Not long ago, my mother asked me why I didn’t just sit down and write a nice, juicy mystery.
Don’t get me wrong. My mom is proud of me. She has read and touted everything I’ve ever written. (Well, the ones she knows about… wink-wink) She has never uttered a harsh word about romance even though I know she prefers her fiction along more literary lines. But I get the sneaking suspicion that, in her mind, a mystery would be a little more…respectable.
She would never, ever say so out loud. This was the closest she would ever come to disparaging my choice of genre. She did it so gently and with so much heartfelt encouragement I didn’t quite have the heart to say anything more than, “I write the kinds of books that I like to read.”
That is the truth, boiled down to the plainest, simplest terms. But that isn’t the whole truth.
I adore Regencies. Gobble them up like an Atkins dieter turned loose at The Old Country Buffet. That doesn’t mean I want to write one. I also read thrillers, police procedurals, suspense, paranormal, literary fiction, and yes, a nice, juicy mystery/detective story.
I’m not so into the sci-fi/fantasy or western, but I’m not opposed to reading either if there’s story enough to draw me in. The only thing I do not read is horror. I am a wuss, and about the only thing I’m not afraid of is admitting my total and utter wussiness.
The fact of the matter is, opening a new book makes me happy, and the last thing I want is to be sad when I close that book. Oh, I may miss the characters or wish there were more to the story, but I don’t believe a novel has to be bleak and hopeless to be meaningful.
I listened politely while Mom outlined how ‘easily’ I could have turned one of my recent releases into a wonderful mystery, because when you’re dealing with your mother or a nun, that’s what you do. I even conceded a couple of plot points. Why not? The book is already published. She knew I couldn’t change it.
As the conversation wound down, it circled back to my chosen genre, and I did my best to explain the unexplainable.
I write contemporary because those are the characters I relate to the best. While I love other eras and settings, I’ve never daydreamed my way into a Wild West saloon or an English drawing room. I pant for a Highlander in his plaid, but I have no real desire to shiver the winter away in a dank Scottish castle. I do not hear those characters in my head.
But…never say never. One day they could move in, corsets and all, and I may find myself buried in tons of research about the ton. Or, I might shapeshift myself into the world of dark paranormal. It’s possible.
But romance is the one genre that encompasses all the possibilities.
I told my mother that it all boiled down to the fact that while I love to read a happy ending, I love writing one even more.
She seemed to think that was as good a reason as any.
Oh, and I had her jot a few notes down on her mystery idea. Couldn’t hurt, right?