Thanks very much for having me, Jennifer! I’ve been writing romance for about 9 years now, and I believe that my desire to do so stems not only from a love of writing, but also in a major way from a love of romance. In a world of fast food and reality TV shows, we come to believe that all things should come to us quickly, even instantly. Though, whether we should or should not feel this way, romance, in my humble opinion, is one thing that should never be rushed. Two people meeting for the first time may be instantly attracted to one another, but it takes time to get to know one another, develop feelings, and ultimately fall in love. That is why I’m so grateful for the stories I read in romance novels. In the world of fiction, heroes and heroines meet under a multitude of unique circumstances, and we get to see their stories unfold naturally—the first conversation, the first touch, the first kiss. These stories are so inspiring, and they are bursting with inspiration, inspiration which has been felt by an author and channeled to inspire a great romantic story.
Romantic inspiration can come from anywhere. That sounds a bit vague, but for the sake of argument I will say that there are two types of places from which romantic inspiration can be drawn—real life, and fictitious. Fiction is anything which is derived from an author’s imagination—novels, fictional television, movies. Real life is anything pertaining to real people and actual events. Truth be told, I seem to find more romantic inspiration from fiction that I do real-life these days. But perhaps if enough of us read romantic fiction and take its message to heart, things will begin to turn around for the better. We could all use a little more romance in our lives. Romance novels can certainly inspire that.
A few years back, I attended a New Jersey Romance Writer’s Put Your Heart In A Book Conference for which Sharon Sala was the keynote speaker. I don’t remember every word of what Ms. Sala said, but what I do remember was feeling a surge of romantic inspiration during her speech. “It’s up to us who are called to write romance,” Sala said, “to bring that gift to the table and share it with the rest of the world, and do it we will!” These were not Ms. Sala’s exact words, but this is the message which I took away from her speech, a message which gives me strength as a romance-writer and fuels my inspiration as I set out to deliver stories of what I consider to be the greatest genre of all—romance!
As much as I love books (and love them I do!!!) I also find I get a great deal of romantic inspiration from TV and movies. Though I love to use my imagination as I’m reading and writing to envision a set of characters and settings, I also love watching actors play out stories. We all recognize romance when we see it in movies, like in Titanic, when Rose meets Jack at the head of the ship and they kiss for the first time, or in The Notebook, when Allie and Noah are out on the lake in Noah’s boat, it starts to rain and the two begin to laugh uncontrollably. Allie rekindles her sense of freedom and passion in this moment, and she and Noah realize that their love has never died. It’s seeing moments like this that give me a pick-me-up when I’m feeling down because I’m in need of some romantic inspiration. They remind me that romance does exist, that it’s in fact one of the greatest phenomenon in the world—the world that never sleeps, and wants everything that it can have instantly—even love.
Love is not instant. And thank goodness for that because if it was, our romance novels would end on page 4! Just as stories unweave in real life so do they in fiction, with that initial look, first meeting, the first time a hero and heroine make love, moment they believe all is lost, and finally the happily ever after, with a lot of conflict, friction, and passion thrown in between. Love is a rich and complex process which tells a story in and of itself, because it must! I’m personally grateful that there are bounds of romantic fictional available, and in a day and age where the publishing industry is evolving, there is more of it available than ever. Romantic inspiration has the power to spill from our books into our lives, and vice versa. I plan to soak up as much of it as I can!