I Wish There was a Genre Called “Relationship Fiction”

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This may sound arrogant or even hokey, but I get weary of hearing myself say, “I write romance novels,” whenever I’m asked about what I do. People either think I’m writing schmaltzy dime store novels, or they think I’m writing erotica. Neither is the case, as there is so much more to what I write.

I write stories about human relationships. Love isn’t limited to a man and a woman falling in love and living happily ever after. Love is about all kinds of human relationships; the love of a parent to a child, the love between siblings, even the platonic love between close friends. The romantic love between a man and woman is only a part of my story. The Journey includes a heartwarming subplot about the relationship between brothers Jeremy and Larry Palmer, as Larry puts his life on hold for a time to help his ailing brother through a life altering crisis. That’s true love. In The Deception, a father literally takes a bullet meant for his child. That’s also true love. In The Betrayal, leading lady Emily’s long estranged aunt finally reaches out and accepts her like another daughter. That too is love.

The reason why I write romance, instead of science fiction or mystery or horror, is because I’ve always been fascinated by the complexity and dynamics of human relationships; not only between lovers, but between family members as well. Of course those relationships can be part of the storyline in those other genres, but the romance genre is the only one where the primary focus is on human relationships. I’m just trying to expand the boundaries.

MM

 

Oh, My!

lips3I’ve had some interesting feedback from some of the men who’ve been reading my novels. They tell me they’ve really enjoyed reading my sex scenes. Apparently I have a talent that I didn’t know I had.

Oh, my! (To quote George Takei.)

Well, I confess. I did some research on how to write “love” scenes, and I’m happy explain the techniques I use.

I start by taking my time to build the sexual tension between my characters, and the build up happens slowly. Arousal starts innocently, with hands accidentally brushing, or touching a forearm. The man may find the lady’s dress sexy. Sometimes horseplay turns into foreplay.

I don’t mention certain body parts by name. I’m writing romance, not a medical textbook. My goal is to describe what the characters are feeling. This isn’t erotica. I prefer to refer to it with words like, “she felt a sweet sensation,” or “she arched her back and enjoyed the warm, tingly feeling.”

We all know what happens during “the act.” My editor came up with a wonderful way to refer to it–“reaching his (or her) release,” and I’ll often use the words, “climax,” “ecstasy” or, “the two briefly became one,” when describing the euphoria the characters are experiencing.

I don’t use much dialogue during my love scenes. Two people who love each other, and who are making love for the first time, probably won’t be in the mood for chatting, and too much dialogue would interrupt the flow of the story. I save the dialog for the pillow talk scene in the next chapter.

One thing I will do, however, try to instill a sense of responsibility in my characters. Oftentimes the lady will be asked if she’s using birth control, or the man will stop to apply a condom.

I only use sex scenes to enhance the plot, and I use them sparingly. There are usually no more than two or three such scenes throughout my novel. My stories are about people and their relationships, and there’s a whole lot more to a relationship than just having sex.

MM

So Why Write Romance?

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I’ve been asked why I write romance, as opposed to other genres, like science fiction. It’s a long sordid story. (Not unlike my novels.) And while it may be a tired old cliche, it’s true nonetheless: Authors write what they know. I’m oftentimes inspired by events in my own life–some big, some small. Sometimes I write about the things I wish for. Other times it’s about things that I wish I could go back and do differently. Most of us read fiction as a means of escape, and as a means to vicariously experience things outside of our own reality. Writing fiction amplifies this vicarious experience by a factor of at least ten.

I wrote The Reunion as a tribute to someone I knew long ago, and never forgot. The idea came to me at a book signing, when I struck up a conversation with another author. Turns out he lives in the same town as my old flame and his wife even knows someone who knows him. It got me to wondering what would happen if, by chance, he ever showed up while I was doing a book signing? That question is explored in The Reunion, and the leading character, Ian Palmer, is based on the man I once knew.

The Deception was inspired by another chapter of my own life. I once met a man who I thought was single, and a mutual friend thought he was single too. Turned out he wasn’t, so I quickly backed off. I’ve since met a number of other women who’ve had the same experience, and even once knew a man who was shocked to discover his girlfriend was a married woman. It’s an all-too-common occurrence  for many of us. The Deception is the story of a decent women who unknowingly becomes involved with a married man. It’s purpose is to demonstrate that the “other woman” isn’t always a home-wrecker because people who cheat will also lie.

My soon-to-be-released novel, The Journey, was inspired by my first husband, who was once the a victim of a violent crime. Jeremy, the leading man, strives to claim his life back and make himself whole again. Unfortunately, my ex used the event as an excuse to play the victim game and as a means to manipulate others. (One of the many reasons why he is now my ex-husband.) Hopefully most crime victims are more like Jeremy. Look for The Journey to be released later on in the year.

I’m in the early planning stages for my fourth novel, The Betrayal. Adultery is once again the theme. This time the leading lady is the wife who was cheated on, and the other woman will be someone close to her.  This novel is inspired by a story once told to me by an old boyfriend, who said he came home early one day and caught his (now ex) wife in the act.

My inspiration comes from everywhere and everyone. It seems I’ve had a rather interesting life.

MM