Sherri Lupton Hollister

I Thought I was a Romance Writer, Part II

My time with my agent ended somewhat abruptly. At first, I was devastated and depressed, but I soon realized she’d done the right thing. For whatever reason, we’d not found our comfort zone with each other. Trust and good communication are extremely important when working with an agent, publisher or editor. I believe it is necessary to have mutual respect and a similar vision for the work.

While I respected my agent, I’m not sure we were on the same page with where the manuscript was going. It was that doubt that marred the tenuous relationship we were building and resulted in the termination. I am thankful for my time with her. I learned a lot. I believe she helped me hone my craft and see my work through different eyes. It was her insight that brought me to the conclusion, Chrome Pink isn’t a romantic suspense.

As a member of Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, I believed myself to be a romance writer. Now, all of a sudden, I have to face the fact that while the romance is an integral part of the story, it is not the only part or even the most important part of the story.

I recently had a discussion with a friend who is struggling with her own story, a beautifully written paranormal with strong romantic elements. When I first joined RWA, they were more inclusive, any story with romantic elements was considered a romance, even if it also fit into other genres. Now, the criteria for a romance has become more specific and several friends who write romantic mysteries or suspense or even historical romances, find they don’t quite meet the strict expectations of a traditional romance.

A romance novel isn’t formulaic any more than a mystery or suspense is, but readers expect certain things to happen within a short amount of time. If the couple doesn’t meet within the first dozen pages and the relationship isn’t established by page fifty, is it a romance? This is what I, and many of my colleagues are facing. It has also brought into question our future in RWA. Is there still a place for us? But that is another article.

With the increased activity of Indie Publishing, being a romance writer or not, matters little. It has freed those of us who were tethered by convention to spread our wings and write the stories that are in our hearts.

Chrome Pink may not be a typical romance, but to me, it is a romantic story. I hope you’ll give it a chance.

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