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Dirty Little Secrets: The Questions People Often Ask Romance Writers

Ah, the life of a romance writer. It's all glamour and fun and eating chocolate bonbons, right?

Well, not really. It's actually a lot of sitting at a desk, stressing about deadlines, and trying to come up with powerful storylines and memorable characters.

There is something else as well. Being a romance writer involves answering a lot of questions from your adoring public (aka neighbors, friends, family members, random strangers online, and, of course, your mother)(eek).

I thought I'd post some of my favorites here. If you have any others, feel free to ask, and don't hold back. No one else does!

1. I've known you a long time, and I've never heard you discuss sex in any way, shape, or form. How can you write about it?

Hmmm. Well, that's easy. First of all, what I'm writing is fiction. Secondly, I'm a writer (obviously). That means there are many, many things I'm more comfortable writing about than saying out loud, and not all of them involve sex. Writing is my comfort zone. When I'm writing, I'm deep into the story and characters. It's like being in a different world, and that provides an added layer of safety. Also, my characters are bossy. They often tell me what to write and go off in directions I never expected. I'm not in control here. They are. blame my characters, not me.

2. Who is the inspiration behind the romantic scenes in your book? Is it your husband?

My husband loves this question. He usually says, "Yes, and I'm her cover model as well." Neither of things is true—not exactly. I adore my husband, but what I'm writing is a made-up story. It's not real life, and I won't share personal things because they are, well, personal.

3. I hear you write porno. Is that true?

Sigh. No, it's not true. I have great respect for people who write erotica and erotic romance. They are usually the most fun at parties, and I love talking with them, but that's not my style. Many of my books have sexual content, but they are not erotica. They are definitely not "porno." Geesh. (Note: An elderly neighbor asked me this, and he combined it with question number two. That was a super awkward neighborhood pot luck. Just saying.)

4. Are your books autobiographical?

Uh, no. Obviously not. Not unless I'm simultaneously a Christmas elf, a cheerleader from space, an Amazon warrior, and a college student living abroad. There might be similarities between certain characters (I did live abroad, for example), and some are more like me personally than others, but none of them are autobiographical. People don't ask Stephen King if he's ever murdered someone, do they? He doesn't have to be a murderer to write horror, does he? Of course not. He doesn't. But, for some reason, people alway do this with romance novelists. If you write kinky stuff, you're kinky. If you write sweet romance, you're a prude. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. It's fiction. I'm making it up. Alllllll of it.

5. Why don't you write serious books?

Romance is serious, and it's also big business. The sales of romance novels are greater than the sales of both mystery/suspense AND sci-fi combined. Think about that a minute. Romance writing is a profitable business. I have a degree in economics, so it makes good fiscal sense to me, but that's not why I write romance. I do it because I love the genre. I've been hooked on it since I picked up my first love story at the age of twelve or so. It's a beautiful escape to a world with a happy ending guaranteed. What more could you possibly want?

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