I love romance novels. I love the mushy, tingly feeling I get when the hero and heroine kiss for the first time. I love becoming emotionally invested in the characters and their lives. I love knowing there will be a happily ever after. I even love the bit of drama needed to create turmoil, conflict and interest. When I find an author capable of holding my interest without being predictable, I binge read everything he or she has written.
Developing a writing style and character type consistent enough to grow a fan base without becoming stale is a challenge. It is too easy to find something that works, then type, or I should say, ‘write’ cast yourself. We all know the romance novel formula – boy meets girl, dramatic event threatens to keep them apart, they fall in love and live happily ever after. It’s a great formula, tried and true. I love the formula. Unfortunately, too much formula and not enough originality makes for a dull read. I’ve discovered authors I adore, only to become bored after two or three reads because each main character, love scene or plot is a cookie cutter version of the last. I must say, as a reader, I find it annoying and cliché.
As an author, however, I find it terrifying. My first novel, At Long Last, is about estranged friends reconnecting and, of course, falling in love. It is the first in my Laurel Creek series, a collection of standalone novels with intertwining characters. Since it was my first novel, the possibilities were limitless. There was no fear of redundancy. The thought of repeating a character or scene didn’t occur to me until I began writing my second novel, Never Say Never Again (available Late Spring or Early Summer 2017). Self-doubt crept in, making me wonder, what if I run out of ideas? Will I recycle the same characters without realizing it? What about love scenes? There are only so many ways to describe intimate relations while staying in uncharted waters. Then, I realized doubt is the antithesis of creativity, giving me something else to obsess over. *Sigh*
Alas, thanks to the creative writing Gods, I have thus far been fortunate enough to steer clear of my own beaten path. Never Say Never Again is shaping up to be related to At Long Last, while maintaining its own identity. The characters and plot have already been fleshed out for the third, unnamed installation in the Laurel Creek series and for a fourth, unrelated work.
I am a baby in the world of romance writing, but I wonder if there will ever be a time when I don’t worry about losing my muse, if there will ever be a time when my confidence overwhelms my insecurity.
Until then, I shall continue to fake it until I feel it, writing each day as if I’ve never touched pen to paper, hoping not to disappoint my legions of adoring fans. (Please read those last words with the self-deprecating humor in which they were intended.)
WS Carmichael is a newly published author of contemporary romance novels. Her first novel, At Long Last, has received rave reviews and she is currently hard at work on several others.
When not cloistered in her office writing, she enjoys her busy life as the mother of three crazy teenagers and wife to her adoring husband. Oh yeah, she also has a side gig working full time as a registered nurse.
You can find out more about her on her website, www.wscarmichael.com