s been worth it.
Image by Clarita from morguefile.com