Friday, February 27, 2015

What made you become a writer--or a reader--of romance novels? by Liz Flaherty

          What made you become a writer of romance novels?
          Since I asked the question, I tried to pin down my own answer to it and wasn’t all that successful.
      
    I remember reading my mom's Emilie Loring and Elisabeth Ogilvie library books. Often. I remember reading Betty Neels and Sara Seale and then, over and over, Janet Dailey and Nora Roberts. When my kids were in bed, I sat in front of the TV and wrote stories in notebooks of yellow-lined paper, but I didn’t think of being published. Not really. Being published was for rich women who lived in cities and put on makeup every day, wasn’t it? Not mothers of three who worked fulltime jobs and whose mascara dried unused it its tube.
          At some point, I knew I wanted to become one (a writer of romance novels, in case you forgot what I was going on and on about) and added sitting on the bleachers, waiting in the car, and lunchtime to my nighttime writing exercises. Eventually, a few manuscripts and a gazillion queries and submissions later, I sold a book.
          At least once during the writing of each subsequent story, I’ve told my husband I’m quitting because it’s just too hard. Each time, he tells me he doesn’t want to hear it.
          Because you can’t quit being what you are. Because I didn’t become a writer of romance novels—I just was one and I still am. And I love being one.
          So, what about you?
          Obviously, if you’re a reader and not a writer, you don’t have to answer this question. However, we’re so glad to have you here that we have a question for you, too. What made you become a reader of romance novels? Let us know, and accept our gratitude that you did.

Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…30-some years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening! Her favorite thing these days is writing for Harlequin Heartwarming.

25 comments:

  1. I specifically love reading Heartwarming romance novels because they're sweet with great plots. They just make me feel happy inside. These days it's nice reading books that are comforting and wholesome too. The challenge is trying to keep up with so many great new titles coming out so frequently!! Thx Liz Flaherty for not giving up writing romance novels. Readers like myself appreciate them. ( :

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    1. Thank you, Laurie--your comment made my day!

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    2. We who write Heartwarming novels love readers like you, Laurie! Maybe we can all take turns doing your housework so it'll be easier to read 'em as they're released! :-)

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  2. I cut my teeth on Zane Grey books and Max Brand and other western writers. I always thought I wanted to write western novels. But in the books men wrote, especially Zane Grey's the hero always went off with the horse and left the girl behind. I was most delighted to find some western romances written by women. That probably steered me to really wanting to merge the two in my own fledgling work.

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    1. They were good books, weren't they? I read the ones my brothers had, but don't remember who wrote most of them. L'Amour, maybe some of them, and Zane Grey for sure. It's fun digging at our roots once in a while.

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    2. Zane Grey, Jack London, Louis L'Amour, and half a dozen or more "western writers" got me 'hooked on books.' Almost without exception, there were traces of romance in each, if only for a brief time in the characters' lives...and started me on a search for romances with a western flair...and noticing all the intricacies that go into the development of a gripping novel.

      Most authors I know say they always had a yen to write. That wasn't the case with me. I didn't know I wanted to become an author until I was well into my 30s...at least, not consciously. Then one day I sat down at the keyboard of my manual Royal (and it was a portable, too!) and started pecking away. Word after word, page after page. And despite the mess that it was, I couldn't turn back: I'd been bitten by the Write Bug, and it infected me with a powerful case of Fiction Addiction. The only way to keep the itching under control, I've found, is to keep right on pecking at those keys.

      And you know what? I hope they never, ever discover a cure! LOL

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    4. Okay, I'm taking a Mafia contract out on you. You didn't start writing until your 30s and you've written all those books in five years. You are about 35, right?! Watch your back, Loree. (Aren't you glad I finally got my Internet back? I can threaten with impunity.)

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    5. LOL Muriel! Thirty-five? THIRTY-FIVE? I'm telling all seven of my grandorables that you're my new best friend!

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    6. And that deleted comment? Somehow, my Zane Grey (et al) posted twice. Therefore... Heh.

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    7. Wow! Loree, a portable Royal typewriter is what I started on when I was 35...but from there the similarity ends. lol I still have that typewriter somewhere.

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    8. I started on one of them, too--I got it when I was 16!

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  3. Liz, this is such a great question! I can't remember ever NOT wanting to be a writer--and I wrote stories that no one ever saw (and some that no one ever will(: Getting published seemed so unattainable to me like being a professional actress or a singer. But there was something in me that just HAD to try....

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    1. I always wanted to become a writer, too, and by the time I realized I could...well, I was. And, yes, I have some of those manuscripts of shame that will never see light of day, too. :-)

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  4. Liz,I agree with Carol, what a great question. Being a writer, is not a choice in my opinion but is a divine gift. It is our responsibility in this life to use this creativity, burnish, polish and hone it to the best of our ability and to never give up on our talent---no matter how many bad reviews we get, or vapid and denigrating comments that are hurled at us from people who've never read ours or anybody else's romances. It's a wondrous and fulfilling life, but it's not without its thorns.

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    1. It is a gift, a most precious one, and even after all those years I'm surprised at (and offended by!) those thorns. Thanks, Catherine.

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  5. Liz,I agree with Carol, what a great question. Being a writer, is not a choice in my opinion but is a divine gift. It is our responsibility in this life to use this creativity, burnish, polish and hone it to the best of our ability and to never give up on our talent---no matter how many bad reviews we get, or vapid and denigrating comments that are hurled at us from people who've never read ours or anybody else's romances. It's a wondrous and fulfilling life, but it's not without its thorns.

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  6. This is a fascinating question, but I'm even more fascinated by the fact that we writers are all answering the same way--it's just who we are. I've been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I wrote my first romance novel when I was 10 years old. I love happily ever after and I love creating situations for the voices in my head...it's hard sometimes, yes, but so rewarding when you get it right. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Thanks, Nan! Sometimes we are so lucky!

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  7. Liz! We're so similar. I wrote in the evenings while the kids were watching TV. Used a steno pad on my lap and just wrote and wrote. I seemed to have to do while believing nothing I wrote would ever see the light of day. What a lovely surprise. How cool that, like Nan, says, you can talk about the 'voices in your head' and nobody puts you in an ambulance and takes you away.

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    1. LOL. Aren't we the lucky ones! I loved steno pads, too, Muriel, but then I found this yellow paper with faint blue lines and loved it! If I could still find it (college rule, side-coil-bound), I think I'd still use it.

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  8. Oh, gosh, I threaten to quit just about every other day of the first draft. And the 2nd. And reading through it for the hundreth time...then a new idea hits and I'm off and running. lol Great post!

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    1. I do, too, and live in terror that I won't be able to finish a story I've promised. :-(

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  9. I agree with what everyone has said about being a writer. As for early memories of the first 'romantically' involved characters that made me realize I really loved romance...I'm talking really early and innocent romance...I'd have to say Nancy Drew and Ned, Laura Ingalls and Almanzo, and Elizabeth and Darcy.

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