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Romancing Softly is the brand identity for romances that are emotional journeys on the road towards the ideal relationship. They contain no graphic detail. So, why do I write clean romance? True romance comprises a striving towards a profound spiritual and emotional communication between two individuals. It is about a meeting of souls, it is about respect and responsibility and a promise for the future.
About the covers: Romance novels usually portray couples in a clinch, but the Valentine’s Day concept of everlasting love is epitomised by hearts and flowers. I chose these universal tokens of undying affection to brand my Romancing Softly series.
So, why do I write romance?
My romance novels explore a collision between compatible minds and souls, in a contemporary setting. Happy endings are the name of the game, but intense emotional conflict between the protagonists, right to the not-so-bitter end, provides the essential ingredient: story. How the couple reach that enchanted moment when all becomes clear, is the whole point of pure romance. When you read a favourite story to a child, the child knows the ending. The child enjoys knowing the ending, and repeatedly enjoys following the path that leads there. It is safe and satisfying. That beauty of clarity is what I strive for in my romances.
As a young adult I devoured Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances over and over. In a confused and challenging world, they gave hope that no matter how bad things seemed, how misunderstood your needs, they provided the fairy-tale possibility for a girl on the brink of womanhood, that true romance existed, in a time when their slower-developing male peers largely thought of girls as a means of getting a bit. It’s no surprise that, despite Georgette Heyer’s own disparaging comments about her light-hearted romances, they continue to sell…
As a young adult, I tried to write a Regency Romance. I suspect I’m not alone in thinking Georgette Heyer’s Romances were the easy option for a budding novelist. I was, of course, proved wrong. Georgette Heyer’s apparent simplicity of style was not mine to emulate. I discovered my own writing style over the following years, achieving many mainstream publications in the contemporary markets of both romance and erotica. I mention that to highlight the fact that I can, and did, write graphic sexual detail with a degree of success (Virgin’s Black Lace & Chimera imprints). That I was briefly amused by the process is echoed in the writing.
The race to coitus requires little imagination, being nature’s wickedly amusing imperative. When the physical bit cuts in, the brain is scarcely required. In the classic erotic novel, The Story of O (which I found tedious in the extreme), the oft-repeated phrase she did it because she loved him was a giveaway that the writer felt the need justify her heroine’s motivation, which wasn’t apparent in the story.
Sure, there has to be physical attraction for the romance genre to work, but it’s not necessary to detail it. In fact, descriptions of the sexual act can be overblown, making them amusing, or tediously seedy. What is essential – as with all novels that grab the reader – is the story element, which should be believable within its own parameters, coupled with some kind of emotional impact (fear, rage, hatred, etc). Within the romance genre, that is love, pure and simple.
So, why did I go Indie with these works, when I could clearly sell mainstream? Each of my mainstream publications enjoyed a brief lifespan, after which the novel dropped off the face of the earth. All that effort, and the books have vanished without trace. With Indie publishing, my novels will continue to find new readers year after year.
Happily ever afters… to everyone.