I hate labels. Absolutely hate them. Yet, as a Romance author, I’ve found we get locked into genre labels. The heart of Romance is that you shouldn’t be able to label it as this and that. The core essence of any romance novel is the relationship of two people finding each other. Sure, I know labels help readers find the books they love to read, but it also narrows the view readers can have about certain books.
Hey, I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to what I read. I tend to skip over certain genres because they just don’t appeal to me. In doing so, I’m cheating myself of what could be some amazing reads. It all boils down to the fact, that we DO judge books by their covers. I will say this, since becoming an author and interacting with my peers, I’m more open to those genres that once held no interest to me. So, I guess you could say I’m judging a book by the author. Not sure if it’s any better than what I did before, but I’ve become more open minded in my reading choices.
All that said, what do I write? It would be so easy to say I write Paranormal Romances with a comedic bent. It would be the truth, but it would only be part of the truth. The whole truth is I write books about relationships. Okay, there’s some funny and a lot of adventure in my books. Whether dressed up with fangs or fur, my stories revolve around two people not looking for love but finding it nonetheless. Love is perhaps the hardest thing to discover, let alone keep a hold on once you get it. Love is the miracle of miracles.
Sometimes, Romance Novels just give you the hot and heavy portion of the story of love. You get the initial rush of two people meeting and the passion that attraction puts them through. Rarely, do you get the long trip it takes from love at first sight to I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Okay, you do but it’s like I said the rush, an abbreviated synopsis of how love really works. Let me say this, love is work. Hard work that takes both parties involved to make love succeed.
Love is passion. It’s caring. It’s frustrating sometimes, but worth the headaches, heartaches and moments that you ask yourself why am I going through this. The answer to that question is so simple most people miss it. Love is knowing that your life without that other person is a painful shadow of how life should be. You’d be half of who you should be. Opposites attach for a reason. It takes someone unlike you to fill the void of all the parts of you that you can never be. Two people just alike would be boring. In my own life, I can tell you this. It takes someone to kill the spiders of this world and it takes someone standing on a chair yelling ‘kill it, kill it’. Two people yelling ‘kill it’ would be a sad thing to see. See, like I said, love is all about total completion.
In 2007, I decided I wanted to tell the story of just that. I wanted to show two people who fall in love in that rush, but I wanted to tell it all the way through. From the heat of their first meeting to will you marry me and follow through to the big day where the ‘I do’s’ are said. Such was born The Southern Werewolf Chronicles. Remember I said I dress things up, this time the story is told fur covered. Why Southern? Because that’s where I’m from, and I try to write what I know. Why werewolves? Because, I’m hairy and werewolves have always appealed to me. My wife on the other hand isn’t hairy. She really wanted me to make that point clear. Why? Because, for me to write what I know, I turned to the greatest love story I know. My own.
Honestly, before my wife, I had no idea what true love was all about. I had vague notions, but nothing concrete. I’d been reading Romance Novels since I was sixteen, so I thought true love was either about Scottish Highlanders or Sheiks sweeping women off their feet. Being born and bred in the south, I doubted the call for kilts or flowing robes would win me a woman’s heart. Get me thrown in a padded room with a pile of restraining orders — yes. See, I needed help. My wife was patient and married me in spite of my weird views on romance and a room full of geeky baggage. Really, there is a room of geeky baggage. I call it my man cave. Jenn calls it my Geek Cave.
So to tell the heart of our story, I didn’t go for the realistic story of how we met and eventually fell in love. As great as it was, I had to go plaster a fur coat on it and instead took the essence of who we are inside, and ran with the story. The funny thing is I’m not sure who is who when I finally finished the series. After sixteen plus years of marriage, we’ve kind of grown together into one person. She’s adapted some of my habits, and I’ve assumed some of hers. But, isn’t that the truth of love. When it’s true and lasting, two people cease to exist and they become one. They become so in sync with each other, they can’t function without the other. It is my hope as readers experience my tale of true love that is the three parts of The Southern Werewolf Chronicles, some of my theory comes across.
In Were Love Blooms, two people meet. Were the Moon Don’t Shine, two people fight impossible odds to stay together. Finally, in Were Love Finds You, those same two people prove that love is worth fighting for and is the ultimate expression of two little words that means forever if you have the right person to share it with.
So, back to labels, before you slap a label on a book because of the cover or title, read a little bit under that cover. You might discover that the story of true romance isn’t defined by genres but by the heart of love you find in its pages.
To celebrate the end of my Southern Werewolves, over the next few weeks, I’m going to give some DVD type extras. I think one of the most asked questions any author faces is where do you get your ideas. So, I’m going to tell you. Well, tell you without giving too much away. Half the fun of writing these books, any book, is where the ideas really do come from. Just in case, you haven’t read the first two books, here is the link to my Desert Breeze Publishing Author Page. You can find them and my other books there or at any online bookseller of your choice.
Thanks for listening to my ramble and have a great week!